How long a master's degree takes to earn is dependent on the subject matter,
the school you choose, and your own personal desire. It is also important to
consider the time and the financial investment. The average master's degree
takes two years to complete if you attend school full-time, from four to six
years part-time. Combined bachelor's/master's degree programs offer a master's
in five years of beginning your post-secondary career.
The return on
investment after obtaining a master's degree is not set in stone. It depends
on the field you are trying to enter, your networking ability, and the economy.
According to a 2008 report from The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 15
percent of all Americans age 25, with a master's degree, earn over $1,200 a week
and face unemployment rates of less than 2.5 percent. Considering that only
about 37 percent work for their master's degree during their lifetime and much
less finish the degree, the value of that diploma, with the embossed gold seal
and school watermark, becomes a testament to tenacity and vision, as well as a
higher quality of life and greater job security.
There are two basic master's degrees: the MA and the MS. The former is
awarded for master's level work in the arts and sciences, and the latter for
work in the math and science fields, such as engineering. The MA tends to have a
more liberal arts core than the MS. There are also some specialized master's
degrees, such as the Master of Social Work or MSW and an MBA degree, the Master
of Business Administration degree. There is essentially no difference in the
time frame of getting these degrees, although a more technical degree may
require additional work during a specific course. But usually that is factored
into the time constraints.
Considering that return on investment for your master's degree, also consider
the amount of financial aid that you may have to accept in order to complete
that degree. Perhaps you've already garnered thousands of dollars in student
loans for that bachelor's, or for even a couple Associates diplomas. There are
very few grants available for master's and doctoral degrees. It is easy to spend
$100,000 by the time all is said and done. If you've taken student loans, you
have to pay that back with interest. Maybe fake customized diplomas aren't a bad
idea! Pay for it and hang it on your wall. What a novelty!