Q. I have a major decision to make in the next month–grad school or continue my so-far unsuccessful job search. I graduated in January and can get my grad degree in a little over a year, so perhaps the economy will improve further by then. What do you recommend? -LB
A. Don’t assume graduate school will increase your chances of landing a job next year. You’re not alone in weighing the decision to continue your education in pursuit of a master’s degree. Therefore, you will be entering the job market in a year or two with a record number of others who opted to return to college. More alarming, the Wall Street Journal reports that a grad-school degree doesn’t necessarily pay off in the job market. According to the Journal, the jobless rate among individuals with master’s degrees has risen to 4.2% vs. 2.9% in June 2007. And the Journal indicates the average pay difference between bachelor’s and master’s degrees — currently $7,954 a year — will narrow as more qualified candidates accept lower-paying jobs.
As Syracuse University professor Bill Coplin said in a post earlier this year — The Grad School Option: “Deciding to go to graduate school should be a business decision where the risks, costs and rewards of this significant investment in time and money are carefully considered.”