Should I Go to Grad School?

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Should I Go to Grad School?

An MFA and a MD are very different beasts. But learning is always a good thing. From astronomer to biophysicist, here are some things to consider before heading off to grad school.

First off, let’s look at the numbers:
Acceptance rates:[2]
Master’s Colleges and Universities:
–Master’s/other: 63%
–Doctoral: 40%
Doctoral/Research Universities:
–Master’s/Other: 63%
–Doctoral: 37%
Research University (high research):
–Master’s/Other: 54%
–Doctoral: 27%
Research University (very high research):
–Master’s/Other: 39%
–Doctoral: 18%

Overall Acceptance Rates:
Master’s/Other: 49%
Doctoral: 21%

Only 1/5 applications to Doctoral programs are accepted. If you don’t think you’ll make the cut, is it worth the effort and time to apply?

By Field:

[2]
Arts and Humanities:
Master’s/Other– 37.8%
Doctoral–17.1%
Biological and Agricultural Studies:
Master’s/Other–44%
Doctoral–19.3%
Business:
Master’s/Other–48.3%
Doctoral–11.9%
Education:
Master’s/Other–69.9%
Doctoral–41.4%
Engineering:
Master’s/Other–39.5%
Doctoral–22.5%
Health Sciences:
Master’s/Other–41.2%
Doctoral–25%
Mathematics and Computer Sciences:
Master’s/Other–40%
Doctoral–22.1%
Physical and Earth Sciences:
Master’s/Other–40.9%
Doctoral–24.3%
Public Administration and Services:
Master’s/Other–58.7%
Doctoral–23.2%
Social and Behavioral Sciences:
Master’s/Other–54%
Doctoral–13.3%
Other Fields:
Master’s/Other–53.7%
Doctoral–26.2%

Will You Earn More?

Lifetime Earnings Increase by Education:[1]
[Average salary by education]
Less than high school: $24,325
High School: $32,600
Some College: $38,675
Associate’s: $43,175
Bachelor’s: $56,700
Master’s:$66,775
Doctoral: $81,300
Professional Degree: $91,200

Earnings vary greatly as to what graduate program you complete:

Top 10 Occupations, Master’s Degree

[occupation,% of total degree type job, average salary]
1.) Elementary and Middle School Teachers, 13%, $53,875
2.) Other Managers, 5.4%, $94,050
3.) Education Administrators, 4%, $69,650
4.) Accountants and Auditors, 3.7%, $75,750
5.) Secondary School Teachers, 3.1%, $55,425
6.) Computer Software Engineers, 2.6%, $95,875
7.) Registered Nurses, 2.5%, $76,100
8.) Post-secondary teachers, 2.5%, $50,600
9.) Counselors, 2.4%, $48,625
10.) Chief Executives, 2.4%, $129,000

Top 10 occupations, Doctoral Degree
1.) Postsecondary teacher, 26%, $70,075
2.) Physicians and Surgeons, 5.7%, $127,125
3.) Physical Sciences, 5.2%, $89,425
4.) Lawyers and Judges, 4.7%, $91,900
5.) Education Administrators, 4.6%, $86,625
6.) Other Managers, 3.7%, $116,750
7.) Psychologists, 3.5%, $62,875
8.) Medical Scientists, 3.5%, $81,475
9.) Pharmacists, 2.6%, $108,950
10.) Chief Executives, 2.1%, $128,275

Top Ten Occupations, Professional Degrees
1.) Lawyers and Judges, 31.5%, $100,800
2.) Physicians and Surgeons, 22.8%, $154,300
3.) Dentists, 3.4%, $100,875
4.) Elementary and Middle School Teachers, 2.8%, $57,300
5.) Pharmacists, 2.3%, $110,500
6.) Veterinarians, 2.1%, $74,525
7.) Accountants and Auditors, 1.7%, $80,075
8.) Other Managers, 1.7%, $96,825
9.) Post-secondary Teachers, 1.6%, $72,975
10.) Registered Nurses, 1.5%, $68050

But you can only make more if you can find a job, right?

Overall jobs requiring Doctoral, Professional, and Master’s degrees are expanding faster than others.
% change 2012-2022:[5]
Doctoral or Professional Degree:+16%
Master’s degree: +18.4%
Bachelor’s Degree: +12.1%

While many fields are expanding, many will have just a few thousand extra openings in the next 10 years.

That’s not to say a graduate degree won’t help you, whatever your job.

Best Outlooks for Grad School Jobs:

Computer Science:
4/10 best jobs of 2012[4]
#2 Software Developer
#5 Database Administrator
#6 Web Developer
#7 Computer Systems Analyst

Medicine:
Fastest growing healthcare jobs:[9]
1.) Biomedical engineer
2.) Dental hygienist
3.) Occupational therapist
4.) Optometrist
5.) Physical Therapist

Whatever you do, more education can’t hurt, but it’s nice to know the facts before sacrificing resources for grad school.

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Citations:

  1. http://www9.georgetown.edu/grad/gppi/hpi/cew/pdfs/collegepayoff-complete.pdf
  2. http://cgsnet.org/ckfinder/userfiles/files/GEDReport_2012.pdf
  3. http://www.businessinsider.com/where-can-law-school-grads-find-jobs-2013-6
  4. http://www.thebestschools.org/blog/2012/10/15/20-best-it-jobs-2013/
  5. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.t07.htm
  6. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm
  7. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/occupation-finder.htm
  8. http://www.online-phd-programs.org/adjunct/
  9. http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mkl45edfgf/5-physical-therapist/
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