Is a Master’s Degree Worth It?

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Is a master's degree worth it?

Is a Master’s Degree Worth It?

My spouse works in sales and has been thinking about going back to school to get an MBA to hopefully advance to a sales management role. However, we’ve been trying to evaluate if the cost of a master’s degree is worth it. 

My spouse’s alma mater offers some tuition discounts that bring the cost down to a little under $20,000. But we aren’t sure if we’re comfortable with the idea of taking out student loans, so we’d have to save up for it and reshuffle some of our financial priorities to do so, such as paying off our mortgage early. 

To help others who are in a similar situation, I thought I’d share some of the pros and cons of getting a master’s degree that I’ve come across in my research. 

Pros and Cons of Master’s Degrees

Time Commitment 

One of the biggest cons of getting a master’s degree is the time commitment. My spouse intends to work full-time while completing the program, which could be difficult to manage. It will probably be hard to maintain a good work-life balance while juggling both work and school. 

Luckily I’m a freelance writer with a flexible schedule, so I can pick up the slack at home and handle the lion’s share of the chores. But if you have other responsibilities like side hustles, children, or caretaking duties, it may be hard to add a master’s degree on top of your commitments. 


If going to a prestigious school for your master’s degree is important to you, the cost of the program could be substantial. During our research, we’ve seen MBAs that cost upwards of $80,000. 

Although these top-ranking programs often provide superior networking opportunities, choosing a less well-known school is usually much cheaper. My spouse’s alma mater offers more reasonable tuition, so that’s the route we would take. 

Before you enroll in any master’s degree program, make sure you run the numbers and figure out if the cost is worth it. Research what your potential salary could be when you get out of school and perform a cost-benefit analysis. 

Higher Salary

Master’s degree holders tend to make more money than people with bachelor’s degrees, which is a major benefit of going back to school. Someone with graduate-level education can expect to earn an average of $2.7 million over the course of their lifetime, whereas bachelor’s degree holders only earn $2.3 million. 

For MBA grads, the payoff may be even higher. On average, MBA holders secured a $36,742 salary bump after graduation. Since this pay rise is more than the cost of the MBA my spouse is considering, it seems like a good investment. 

Job Security 

People with master’s degrees may also have better job security. Getting advanced education can give you an edge in the job market and improve your employment prospects. In 2021, master’s degree holders had a 2.6% unemployment rate compared to 3.5% for bachelor’s degree holders and 4.6% for people with associate’s degrees. 

In regards to business degrees specifically, 63% of MBA grads feel that their education has given them greater job security. This is one of the main benefits of advanced education that’s driving my spouse to consider enrolling

Leaning Toward Moving Forward

Overall, my spouse is leaning toward moving forward with enrolling in an MBA program. However, saving up for the program will probably take us at least a year or two, unless my spouse decides to take out a student loan. 

We’re considering saving up half of the cost of the program and taking out student loans to cover the rest. But since we’re debt-averse and interest rates are high, my spouse may wait until we’ve saved up enough cash to cover tuition in full. 

We may need to reduce our mortgage overpayments by a couple hundred dollars per month to fund this MBA. However, we think slowing down our debt payoff will probably be worth it, especially considering the salary bump MBA grads usually get. 

What are your thoughts on master’s degrees? Are they worth the price and time commitment or are shorter, cheaper certificate programs better? Share your thoughts in the comments! 

Read More 

Can Furthering Your Education Increase Your Paycheck?

3 Reasons Why College Education Is Still a Good Investment

3 Tips to Get a Cheaper Education

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