If you are nearing your baccalaureate graduation and trying to decide whether to enter graduate school immediately, the answer to that question is vital. For one thing, there are time limits for applying to graduate school and you must also secure funding for additional schooling. Perhaps you haven’t considered working for a few years before continuing your education. There are a few points in favor of staying in school, but the trend is toward gaining experience before earning an advanced degree.
What are the Advantages of Remaining in School?
An obvious advantage is that you are already in student mode. You are accustomed to studying and attending classes. In addition, your uninterrupted years in school have helped you develop patience and the ability to wait for rewards. Plus, if the economy is weak, you can stay in school at a time when the job market may be uncertain.
If I Delay My Degree, Are My Chances of Going Back to School Slim?
People who choose to work a few years before going back for their master’s degree often decrease their actuality of going back. Others, however, find that working in the field for a while increases their enthusiasm for their particular profession and provides direction. They might decide on specializations and discover that they are not as interested in some aspects of the field as others. This is especially true in education where the opportunity exists to work with special needs or accelerated populations of children, to do research or work in administration. In addition, according to Dave G. Mumby, admission to graduate school is competitive. Boards of admission are more likely to admit applicants who have a clear picture of the direction they want to take. People with work experience are more likely to be successful in graduate school and to graduate on time. This makes them less of a risk than students applying directly from undergraduate degrees, who may change their specializations or drop out entirely.
Will Work Experience Help In Classes?
The answer to that question is “absolutely.” Having seen the principles in practice, you are more apt to grasp important concepts than students who have only the theoretical knowledge. The Best Master’s Degrees website also says you will be better prepared to set and meet educational goals. You enter the program knowing what your specialty will be and you can fine-tune your degree because you know what skills and knowledge you will need.
What are Some Other Benefits of Gaining Work Experience Before Earning My Master’s?
One of the most beneficial aspects of working before pursuing a master’s degree, is that your employer may subsidize your education. A teacher with a commitment to his school is an asset and it is far more expensive to train new hires than to assist the trusted employee in gaining higher education. Employers may not even consider hiring a teacher without work experience. Your job connections will also serve well when you need letters of reference to the graduate programs and mentors in the profession. Plus, professional certification requires supervised work experience, whether you get it before or after your degree.
Although there are benefits to beginning your graduate education immediately upon graduation, most people will profit from getting work experience. The question, “Do I need to work a few years in education before pursuing my master’s in educational leadership?” is best answered, “No, but it helps.”
For more information on master’s degree programs, please see: 15 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Degree Programs.