Every spring it’s in the news: colleges are raising tuition. Higher tuition means students will be carrying a larger debt into the workforce, which cuts into their income. Choosing the right field of study for an advanced degree requires considering several factors in determining the return on investment of an education, or ROI. What you study can determine the economic value that an education investment will hold after graduation.
STEM (science, technology engineering, and math) fields have a higher lifetime earnings growth potential. STEM fields aren’t for everyone. Engineering careers may sound lucrative, but they are challenging, and there aren’t very many of them. Don’t expect to sit behind a desk.
Humanities and Social Sciences
If you want to work in humanities and social sciences, you can still get a good return on your investment. While these majors have a lower starting salary, they are more versatile, as they can be applied across multiple industries.
Health programs tend to be a safe return on your investment. You can start working in the field with a Bachelor’s degree and then the advanced degrees will yield more salary and opportunities. For instance you can find opportunities as a physical therapy assistant, and through earning a Master’s or Doctorate degree find further opportunities as higher salaries.
Things to consider in an ROI
When trying to determine the right field of study for an advanced degree, consider these points:
With any decision, you should investigate more than just the economic value of the education. You also need to look at how it meets with your career and experience goals. Evaluating the personal rewards of the job helps some students decide if a career calling such as a marriage and family therapist is enough, or if they should go on to earn a PhD to research various therapies for couples. Each path will have different pros and cons and will depend on the career goals of the individual.
Written by: Jason Smith Jason is a Career Services Specialist at Ashford University. He is 22-year Navy veteran who helps students transition into new careers. After the Navy, he completed a Master’s in Education, specializing in Higher and Post-Secondary Education. He is interested in assisting other veterans who transition from military to student cultures and military to post-military careers.
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