The pursuit of a graduate degree is a major decision that impacts your personal and professional life. A 2016 survey of employers by CareerBuilder indicates that nearly a third (32%) of employers are bumping up education requirements for new hires, and this push by employers has many considering returning to school to obtain an advanced degree. Recent developments in education and technology have changed the graduate school landscape, offering new and flexible opportunities.
Determine If an Advanced Degree Is the Right Choice for You
There are many options for individuals considering going back to school – it’s important to know how to select a program and institution that’s the right fit. Understanding what your goals are is the first step. For example, if someone’s goal is to move into a tenured professor role where research and publishing are primary responsibilities, they would want to consider a Tier I research institution with a large department in their content area.
However, if someone is looking to move forward in their career to gain a leadership position, they would want to look at schools that have a current career-focused curriculum developed and taught by faculty with years of work experience. If an online program is important to accommodate work and family obligations, it becomes important to evaluate the quality of the school’s online program, including average class size, how many years faculty have taught online, how long the institution has offered online education, etc.
Know the Benefits of a Grad Degree
Perhaps Benjamin Franklin said it best when he stated, “Investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Furthering your education is like investing in yourself. The majority of Baker College graduate students are looking to move ahead in their chosen career…aspiring to become leaders in their industry. Some of our students have a specific position with their existing employer that they are hoping to qualify for, while others simply recognize the competitive nature of the market and want to earn the graduate degree so that they are prepared when the perfect opportunity arises.
A graduate degree can also help someone transition into a new field. They may have years of work experience but need to build their resume to open the door to new industries and career fields.
A Graduate Degree Will Affect Your Personal and Professional Path
It’s important for anyone who is considering graduate school to understand the impact it will have on their life. Students learn more than facts about a subject; they learn how to think more critically, to analyze situations from multiple viewpoints, and to have a more comprehensive and holistic perspective. It often changes how they see the world.
Baker College graduate programs are designed to build upon our students’ existing knowledge base, helping them develop a skill set that allows them to transition into leadership roles. Baker College Center for Graduate Studies alumni find themselves contributing to their organizations in a more meaningful manner, often leading to new positions and responsibilities. It is not the degree or the piece of paper that qualifies them for new roles; rather, the knowledge, skills, and insights they gain make them the ideal candidate.
Baker College Online Master’s and Doctoral Programs Meet the Needs of Today’s Students
Whether because of personal or professional obligations – or both – everyone has a list longer than there are hours in the day. Attending graduate school online makes what was once impossible…possible. It’s important to recognize that earning a degree online isn’t any less work than earning it in a traditional classroom – it is simply more flexible, more feasible. It provides students the chance to engage with their faculty and fellow students at a time that is convenient for them.
I’m not going to say that everyone is excited to sit down at a computer at 9:00 at night to begin researching, collaborating with a peer, or completing a case study, but online learning provides an opportunity to have it all – even though it might mean a little less sleep.
Are you interested in taking the next step in your career? Explore our graduate programs to find your way forward.
Dr. Jill Langen is currently the President for Baker Online and Baker College Center for Graduate Studies and has 25 years of experience in higher education. She joined Baker College in 1999 and has filled a variety of positions which include faculty member, Department Chair for Marketing and HR, and Dean of the MBA program, and Chief Academic Officer for Baker Online. In her role as President, she is responsible for providing leadership, strategic direction and administrative oversight for all campus departments including academics, admissions, business/financial services and career services.