Statistics show that those with degrees and certificates beyond a bachelor’s degree can achieve higher pay. In addition, advanced education can help students develop strategic skills for a more fulfilling career path.
So, when and how does one know if graduate school is the next logical step? While this is a personal choice, there are seven ways to gain a clearer understanding.1. Consider career goals
Take time to research your interests. Use LinkedIn.com to follow influencers in a field you like. See what their background is, what they studied and consider similar programs. Likewise, if you know the kind of career you would like to pursue, use the Bureau of Labor Statistics website search to learn current details about the industry, job outlook and earning potential of thousands of job titles in the U.S.
You may also visit university websites to learn more about programs, their curricula and read about graduates. FIU Online offers virtual information sessions on an array of programs that discuss current industry trends and the relevance of the online programs it offers. Consider signing up for one or more to discover what may work for you.2. Affordability
Hands down, the greatest concern for many students considering an advanced degree is finances. Whether it’s a financial barrier or concerns over accrued debt, adequate funds for education can create great stress. When researching your area of interest, consider how you will pay for your education. If you are currently an FIU student, alumni or staff member, the university offers a free financial literacy tool to help you understand what you can afford. Use your FIU credentials to log into iGrad, which will walk you through a personalized evaluation.3. Time
Consider the time you have and whether or not you’ll be able to dedicate the hours each week per class that will be needed to keep up with coursework. For adult learners, online learning may provide the flexibility needed for your schedule to complete a degree. Moreover, online learning offers portability—you can take your classes with you wherever you go if you have a laptop and Wi-Fi. For this reason, many working professionals are turning to online learning to accomplish their educational goals and achieve life balance.4. Purpose
Pursuing a graduate degree is a big decision and commitment. A keen understanding of what you will do with your degree will offer insight and perhaps even the determination to achieve the goal. If you need to talk it over, bounce the idea with friends and family. You may even use the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services to gain perspective and allay any mental anxieties surrounding the decision to move forward.5. Requirements
FIU offers several master’s degree programs that do not have a GRE requirement, accept a waiver for the GRE because of experience, or only require it if your GPA is lower than program application requirements. Call (305) 348-3125 or (855) 712-6282 to speak to an FIU Online enrollment associate who can guide you.6. Age
Not all students go to college directly after high school whether because of family obligations, work opportunities or military service. Today’s college students who seek online learning are not the traditional 18-year-old high school graduates. Across the nation, the new normal age for fully online college students is above 25. In fact, 1 in 5 students is at least 30 years old.7. Support
Pursuing an advanced degree will create a shift in your daily routine. But remember, the shift is temporary. Many graduate programs can be completed in as little as 12 months, fully online with FIU. Consider the support you have in place with family and friends and others who could help if you need childcare, errands or encouragement.On the other hand, if digital support is what you’re concerned about, FIU Online offers technical support 24/7 to help you with all of your computer connectivity needs.