Starting Salary vs Mid Career Salary
What are the median and starting salaries for your chosen field? Is the starting salary significantly lower than the median? Can you pay your bills while you wait to make it to mid-career status? The best way to figure this out isn’t to Google it but talk to people currently in that field to get a sense of what the actual salaries are right now. Salary sites tend to give median averages which don’t tell the whole story. Do your research by talking to people about current salaries right out of graduate school and mid career salaries. LinkedIn is a good place to start, we’ll talk about that in a minute.
Experience of Past and Current Students
This is really important! When you talk to current and past students, discuss how they were treated by the administration and whether or not they felt that the quality of the education is commensurate with what they paid for it.
Years To Achieve Return On Investment
Consider the following:
- Lost years of productivity while in graduate school working part time or not at all
- Total loan amounts vs starting salary
- Total amount paid back for loans vs starting salary and length of time expected in career
Is it worth it? Crunch the numbers based on your financial situation and then decide whether or not it makes financial sense. Student loans are in the same group as death and taxes, they’ll get paid one way or another.
LinkedIn continues to be a gold mine of connections for professionals seeking to connect with each other. You’d be surprised how much people are willing to tell you as someone coming behind them in the field. During my research to determine whether or not I should return to graduate school, I met with a woman from LinkedIn for coffee where she told me about her experience in graduate school. She warned me against going back to school for a degree I do not need and it was the best advice, ever.
Talk to colleagues and others who are where you want to be. Crunch the numbers and make sure that going back to school is what you absolutely need to further your career. Sometimes it’s a matter of looking deeply into whether going back to school is merely “something to do” or something you need. The process of deciding which applies can save you thousands of dollars.
Have you researched graduate school? What advice do you have for other women wanting to take the plunge? What should they know before taking the first step?
Written by Ginger, CEO of Girls Just Wanna Have Funds ™- breaking financial ceilings, one stiletto at a time. There she publishes tips and articles that will help women light up their financial lives and take control of their deepest money issues.