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Is a Bachelor's degree enough? If you commit to attending a university, will you really need a Master's degree to get a job?

So many careers have Master's and PhD programs. I don't know if i am ready for 5-10 years of university. #career-counseling #canada-university

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Mark’s Answer

It really depends on the field. I started in Computer Science with a Bachelor's degree, and got a Master's while working full time. For many people in Computer Science/Software Engineering, a Bachelor's is all they ever need.


My wife on the other hand got a Bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology. In that field, you HAD to go on towards a PhD if you wanted a career. She worked one year as a lab manager, then was a "stay at home mom" for many years, since the pay for a lab manager wasn't high enough to pay for childcare.


The investment in a Bachelor's is considerable in terms of time. My degree took about 132 hours (as I recall) for my Bachelors, and 36 hours for my Masters. And I was working full time during my Master's .... which is another reason why getting a Master's/PhD take more time than you would think in terms of the hours. Normally you end up being a Teaching Assistant, or Research Assistant to help pay for the program, and getting some "on the job training" if you stay in academia.


I have actually known of one firm that went out of business because they ONLY hired PhD's and Master's level workers.. and ended up with no one to do the day-to-day coding! So people at all levels are needed in industry.


With all of the above, I would ask two questions:
1. Does someone doing the job I want to do normally have a Masters/PhD? If you want to be a college professor, for instance, the answer is "yes". If you want to teach high school, the answer is "no"
2. Is this something I want to do? Do I like classes well enough to get this extra training? Or do I need to get some experience first, and then see?


And ask these questions with some realism.... If you want to be a rock star, you probably don't need a Bachelors.... but it is still TOUGH to become a rock star! :) And while I would say it is more difficult to start going back to school after being out for a while, I needed a break between the two programs. Going back after working even a year also changed my perspective to "this is more useful, this less so" in my classes.


You can often wait until your 3rd year in a Bachelor's to decide if you want to go to your Master's/PhD. Many people don't get their Bachelors in the field where they start school, and so many professors/councilors/etc don't worry about having you decide about that until it is clear you will get your Bachelors in the field where you would get your Master's. You generally have a better idea about jobs in the field as well.


Good question. Some important choices ahead... enjoy looking at them and choosing. And know that if you get Bachelor's, it is still and important accomplishment, even if you don't get another degree. :)

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Jessica’s Answer

I completely agree with Mark! It really depends on the area you are wanting to study. If you continue on and get your Masters, you might become "over-qualified" for a position. A great place to do research into this exact question is www.onetonline.org. Here, you can find out the different skill levels, education levels and pay rate expected on various positions! Good luck!

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Himmat’s Answer

Good question Arianne!


I wanted to add a little something to the above answers. From personal experience, employers do not just want to see your Bachelor's Degree of your Master's, most of the time they require you to have some relevant work/volunteer experience. If you are currently doing an undergraduate degree, then it would be good if you could volunteer in that same field or even get a part-time job. That will help you build the experience that would go with your Bachelor's at the time of application to any job.


Unless it is mandatory to have a Master's, you have good chances of landing the job without a Master's as long as you have significant work experience. But as Mark said, it all depends on what type of job you want.


Nevertheless, pursuing a Master's can open more doors in the future and even allow you to aim for higher positions within the field sometimes. Hope this helps, good luck! :)

Himmat recommends the following next steps:

Do some research as to what is required for the specific job(s) you have in mind.
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