Graduate School Prep Guide

why go onto graduate school

Why graduate school? That is what you need to ask yourself. What do you want to accomplish or advance your career?

Completing a graduate program requires some in-depth thinking on what you want to accomplish. Use this module to understand your strengths, your career pursuits and talents to select the right program for your education and career objectives.

Below are six (6) quick summary tasks:

Page Topics:

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Why Go to Graduate School

Key Reasons Why You Should Get a Graduate Degree

— better career
— more knowledge
— better opportunities
— increased fame and fortune
— personal fulfillment
— and more money.

According to recent surveys, graduate degrees can earn an average of 35% to 50% more than those with only a bachelor's degree.

You will need to decide whether it is a Master's or Doctorate degree.

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Master's Degree or Ph.D.?

It will depend on your field of specialty and job that you are seeking. Many fields in education, engineering, health care, and social work require a Masters Degree to move beyond entry-level positions.

You will also find that many state licensing requirements require a Masters Degree to begin your practice, for example, an online Master’s in Health Care Ethics is a recommended course if pursuing a health care career. Additionally, a doctorate degree is required for medical and legal professions.

Those pursuing academic careers will pursue a PhD. These candidates are interested in research, academic teaching, and scholastic achievements.

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Research Employment Projections

Find out what jobs are going to be hot and what's jobs will not. This will help you decide which graduate program is best for you.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
published the occupational outlook by category. Provides insight on the training need, work environment, earnings, expected job prospects and more. It's a valuable resource to help decide what career you may like. Also includes employment statistics and the fastest growing careers.

some helpful resources
occupational outlook
employment projections

Individual State Labor Statistics:
reviews the occupational projections by state and region — helps determine where you may need to locate for the best growth. You can link to individual State job and occupation trends:

state-by-state resources
state-by-state labor statistics

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Get To Know Yourself

Take some career and personal self-assessment tests to determine your aptitude and character for career opportunities. By understanding your personality type, it will help determine what career opportunity will bring you the most satisfaction.

Start with defining your personality type:
take these online character assessments to get a non-test based review of your personality type and careers that may be of interest. You can view how they can measure your personality traits for jobs and other life-events

helpful resources in self-assessment
online quiz on what career type
Myers & Briggs self assessment
Keisey Temperament assessment

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What Kind of Career

By understanding who you are and what you like, you can now explore career opportunities that will be most satisfying to you:

  • Evaluate Your Career Interests
    your first step in finding the right career is to evaluate what you would like to do and what career fits your overall aptitude

  • Understand your interests and career relationship
    you can take this online career assessments for a small fee - not recommended at this stage of your planning

  • Other Helpful Career Assessments:
    use this skills assessment to understand job types that you may best be qualified for based on your temperament assessment
helpful what kind of career
start with
view the Strong Interest Inventory®
other helpful career assessments

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Who's Who in Opportunities

From Fortune Magazine

Fortune 500 companies
Fortune Global 500
Fortune Best 100 companies to work for
Fortune fastest growing companies
Fortune small business 100
Fortune 50 best for minorities

From Forbes Magazine

Forbes 400 Best big companies:
Forbes 200 Best small companies:
Forbes 500 Private Companies:

From Inc. Magazine

America's fastest-growing private companies — The Inc. 500:

Search Government Directories

Federal government-related listing:
State and local government directory:

Helpful Tools

Some helpful tools for making decisions:

off-to-college map (pdf print file)
college cost comparison worksheet (excel file)