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Asked by Kristen on October 18, 2017

I am currently a senior in college and deciding between starting an entry-level job in my career path with the hope that I may be able to climb the so-called "career ladder" of this company or going to graduate school with the hope that I may be able to skip to a higher position after graduation. What advice do you have for someone in this position? How important is graduate school when considering the advancement opportunities of a career?

Answered by Ashlyn, Hiring Expert at Worthington Industries, on October 24, 2017

This is a great question. Many people decide to attend grad school before going into a career. I personally have seen it be more beneficial in our industry to work for a couple of years and then go back to grad school should that be something you are still interested in. Plus, with that, companies will often offer tuition assistance if you're working for them and decide that you'd like to pursue grad school. I think it's helpful in getting experience and being more familiar with the actual applications in the working world when returning to school.

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Answered by Natesa, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on October 25, 2017

Great question! Unfortunately, there isn’t going to be a “one size fits all” answer. Ultimately it depends on your personal goals, and the organization you are potentially working for. If you have a clear idea of what exactly you want to do with your career, it may be better to go right into grad school. For me personally, I wanted to join the workforce right after graduation to get some experience before continuing my education. Going right to grad school just didn’t make sense because I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted my career to be yet. In most organizations, an employee will reach a “ceiling” in which they can’t progress any further without a master’s degree. But then again, it is always a case by case basis. Something to look for when applying to jobs is if the company has a grad school assistance program. These programs help employees further their educations while still working. Hope this helps!

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Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on November 2, 2017

There are numerous pros and cons for going to graduate school right after you graduate college. These pros and cons can only be reviewed then decided by you. I recommend researching the industry or type of job you would like to have. Do most people in this field have a grad degree? Is it required or highly recommended? What are the average salaries with and without a grad degree for this industry (without experience)? You are more likely to earn more with a grad degree but it’s not a guarantee it will always lead to the higher paying job right away. It will give you that competitive advantage over someone else that doesn’t have one and could open doors for future promotions. You also need to keep in mind that you will be incurring more debt. Did you know some employers offer tuition reimbursement programs? You can look into prospective future employer’s benefits to see if they offer a tuition reimbursement program and go back for your grad degree at a later time. After you decide what industry or career you want, complete your research, and review your pros/con list, you can then decide if going to graduate school right after graduation is the best decision for you.

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