The Cost & Benefit to a Master's Degree in Education. Hint: Get one!

The economy is a mess. 401k’s are being turned into 201k’s. Nobody knows where to invest.

We’ve taken a close look at the cost/benefit of a Master’s Degree and want to share our findings here.

COST
First we need to know the cost of a degree. To get an idea of how much a master’s degree in education costs, let’s look at a couple options.

  • Western Governor’s: $12,000 (online)
  • Walden University: $12,000 (online)
  • University of Illinois-Chicago: $17,500k (campus)

With a Masters in Ed you can get it while you’re working, so let’s say the opportunity cost is 2 seasons of LOST, one ski weekend spent studying instead, and a couple (ok, two dozen) happy hours. So is an hour or two a night each week and $12k too much??

 

BENEFIT
Let’s say you don’t have to finance, if you took that money and invested it you could have $51,000 in 30 years (to make it easy - 5% interest compounded annually over course of career).

Now, if you instead got your Masters Degree - you may stand to make a higher salary every year. Let’s take a look at Chicago public schools as an example. Let’s assume we take the “extra” that you are making and invest that at the same 5% interest rate - just so we can compare apples-to-apples.

Looking at the salary schedule, a teacher with an MA will make an extra $3k per year over BA only. Taking the increased amount each year and putting that into the same mythical 5% savings account, we have a total of $221k after the 30 years.

Compare that to the $51k you have from not getting your degree and you can see it was more than 4 times better than the other good long-term investment. Some districts are a little less (cough Seattle cough) and others are a little more, but there aren’t too many investments that can approach this kind of return no matter where you are located!!

This doesn’t even bring into account that many online and offline schools offer scholarships.  Plus, many school systems (Chicago included) will often forgive student loans (so don’t pay that tuition in cash as I mentioned above!). Any of these benefits will just make a good deal even better....are all those happy hours and LOST episodes worth it? If you’re a teacher and even *considering* getting a Master’s...please do it.

You may be a [slightly] better teacher (a post for a different time) but you’ll be setting yourself up much better to live comfortably in retirement...or at least to splurge on a fantastic vacation each summer ;)



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