It’s Never Too Early to Consider a Master’s Program

by Ashley Eneriz

If you know you want to pursue a master’s degree someday, or if your field requires it, there are many benefits to planning early.

Before you start making your college graduation plans, think about how beneficial it would be to your career path if you were to tack on an extra year, or 30 more units of study. When you consider a master’s degree early on, you can save time and money in school—and put two degrees on your résumé.

How Much Time Will Getting a Master’s Take?

You might consider a master’s degree an overwhelming prospect to pursue, especially after completing 120 or more units for your bachelor’s degree. However, most master’s degrees are designed to be completed within two years.

Azusa Pacific University offers specialized programs that allow your undergraduate course of study to work even harder for you. For example, the Master of Arts in English fifth-year option allows undergraduate students to enroll in this program and earn their B.A. and M.A. in five years, instead of just their B.A. in four years. Similarly, accounting undergrads can pursue a Master of Professional Accountancy, which allows candidates to complete their advanced degree and fulfill the requirements for a CPA licensure in just one additional year.

Not only will a master’s program better prepare you for your career after graduation, but master’s degree holders earn an average of $11,700 more each year than those with just a bachelor’s degree. The time commitment required to complete your graduate degree is quite small compared to the amazing benefits and opportunities that a master’s offers.

How Much Money Will Getting a Master’s Cost?

There’s no doubt about it—earning any degree is considered an investment. When you consider a master’s degree before your junior year as an undergrad, you give yourself enough time to take advantage of the ability to take some courses that can count toward both degrees during your senior year, which can save time and money.

Pursue an integrated program, like APU’s teaching program, which equips students to earn their bachelor’s degree alongside their teaching credential in four years. Or consider the Master of Arts in Education: Educational Counseling Program, which awards students with a master’s and a Pupil Personnel Services Credential in as little as one year. These specialized, combined programs give you the most value for your investment, and can enable you to enter your dream career field upon graduation.

APU students can also take advantage of the 10 to 15 percent alumni discount available for several qualifying master’s degree and credential programs.

When Should You Consider a Master’s Degree?

Your head is probably spinning just trying to figure out what undergraduate units you need to complete. So, the sooner you can start planning for a master’s degree, the better. Think about your end goals and dreams. Do you want to teach English at the college level? Do you want to avoid entry-level counseling positions and jump right into helping counsel children and families?

Tackling your bachelor’s, master’s, and credential program all in one go not only saves you money, it helps you get to your ultimate career destination faster. It is also easier to stay motivated in your studies when you plan to pursue your master’s or credential immediately after undergrad studies, rather than trying to get back in the college groove after taking a break post-bachelor’s.

It’s never too early to consider a master’s degree program, especially if you need one to get to your dream career. The goal at APU isn’t to just give out degrees, but instead to equip students with the exact skills and knowledge they need to make a difference in their unique calling. Don’t be afraid to research master’s programs or talk with your academic counselor early on about graduate degrees. They can direct you to the best educational plan for your needs.

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