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ames83's avatar

Is it worth it to spend $56,000 for a master's degree?

Asked by ames83 (80points) July 15th, 2009

I’ve been thinking about getting a master’s degree in OT for awhile, but the only college I can go to in the state I live in (unless I want to live in the middle of nowhere) is a private college and would cost $56,000. My other school loans are paid off and i’m not in debt. That’s alot of money though it scares me! and how will I be positive I will like that career? It’s hard to know 100%..:(

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20 Answers

EmpressPixie's avatar

What is OT?

brettvdb's avatar

Occupational therapy

brettvdb's avatar

I have 2 friends that just completed an OT masters last week, believe it or not. I know that for them it will be the perfect career (at least I’m as sure as I can be).

I personally never did a masters because im interested in marketing and business, and I’ve never thought much about business related education unless you’re doing an MBA. Personally, I feel like business is learned through experience, not taught in school. But I digress.

From an economics perspective, I’ve read that your potential salary increases in a beneficial manner up until your Masters. What I mean by that is that you future salary benefits from any amount of education, up to and including a Masters degree. After that, you start to see a downslide with regard to opportunity cost, time and money invested, and eventual payoff.

I believe an average OT salary is about $75000, and compared to that, a $56000 investment doesn’t seem as monstrous. I can’t answer for you whether or not you will like the career, but I don’t think the investment will be a poor one if you decide to do it. You will see the gains for doing so.

My two cents!

PS Welcome to Fluther!

ames83's avatar

Thanks, yeah there are always open positions in the field too. I could also work in the school system if I wanted and have the summers off. There are many different settings I could work in and different populations I could work with. I could also do part time if I needed and at peoples homes and get paid hourly. They do get paid really well thats for sure.

brettvdb's avatar

This is the problem with major decisions in life. You never REALLY can know 100% going in if its the right decision. The best you can do is carefully consider your options, weigh the pros and cons, think about where you think you might like to be in the future, and go from there.

I think you’re well on your way to doing all of the above!

YARNLADY's avatar

I wonder if you can’t get a position as a OT trainee, and then take your formal training from there? Many times the employer will reimburse for the classes.

cak's avatar

@ames83 – Have you been able to intern, at all, in your chosen career? Spending time in the enviornment might help you know whether or not you will like the career that you are focusing on. There is absolutely no way for us to predict whether or not you will like your career. I have know people that have gone to college and grad school and hated their field of choice and done something completely opposite.

As far as getting your Master’s – if you have plans of being in the school system – even remote plans of being in the system, get the Master’s. It helps with the pay, usually!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

depends on what you make of that masters? for me my masters was certainly worth it

hug_of_war's avatar

just remember OTs in schools make substantially less

ames83's avatar

I worked at a Day Hab with adults with developmental disabilities for a year and a half, there was an OT that came in once a week so I got to see a little and talked with her. I also voluntered at a school for kids with disabilities for a semester and observed the OT there. I just got promoted at my agency as a service coordinator. I figured I will at least keep this job until next fall. I aready got accepted at the private college however I just need one more pre req course which I might take this fall. I applied for tuition reimbursement through my work and I will get $1500 a year working full time. So I can at least use that money to take the pre req course.

ames83's avatar

Thats true hmm. All the factors, but I am def. one to weigh out the pros and cons! and I don’t make rash decisions.

cak's avatar

@ames83 – It sounds like you are on the right track. In the long run, if you want to move up, the Master’s will help. I know it’s pricey – I’ve been in your shoes.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

depends on what you’re major is.

In my field, physics, yes it’s very much worth it. If you went for interpretive dance, however, it may not be a decent investment.

ames83's avatar

Thanks, yeah its related. I have a bachelors degree in Health and Wellness, minor in Psychology.

DrBill's avatar

Cost me $20,000 each for PhD’s, but that was 20 years ago.

ames83's avatar

Wow really..I wish it was that cheap now. But i’m sure $20,000…who knows what now..? But that’s a whole other question/topic someone could ask on here :)

MindStudy's avatar

I’m currently working on my Masters @ a private University and it is just as costly… As I was going back and forth trying to decide… it hit me that I wouldn’t hesitate to drop 30k on a car or 200k on a house so why not invest that kind of money in myself?

Think of it as an investment in your future… More than likely you’ll know by the first couple of semesters if OT is really for you.

ames83's avatar

That’s a good point, thanks. That’s true, but even after a couple semesters..if I decided I didn’t want that as a career I would be out…lets see ($56,000 divided by 3 since its a three year program=a little over $18,000) that would be bad. I would most likely just keep pushing through and do it regardless. However, its important to like your job. It seems like too many people don’t like what they’re doing…

wundayatta's avatar

You can calculate the difference by looking at the average salaries for folks with Masters degrees in OT compared to those with only a Bachelors. Or to the average salary of any other job you might have if you don’t go into OT. Then you can calculate how much more money you would make with the Masters and see whether it’s enough to pay off your debt and then make more money than you would had you stayed with a Bachelors.

I’ll give you a hint. Education is almost always the best investment you can make. The more education you get, the greater the increase in earning power compared to folks with a lesser degree. Also you will be happier, most likely. Education pays off in so many ways.

56K may seem like a lot, but it isn’t. You’ll pay it off in less than 10 years. You’ll probably be working for more than 40 years, so in a few years you’ll wonder what you were worried about. Go for it!

cwilbur's avatar

Many graduate programs offer fellowships and stipends. See if this one will.

If not, make sure you look at both the measurable rewards—if you spend $56,000 now, how much will your lifetime earnings increase?—and at the immeasurable ones—if you spend $56,000 now, how will your job satisfaction increase?

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