Weighing the pros and cons of an advanced degree
Is getting a master’s in chemical engineering worth it? If you are entering the field of chemical engineering as an undergraduate student or a recent bachelor’s level graduate, you may wonder whether getting a master’s degree in chemical engineering is worth the time, expense, and effort. After all, the average salary for people with a bachelor of science in chemical engineering is already $80,000 a year, according to Payscale. Is getting a master’s in chemical engineering worth it?
Advanced Degrees Open Doors
While there are plenty of well-paying, challenging jobs for bachelor’s level chemical engineers, getting an advanced degree will open doors to jobs that would be otherwise unattainable. Some high-profile organizations like NASA and Kraft may require master’s degrees for their positions, and most jobs involving management will also require an advanced degree.
Not only does an advanced degree signify a deeper knowledge base in your field or industry, it also means you have more chemical engineering research expertise than someone with only a bachelor’s degree, all other things being equal. A master’s degree in chemical engineering could lead to the development of expertise in a particular subject area that could also qualify you for more advanced positions in that area. It may be time to get serious about graduate school and find those open doors.
Salary Potential With a Master’s Degree
While chemical engineering is a field that pays well no matter the level of education, the salary potential for master’s level chemical engineers stretches into six figures, according to PayScale. Experience will only increase the salary potential from there, making a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars or more during your career.
While it can be expensive to continue your schooling, there are ways to lessen the cost of an advanced degree, such as paid internships, teaching assistantships, and grants for those who qualify. Earning your degree part time while you work full time is another option that can allow you to pay as you go and avoid further debt. Even if you have to take out student loans to cover the cost, they will more than pay for themselves in increased salary potential compared with a bachelor’s degree.
Employer Preference: Bachelor’s or Master’s?
While entry-level jobs in chemical engineering aren’t scarce, there are several reasons why many employers may prefer candidates with master’s degrees. Besides the much larger knowledge base, employers know that master’s level graduates will have greater leadership potential and will have learned about project management and heading up a team as part of their advanced degree.
Furthermore, many master’s level graduates also have work experience that they obtained while earning their advanced degree. Even just a few years of work experience can make a big difference in experience levels and what candidates are able to accomplish on the job. Although some employers may prefer paying a lower salary for a bachelor’s level employee, many job listings show an openness to master’s level chemical engineers even for entry-level positions.
Florida Tech offers master’s degrees in chemical engineering that will help build and advance your career. Learn more about graduate admissions and start earning your advanced degree today.