Recruitment 411: Education: On the job or in the classroom?

I have been considering going back to school to pursue my master’s for awhile now. The other day as I was pondering the pros and cons of graduate school -for what seemed like the hundredth time – I came across What’s Your College Degree Worth?. The blog discusses the ongoing debate about the increasing cost of higher education versus the value it provides.

The writer argues a college degree is necessary to land an entry-level position in today’s job market, and I completely agree. For the purposes of this blog let’s take the discussion up one level. Are advanced degrees worth the investment?

Personally, at this point in my career, the answer is no. There are two reasons I came to this conclusion. First, I’m very fortunate to be in a position that has considerable room for growth and advancement. Second, my manager truly believes in professional development. Every member of our staff has a documented career development plan, and we’re encouraged to take advantage of any developmental opportunities that come our way.

For me, the training I’m getting right now is far more valuable than anything I could learn in a classroom or discover while writing a research paper.

Maybe I’ll change my mind when I work for another manager or in another location. Who knows? The point is, while returning to school will always be an option, the developmental opportunities – and encouragement to take advantage of them – might not.

What’s more valuable to you – on the job training and development, or an advanced degree?

Recruitment 411 is the official blog of the IRS Recruitment Office.


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Profile Photo Alicia Mazzara

As someone currently pursuing an advanced degree, I made the decision to go back to school only because I felt that I could not advance further in my field and job market with a BA. Learning and improving yourself is a good thing, but advanced degrees are costly both in terms of money and time I could be spent doing other things. I don’t think it’s worth pursuing the advanced degree unless it is to some end; too often I see my peers go back to school because they don’t know what they want or miss the comfort of college.

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