Do You Need a Master’s Degree to Get Promoted?


The first time someone told you that you needed to go to grad school you probably cringed. Whether you were in high school at the time, or working on your undergrad, chances are that the thought of extra years in school was not terribly appealing to you. So, you probably got your bachelor’s degree and hopped straight into the job market thinking you didn’t need that MBA or MFA, and maybe you were right! But if you’re starting to feel like your career has stalled out and you’re wondering if maybe your coworker’s MBA is the reason they got that last promotion over you, then it may be time to consider finally nailing down that graduate degree you avoided.

So how can you tell if it’s time to go back to school and get a graduate degree?

Everyone else has one

Start asking others in your field if they went to grad school. You can work this into everyday conversation, or just start paying attention in the break room or at industry events. If everyone has an MBA, then you can bet that you’re going to need one too if you want to take your career to the highest level. While there are always exceptions to every rule, being surrounded by MBAs can make it clear that you need to join the club, so to speak.

You aren’t getting promotions

If you always put your name forward and go through the interview process when a new opening comes up at your corporation and you make it through a couple rounds but always seem to stall out at the finish line, it’s time to consider whether a graduate degree would be the credential that could give you an edge on the competition. Pay attention to any hints people in management might give you about programs your company may have to help supplement tuition, as well. More than likely if that’s the hold-up in your career advancement, a mentor will find a way to let you know.

Your career is stalled

Maybe you’ve been promoted a couple times, but you can’t seem to find a new track to the next echelon of management. That maybe because while your particular career track didn’t require a grad degree, upper level management in any corporation tends to expect to see them. If you weren’t originally a business major but find yourself playing in a management pool with people who were, chances are everyone around you expects you to lock down an MBA in order to get that VP job you’ve had your eye on.

What to do:

The good news is that master’s degree programs that cater to working people are plentiful. And an online master’s degree might be just the ticket for driven individuals who often work long hours. If you have the time, an online MBA program can be completed in a year, though many students take things a little slower and choose a two year program. Whichever option works best for you, just know that there’s never been a better time to get a master’s degree online. Many top tier schools have begun to offer MBA courses completely online.