Graduate School?

I met with my advisor last week to finalize my graduation plan and make sure I was on track for my remaining semester of senior year. In our conversation about my plans after graduation, she asked if I had ever considered graduate school for a master’s degree in public relations. She told me that students who only receive a bachelor’s degree in public relations are unable to acquire any position in a company except an entry-level job. She strongly suggested I consider it, telling me that it would greatly help me in my career. She told me with a master’s degree I’d be able to teach public relations if I wanted and have the opportunity to move upwards in a company and enjoy pay raises.

Wanting to investigate this idea further, I e-mailed Mr. Glenski at Fleishman-Hillard with the information and the simple question; is graduate school worth it? He e-mailed back, saying in his opinion future employers and clients value experience more than anything. He attached a link to an article titled “5 Graduate Programs That Aren’t Worth The Money” from Yahoo Finance. Number 3 on the list was PR, advertising and mass media programs.

The article had encouraging news, saying that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the field is supposed to grow by 21 percent between 2010 and 2020. The website cites a report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workforce as the source for the article. Liz Weston, a personal finance author, also contributed to the article. In the section about PR, Weston said the graduate degree for PR “doesn’t really get you anywhere”. She said clients are looking for creativity and talent over a graduate degree. The Georgetown study concluded that employees with a graduate degree in public relations can only expect a 12 percent boost in pay.

To me, graduate school doesn’t seem like it’s worth the time and money.  A 12 percent boost in pay doesn’t sound like a logical trade off, after having to take out loans to finance graduate school. I would consider working towards a graduate degree in another area besides public relations, but I know experience in the field is what will advance my career. I’m glad I investigated this further, as I was able to compare the benefits from both sides of the spectrum.


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