If you make the smart decision to go to college, it is paramount that you choose a career path before you get into your graduate studies. Sure, undergraduate classes can be used to earn just about any type of degree, but you want to make sure your graduate studies are leading you down a preferred occupational path. Your studies are going to cost a lot of money, making it all the more important to be smart with the money you borrow.

Let’s take a look at common career paths, how long they take to enter into, and the average starting pay:

2-Year Degrees

  • Paralegal: about $50,000
  • Computer specialist: about $75,000
  • Registered nurse: about $75,000
  • Radiology tech: about $50,000

4-Year Degrees

  • Petroleum Engineer: about $150,000
  • Financial analyst: about $50,000
  • Information systems manager: about $60,000
  • Purchasing manager: about $100,000

As you can see from the lists above, some 4-year degrees are simply not worth the time and money they take to earn. Take for example the time it takes to become an information systems manager. You are going to spend about four years earning your degree and spend twice the money it takes to earn a degree to become a radiology tech. Still yet, though, the average entry-level pay for both of these careers is about the same.

With of the above said in mind, you should always ask yourself the following questions to help ensure you are earning a degree that is worth the money and time invested:

  • Do you actually plan to use the degree and for how long?
  • Is the degree in a field of study that you want to gain employment in?
  • Are you willing to start working as soon as you graduate (because you will have to start paying back your loans within six months after graduating)?