Master’s Degree vs Increased Blogging Time

I’ve been hitting a bit of a roadblock recently when it comes to deciding where to best “invest in myself” as the popular cliché says. While there is no doubt that a master’s degree in my field (education) would be a great asset for me and open many career paths for me, it is also an incredibly frustrating process to go through. On the other hand, expanding our blog-based business and doing more freelance work has more immediate benefits, and could also pay off handsomely down the road. There are only so many hours in a day and consequently I may have to make some tough decisions as far as where to best throw my energy into. I am a strong believer in trying to build some positive momentum in your life while you are still “young” (relative term), and have exceptional amounts of freedom and energy. The only question is which path will likely create the most positive momentum for me and best set me up in the future.

should I get my master's?Blogging Is Definitely More Hip

In terms of a cost-benefit analysis it is tough to argue with the blogging world right now. After a few years in the game, it is pretty apparent to me that if you pay attention to readers and give them good information, they will keep coming back. The longer you are in the blogging world the more beneficial connections you can build and the better-recognized you become. This leads to some fairly rewarding fringe benefits, as well as increased income. Whether you are talking about a website getting off the ground and making money in a variety of ways, or finding a creative way to market yourself as a freelancer, the benefits are quantifiable, and the positive results are immediate. I believe that if I were to make a real push in building this side gig, the immediate monetary benefits would be pretty decent, and potentially, I could set up a source of income from our website that could (nothing is for sure with Google updates these days) continue with fairly little time commitment in perpetuity. Semi-passive income is a great tool in anyone’s financial tool belt.

But Being a “Master” is Alluring…

The benefits of a master’s degree are both easier and harder quantify at the same time. I would get at automatic pay bump of just under $4,000, and my salary ceiling would rise from $82K to $87K if I stayed in my job as a teacher and received a master's degree. The real benefits I am after however, are the career opportunities that a degree would help open up. Jumping up into administration could be very lucrative (in Manitoba, upper-level administrators make between $120K and $180K). It would also look great on my resume if I decided to make a lateral move some day. I am fairly certain at this point that I do not want to be a classroom teacher for the next 30 years, but there are many jobs all over the field of education that can be pursued with the right combination of credentials and experience. While those benefits are certainly substantial, so are the costs. The main cost would be my time and my blood pressure level. Hours spent in a classroom, reading through journal articles, and driving to and from the university add up in a hurry. My frustration level would likely rise as a result of the absolute uselessness of much of what I would be learning (the incredible disconnect between the academics in the field of education and reality is astounding, and worthy of its own post altogether). Then there is the cost to consider. I have another 30 credit hours to go to achieve my degree, at a cost of roughly $600 per 3 credit hours, that is $6,000 dollars in upfront costs. While I would be able to recoup some of that money through tax credits, it is still a substantial capital investment.

I suspect that in the end I shall end up pursuing both paths to some degree (who cares what Frost says). Given the fact that I simply enjoy blogging more I think I’ll probably end up dedicating 60-70% of my “self-investment” time and energy in that direction, while allocating the rest to grinding my way through to becoming a master of education. Stupid human brain and instincts that prefer immediate gratification so much! If only I could turn them down a little the benefits that come with the master’s degree would likely appear so much clearer.

What do you guys think? I know that our favourite contributor – Young, deals with this dilemma to some degree, as well as our blogging mentor – The Financial Blogger. I keep going back and forth on just how much focus I should place on each goal, any input is welcome (see I just act like I know it all… you probably figured it out by now that this isn’t the case).

16 Comments

  1. Money Beagle on July 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Increase your blogging so that it can fully fund the education. Everybody wins. Please lose the pop-over ad.



  2. Ariana of Dear Wallet on July 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I believe there is way to do both, masters degree will help you in the future, especially if something happens with the blogging down the road. I just finished my bachelors degree, certainly not the same as a masters, but the entire time I ran TWO businesses AND blogged part time. Its hard work, but you can do both if that’s what you want. Goodluck!!



  3. Maria on July 31, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I think your heart knows what is truly for you and what is just a result of reasoning;-) So far you’ve been doing phenomenal job with your blog, and it has a great potential of bringing great income!



  4. Teacher Man on July 31, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Hey, thanks Maria, we really appreciate that here at Y and T. I know I’m as guilty as anyone of giving disproportionately bad feedback, and simply silently saying thanks when I appreciate stuff, so thanks for the compliment!



  5. Teacher Man on July 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    That is extremely impressive Ariana! What businesses were your running if you don’t mine me asking? I love entrepreneur stories! I agree, there probably is a way, I just need to buckle down.



  6. Teacher Man on July 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Hey MB, sorry, the pop over ad was only supposed to be for first time visitors. Will fix that right away!



  7. Christy on July 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I have been a classroom teacher in Ontario for 12 years. I finished my M.Ed 2 years ago. Now I am considering going into administration, because like you I can’t imagine doing what I’m doing for the next 19 years. I didn’t begin my M.Ed with that goal in mind though. I am glad I finished when I did though. It will mean a much faster route to administration if I decide to go that way.



  8. Teacher Man on July 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Things in the Ontario education world are much more competitive from what I hear. Congrats on finishing your M.Ed degree and moving on. Let us know how the job route goes. I like the classroom right now, I just think in a decade or less it will be time to move on.



  9. Whitney on July 31, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Did you say you make 80K a year? In teaching? Wow! I have taught for seven years and will never come close to that amount. In Texas, if I had gotten my Master’s it would’ve only raised my pay a couple more thousand a year. To me it wasn’t worth it because I know for a fact that we would have just drowned in student loan debt. Now that we are debt free (except for mortgage) it’s really hard to commit to anything. I’ve always said, though, that I would never get my Master’s in education just because I don’t think there’s much you can do with a degree like that. I’m glad now that I waited because I found my true calling. Teaching has prepared me for my future job of financial coaching. Now I want to take classes in finance and learn more about businesses and how they run. I would take some time and really think about this decision, but it sounds like it would benefit you more than it would have benefited me!



  10. Teacher Man on August 1, 2012 at 9:16 am

    It’s funny Whitney, every time I do an article where I mention my salary as a teacher in Canada, I get these sort of comments from American teachers. My salary is actually public info, here is a look at the salaries across Manitoba’s school divisions. Being debt-free is a nice feeling that is difficult for most people to give up. Interesting how you feel that teaching has given you some great crossover skills for your new job. Good luck with that. In terms of benefiting me, it will open up a lot more career paths, and within the admin world in education you can make 6 figures fairly easily.



  11. MLS Hamilton on August 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    If you weigh the benefits listed in your blog post, honestly I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just go for the masters degree.

    Blogging is great but it really only benefits you if you keep blogging, once you stop or step away from it for a bit a blog quickly loses its value. Whereas the education opens up moves for you all over the board and stays with you no matter what.



  12. Joe @ Retire By 40 on August 2, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I would go for the master degree while you are motivated. A master degree is forever and you’ll benefit from it your whole career. You can always hire more writers on the short term until you have more time, right?



  13. Jordann @ My Alternate Life on August 2, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Making the decision to pursue higher education is something I know I’m going to have to deal with eventually, but I think it’s a good investment that would put you in a solid position for additional income, whereas, as you mentioned, blogging income is relatively volatile.



  14. Teacher Man on August 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Makes sense Joe. If I had a little more passion for the courses I have to take it might make the decision a little easier.



  15. Poor Student on August 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    While I think the Master’s would be better for you, I selfishly want you to continue blogging. I think the income potential is might be the weight that tips the scale to the degree side, but you have been my biggest mentor and ally since I began blogging and I wouldn’t want you to devote any less time to blogging and helping people like me.



  16. Teacher Man on August 4, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Wow… a mentor… you poor soul! In all seriousness, thanks for the compliment PS. It’s easy helping people that want to help themselves!



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