Talk to people who have, or had, your desired position. An advanced degree may not, in fact, be required to get to where they are. After all, professional experience and connections matter as much or more than any degree.
That being said, many who have a master’s in taxation (MST) find that it accelerates their career because it gave them access to new networks and skills. State and federal tax codes and regulations are complex; learning them without the resources of a university would be a challenge for anyone.
If you have a background in accounting or finance and are looking to specialize, a Master’s Degree in Taxation could serve you well.
Is a Master’s in Taxation degree right for you? Ask yourself the following questions:
Are you ready to go back to school?
The pace of graduate school is faster than its undergraduate counterpart, so it can be a challenge to attend school and also hold down even a part-time job.
A Master’s in Taxation can take one to two years, or more, depending upon the program. Those who take just one year often have no breaks, where classes continue throughout the summer and winter. Even if you do not intend to quit your job, you may still have to take time off for exams and term projects.
Will your organization sponsor you?
There is only one way to find out—ask! Even if your company does not cover tuition, it may reimburse you for textbooks or other materials.
Anything you can do to offset the cost of a master’s degree, which is tens of thousands of dollars, will help.
Could you see yourself in the program?
Ultimately, going back school is about deepening your skillset and building your network, not just earning a credential. That can only happen if a school’s program is a good fit for you.
Ask the admissions office if you can sit in on a class and speak with a professor. While there, request to see a syllabus and some examples of assignments. These conversations and materials will help you get a picture of day-to-day life in the program. Most graduate schools are happy to accommodate prospective students.
Further, consider seeking out alums, and ask about their experience with the program. Did it impact their career in the way they wanted? What are their former classmates doing? Alumni testimonials matter as much as any literature put out by the admissions office.
Lastly, be candid with yourself in what you need to succeed. Many programs are completely online right now, and while that may seem enticing for its flexibility, that format does not work for every student. Many people succeed in school through the ability to collaborate and study together, which online classes do not facilitate.
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