Whether you’ve just started your master’s degree program or you’re a full year into it, working while earning such a degree is an honourable feat to take on. Many students earning their master’s degree worry that having a job during this time will be stressful or overwhelming. But it’s often necessary and begs the question, how many hours should a master’s student work?
A Masters student should avoid working more than 15 hours a week to properly balance their studies and work. However, this can change depending on their reason for working. There may be financial reasons that require more work to be completed. Try to not work more than 20 hours a week if necessary.
To help you feel more comfortable about your working decisions, we’ve gathered examples of all kinds of student situations below.
Do Masters students work while studying?
Lots of masters students work while completing their degrees. Especially if there isn’t financial aid available to cover their tuition. The key is to understand and be good at time management. By being organised you can make working beneficial to your schooling and career. You can display an ability to handle multiple projects at once while also making a living for yourself. The work can also help with your studies by practising things you are learning about, increasing your knowledge both at work and university.
But something to be very careful of is making sure that you don’t overwork yourself. Overworking will cause burnout and both your job and university studies will suffer because of it. Try to keep your work hours at a manageable number that doesn’t impact your study time. Also, leave room for you to relax, socialise and recharge your own battery. It is recommended to work no more than 15 hours a week if possible as a university student. But, if you do need some extra experience or money, pushing this up to 20 hours is possible. This would equal 5 hours 4 days a week of work which doesn’t seem much. Don’t forget to factor in your class time, study hours, homework time, plus personal time. The key is to find a balance that won’t result in exhaustion.
Something to also keep in mind is that some universities offer tuition discounts for masters students who are working full-time during their degree program. Some also offer work-study programs. The amount of tuition you would owe would be discounted by how much you would make working for a program offered by the school. Plus working while studying can help decrease your job anxiety after your masters graduation.
Should I be working in my chosen field as a Masters student?
Working in the field that your masters degree is in while obtaining your degree is a phenomenal idea. This will give you an inside look into what you could be doing as a full-time career after you graduate. It will also look good on future resumes as it shows future employers that you were eager and determined to get into the field as soon as you could. Working in your field as a master’s student also provides you with a unique look into the field. You’ll be able to compare what you’ve learned in class to what you’re experiencing firsthand as a practising member of the field. Often there are multiple pathways you can follow from your degree. Getting this experience before graduating can help you figure out where you want to end up.
Plus, working in your chosen field as a masters student gives you a leg up in obtaining a career after graduation in your desired area. You are already involved with a company in this field that might hire you permanently after graduation. Or they are at least giving you great experience that will catapult you into another area of the same field. You will have better references for your resume considering they are in your industry – something that those who didn’t work won’t have.
That being said, it can be hard to get work in your desired field without a completed degree. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get a specific job. There are plenty of people who do fast food or supermarket work while studying.
What kind of job should a Masters student have?
Master’s degree students should have a job that isn’t too stressful, has a flexible schedule, and would benefit them going forward in their career.
If you’re going to work during your master’s degree, your best bet is to get a job that is part-time and not excessively stressful. You will be balancing a (likely) full-time workload at school with working a job. That is a lot to take on, especially if you’re involved in a degree that requires internships.
You’ll also want to find a job that offers a flexible schedule. The job doesn’t have to be work from home or work when you want. But you should be allowed to customize your schedule on a week-to-week basis so that you can work around your school schedule. This will allow you to compartmentalise and organise your time appropriately.
Lastly, master’s students should try and get a job related to your studies. Doing so will look good on resumes and provide you with a unique point of view. It will also allow you to apply what you’re learning directly to the field you are going to be involved in. But if you can’t get even a good entry-level position in your chosen industry, don’t panic. Plenty of students are still able to find a job after graduating without this experience. It is just a bonus to get your foot in the door if possible.
Is working while doing a Masters hard?
Working while in a masters degree program can be a stressful task. But that shouldn’t discourage you from doing so! There are multiple ways you can successfully manage working a job while doing a masters degree program.
Consider earning your masters degree part-time instead of full time. This will give you more time to focus on classes while you are working part or full time. You’ll feel less stressed if you’re only responsible for 1 or 2 classes instead of 3 or more.
If you’re determined to get your masters done quickly and want to attend full time, it would be better to work part-time. This will also aid in stress reduction and make working while doing a master’s program less intense.
You will need to learn how to properly manage your time because it is key to successfully working and studying simultaneously. Try to keep a consistent schedule. For example, work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening. Go to school in the mornings. Leave the weekend free for rest or personal life. Fill in the extra times during the week with your study. Find a combination that suits your lifestyle and schedule. Just be aware that you might need to adapt it depending on what job you get. But always talk to your employers about your situation and they should do their best to work with you.
Do Masters grades matter for jobs?
Although many people will tell you otherwise, most employers do care about what your grades were during your masters degree. They aren’t likely to request your university transcripts, but they do appreciate seeing that you were a straight-A student or made the Dean’s List. Even though they aren’t going to dig too deep, you want to earn the best grades that you can. The higher your grades are, the more likely it is you retained the knowledge given to you. This is the information that will prepare you for your future career, you want to be sure you know it!
Your grades won’t be the be-all or end-all of receiving a job offer. In many cases, employers see that you have a masters degree and that is enough. But sometimes they dig a little deeper and this means you want to come across as the best candidate for the position. This starts with your dedication to your studies. The best advice we can give is to give it your all and do the best you can.
While you work towards finishing your degree and debate your job options, have you ever wondered if your degree determines your career? Or maybe you’re starting to think if all of this degree work is worth it? Check out our Rednax resources for more clarity to your career questions, like ‘is working for a startup or big company better?’ Looking for reliable skilled and general labour workers near you? Contact Rednax Recruitment for the best local workers.