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Unlike the obvious income benefits of earning a Bachelor's degree, there has long been debate regarding the cost/benefit factor of a Master's degree. Some professions mandate the earning of a Master's degree or even a Doctorate to be hired and continue employment, such as teaching in college. While there are few professional opportunities that mandate a Master's degree in accounting or an MBA, the data shows that most graduates benefit with higher compensation in both the short- and long-term.
This debate began some years ago because, at that time, one had to “suspend” their career for 18 to 24 months to earn their degree. One of the “top” business schools could easily cost $30,000 to $60,000 to procure the graduate degree. It often takes six to seven years to “break even,” so to speak, because of the investment and corresponding lack of professional income for the time period you were in school. Yet, if you assume a 30 to 40 year working career, even with this cost, the Master's degree would prove to be a good investment.
With the invention of the “executive” Master;s, the “fast track” Master's and, particularly, the online Master's degree, the cost/benefit factor has improved greatly. While data shows that, if you left the workforce and attended Harvard, Amos Tuck, Wharton, or one of the “top 10” b-schools, your starting compensation will outpace everyone else. However, by using one of the on-campus evening/weekend programs or one of the better online accounting graduate programs, you will a) have a lower investment, b) have the ability to continue your professional career growth and keep your job and c) be able to accelerate or decelerate your course load to suit your schedule, not the school's needs. After completing your degree requirements using this approach, you might not be offered “Harvard money,” but you will still command excellent compensation in recognition of your achievement and future value to employers.