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Thread: Graduate opportunities (masters, certificate, etc) via employer tuition reimbursement

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Lowland's avatar
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    Graduate opportunities (masters, certificate, etc) via employer tuition reimbursement

    Hello everyone. I recently started a new position in a new municipality and have been enjoying it thus far. It's a bit different than my previous planning work, and leans more heavily on CDBG management than planning/zoning so far (could change as the program ebbs and flows). I was approached by my supervisor and asked what I was thinking my educational plans were for the next year to 18 months and if I'd considered enrolling somewhere within that time. They are working on the budget and are trying to get an idea of education costs. The organization has a tuition reimbursement program so options are open to me.

    I have not considered grad school since I entered the field 5 years or so ago. I'd applied for a MURP program before finishing my degree (sociology), but a job offer took precedence. Now I am not certain what I'd want to study if anything at all. It would most certainly have to be online courses, due to distance restrictions to regional universities. So I suppose my question is, what are some options I should consider/look into program/field-wise? Right now I have briefly glanced over some Public Admin programs as well as some GIS certificate programs. Is a true Masters worth it for someone 5 years into the profession, or is a certificate in a related study more viable from a time/money perspective?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I value the master's degree, but then I have one so I'm kind of biased. I think it depends on where you want to go. If GIS is your thing I would think a certificate might be enough, but I'm not GIS expert. Public Admin is good for management jobs if you see yourself going that way eventually. In your case I'm not entirely sure about a MURP. You have experience in CDBG and that can carry you a good distance. If you want to get out of the CDBG fun it might help there. My advice is to pick a future field or job that you want and find out what people holding that job have for degrees and experience. Then make sure you have at least the same.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Lowland's avatar
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    dvdneal I was thinking if I went the GIS route, the certificate would be ideal. However, it's not necessarily that GIS is a passion or a do I ton of it, I just know I need to improve on it and I know it's an excellent skill to have. That may not be the best reason to pursue it. I'm with you on not going for a MURP, and Public Admin could serve multiple roles and be useful even if I left the public sector or even planning. I'm not necessarily angling for management anytime soon, I had a stint as asst. director previously and could wait before taking a management roll again.

    I've started looking into options for Geography programs, as I always had an interest in the environmental and hydrological aspects. However, most Geography masters or certificate routes are GIS-focused, it seems.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I think a GIS cert could go a long way, especially in those fields and in the private sector. I'm probably like you. I know how to do the basics, but I could be a lot better.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

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