More Americans are pursuing graduate degrees now than ever before. According to a report from the Council of Graduate Schools, domestic student enrollment has risen 3.3 percent since 2008. A large reason for this, is to curb future economic troubles. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that workers with Masters degrees make 21 percent more on average than those with Bachelors, and those with Ph.D's will make 51 percent more. it's easy to understand why so many people are pursuing graduate degrees. But what steps do you have to take to get a degree?

Choose your Career

Getting a graduate degree is only worthwhile if you have a plan for getting a career. Knowing where you want to go is the first, and most important, part of planning your graduate degree. Find out if a graduate degree will even help advance you in your career, before investing the time and money to get a degree. 

Take the Test

Most graduate and professional degree programs require an entrance exam. There are six common entrance exams for secondary degrees.

1. Graduate Records Examination (GRE)– The standard graduate degree entrance exam. The majority of people who pursue graduate degrees will take the GRE. The score is based off of Quantitative (Math) and Verbal tests as well as two Essays. 
2. Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)– If you are considering pursuing a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) and becoming a attorney, this is the degree, as indicated by the name, that you must take to get into law school. The test consists of 5 parts: 2 Logical Reasoning sections, a Reading Comprehension section, Analytical Reasoning, and an unscored Experimental Section. There is also an essay section. 
3. Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)– Are you interested in Business or getting your M.B.A.? This is the test most business schools require for entrance. The exam measures verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills that the examinee has developed over a long period of time in his/her education and work. Test takers answer questions in each of the three tested areas, and there are also two optional breaks; in general, the test takes about four hours to complete.
4. Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)– If you are interested in becoming a doctor, this is the test that you need to take. The test consists of four sections, listed in the order in which they are administered on the day of the exam: Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, Writing Sample, and Biological Sciences. 
5. Dental Admissions Test (DAT)– Anyone interested in Dental School has to take the Dental Admissions Test. The DAT comprises four sections: survey of the natural sciences (90 minutes), perceptual ability (often called the PAT, 60 minutes), reading comprehension (60 minutes), and quantitative reasoning (45 minutes).

Get Financial Aid

Graduate school is expensive. It's important to subsidize this expense as much as you can before you get started. File for Federal Grants and Loans to help curb the costs you will incur. Check with your employer, many business will help with the costs of higher education and have scholarships and grants available for businesses. Utilize resources like to learn how to pay as little as possible for your second degree.

Classes and is an free education information service that has helped more than a million students find degrees and aid to get them ahead. If you're ready to learn more about a graduate degree, visit Classes and to get the information you need, absolutely free. 

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