If you've reached a plateau in your career, or feel like a complete change, postgraduate study can open up new doors.
In a tight candidate market a master degree can also set you apart from someone else in the game with the same experience, making it a worthy investment in your future.
If you want to specialise further or broaden your skills, the application process is easier than you might imagine. Entry requirements are typically a four-year bachelor degree in the same or similar discipline with relevant industry experience. If you had good results you can gain credit towards your first year of study. Many programs also offer a graduate diploma.
Many of RMIT's engineering degrees have flexible learning options, such as evening or online classes, making it more manageable for those who work full-time. The Master of Engineering (Management), for example, is a degree that's available fully online.
Here are five more reasons to consider a Master qualification in engineering.
For many, the thought of taking on more HECS-HELP debt is a daunting prospect. However, RMIT's Master of Engineering programs have Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) available which makes it considerably more affordable to achieve your goal.
A CSP is a place at university where the tuition fee is heavily subsided by the Commonwealth Government. Your share of the fee (student contribution) is set by the Government and determined by the discipline areas you have chosen and any elective courses.
The difference in cost for some courses can be thousands of dollars. For example, if you are enrolled in a CSP in 2016, the annual student contribution amount (tuition fee) you will pay for a standard year of full-time study is between $6,256 and $10,440 whereas the indicative annual tuition fee for full-fee places in 2016 is AU$28,800. That’s a minimum saving of around $18,000 per year.
2. First-rate facilities
Postgraduate students use their advanced engineering skills within a number of specialised high-tech facilities on campus.
RMIT's Advanced Manufacturing Precinct on the city campus focuses on high value additive and subtractive processes. The centre has capabilities in a range of materials, high-speed multi-axis machining centres, reverse engineering, with highly trained technical staff.
The state-of-the-art Micronano Research Facility enables high quality multidisciplinary micro and nano research on campus at RMIT. Within the hub, nine laboratories facilitate the design, modelling, fabrication, packaging, and characterisation of micro and nano scale devices.
RMIT also has a dedicated campus for engineering in Bundoora with exceptional facilities for aerospace and aviation (wind tunnel), mechanical and automotive, sports technology and sustainable engineering (Renewable Energy Park).
3. Teaching excellence
Many of RMIT's experts in engineering have been acknowledged for their contribution teaching and research within the engineering industry.
Professor Iouri Belski is a recognised expert and under a National Senior Teaching Fellowship, he is working to re-imagine the teaching of engineering problem-solving.
Professor Milan Brandt is the technical director of RMIT's Advanced Manufacturing Precinct and has been acknowledged widely for his work involving materials and manufacturing technologies. More recently, he played a major role in successfully delivering a 3D printed vertebral cage for a patient with severe back pain.
Expert in biosensors and electronics, Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh recently received recognition for developing a high-tech gas sensing capsule that can send data from inside the gut direct to a mobile phone.
4. Industry connections
Master degrees at RMIT are designed in collaboration with industry partners, both in Australia and internationally, to ensure programs maintain their relevance and meet industry demand.
Industry presenters and representatives also teach classes and act as co-supervisors on projects and assignments. Students are exposed to current, real-world issues and practices through industry-based projects and internships.
As a result, postgraduate programs are practical, useful – and not just about the theory.
Current industry partners include Boeing Australia, IBM, Telstra, CSIRO, Metro Trains, Environmental Protection Authority, Department of Defence, VicRoads, Bosch and Futurus.
5. Stand out from the crowd
The proportion of candidates in the market with bachelor degrees continues to grow.
In this competitive environment, having an "ace up your sleeve" boosts your chances of finding the right job, while expertise in a niche area enables you to hone your focus, make a bigger impact and ultimately, make more money.
A postgraduate qualification also helps to keep your skills up to date and relevant with best practice in industry and new technologies and processes. Many recruiters for senior roles will often only consider someone who has a master degree.
Story: Rebecca McGillivray