HCI / Interface / Usability Graduate Available for Employment.

1. Blog: Message Board about Usability, HCI,.. issues?

2. The importance of graduate-level HCI studies

I'm currently at a cross-roads when thinking about getting a Masters
Degree in HCI. How important is a graduate level degree when thinking
about going into industry in HCI or (more specifically) usability?

I am currently working in the field of usability as an analyst for a
financial company. I received 2 degrees in Information Science and
Psychology, I took usability and user-centered design certificate
course work and have worked for Microsoft usability for 2 years before
moving to the bank. I am balancing my work experience with what I have
lined up academically. I have been accepted to several schools, one of
which Carnegie Mellon's HCII Professional Masters program. Do I pursue
the 1-2 year degree, or continue working in the field, gaining work
experience. More importantly:

1)What does a Masters degree mean to an employer for usability
positions (as opposed to various work experiences in the field)? Would
they even be able to distinguish, say, CMU vs. Indiana ... or even some
Psychology Human Factors program?
2)How does "where" you get your degree factor into an employers
decision to hire you and/or give you a larger salary? .. I could get a
Masters degree at a local (and cheaper) institute.

Any insight would be very helpful. I know a lot of people (at least
around me) have these questions in mind.

Thanks

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