Author Topic: Continuing education for DW  (Read 572 times)

caracarn

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Continuing education for DW
« on: September 11, 2017, 07:44:03 AM »
So my DW has been debating a topic for a while and thought I'd get some Mustachian input here.

She changed careers several years back after a downturn in the software industry made it hard for her to find work.  She went through a certificate program from a university out of state that offered an compressed program where they flew professors up her for a weekend every couple months for two years to teach classes.  They ended up with a Certificate in Learning Therapy.  This has allowed her to work at a private school as a Reading Therapist and she loves her job and the school.  However she gets concerned on and off that not having a Master''s in Education makes it impossible to work in a public school.  The topic came up again this weekend because she met with some old classmates.  She's not worried at this point but is not sure if she should finish.

The university that offered the program has only worked with them partially to make this possible.  They will let them take some of the classes remotely, but are insisting that one or two of them need to be taken on campus and even the accelerated versions span four weeks and involve about 9 credits in cost.  The alternative some of her classmates have taken who decided to just go ahead and get their Masters was to lose a lot of the credits (one of the local universities that will allow them to transfer into their program and take all classes online) means she needs to redo 22 credits of work.

In speaking with my DW about this it does not seem like getting this degree will turn into any increase in pay.  If she went to a public school there is a possibility that it would, and is likely, but not certain, so it does not seem like it will be justified from that perspective.  She figured out it would cost about $15,000 to finish the degree here locally having to redo a lot of what she already took but they will not accept as transfers.  The other discussion was what if she just did not get the degree.  Then we are back to the job prospects being very restricted.  It seems that getting the M. Ed. would open a lot of options if the need arose.  The other factor pushing this is that the university that they got the certificate from has told them they have until next school year to decide otherwise they lose all the credits they took and have to start over as they will be too "old" at that point (sounds like a money grab to me as most classes are just general education material that does not change that much).  But my DW's concern about the option with them is it would be almost impossible to find a way to travel down to that state to take classes and do her job, so she'd be putting her job at risk.  Also the hotel and travel charges to go down there for 4-12 weeks (likely that getting the classes she needs together is not going to happen) would seem to offset the "savings" of not retaking the credits that will not transfer.  We've not run the numbers specifically, but if we figure $300-$400 per trip for airfare and $200 or so for hotel or meals and then adding a rental car it is at least $2,500 - $7,500 in travel costs.  The cost per credit hour of the original university is $60 more per credit hour as well, so another $600 in expense of extra tuition dollars but on fewer credits than is she took it here.  This does not take into account all the disruption and if she could get the time from work to do this.  They continue to argue with the university but it seems like they are not very interested in working with the four ladies of the 15-20 that are left who want to consider this.  Obviously she does not want to put her job in jeopardy.

So on a quick back-of-the-napkin look it seems like the local option may be a bit more expensive but less disruptive.  We're also trying to save as much as we can for our six teenagers to assist with their college costs so DW is feeling guilty about taking money that could go to that to pay for herself.  My feeling however is that it will eat at her later if she does not get this done, especially if her job situation changes.  We are still looking at 10-15 years of working before we'd legitimately have a shot at RE.  So I'm suggesting that we have her do it, and it seems to me the local option is the cleanest way to do it.  It does not cause as much disruption to job and home life that she worries about, and that seems to offset the slight cost difference I think this would be (again, my SWAG is this might be $2-$4K more costly with the travel etc. and that is being conservative and erring on the high side.  It might be dead nuts even).  I think not doing it might be an easy choice now, but I would hate for her to be regretful later and then have even a bigger cost because of inflation and losing every credit.  One of the things she brought up is she could wait and see if her job situation becomes a problem (current administration loves her and gave her am 8% increase this year and verbally promised a similar increase next year because they want her to stay around), but those in private education know how fickle those fortunes can be.  Administration can change out (it already has once in the three years she's been there), enrollment can drop necessitating cuts or even closing the school entirely (that's how the conversation started with her colleague who is at a private Montessori school that will likely be closing due to dropping enrollment after this year or next year), or any number of life's surprises.

So what would you do?  What else do I need to answer for you to give your input?

Thanks!

iowajes

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Re: Continuing education for DW
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2017, 09:28:02 AM »
How many credits are transferring with that $15,000 to finish up?  Is that just for the 22 credits she has to redo? Or are there additional courses too?

The school I did my M.Ed at the 33 credits (online, though it is a brick and mortar school with a very long history) cost only $20,000.  So $15,000 to finish up a degree seems like a lot. And so does having to redo 22 credits, since the entire program for me was only 33.
Have you looked at online options? Especially to see if they'd accept any transfer credits as well?

Personally, I'm happy to have the masters degree. For me, it has correlated with significant pay increase (though I no longer teach, I work in assessment), and it was also just a personal goal. It also opens up a lot more opportunities. At this point in my career, it would be difficult to find a job with just a Bachelors degree.

caracarn

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Re: Continuing education for DW
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2017, 11:31:48 AM »
How many credits are transferring with that $15,000 to finish up?  Is that just for the 22 credits she has to redo? Or are there additional courses too?

The school I did my M.Ed at the 33 credits (online, though it is a brick and mortar school with a very long history) cost only $20,000.  So $15,000 to finish up a degree seems like a lot. And so does having to redo 22 credits, since the entire program for me was only 33.
Have you looked at online options? Especially to see if they'd accept any transfer credits as well?

Personally, I'm happy to have the masters degree. For me, it has correlated with significant pay increase (though I no longer teach, I work in assessment), and it was also just a personal goal. It also opens up a lot more opportunities. At this point in my career, it would be difficult to find a job with just a Bachelors degree.
I believe that's for what she would have left.  The school she's looking at is $590/hour for graduate credits which places 22 credits at just about $12K, so I think the $15-$16K is with the couple other classes she would need.  The core program at that school is 33 credits with another 18 credits needed for the focus area.

This is an online option.  And yes, her belief is it would open up a lot more opportunities which she is not looking for now, but if we took the route of waiting until she needed it then we have a period of 2-3 years when she's not working much if at all and then going to school.   We are not in a spot where we need her income to get by but obviously savings plans would be impacted for all of her income etc. so that's why I'm thinking it makes sense to get it done.  As I explained it seems like right now she's kind of halfway to something with the possibility of losing all credit for what she did and having to start from square one, and if she finished the Master's she'd be done. 

jax8

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Re: Continuing education for DW
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2017, 12:59:09 PM »
I don't like to base decisions on fear and what ifs.  As of this moment, your wife has a secure job that she loves with the degree she currently has.  The push for the masters is a combo of insecurity, fear, and keeping up with her old classmates.

It seems like it's going to be a pain in ass to finish her master's degree, no matter which option she picks.  It's going to take time, money, stress and it won't lead to a raise or a better job RIGHT NOW. If the private school isn't going to give her a hefty raise, and if she doesn't want to move on to a public school district, I wouldn't invest in the masters.

The way you are planning to use this degree makes it a $15,000 unemployment insurance policy that may (or may not) pay out.  Even with the degree, there's no guarantee that a local public school district will have an opening for her.  Or, that she has the right connections to break into the district.  There are so many variables, and so many unemployed teachers.  (I live in PA, so that could be a know-your-area thing.)

I'll go against the grain and say skip the degree, sink the funds into your investments.

caracarn

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Re: Continuing education for DW
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2017, 04:29:35 PM »
How many credits are transferring with that $15,000 to finish up?  Is that just for the 22 credits she has to redo? Or are there additional courses too?

The school I did my M.Ed at the 33 credits (online, though it is a brick and mortar school with a very long history) cost only $20,000.  So $15,000 to finish up a degree seems like a lot. And so does having to redo 22 credits, since the entire program for me was only 33.
Have you looked at online options? Especially to see if they'd accept any transfer credits as well?

Personally, I'm happy to have the masters degree. For me, it has correlated with significant pay increase (though I no longer teach, I work in assessment), and it was also just a personal goal. It also opens up a lot more opportunities. At this point in my career, it would be difficult to find a job with just a Bachelors degree.
Talked to my wife.  Would you mind sharing which school that was at as it may be a little less and she can look at it?

caracarn

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Re: Continuing education for DW
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2017, 09:00:01 AM »
So speaking with DW last night and sharing the input, she does still feel similar to what jax8 said and is not sure it is worth pursuing.  She explained that it is one of those cases where she feels she was so close and was hoping that she could find a way that made sense.  That's why I asked it iowajes might share where she attended so DW can look into if that would be an option for her and more favorable.

Thanks for the input.

iowajes

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Re: Continuing education for DW
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2017, 09:17:16 AM »
How many credits are transferring with that $15,000 to finish up?  Is that just for the 22 credits she has to redo? Or are there additional courses too?

The school I did my M.Ed at the 33 credits (online, though it is a brick and mortar school with a very long history) cost only $20,000.  So $15,000 to finish up a degree seems like a lot. And so does having to redo 22 credits, since the entire program for me was only 33.
Have you looked at online options? Especially to see if they'd accept any transfer credits as well?

Personally, I'm happy to have the masters degree. For me, it has correlated with significant pay increase (though I no longer teach, I work in assessment), and it was also just a personal goal. It also opens up a lot more opportunities. At this point in my career, it would be difficult to find a job with just a Bachelors degree.
Talked to my wife.  Would you mind sharing which school that was at as it may be a little less and she can look at it?

Lesley University 
My degree was Math, so I don't know if they have one that would fit her area of specialty, but they have a number of different programs.

caracarn

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Re: Continuing education for DW
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2017, 11:21:50 AM »
How many credits are transferring with that $15,000 to finish up?  Is that just for the 22 credits she has to redo? Or are there additional courses too?

The school I did my M.Ed at the 33 credits (online, though it is a brick and mortar school with a very long history) cost only $20,000.  So $15,000 to finish up a degree seems like a lot. And so does having to redo 22 credits, since the entire program for me was only 33.
Have you looked at online options? Especially to see if they'd accept any transfer credits as well?

Personally, I'm happy to have the masters degree. For me, it has correlated with significant pay increase (though I no longer teach, I work in assessment), and it was also just a personal goal. It also opens up a lot more opportunities. At this point in my career, it would be difficult to find a job with just a Bachelors degree.
Talked to my wife.  Would you mind sharing which school that was at as it may be a little less and she can look at it?

Lesley University 
My degree was Math, so I don't know if they have one that would fit her area of specialty, but they have a number of different programs.
Thanks!

TreesBikesLove

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Re: Continuing education for DW
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2017, 03:00:06 PM »
... downturn in the software industry ...

She could go back into Software. There is plenty of opportunity and she can even attempt to work for a nonprofit education software company.

caracarn

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Re: Continuing education for DW
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2017, 03:20:34 PM »
... downturn in the software industry ...

She could go back into Software. There is plenty of opportunity and she can even attempt to work for a nonprofit education software company.
While she left because of lack of opportunity, she has been very clear that she hated office environment.  She loves what she does now and it is a much better career for her temperament.  Enjoys helping the kids and feeling like she is making a difference versus appeasing demanding clients who have no real understanding of what it takes to deliver functional systems.