Author Topic: Should I enroll in a graduate program?  (Read 4261 times)

georgialiving

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Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« on: March 01, 2016, 10:42:09 AM »
Hello everyone,
 
I am really fumbling with this so I thought I would ask for some help. Life situation- I am a SAHM with a 3 year old who starts school full time in Sep.  I also have an 18 month old.  We don't want any more children.  My husband works full-time and makes about 50k.  I am about to graduate in 10 weeks with a Bachelors in Business Admin and a minor in HR.  I have been job hunting (lightly?) for 5 months or so with ZERO luck.  Even for $9hr desk jobs.  I have little work experience outside of four years spent in the military as an electronics tech.

I am looking at a grad program.  Specifically Masters of Arts in Teaching Early Childhood.  It is for people with a degree in any field to become certified teachers.  I would start this summer, and would finish the internship by the end of 2017 from my initial planning and looking over the information.  After that I would be eligible for my teaching cert. (with a few tests and things) and a starting salary of 38k.

Here are the numbers I am looking at:
I estimate a total of 15k for this program including tuition, books, and full time childcare during my last semester for 15 weeks while I do the full time internship. However I currently make about 14k a year, between GI bill stipends and babysitting.  The GI bill money won't last forever though.  I would miss out on $7500 this year and $14500 next year from what I can tell.  I would go to class at night monday through thurs.  and still be with my younger daughter during the day.  So I feel nervous looking at those numbers.

Instead of ending 2017 22k up, we would miss out on 22k and spend 15k.  But of course I would have a career at the end. 

I would love to hear other peoples thoughts.  I am either overthinking or stressing. 

georgialiving

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2016, 10:43:42 AM »
If it is relevant, I am soon to be 28.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2016, 10:46:20 AM »
I would try other angles on the job search. Have you looked at temp agencies? They will get you earning money pretty quickly, and in some positions you'll be able to convince the employer to hire you full-time. If nothing else it will show work experience.

There's millions of people getting unnecessarily specific "professional Masters" degrees and frankly it makes me think less of somebody when I see it on their resume.

georgialiving

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2016, 10:47:53 AM »
I have looked at temp agencies, but I didn't really want to go the temp route until my oldest is in school.

Do you think that stigma on a masters degree is the same in the teaching field? You start much higher on the pay scale and in my area the need for teachers only seems to be growing


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mozar

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2016, 10:53:03 AM »
Do you want to be an admin or do you want to be a teacher? Is there a way to start teaching without a masters, like a private nursery school? What's the job placement rate for the graduate program?  Do you know for sure that the needs for teachers are growing? You don't want to be in the same place again in 2 years.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2016, 10:55:04 AM »
Honestly the degree itself probably won’t land you a job, so you have to tread carefully when weighing the costs. Don’t assume that it will be a smart investment or that a masters automatically guarantees you a career – it is very possible to become a teacher, especially for young kids, with just a bachelors. Most of the teachers I know do not have their masters. In fact, a masters degree, when you have no/little work experience in the field, can actually be a liability. 
Don't pay attention to the supposed payscales. The payscales are always theoretically higher for those with more degrees. What they don't tell you is that they will almost certainly pay you the lowest allowable salary once they find out you have never worked full time in teaching (if they offer you the job at all). Most people who graduate with masters degrees learn this the hard way. The higher payscale is really for those with the degree and few years of full time employment in the field under their belt.
Have you looked into teaching jobs specifically and the requirements? What about work at a daycare or preschool facility? Basically, what I’m asking is -are you sure you need a masters degree to teach in your area?
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 10:58:26 AM by little_brown_dog »

georgialiving

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2016, 10:56:45 AM »
I want to be a teacher. There is one other route to certification but takes about the same amount of time and you start at the lowest scale. 31k. That would cost about 5k but seems like the worst idea. I read over some statistics for my area. I looked at current openings which are plentiful. Then I spoke with my cousin. She just finished the same program at the same school. We live in the same town. She just got certified and has a job at her school. That just happened about a month ago.


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ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2016, 10:57:38 AM »
I have looked at temp agencies, but I didn't really want to go the temp route until my oldest is in school.

Do you think that stigma on a masters degree is the same in the teaching field? You start much higher on the pay scale and in my area the need for teachers only seems to be growing

I don't think most people feel the way that I do about them. That said, I could see a school district being less inclined to hire somebody that started higher on the pay scale when all candidates have the same 0 years of experience actually teaching, though. You seem to have local information that indicates that this might work. What is the starting salary with the master's?

georgialiving

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2016, 10:57:45 AM »
Well, since my degree is in business there is absolutely no way to teach with it. I could substitute but that does not lead to certification.


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georgialiving

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2016, 10:58:50 AM »
It is 38k. Also my husband works with a man who has his masters as a teacher as well. He said he was offered a job in our county at 38k. He makes more working with my husband however.


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georgialiving

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2016, 10:59:26 AM »
Maybe I could find someone at the schools in my area to sit and talk with about job prospects after the program


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georgialiving

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2016, 11:01:50 AM »
Day care is minimum wage leading nowhere. The pay scale is set by the school board and the salary I listed is for 0years experience on an induction cert.


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TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2016, 11:13:11 AM »
For certain jobs, like teaching, the masters is a huge help.  Most professional government jobs you just straight up get paid more because of the credential.  Needs to be weighed against the cost and time though.

That said, that credential is specific to teaching, so it would only be worth something if you did teaching.

The advice I've heard, is that the only reason to become a teacher is because you think you'll really enjoy teaching.  It happens to be convenient with kids because the summer childcare isn't a thing because you're off when they're off.  And the teaching salary does actually get decent if you are willing to go ahead and teach in the summer and can ditch the kids with family for free (depending on how they do that in your area).  You'll also have access to government retirement savings things, which tend to be better than what you can get outside of government.

It is a difficult choice you face.  If it were me, it would have to wait until the youngest was off to school.  I don't know if there are deadlines you run into for some of the things you were talking about that might help pay for school, so maybe that offsets the childcare.

I would take a look at what the actual requirements are to teach what you want to teach, it is possible you could pass the certifications and so forth to become a teacher now.  I know in Texas they used to have something called an "emergency teacher certification" or whatever, one of my sisters taught for a year using that, while looking for a job in her actual field, no extra coursework beyond a b.s. was required.

My mom did what you were describing regarding a Masters, going to night school while we were kids, to enhance her teaching career, and I doubt it paid off before I left the house.  As in, the cost of the education probably took more than 15 years to justify itself.  It isn't just an economic boon though, there's certain quality/stability of life aspects to bettering yourself.  And it certainly left an impression on us kids as to how important education was.  Also made us appreciate mom's cooking more (seriously dad?  chili? again?)

The additional income from the new job has to offset:
1.  Daycare
2.  Commute costs associated with job
3.  Any spending control you have now that you wouldn't maintain because of stress/time (food, clothing, housework, coupons or w/e)
4.  Any personal dissatisfaction with working (some people actually hate being home with the kids more so this is a personal preference thing)

I value a half-assed homemaker at around 50k/year.  Someone who is hardcore into stretching every dollar, taking care of every possible task including taxes/investments/bills as well as all upkeep at closer to 100k/yr in terms of the value they provide to the whole family organism.  And that ticks up with the more kids there are/more income brought in by other spouse.

Just something to think about.

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2016, 11:14:44 AM »
Well, since my degree is in business there is absolutely no way to teach with it. I could substitute but that does not lead to certification.


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This is what I'm saying:  a business degree would probably be enough to let you teach in 95% of public schools in this country.  It's just finding a school run by people with a brain and not morons.

AZDude

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2016, 01:46:55 PM »
If you really want to be a teacher, the jobs are plentiful in many places. I know my wife is a teacher, does not have a masters, just a certificate program, and she makes roughly $41K a year after about 7 years into her career. Here in AZ, they are so desperate for teachers, that some districts will take on long term subs who don't even have a teaching certificate, just a Bachelors degree and a clean felony record.

Take the certificate route unless you plan on moving into some kind of administrative leadership position in education(principal, VP, etc...). If you want that as a future goal, get the masters, otherwise don't bother. $7K a year extra to start, but costs $15K. It would take more than two years to make up the cost, and by then you will probably be close to $38K anyway.

Cassie

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2016, 03:24:13 PM »
Usually the early childhood degree only lets you teach kids under 5 so you make shitty $.  Look at certification to teach elementary school.

Dee18

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2016, 04:35:55 PM »
Get more information from the program you are considering.  How many people graduated from the program last year?  How many of those went to work within six months as public school teachers?  If you are only certified to teach young children, there will not be nearly as many positions as if you are certified to teach all of elementary.  Also shadow a current teacher a couple days to gain a better sense of whether you would truly like the job.

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Should I enroll in a graduate program?
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2016, 06:08:53 PM »
I always give this advice to those considering graduate school, but it happens to be great advice. Look into whether you might qualify for an assistantship. Check with your department first after you're admitted (just because you're offered admission doesn't mean you have to go). If they don't have graduate assistants, try admissions, ROTC, advancement and any other department that may be filling positions. Play the veteran card everywhere you apply. Why? Being a graduate assistant typically covers your full tuition and includes a stipend. If you land a position, you can pocket your GI bill and stipend and come out ahead on your yearly income. Most GAs have undergraduate GPAs of 3.5+, but there may be an opportunity for you as a veteran if you have at least a 3.0.