Author Topic: Career change at age 30- Is getting another BS degree a bad idea?  (Read 2001 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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I am a single female, 30 years old living in a MCOL area. I was laid off from my job earlier this year and have decided to switch to a career more fulfilling. I have heavily researched various prospects and can landed on audio engineering while taking marketing and photography and video editing classes. My plan is to re-enter the workforce and go into marketing and then work on friends albums and podcasts on the side. I have always loved music and audio and I really feel like this is my chance to do something I want. However, now that I am applying for school friendly jobs and signing up for classes the full weight of this decision is weighing on me. I know I would enjoy working in digital media, it just doesn't seem like there are jobs and if there are jobs they don't make much. It seems crazy to get a second bachelor's degree at my age knowing there are few job prospects when I graduate. I did that once before, working full time, school full time and paying for school in cash as I went. I was so burned out and never had time to do internships or anything extra besides going to class and working. This hurt my job prospects as I didn't have any experience in the field I majored in. I don't want to do that again. As this is my second degree I don't qualify for any federal aide, and this program doesn't offer any scholarships. Additionally, I do not have any family support. This is the only digital audio program in the state and while it's slightly cheaper than most state schools, I don't really have an option of going somewhere else. The classes for this major are held during the day and I would not be able to work full time during the day and take classes at night. The program seems set up for the traditional student. Since I was let go, I have been living on savings and though I am frugal, it isn't going to last much longer especially with tuition due. I have been thinking about doing some sort of apprenticeship through the Recording Connection ( and coupling that with a marketing certificate of some sort. I wonder if that will get me to the same place but faster and cheaper. Does anyone have any input on this? If I do just get some certificates in marketing and/or audio, do you know of any that are worth their salt? I am nervous about being scammed with things like this. Any advise you have is appreciated! Thank you for reading this far.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Career change at age 30- Is getting another BS degree a bad idea?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2019, 05:10:29 AM »
Before I rain on your parade...How close are you to FI?  Do you still want to FIRE?  I have changed career at 33 and went back and got a graduate degree.  I would really recommend that you not go and get another BA.  BAs are not worth what they once were.  I did a quick google search and it looks like there are several grad degrees that involve audio engineering and that do not require a whole heck of a lot of experience.  Having the masters as compared to two BAs is a game changer when it comes to getting hired.  Even if it is not in audio engineering. 

Some advice about the money stuff.  There are certain jobs that I know that I would love to do.  Scuba instructor is one of them.  I love scuba diving and feel like I could run my own shop.  The problem is they do not get paid well and have to live out of the US or somewhere that is vacationesque.  Even though I would love to do this the peripheral impacts of the job I know would wear on me, like not making enough money, living somewhere I do not want to, large out of pocket expenses to get started. 

Apprenticeships and certificate programs are tricky, my brother did one.  Pretty much a scam.  They train more people than there are jobs.  He won an award and was at the top of his class and could not find a job in the very related broadcast technology field.  If you are great at networking and think that you can overcome the perception of lesser qualifications with talent, grit, and people skills then go for it. 

I would also be more inclined to do something like this if you had a supportive partner.  When I switched careers, my spouse did the heavy lifting that mitigated most of the risk. I know that this is not possible for everyone, but maybe holding off until things or more stable might work, like getting a job and then taking classes at night.  If you have the job you might be able to add the experience over time, like at night or on weekends.  Slowly making the transition and then you would be able to stay financially secure and still get what you want. 

Jon Bon

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Re: Career change at age 30- Is getting another BS degree a bad idea?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2019, 05:54:26 AM »
This is an easy one but getting another BS is not the answer.

Just find a job at a company that does what you want, any job. Use your old skill set whatever that is. Heck be the janitor, just get your foot in the door. While you are doing this take a few classes on this on the side. At your new job dinf the department that does what you want to do. Be annoyingly interested, ask to help etc. Use your class knowledge to talk shop and get noticed.

Big organizations this is really easy to do. They just want smart motivated people, if you have show interest and aptitude for said work they dont really care about a BS (if they are smart)

My dad always tells me about his 3 circles.

So draw a venn diagram.

What you are good at
what you enjoy
what you get paid for.

2/3 circles is not bad, all 3 is rare. Sounds like you are trying to jump from What you are good at, and get paid, too What you are good at and enjoy.


  • Stubble
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Re: Career change at age 30- Is getting another BS degree a bad idea?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2019, 06:17:04 AM »
A couple of thoughts.

My husband runs a small video production company.  Has been in the business for over 30 years.  The kids who have come out of BS programs know very little about how real life production is done.  It's a shame, but the schools just don't teach practical skills.  I believe that is mostly because the professors haven't worked in the actual business very much.  Jon Bon's suggestion is a very good one; getting in through the back door.

Along that line, I volunteered at a listener supported classical radio station back in the early '80's.  I started helping on fund raising and ended up as a DJ which began a 30 year career as a paid radio person...sometimes in front of the mike and sometimes on the business end (which, by the way, is where the money is).

Just some thoughts.


  • Bristles
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Re: Career change at age 30- Is getting another BS degree a bad idea?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2019, 11:40:35 AM »
You don't need permission or a degree to work in digital marketing. Call yourself a digital marketer and try and get a client.

I know a bunch of photographers. Some have degrees in photography. Some don't. There is no correlation between the degree and whether are making a living as a photographer. The ones that are making a living have a lot of hustle and do what they say they are going to do. My guess is that audio engineering is the same. Digital marketing definitely is that way.

I have hired at least 4-5 marketing agencies and a bunch of freelancers. I have no idea what they majored in.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Career change at age 30- Is getting another BS degree a bad idea?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2019, 03:42:36 PM »
Piling on here to say it is surprising a job in that field requires a bachelor degree.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Career change at age 30- Is getting another BS degree a bad idea?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2019, 05:31:12 PM »
Thank you for your input! So it looks like it's a hard no on getting another degree and possibly another no for perusing a certificate. I think that makes sense. I am not sure about the next step except to see if there are internship or low-level jobs available at any company associated to the industry and then work my way into the job I want.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Career change at age 30- Is getting another BS degree a bad idea?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2019, 10:43:00 AM »
Were you wanting a bs in marketing or in audio? For audio you should not get a degree. There are many organizations and Facebook groups that support women in audio. One of them is called WAM. They have regular conferences and free or low cost training. The fb groups have job listings. You would very likely have to move to nyc or southern California if you are serious. 
For digital marketing google has it's own free training program on how to use google advertising and Facebook has one too though I think you have to pay for it.


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Re: Career change at age 30- Is getting another BS degree a bad idea?
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2019, 09:38:26 AM »
TLDR:  No to the BS.  If you must do the school thing then consider a associates degree at a good community college to limit your expenses.  Consider Electrical Engineering instead due to many similarities, but also a good salary.

I agree that getting a BS is bad idea.  I have had several collegues go to Full Sail and received good educations in the field and have turned their educations into good careers.  Bring your wallet!  They have the best education and connections in the industry - and they know it!  I'm also not sure that the income fully makes up for the cost of living in Toronto and Hollywood even with that education.

I went to community college for a 2.5 year Audio Engineering associates degree. The school ended up being a good school - not a scam, but I ended up ditching the program 2 years in.  Yep.  I was just about to cross the finish line and I ghosted them.

So what happened?  I did my internship at the best studio in Houston (Beyoncé/Destiny's Child did a lot of their recording there, as did Salina when she was alive, and a few other well respected Latino bands, a few rap/R&B artists as well).  I was top of my class - #1 or #2.  And I had golden ears.  The problem?  I was getting paid $15/hr, only had one or two paid hours a week, but they still wanted me there 30+ hours a week to move gear, setup gigs for the lead engineer on other projects, etc.  All unpaid.  I had a wife at home, and the toll road was eating that $30/wk and then some.  Since I liked to eat and not live with my parents, I decided I needed to find another path.

The owner of the studio was an electrical engineer.  I realized through my interaction with him that EE was where the real money is made and that I had some interest in the field.  I enrolled in a engineering program the very next semester.  There are many similarities between the two fields: signal flow, creativity, power, amplification, filters, using computer tools to help complete tasks, etc.  It's not all peaches and rainbows by any means but at least the money is good, and I more or less get the same satisfaction as I would have engineering a record.

Today anyone can start recording on their cellphone for free and make a demo song or two, or ten, or 100.  I mean, it just isn't profitable like it used to be in the 50's-70's.  I think you'd be fortunate if you were pulling $20k a year doing it.

I intend to get back into the industry when I FIRE.  But at that point all of my bills are paid and I'm truly doing it for fun.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2019, 09:47:48 AM by COEE »


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Career change at age 30- Is getting another BS degree a bad idea?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2019, 09:22:04 PM »
glad you're listening to the smart advice here! i've worked in marketing/communications for more than decade and i have worked with maybe three people who got their bachelors in marketing or communications. it just isn't a field where it requires a specialized BA/BS degree.

if you were set on going back to school for this--which to be clear, i don't think you should--you'd probably be better off (from a new career prospects standpoint) getting an mba. but then you'd likely be buried in debt, so....

this is a field, however, where you likely will need to show some work in order to get hired. to get some good experience in the field and actually learn something, i'd suggest volunteering. a lot of local, small nonprofits  round out their digital/marketing/communications staffs with volunteer help. then you'd have real work product to show when you went on interviews and you'd likely meet some people in the field you want to go into. one of my recent entry level hires had been doing this for a local shelter, and it gave her enough work samples to have a nice portfolio.