Author Topic: Career Options and Student Loans  (Read 875 times)

urq81

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Career Options and Student Loans
« on: April 05, 2015, 05:06:42 PM »
Hello. I'm new here and would greatly appreciate your advice.

The following info will probably be helpful before reading my predicament. I'll be 34 in June, married, living in the middle of nowhere currently. Husband is pursuing electrical engineering degree using GI Bill. Have had the same vehicle since high school, paid off. $2300 in credit card debt, working to eliminate it. The only other debt we have is our mortgage, about $65k. I'm contributing a small amount weekly to a Roth IRA.

I earned a degree in elementary education in 2004. Taught for a little over 5 years. Found that it wasn't for me- long story. Since then I've been all over the place trying to figure out my next move. I've spent a lot of time researching other careers because I don't want to make the same mistake twice. I narrowed it down to nursing, social work, or occupational therapy. I'm leaning heavily towards occupational therapy because I feel it is the best fit for me. I am going to start observing next month to be 100% sure.

Here is the problem. I can become an occupational therapy assistant at a nearby community college for about $7k. Job prospects in this area are decent. The other option is go directly into a master's program (master's is the required entry-level for OT). There are very few schools, it's extremely competitive, and costly. Most programs average about $68,000 from what I've seen. There are more opportunities for OTs vs OTAs from what I've seen. I know myself well and know that over the long term I wouldn't be happy as an assistant. I want to be self-employed eventually.

I've never had that amount of debt before and it's terrifying. It seems counter-productive to essentially go backwards and become an assistant, but I think that it may be my best bet. If I find that I love the field (and I strongly believe I will) I can then *hopefully* find an employer with tuition assistance or reimbursement.

I'd really appreciate your feedback. My husband and I want to move, probably to Colorado or Oregon and buy at least 50 acres once we finish school. I don't mind working until retirement if I love my job, but I would like to have the freedom to work part time as I age.

Thanks for reading!

Janie

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Re: Career Options and Student Loans
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2015, 05:55:09 PM »
All the options you mention require returning to school. In your shoes I'd be looking for something that didn't require another degree. Have you been employed since teaching? If so, in what field(s)?

urq81

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Re: Career Options and Student Loans
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2015, 06:09:21 PM »
Thank you Riccur. That's what I've been leaning towards but it helps to have some reassurance!

Janie, makes total sense. Unfortunately returning to teaching is not an option. I have not been able to find a full-time teaching job since moving here and moving is not an option until my husband finishes school. I am currently working at our family business making a good living but it isn't something I want to do for the rest of my life. I have looked into other ways to utilize my degree with little success. If I was back in Florida I could find a variety of alternatives but as I mentioned I'm in the middle of nowhere, a small rural town in Alabama with very few opportunities.

Thank you both for your input!