Author Topic: College - Worth It?  (Read 4761 times)

texaslady22

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College - Worth It?
« on: May 19, 2015, 09:34:29 AM »
My husband quit his fabulous job in manufacturing to stay home with our chronically sick child 5 years ago (and so that I could establish myself in my career after receiving my doctorate). Now, chronically sick child is going to public school and hubby no longer needs to stay home!!

He really doesn't want to get back in the field of manufacturing for several reasons; it would require a great deal of travel to do what he was doing before and he doesn't want to go from being stay-at-home dad to working nights and having to travel and being called in all hours. He found working in manufacturing to rather drain his soul, honestly.

I work as a professor at an online college, so my spouse and children receive a 50% discount. With the discount and the student teaching fees, it will cost my husband about $4,500 for his Master's Degree.

I just need to be reminded that it's worth it, I guess.

Right now, he makes $85/day substitute teaching. I just calculated the pay for a full-time teacher and it's $250/day (and benefits) If he gets a job in our district (and that's very likely because they love him as a sub) he will make $49k a year starting out (the district next door pays $51k/year). He'd have summers off to be home with the kids. The best part is he can bike to work and we won't have any additional childcare costs. We can live off my salary, so I'm really hoping that his salary can go straight to savings. And I work from home, so we would both be home for dinner at night. We would both be here for the kids.

We have the cash to pay for his college, but I just need to be reminded that it's worth it. Late nights watching him up studying Calculus has me rethinking everything.

forummm

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2015, 09:45:44 AM »
How old is he? How much longer will he want to work after graduating? How much of an income increase is conservatively realistically likely to get after graduating? Does the extra degree mean something to him personally beyond increased earnings opportunities? What will the cost of his time be while he's in school instead of doing other things (work, childcare, enjoying you and the kids, etc)?

texaslady22

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2015, 09:53:50 AM »
He's 30. He plans to work at least 10 years after graduating, I suppose. He wants to work. He's rather tired of staying home. He's looking at making $33k more a year once he graduates (compared to substitute teaching).

we're living off of my salary now. What percentage of his future salary do you think we could realistically save? I know he'll have some extra costs from working (school supplies, clothing, etc) but we really want to be able to pay off the house within 4 years of him working. We owe $173 and have $70K in the bank.

I'm a red panda

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2015, 10:14:32 AM »
Does that $4,500 include all fees, textbooks, etc.  Will he be able to do this program while still working full time?
That seems really low for a Masters, even with a 50% discount.  Mine was $500 a credit hour (online, more if I took it in person). 

But if that is actually the amount- he would make $165 a day more than he makes now.  He would only need to work 27 days to pay for the Masters degree, and the rest is bonus over what the sub-pay makes. (Plus benefits...)

I'd do it.

humbleMouse

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2015, 10:33:39 AM »
With all of the money you have saved, low cost of masters, and the fact you can live off of your salary alone this seems like a great idea.

Bob W

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2015, 10:43:56 AM »
You are reminded!   It is totally worth it even if it was 50K.

Don't forget to factor in his benefit package as a teacher.   You just can't get those type of benefits anymore,  anywhere.   He can basically work for 25 years and be paid for the next 40 years after that.   Don't forget summers off.   All holidays off.  All weekends off.   A set early out daily schedule.   Health and dental.  Tenure.  Working with other professionals.  Sick Leave.  Long Term illness insurance.  Life insurance.  No corporate bullshit.   Job security. 

If he wants to pick up some extra cash he can always tutor a couple of nights per week and work summers.   

I always think of teaching as a very Mustachian job. 

Also don't forget the huge opportunity for advancement in the teaching profession.   Many teachers are totally not interested in advancing but there are tons of administrative options down the line and many school administrators make bank for relatively low stress,  high benefit positions. 

SomedayStache

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2015, 10:46:57 AM »
Does he want to teach in the public school system?  Does he really need a master's for that?

I know the rules vary regionally, and you don't say what his bachelor's degree is in (I'm assuming he has one?), but is there an easier/cheaper/faster route to a teaching job?

I know folks with science/math backgrounds in my neck of the woods can easily get certified to teach in the public schools.

Psychstache

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2015, 10:53:34 AM »
You are reminded!   It is totally worth it even if it was 50K.

Don't forget to factor in his benefit package as a teacher.   You just can't get those type of benefits anymore,  anywhere.   He can basically work for 25 years and be paid for the next 40 years after that.   Don't forget summers off.   All holidays off.  All weekends off.   A set early out daily schedule.   Health and dental.  Tenure.  Working with other professionals.  Sick Leave.  Long Term illness insurance.  Life insurance. No corporate bullshit.  Job security. 

If he wants to pick up some extra cash he can always tutor a couple of nights per week and work summers.   

I always think of teaching as a very Mustachian job. 

Also don't forget the huge opportunity for advancement in the teaching profession.   Many teachers are totally not interested in advancing but there are tons of administrative options down the line and many school administrators make bank for relatively low stress,  high benefit positions.

While I agree with most of this post, as someone who has spent their life working in the school and is currently in a position lateral to campus administrators (ie, I see them lots of time around them while they are doing their job) the bolded parts are inaccurate and some other parts may or may not be true depending on the district.

« Last Edit: May 19, 2015, 10:55:14 AM by Psychstache »

forummm

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2015, 10:55:01 AM »
He's 30. He plans to work at least 10 years after graduating, I suppose. He wants to work. He's rather tired of staying home. He's looking at making $33k more a year once he graduates (compared to substitute teaching).

we're living off of my salary now. What percentage of his future salary do you think we could realistically save? I know he'll have some extra costs from working (school supplies, clothing, etc) but we really want to be able to pay off the house within 4 years of him working. We owe $173 and have $70K in the bank.

I didn't see a response about the opportunity cost of his time. Is he able to get that full time teaching job now, or only after a masters degree? If he can get it now, would it be too much for him to work full time and go to school and have family time, etc?

The degree itself seems really cheap. It's almost a no-brainer, assuming there isn't an opportunity cost of his time. If he had to forgo $100k in a full time job for 2 years on top of the $4k tuition, that's another consideration.

texaslady22

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2015, 10:58:41 AM »
Does that $4,500 include all fees, textbooks, etc.  Will he be able to do this program while still working full time?
That seems really low for a Masters, even with a 50% discount.  Mine was $500 a credit hour (online, more if I took it in person). 

Yes, it does. (I'll just say it: it's at Western Governors University).

You pay a flat rate for 6 months tuition (all books/learning resources included) and then you can complete as many credit hours as possible while enrolled in those 6 months. The average time to completion says 2 years, but over half the students in his program get it done in 18 months or less, so I figured in 3 terms. Some students have finished in less than a year, but I'm trying to be conservative in my calculations.

He will also have to student teach for free for 12 weeks, so we have to consider the lost income then, too.

texaslady22

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2015, 11:02:45 AM »
Does he want to teach in the public school system?  Does he really need a master's for that?

I know the rules vary regionally, and you don't say what his bachelor's degree is in (I'm assuming he has one?), but is there an easier/cheaper/faster route to a teaching job?

I know folks with science/math backgrounds in my neck of the woods can easily get certified to teach in the public schools.

He has a BS in Industrial Technology. He does not have teacher certification. He is working on a Masters of Arts in Teaching Math (middle school certification).

He could pursue alternative certification, but the district nearby that allows it is Dallas ISD. It's a 40 minute commute each way and he'd have to work 3 months for free and then agree to teach for the next year in Dallas schools, so that's not something we're seriously considering.

Alternately, he could pursue just teacher's certification at my college. It would save him about 3 months, but then he wouldn't have a Master's degree, just the teacher's certification and a Bachelors. It seems worth the extra few months and hundred dollars to go ahead and get the Masters with the certification, yes?

(Plus, my college employs former teachers who have Masters degrees to mentor our future teachers. He might do that after a couple years of teaching, as he could work from home (with me) and have all my benefits. So the Masters gives him more options)
« Last Edit: May 19, 2015, 11:07:48 AM by texaslady22 »

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2015, 11:45:45 AM »
You are reminded!   It is totally worth it even if it was 50K.

Don't forget to factor in his benefit package as a teacher.   You just can't get those type of benefits anymore,  anywhere.   He can basically work for 25 years and be paid for the next 40 years after that.   Don't forget summers off.   All holidays off.  All weekends off.   A set early out daily schedule.   Health and dental.  Tenure.  Working with other professionals.  Sick Leave.  Long Term illness insurance.  Life insurance.  No corporate bullshit.   Job security. 

If he wants to pick up some extra cash he can always tutor a couple of nights per week and work summers.   

I always think of teaching as a very Mustachian job. 

Also don't forget the huge opportunity for advancement in the teaching profession.   Many teachers are totally not interested in advancing but there are tons of administrative options down the line and many school administrators make bank for relatively low stress,  high benefit positions.

What state do you live in? Your explanation of teaching is SO different from my reality.

SomedayStache

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2015, 12:19:33 PM »

Alternately, he could pursue just teacher's certification at my college. It would save him about 3 months, but then he wouldn't have a Master's degree, just the teacher's certification and a Bachelors. It seems worth the extra few months and hundred dollars to go ahead and get the Masters with the certification, yes?

Yep.  Probably - sounds like more future options and the alternative certification has way more strings attached than I would like.

Bicycle_B

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2015, 01:34:49 PM »
TexasLady22,

It's definitely worth it based on what you've said (he wants to teach, they already like him as a sub, you get degree for low cost at WGU, etc).  In addition:

1) I live in Texas too and my sister is a public school teacher here.  The benefits for public school teachers are not as good as some states, but they are great compared to many private sector employers. 
2) You do get credit (a salary boost) in most districts for a master's...with what you pay, he probably will make the money back in 2 to 4 years just on the salary boost, in addition to the fact it qualifies him for the job
3) "If you have a job you like, you'll never work another day in your life"
4) By the time he's bored with teaching (if that ever happens), you'll have the money back and more
5) If he sticks long enough for retirement, the resulting annuity might not be enough for the ordinary Consumer Sucka Family or keeping up with their cousins the Learjet Joneses... but it will be a big help for the Family of Mustachian Scholars.

Put your fears at rest and enjoy the satisfaction of having a husband whose career and finances and values are in perfect rhythm for a happy secure life.  These are the good times!

GetItRight

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2015, 01:52:46 PM »
Normally I would say 100% not worth it, total waste of time and money. College is indeed a huge scam, but in your specific case it might make sense. You have an in and contacts to teach in the district you want. It's a government school presumably with clearly defined pay increase based on degree and length of service, etc. and presumably not merit based pay as in the real world. You know what the end result will be with a high degree of certainty.

If the total cost is around $4500 and it bumps his starting pay enough to get a quick ROI or just allows him to get the job he wants then do it. The actual degree is worthless and he probably won't learn much, it's just paying an entrance fee like buying the setup stuff from a MLM except the outcome seems to be in your favor. Pay your fee and get the job, having summers off sounds like a great perk.

MrsPete

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2015, 07:21:58 PM »
You say he has a background in manufacturing.  Would he be eligible NOW to work in the vocational end of a high school?  That might be the best of all worlds. 

What's the job situation in your area?  How realistic is it that he'll get a teaching job?  Here in the South, teaching jobs are moderately easy to get, but up north (where salaries are higher) they're difficult to obtain.  Be sure he's training for a job that exists. 

Keep in mind, too, that teaching is a job in transition.  Traditional classrooms are melting away, while online learning, blended learning and charter schools gain ground. 
Don't forget to factor in his benefit package as a teacher.   You just can't get those type of benefits anymore,  anywhere.   He can basically work for 25 years and be paid for the next 40 years after that.   Don't forget summers off.   All holidays off.  All weekends off.   A set early out daily schedule.   Health and dental.  Tenure.  Working with other professionals.  Sick Leave.  Long Term illness insurance.  Life insurance.  No corporate bullshit.   Job security. 
A generation ago this was true.  When I started teaching, it was already in decline.  Today a good half of it is flat-out wrong.   My  husband has better benefits than I do; about half of my friends have better benefits than I do.  Teacher benefits today are kind of low-average compared to other college educated professionals.

What's false:
- No one gets a pension after 25 years of work; at the least, it'll be 30 years.  Probably 30 years and you have to be 62 years old before you can begin collecting, no matter what age you complete those 30 years. 
- Health and dental are available -- for a cost, and just like everyone else's insurance, it goes up every year.
- Tenure -- no, people incorrectly call "Career Status" tenure, but tenure really only exists in universities -- the media does seem to perpetuate this falsehood.  Public school teachers who have attained Career Status cannot be fired without reason; that is, they have access to due process.  Teachers who don't have Career Status can be let go at the end of the school year without a reason; for example, they can be let go because the principal found someone who can coach basketball AND teach their subject (and, yes, that is common). 
- Long term insurance is available -- again, for a cost, a very high cost.
- Corporate problems and politics -- I have no idea why people think this isn't part of the school system; it's become progressively worse over the years. 

What's correct: 
- Summers, holidays, weekends -- yes, and that's a great benefit.  It was especially good when my kids were small and would've needed paid care.  It saved us untold money and stress.  Having no paycheck in the summer was a fair trade-off for being excused from finding summer care. 
- Schedule is set literally three years out -- yes, that's another great perk. 
- Life insurance -- yes, if I die today, my husband will get one year of my salary; I pay nothing for this insurance.
- Working with professionals -- yes, the vast majority of the people with whom I work are great and genuinely care about the kids.  Those who don't, don't last.  3 out of 5 teachers leave the profession within the first five years; most who leave came into the job with misconceptions about what the job would be like.
- Sick leave -- 10 days per year, not unlike most professionals. 
2) You do get credit (a salary boost) in most districts for a master's...with what you pay, he probably will make the money back in 2 to 4 years just on the salary boost, in addition to the fact it qualifies him for the job
3) "If you have a job you like, you'll never work another day in your life"
Check on the masters pay thing.  In NC we no longer get a higher paycheck for having a masters, but admittedly we're a state in big trouble as far as education goes. 

I disagree with the "get a job you like, never work another day" concept.  I love teaching, but it is most definitely still a JOB.  I don't know anyone who would do it for free. 

Parts of it are wonderful -- choosing books, working with motivated kids, being part of a great team.  I love planning and laying out lessons, and I love the actual teaching.  But I will never enjoy clocking in before dawn in the winter months, working with disrespectful students who don't care to learn, and grading poorly written papers.  Yet those are part of the job -- and every job has some crummy aspects; don't ever fool yourself into thinking you're going to find a job that'll not feel like real work. 

My Mamaw said, "If it was fun every day, they wouldn't have to pay you; in fact, you'd pay them." 
« Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 06:45:54 AM by MrsPete »

Cpa Cat

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Re: College - Worth It?
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2015, 07:34:59 PM »
Financially, it's worth it - hands down. Grab the opportunity now, while you have your current job (which could change in the future) and use the discounted tuition.

But only he can really answer whether it's really worth the effort. He's a substitute teacher already, so he probably has an idea whether it's something he wants to do. Since you mention him being up late studying Calculus, it also sounds like he's already getting his feet wet with class time.

So? Is it something he thinks is worth it?