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Is a graduate/advanced degree now a minimum? - Page 2

post #31 of 44
I think it depends. A bachelor's degree in a highly specialized field (nursing, engineering, computer science, many others) will put one in a good position to make a good living.

But a bachelor's degree in a humanities field (e.g. history, psychology, religious studies, sociology, English, mathematics...) puts you about in the same position as a high school diploma would have put you in 30 years ago. Two years working on an advanced degree will probably get you about the same career advancement as 20 years of professional experience.

And some fields, like teaching and the sciences, pretty much require at least a master's degree for significant career advancement.

There are a lot of variables, though. Amitya made a great point about one of them. Some careers are designed to only need a certain degree level. A vet tech degree is 2 years in most places and a 4 year degree will not help enough in terms of pay and advancement to be worth the effort and expense. Someone who goes to vet tech school after getting a bachelor's degree might be at a bit of an advantage in terms of starting salary because of the bachelor's degree, but probably not that much.

For me, having a bachelor's degree did help me when I switched into the veterinary medical field from a totally unrelated undergraduate major and with a few years of tangentially related work experience. I was hired as a vet assistant at $1.25/hr more than the normal starting salary for a vet assistant. I obviously do not regret getting my B.A. and am very glad I did it. But in terms of strict cost/benefit ratio, my education at a private university cost over $100,000 (fortunately, I was on full scholarship). $100,000 for an extra $1.25/hr? I'd have to work 40 hours a week for almost 40 years to break even on that one!
post #32 of 44
I'm concerned about this. I recognise that having more schooling can be important in certain things, but I don't understand how it can be expected that all adults should be in school until they are 30 years old just to make ends meet, and then find a job with no corporate work experience. I'm unsure of what extra I would have learned if I had gotten a bachelor's degree in graphic design, but I have an associates and 2 years of experience, and have done a number of (local) award winning ads and layouts. So-oo why should I feel obligated to continue going to school to obtain a degree that will have taught me little to nothing that I didn't already know? I'm all for bettering oneself, be it through cultural betterment or book learning, but I don't see what, after 2 years, I will learn in certain subjects. If I went to school in my field for the length of time attributed to a bachelor's degree, the format would be totally different! the platforms, the software, the hardware! It becomes a point where you're just a professional student!

My husband has a bachelor's degree in programming. The base programming language for non-PC interface hasn't changed in about 10 years it was C++ in High School, and it still is! (and even then, the larger PC programs still use those) Sure, there's a new surface level programming language every 2 years now, but what extra is he going to learn in another 4 years of computer science? I can't say that I think he'll learn much, and he's a solid embedded code writer as it is, should we suffer because he didn't get a masters in computer science, when he is doing his job neatly, quickly, and seamlessly? I certainly don't think so. I'd take years of experience over an equal time in school any day.
post #33 of 44
I personally think most baby boomers wanted their children to go to university and get degrees. I know a lot of folks out there with BA's that actually get them nothing in return except they now have to pay off student loans.

I predict that in just a few years, the person that can do construction, electricians, plumbers, masons and the trades are where the money is going to be. As someone above said, the older persons in these trades are finally retiring and there are just too few young people coming into these trades. For the people going into the trades, they are going to be able to pretty much demand what they want and they'll get it. That's where the money is going to be.

It's much like the downsizing in the 80's - more middle management was downsized than any other group. Some of those folks took 2-3 years to get another job because the market was glutted with competition for every job available. They all held university degrees and had work experience but there was no work out there for them. Some of them got so depressed that they couldn't support their families and their wives had to be the breadwinner and it was sad.
post #34 of 44
Honestly, I just got my Bachelor's degree and at one point planned to go ahead and get a Master's degree. Now I'm not so sure. I make a pretty good living in a low cost of living state.

I actually enjoy school and that more than anything is what is causing the debate about whether go to back. The Master's degree would be nice and may even qualify me for a higher paying job but the simple truth of the matter is what did I get out of my Bachelor's Degree? Student loans is what. I'm still working in the same job that I had before I got it. Now who knows, I may not have gotten this job had I not pursued this degree.

I would hate to take on even more student loans and not have anything to show for it except more debt. Plus I think it depends on what your career aspirations are. I don't want to be anyone's boss. I just want to go to work, do my job and try not to be miserable, get a pay check and go home to my life.

It's a tough call, I'm still pretty young and in ten years I may actually have to bite the bullet and go back to school but at this point it just doesn't seem worth it.
post #35 of 44
In many fields you need a Masters at least to get a job. It's true for History, and other Humanities degrees. Pharmacy majors are now working in Pharm-D programs.
post #36 of 44
In my field (music), you pretty much go to school until you have the chops or connections to get a job. For a lot of people, that means never going to college. For some of us, we'll be getting a MM or DMA before we're ready to be thrown fully into our ever-shrinking job market. Most people tend to get swept up at some point in grad school. I know tons of people who start, but never finish, their master's degrees in music.
post #37 of 44
Another thing about trades -- a skilled mechanic, electrician, plumber, etc. can go into business for him- or herself. Not all college graduates have the skills necessary to do that -- most have to work for someone else.
post #38 of 44
Not all trades people are able to go into business for themselves, either. Just because I can wire a house doesn't mean I know the first thing about running my own business.
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jillian
Not all trades people are able to go into business for themselves, either. Just because I can wire a house doesn't mean I know the first thing about running my own business.
True. But you have to admit, it would be easier for an electrician or plumber to work for himself than someone whose skills are more suited to office work.
post #40 of 44
Nope, I don't have to admit that at all. (=

It would be easy for me, as a person with a B.A. in English, to do freelance editing or writing. I would only need my labtop, a copy of the popular style guides, a printer... maybe some pens and pencils... and a few key contacts.

In the same way, it would be easy for a plumber who has all of his own tools to do freelance type plumbing work. Starting a real business is a whole other issue. You need office space—that means knowing about zoning and things of that nature—you need to know about finances, you have to have great communication and public relations skills, and you have to be able to hire and manage other people.

Owning your own business is tough all around. I don't think that tradespeople have it any easier than a person who is suited for an office job. Actually, I might argue that someone who works in an office might have a better chance at running a successful business since they're right in the thick of it.
post #41 of 44
Having owned my own business for a while, I can certainly agree that owning a business is tough. However, my point was not that it's EASY to own one -- only that doing so would provide a certain degree of independence and autonomy that isn't possible when you must depend on someone else for a salary.
post #42 of 44
I agree that it depends (and also a lot depends on networking).

I was halfway through my second year of my B.A. when I was offered a huge salary and corner office to help run a lobbying company in London because I already had the experience. I was lucky enough to have a 2 week work placement in the House of Commons during highschool and was kept on throughout college and university. However, that kind of experience so young does not often happen so I guess my view could be biased as a result.

However, both my sisters left school without finishing highschool (they both eventually went back) but one did well because of her attitude towards working and while she doesn't make a huge amount of money she is happy with her job. The other one drifted from job to job with no real future - so I think it really does depend on attitude as well as education.

I know many people from university who can not get a good job because they do not have the right attitude walking in. Sometimes, people feel that because they have a Bachelors or (especially in the case of) higher that they are owed the job and it does not go down well with employers.

My BF also has his own insulation company and without a doubt I know that they make decent money for not very long hours. Most of them were trained by their father/cousin whoever and probably half of them barely finished high school - yet they know that their job is pretty much safe as the construction industry is not one that will stop in their lifetime.
post #43 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibiana
Having owned my own business for a while, I can certainly agree that owning a business is tough. However, my point was not that it's EASY to own one -- only that doing so would provide a certain degree of independence and autonomy that isn't possible when you must depend on someone else for a salary.
I agree with what you're saying, though I don't think that
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibiana
only that doing so would provide a certain degree of independence and autonomy that isn't possible when you must depend on someone else for a salary.
has much to do with your intial statement:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibiana
Another thing about trades -- a skilled mechanic, electrician, plumber, etc. can go into business for him- or herself. Not all college graduates have the skills necessary to do that -- most have to work for someone else.
In regards to that, well, I think that most people (editors, electricians, secretaries, plumbers, teachers, welders) start out being dependent on someone else for a salary.

What I don't agree with you on is your assertation that it's easier for a tradesperson, or that a tradesperson is more equiped to go into business for him/herself. As I stated... as an editor, I can do my own freelance work and eventually open my own editing house. There are plenty of amature writers out there who want to be published. A friend of mine started out as a teacher and now own/runs/teaches in her own schoolhouse.
post #44 of 44
most tradespeople around here do just work for themselves when they need $$. Maybe not most but a lot of them. My parents uses a construction guy that works about one week a month and makes enough to support his family of 6 children and stay at home wife comfortably. It's not really a business but just a freelance thing, however who needs a business when you can do that?!

I have a bachelors and can't get crap in my field, however, where I live there is no need for a masters because my degree makes me overqualified as it is. I live in a out of the way depressed cow town but the good thing about it is that the cost of living is so low that I can live decently on what I make now, which is the starting salary of most who graduated in my major. I guess I would have liked to move to a city and climb the corporate latter... but now that's not as important to me..
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