Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime

January 17, 2012

I’ve been telling my self for years that I don’t need an advanced degree.  Here’s what my monologue usually sounds like:

Picturing all the future reading I'll have to do hurts my head...

“I’m a clinician.  I’ve been working on building a client base forever, and  the people who work with me have passed my name to others and know what my skills are.  If I got a Master’s, the only thing that would be different is that I would have a Master’s!   At this point, for the population I work with, I can charge pretty much what I want per/hour, so my pay wouldn’t increase, and all it would do would create more debt in my debt-filled life.  ALSO, since I would want to keep working, getting a Master’s would basically be like going to work all day and then also working all night.  Is it worth it?  I’ll revisit the idea in two years.”


Here’s a little update, and some things that have changed since the last time I ranted at myself about not going back to school:

I have realized that I don’t necessarily always want to ONLY be a clinician.  I want to teach college students. I want to counsel people with aging family members, learn more about gerontology, and learn more about my own field so I can better do my job.

Most of those things require me to get a Master’s degree, but where do I begin?  Based on my statements prior to this paragraph, there are many possibilities.  Do I want to go to school part time?  Do I just want to take one class per semester and just chip away at the degree?  Do I want to get a Master’s from an inexpensive online program to save myself the debt, or do I want a brand-name school to teach me?  What I’m finding is that there are more questions than answers at this stage of the game.

Any advice?


2 Responses to “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime”

  1. Ashley said

    I’m working on my Master’s degree at the moment (hopefully finishing in May!) and I highly recommend grad school to most people who are interested. What’s nice about a Master’s degree is that you can develop a stronger background in research without being obligated to navigate toward one particular facet of your field–that’s more what a PhD is for. You have a lot of options with a Master’s degree, and while grad school is challenging, it’s very doable to have full-time commitments and still go to school full-time.

    Even if you went part time, you could still finish within a reasonable amount of time (two to three, even four years if you wanted to). I go to a state university that focuses much on research, and I’m saving a lot more money than my friends who went to big named schools, but it’s also a preference thing. Most of the people I’ve talked to in my field (education) from other institutions have told me that it’s less about the school (although it should be reputable in research… Master’s degrees from for-profit universities are generally less respected) and more about the research you do and the experience you gain, and also what you plan to do with that knowledge. Online courses through a local university may be a good option, and you can also start off as a graduate special, which means you’re not quite committed/invested in the program but you can take some classes to see if it’s a good fit for you.

    If you do end up going, apply for graduate assistantships to help get your degree funded so you don’t have to take out loans or pay out of pocket.

    Whew. Sorry for the long comment! Hope it helps. 🙂

    • Thanks for your words, Ashley! I haven’t even started researching programs, but I know that I would have to go part time, or chip away at classes until I’m finished. We’ll see what happens… Oh – and thanks for the advice about assistantships. I’ll look into the idea!

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