Figuring out my Career – Help

posted 2 years ago in Career
Post # 2
1356 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

Academic advisor here! I don’t have a Master’s, just a BA in Psychology. However, I know education requirements vary from school to school. Do colleges in your area pay advisors enough to justify getting a Master’s degree?

ETA: I work for a community college that has tuition discount agreements with many area 4-year colleges for its employees, so when I’m ready to get my Master’s, I can do so for about half the price of regular tuition. I’m not sure if there’s a community college within reasonable distance to you, but it’s something to consider! Also, see about interning with them to gain experience, if your Bachelor’s not being in a related field is an issue.

Post # 3
238 posts
Helper bee

jayquellen :  Hey! Congrats on your upcoming wedding and graduation. I’m almost done with my master’s right now and so here is the advice I would offer you (it might get a little long haha, I enjoy this stuff).

I did a quick search of academic advising jobs and it looks like there are a lot (including my alma mater, which is a top 25 state university) that only require bachelor’s degrees. I might try to get with a community college for a year or two and see if you could make the jump from there, because your degree is in an unrelated field, or see if your university is hiring, or try to get a coordinator job at a larger school and try to move up from there. They may help pay for your degree at that point.

I wouldn’t pay sticker price out of pocket for grad school. A lot of schools and programs offer assistantships; I would recommend going that route.

Regardless, if you’re sure you want this career, do it sooner rather than later. It’s harder to go back to school once you’re out of an academic environment.

You still have a decent number of years left before you have kids, it may take a while to have kids, you may decide you don’t want to be a Stay-At-Home Mom. There are so many possibilities that I wouldn’t delay or forego something for something a ways down the road.

Post # 4
47277 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999


jayquellen :  Just a reminder that your education and career plans should never be based on your current plans to be a Stay-At-Home Mom. Your plan could be disrupted at any time by death, divorce, or illness. You should prepare yourself to be able to be the your sole supporter of both yourself and your future children.

Post # 5
2899 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

jayquellen :  I don’t understand why you would not want to graduate early?  I don’t know, that kind of seems like a no brainer to me.

I think you need to narrow down your choices, as being an academic advisor and a college professor are very different career tracks.  Ultimately, you have to look at your long term career aspirations.  I would think if you want to be a Stay-At-Home Mom for several years, it would be much easier to jump in and be an academic advisor than a college professor, as those jobs are much more competitive.

And you’re right, you do need a minimum of a master’s to teach college, however, at my local community college, many if not most of the professors have their doctorates because universities have so few open positions.

Fewer and fewer companies now pay for a master’s degree, depending on the field you go into.  I don’t think anyone would pay for you to get your master’s to become an advisor or a professor.

I know men and women who went to grad school with young children, and it is a billion times easier to have it all out of the way before you start a family.

Post # 6
1507 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2021 - Kauai, HI

I wouldn’t pay for a masters degree unless I was sure I was going to use it.  You can always get it later when your kids are older.  

Post # 7
906 posts
Busy bee

Why would you go through the expense of a master’s degree if you plan on being a stay at home mom in the long term? Bank as much money you can now to have some savings for later.

Post # 8
624 posts
Busy bee

I’d get the masters degree now because it’s the easiest time to do it. Especially if it’s only going to take you a year – wow to that! Even if you don’t ever use it, you’ll still always have it just in case. Keep in mind that even if certains colleges don’t *require* a masters to be an academic advisor, many do prefer it. Which usually means if somebody who has one they’ll probably get selected over you. I actually want to be an academic advisor at a college too but no masters here and I’ll never be able to get one so that’s out, which sucks. I didn’t even get my bachelors until age 35. And as for being a college professor you’ll definitely need a masters. Since it’s just a short time out of your life I’d really encourage you to do it. 

Post # 9
131 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

I’m guessing you’re in the states, so its probably slightly different, but you’ve got little hope here in Australia of being a uni professor without at least a doctorate, and many publications to your name. Academia is a tough road, and I think it might be worse in the states from what I’ve read (adjuncts, low pay, no job security). If that’s something you’re passionate about you’ll probably need to be at university for a long time. Also agree with previous poster – planning a life as a stay at home mother is fraught with danger, you should always plan to be able to support yourself without the aid of someone else. You never know what will happen, and if you later find yourself with no work experience, having only a bachelors degree in anything is next to worthless. 

Post # 10
2566 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

catt :  that how being a professor is here in the states, too, at least in the fields that I’m familiar with. Master’s, PhD, a couple post-docs, and then a professorship. It’s not for the weak of heart, that’s for sure!

I have a couple friends who are lecturers are community colleges or universities, and that’s a much easier route. The pay and benefits are pretty terrible though. 

Post # 11
1293 posts
Bumble bee

jayquellen :  I just looked up academic advisor jobs in my area, and most say “master’s preferred”.  They also all said full time, so I think if you’re looking for something part time you may have trouble finding a job unless you’re already in a position and your employer lets you decrease your hours once you have kids.

I would get all my education completed before having kids.  Seeing that you’re looking at 2 careers that need a master’s, I would graduate early (not wait for Fiance, that seems silly) and go straight through for the master’s since you sound like you’re still pretty young.  I have a friend that’s completing her master’s in nursing and she said it’s tough, and she doesn’t have kids yet. 

Since you’re not planning on TTC for about 6 years, I would think that would give you some time to find a position where you can eventually cut back your hours.  I would be very careful becoming a Stay-At-Home Mom altogether, as I have seen first hand (through my sister and her friends) how hard it is to get back in the workforce.  A good friend of mine’s husband was just diagnosed wtih lymphoma (he’s 31 years old) so you never know what life is going to throw at you.  They have a 1 year old and she is pregnant with her second, but she also works, so things will be difficult.  Oh, and he doesn’t qualify for FMLA because he works for a small tech company, but his company is kind enough to let him work flexible hours while going through chemo.  Not to scare you, but that’s reality.

Post # 12
450 posts
Helper bee

I’m a college professor, but while working on my degree I worked part-time in some TRIO offices doing academic advising. Advising is definitely the more robust field, as advisors are needed at 4-year colleges, 2-year schools, even some private high schools and non-profits have advising-type jobs that aren’t traditional “guidance counselor” positions. Depending on where you are, I’ve seen a jump in grant-funded programs that support underpriveleged high schoolers applying to college over the last few years, and they prefer to hire recent college grads into mentor positions – could be a good fit!

You are also more likely to find a job locally as an advisor than a professor. When I was on the job market I applied to jobs across the country and even outside of the country because there were so few opportunities. This obviously required my partner to be quite flexible and it took several years for me to land a full-time position, so if you’re planning for your partner to work while you stay home with kids, I wouldn’t recommend pursuing a career as a professor unless you would be content to adjunct and never have a full-time position.

Depending on what side of media studies you’re focused on, there could be excellent opportunities for part-time work. You could begin freelancing or setting up a side business even now. If you would like to work with adult learners but seeking a professor position seems unrealistic, look into community education centers. There could be a great demand for, say, Photography courses in that type of setting, you could continue to do that with little ones and it would keep a current line on your resume if you did need to quickly re-enter the workforce for some reason. I used to teach GED/HISET courses at an adult ed center and it was very rewarding.

Good luck!

Post # 13
1614 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Location

I would do the masters right away. It will never hurt to have more education and for me, I’d rather get it all over with. It’s a very personal choice. Some people need the time to work to decide what they want do, gain experience, or earn money before paying for more school. 

I also agree that you should not count on being a Stay-At-Home Mom and it’s always best to be able to support yourself. 

Not all academic advisors need a master’s so make sure you look into it. 

Btw I’m a high school teacher and always knew that’s what I wanted to do, but where I live we have an excellent public education system so not facing the issues you’ve described. 

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