College Degree After 50
There is a lot of conversation about whether higher education is worth the money.
Make sure and read the many comments on this post below. The comment portion of this post is longer than the original post.
Robert Reich recently wrote a piece for Salon.com titled:
The Author writes:
This is the time of year when high school seniors apply to college, and when I get lots of mail about whether college is worth the cost.
The answer is unequivocal yes, but with one big qualification.
A college degree no longer guarantees a good job. The main reason it pays better than the job of someone without a degree is the latter’s wages are dropping.
If this applies to a high school senior what about a 50+-year-old who has seen their industry or profession disappear?
It all comes down to what you expect to gain from attaining the degree.
Preservation or Reinvention
Are you trying to preserve or re-invent your career?
I have heard of many going back to school and getting a masters degree in their chosen profession. As long as their current employer supports and/or funds the degree program, it proves to be successful. A good example is getting a Masters in Education, for those in the K-12 education field.
It is used to be that attaining an MBA was a sure fire way to spark your career. I am not sure that is true anymore. Especially, if you are going to invest $100K of your own money. I have one client who received her MBA from a prestigious executive MBA program, and it has done nothing for her. Of course, she received it during the great recession.
In my research for writing this post, I have found nothing that says getting an MBA after 50 makes sense financially.
If you think differently, please comment below.
If you are reinventing your career, my experience is that getting a bachelors or masters degree after 50 is not a good investment, especially, if you are taking out student loans!
I have talked to dozens of individuals over the last couple of years who obtained their college degree after 50. Almost all of them told me it did not give them the competitive edge they needed.
If you are entering a new field after 50 years of age, you will be competing with others much younger than you. The same issues of age discrimination that you found in your old field will likely apply in the new one.
My conclusion is that getting a college degree after 50 works for preserving your career.
It does not make sense most of the time getting a college degree after 50 works to reinvent your career.
Either way, you must do your research. Find others who have successfully forged the trail before you embark on getting your college degree after 50.
For More: Career Reinvention – A Model for Change
Certificate programs offered at many community colleges are much less expensive and time-consuming. For example, Austin Community College offers certificate programs in non-profit management. If you want to make the leap from for profit to non-profit, this a cost effective means of gaining skills and will give you some street cred in your new field.
Christine is now a freelance writer. She is considering going to her local community college for a photography certificate. It is affordable and she can pick and choose what to take. She may not even pursue a certificate if she obtains the skills she needs without completing the program.
For More: Certification – Is it worth it?
It all comes down to — do your research!
Have you pursued your college degree after 50? Was it worth it?Marc Miller
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