Frugal Village Forums banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I wanted to get your input on grad school and just see what you thought. I'm struggling with a couple decisions and am just worrying about outcomes.

Here's my situation - I'm 32 and am basically looking to do a career switch. I want to go into Public Health, specifically in the nutritional field (obesity prevention, health communication, health policy, epidemiology; not necessarily clinical). The types of jobs I'm looking at either require a Masters in Public Health(MPH) or a Registered Dieticians(RD) license. There are a couple schools that offer combined programs of RD and MPH/MHS(Health Science)/MS or similiar, which is ideal. So far, great. My problem is there are very very few schools that offer these combined programs (only 1 near me, in DC) and they're 2 years full time, after completing a couple undergraduate science requirements (which I am in the process of doing now). I guess I'm worried about being in my 30's and leaving my job for 2 years so not being able to continue my forward salary momentum and contribute to my 401K. I'm currently doing the debt snowball and plan to have my CC paid off before starting school, though my car will likely not be. Another issue is the only schools I could go to that have my program to are private and have exobitant tuition fee's. Coming out of school so much in debt does not sound so great, however putting off school for the 2-3 years it would take to save tuition also may not make tons of sense either since I would be missing out on new salary and career gains.

There are many people in my current organization who are pursuing their Masters part-time and if I was doing a MPH by itself, this would be an option and probably my best bet. However, since I want to get an RD license as well, this would put a snag into that aspect of things and would take much longer to get that certification. The upside though is that I would be able to contine working and saving while going to school. The other MPH-only options that I'm looking at around DC also have high tuitions, so that wouldn't even necessarily be a factor, other than I wouldn't have to take out as many loans since I'd be able to cash flow at least a portion of it.

Doing a cost benefint analysis of the whole thing, my overall salary will like increase after getting these degrees by maybe $15,000 starting out and then hopefully go up from there.

What would you do in my position? Would you do the part-time MPH option and continue working (and put the RD on the back burner) or would you just suck it up and go for the whole she-bang?

Sorry this is so long and I know some of these decisions are really things I need to make on my own regarding my personal goals, but I'd just be interested in getting some others perspectives.

Thanks!

Ashley
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,566 Posts
however putting off school for the 2-3 years it would take to save tuition also may not make tons of sense either since I would be missing out on new salary and career gains.
No you wouldn't. You would be DELAYING the gains. Adding a ton of debt so that you can make more later will only set you back more later. You're considering buying the present by selling the future.

Doing a cost benefint analysis of the whole thing, my overall salary will like increase after getting these degrees by maybe $15,000 starting out and then hopefully go up from there.
And tuition is how much? Total for the whole program?

My advice?

Stop the snowball, pay minimums, live on nothing, save like mad, go to school.

That is, in fact, exactly what ceashels did before I met her - she was getting OUT of being a P.T., she saved a butt load of $$$, she stopped working, went to school full time, lived on her savings, and got a teaching degree before I swept her away from "all of this".

Also consider trying to find an employer with tuition reimbursement in the field you want and go work there through school.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gmarie

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your response and advice!

Tuition for the entire program (at pretty much all of the schools I'm looking at) ranges from about $55,000-$70,000.

Yes, as far as employment/tuition reimbursement, I am definitely looking around at jobs in the field I want to go into, though I have to say, this has been a bit tough as well because I can't really take a pay cut at the moment and the jobs that are financially at the level I need tend to require advanced degrees/specializaiton. Such a catch-22!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Can you pay for the part-time option without loans? If so, I'd be tempted to go the part-time MPH route and see how much $ benefit that brings you and save the RD for later.
Not entirely. I might be able to pay between 1/2 and 2/3 while actually being in school and would then have the rest left over afterwards.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
289 Posts
Thanks for your response and advice!

Tuition for the entire program (at pretty much all of the schools I'm looking at) ranges from about $55,000-$70,000.

Yes, as far as employment/tuition reimbursement, I am definitely looking around at jobs in the field I want to go into, though I have to say, this has been a bit tough as well because I can't really take a pay cut at the moment and the jobs that are financially at the level I need tend to require advanced degrees/specializaiton. Such a catch-22!
Well....even at a $15k raise, the government will probably take $2-3k out of that raise, and you'll have $55k+ of debt. Sounds like you have a good paying job right now too. Financially, it probably doesn't make sense. Any scholarships/aid available? You may qualify for financial aid, it would be worth asking about.

I'm "stuck" in my career too, I'd love to do something new but can't afford the pay cut of a different job, or the tuition for a new degree. Your degree is expensive, my masters cost <$10k total in my field (got it in 1998 though from a public institution though). Are there any online educational options from other schools that aren't private and not necessarily local?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,566 Posts
55k debt / 15k raise = 4 years to break even BEFORE you factor in student loans interest, which ain't cheap, and IS NOT bankruptable.

Effectively you're talking about 55-70k in debt FOR a 15k a year job here.

Cash. Cash. Cash. Don't finance it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
924 Posts
can you look into grants and scholarships to help you fund it. I was just having a conversation yesterday with someone who has two kids in college. He was telling me that alot of the private schools have HUGE endowments therefore there is more money available for scholarships and grants where as state schools are broke so you end up paying more.

I have not idea if this is true or not but it doesn't hurt to look around and start asking questions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
Why do you need to get both the MPH and RD at the same time? Can you do one and then get a job in field that may pay for you to go back and get the other?

Just trying to think out of the box... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm "stuck" in my career too, I'd love to do something new but can't afford the pay cut of a different job, or the tuition for a new degree. Your degree is expensive, my masters cost <$10k total in my field (got it in 1998 though from a public institution though). Are there any online educational options from other schools that aren't private and not necessarily local?
Yeah, it is expensive, but it's more the schools themselves that have the programs I'm interested in, not the program.

Unfortunately online isn't available for what I want either. Well, strike that, technically one my schools has a "internet based part time" option, but you're still paying that schools rate, so doesn't really count. Boo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
can you look into grants and scholarships to help you fund it. I was just having a conversation yesterday with someone who has two kids in college. He was telling me that alot of the private schools have HUGE endowments therefore there is more money available for scholarships and grants where as state schools are broke so you end up paying more.

I have not idea if this is true or not but it doesn't hurt to look around and start asking questions.
Oh, I will definitely be looking for grants and scholarships and assistantships and anything else that's available. I guess I'm just not necessarily wanting to go into it assuming I'd get them. They'd be the icing on the cake!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Why do you need to get both the MPH and RD at the same time? Can you do one and then get a job in field that may pay for you to go back and get the other?

Just trying to think out of the box... :)
Your first question is an entire new thread :) The traditional pathway to a RD is to complete a clinical internship straight out of undergrad after getting a bachelors in dietetics. So what do you do if you've already gone to college and have a degree in another field? You have 2 options: 1. Complete the undergraduate requirements for an ADA accredited bachelor's program (aka essetinally get a 2nd bachelors degree) or 2. There are a few select programs which allow you to do this at the Masters level, by combining the clinical internship with a MPH/MHS/MS. Option #2 is what I'm going for because the difference between the 2 pathways in terms of prerecs would mean having to take 6 classes (Option 2) vs 17 (option 1).

Part of the problem is that while there are many schools that have Public Health programs and there are severl schools that have Dietetic programs, there aren't as many that combine then into a more convenient package for us career changers (or anyone that doesn't already have a bachelors in dietetics).

To be honest, my real interest lies more in the public health side, so while Option 2 seems more attractive in terms of just getting everything out the way in one go, Option 1 may be better from a financial standpoint since i could do the MPH part-time while still working and be able to at least cash flow a portion of it and just start knocking out the dietetics requirements one by one.

My real struggle is actually figuring out whether Option 1 or Option 2 is better for me, not only financially, but just also in terms of where I want to end up career-wise. I'm not wanting to be a clincian, so the RD portion may indeed be able to wait a couple years.

I do want to consider the financial implications of all of this as well though, which is why I posted in the first place. I don't want to NOT do something I'm passionate about because I'm afraid of gettting into debt. Talk about regrets later on. At the same time though, there are multiple options for doing all this and I'm like to, as much as possible, choose the one that's most beneficial all around.

Didn't mean to write a book again :) Thank you all for your input and suggestions! Very much appreciated!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
672 Posts
What is your current job? Can you work for one of the schools? And if you are going to do the "whole she-bang" and borrow money, why limit yourself to the DC area? Look at public universities as well. VA, NJ, WV, DE all would have public universities. Ask if they have reprecrocity. (sp!!!) That means they would take the residents of one state and offer them in-state tuition.
Unlike Dave, I am not completely down on student loans despite my history with them. But I would become VERY VERY VERY creative before taking them again.
Work for the university so you can get free tuition. Find a job where you can study. (Think security guard at night, group homes for mentally handicapped at night--BTDT--cleaning for two hours, quiet time for six hours, two hours of morning routine--get paid for six hours of study). Get a live-in caregiving job for living expenses.
Here in Oregon, if you work for public post-secondary system, you can take classes anywhere in the system. Which means you could work for a community college and be a master's student at the university.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
672 Posts
Unfortunately online isn't available for what I want either. Well, strike that, technically one my schools has a "internet based part time" option, but you're still paying that schools rate, so doesn't really count. Boo.
Does than mean that only someof the classes are internet or that the program is internet-based and part-time. If #2, I'd jump at that since it means you could more easily work full-time while doing it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
314 Posts
I tend to be very skeptical of people who want to change career fields. Why do you want to change career fields?

A lot of people just get bored and want to hop around, and they can convince themselves that the numbers work out that they should do it.

I'm not saying you shouldn't, I'm just saying be *very* hard on yourself when you try to sell yourself on the idea.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What is your current job? Can you work for one of the schools? And if you are going to do the "whole she-bang" and borrow money, why limit yourself to the DC area? Look at public universities as well. VA, NJ, WV, DE all would have public universities. Ask if they have reprecrocity. (sp!!!) That means they would take the residents of one state and offer them in-state tuition.
Unlike Dave, I am not completely down on student loans despite my history with them. But I would become VERY VERY VERY creative before taking them again.
Work for the university so you can get free tuition. Find a job where you can study. (Think security guard at night, group homes for mentally handicapped at night--BTDT--cleaning for two hours, quiet time for six hours, two hours of morning routine--get paid for six hours of study). Get a live-in caregiving job for living expenses.
Here in Oregon, if you work for public post-secondary system, you can take classes anywhere in the system. Which means you could work for a community college and be a master's student at the university.
I work for a professional association. If I'm going to be working full-time, I would either stay where I'm at (decent pay, lots of flexibility) or get a job in the field to start getting experience.
Lot's of good ideas though for ways to offset tuition costs!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Does than mean that only someof the classes are internet or that the program is internet-based and part-time. If #2, I'd jump at that since it means you could more easily work full-time while doing it.
2nd. They have a part-time "internet-based" MPH program where 80% of your classes are online, 20% in the classroom.
This option is attrative, especially since they have the concentration I want.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I tend to be very skeptical of people who want to change career fields. Why do you want to change career fields?

A lot of people just get bored and want to hop around, and they can convince themselves that the numbers work out that they should do it.

I'm not saying you shouldn't, I'm just saying be *very* hard on yourself when you try to sell yourself on the idea.
Really? Why are you skeptical? I actually think there are probably many people out there who ended up in careers they didn't really intend to be in. I kind of fell into mine and while it's fine and all, why not pursue something you love, if you're able? I'm also still young enough that I'm not completely established in my current career, so making a switch isn't too painful.

The thing is too, if I want to move up in my current field, i would have to get a PhD. So, if I have to get an advanced degree anyway, why not get it in the field I want to go into, kwim?
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top