Should I take on additional debt to become a licensed professional?
January 17, 2014 11:02 AM Subscribe
I have an undergraduate degree that is, for most practical purposes, "useless" in my field. A few people manage to get industry or service jobs, by having this degree, but that is not my area of interest. I want to return to school to get a professional master's degree that will also make me a licensed professional in the field. But, debt.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The problem is that I have a lot of debt related to getting my bachelor's. I have about $50,000 of debt (interest rates ranging from 5% to 12% annually.) My degree alone allows me to work for myself in my own business, but income has not been great. I've made between $18,000 - $28,000 net, annually, working for myself in the past few years.
This year is my last chance to apply for professional Master's degree programs that will also provide me a professional credential to enter a licensed profession. If I wait another year, I will have to retake some undergrad courses before I can go on. Unfortunately my undergrad GPA is just barely under the cut-off for the scholarship that would pay for a Masters program. Which means I will probably need to take out an additional $15,000 - $30,000 in student loans to get the degree, depending which program I get into. I may still be able to work for myself part-time, but there will be some lost income as well, for 1.5 - 3 years.
In return, the door will be opened to a licensed profession with a low unemployment rate in my area, and supposedly a good future outlook, where the average income is around $50,000 annually.
Is it a responsible choice, financially, to do this now, or would it be better to pay down current debt and take the longer route later?