It’s a short one today — doing a favor to all you millennial types who have been writing in and saying, in one way or another, “WRITE SHORTER POSTS.” Today, you get your wish! Phoenicia writes today:
Hi Judge Josh!
Right now, I am a bit at a loss with what I wish to major in. I have been going to a 2-year community college for 3 years so far, and all I have to show for it is a Certificate for Therapeutic Massage. Thankfully, there is no debt or student loans in the picture.
Great! Nothing wrong with that certificate, and no debt is even better.
In addition to the certificate, I am currently working on my Associates in Science/General Studies. This way, if I decide to continue on with a massage career, I will have that degree.
Excellent. I assume the certificate mentioned above isn’t enough to get you licensed or whatever you need to start massaging. Gotcha.
The thing is, I want to keep going to school! I am just in between two majors that are on opposite ends of the spectrum: English and Health Science.
If I go with an English degree, I would like to teach at a college or university. So, in addition to a few years of experience, I may try for a Doctorate’s to make my chances a lot better. Yet, I am scared because it may be hard finding a job to even gain experience.
Let me stop you there to point out that, if you want to teach in college, you need at least a master’s degree in English. In most cases, that’ll take a four-year bachelor’s degree plus two more years to get a master’s degree. And that’s just for community-college teaching or basic, very low-level positions in the teaching hierarchy at four-year schools.
If you want to be a full-fledged, tenured professor at a four-year university, you need a doctorate, which could take you as a few as three additional years beyond the master’s (if you’re putting the pedal to the metal and doing nothing other than going to school), or as long as six or seven if you’re going about it more slowly.
If that sounds like I’m trying to be discouraging, I’m not — just letting you know the realities of what you’ll need to teach college English. So if you do, you’ll get your wish about going for more schooling — you’ve got somewhere between four and 10 years of English study left, depending where you want to teach!
If I go with Health Science, I would enjoy doing physical therapy. It would not be that hard for me, since it is similar to the program I went through for Therapeutic Massage. Not to mention, it is an in-demand field, so there would be little trouble finding a job, even as an assistant.
Yep, I agree on all counts. You can be in the job market a lot faster that way, and there will be a lot more openings than there will be for English professors (there should be no shortage of people with aches, pains and injuries in the future). Understand, though, that a master’s degree and a professional license are required pretty much everywhere for physical therapists as well. So, you’ve got a lot of schooling left either way, but at least your job prospects should be much, much better as a physical therapist.
I would love to have your opinion. You have helped a lot of others, maybe you could help me?
Yeah, I’ll keep it simple today — go with physical therapy. Strange coincidence, actually, but I used to want a doctorate in English so that I could be an English professor (my bachelor’s degree is in English). Luckily, I saw the light early and jumped ship — intensively studying and analyzing old books simply was not something I could live with for the rest of my life. And I mean no offense to you English grad students out there — if it makes you happy, then wonderful, but it wasn’t for me.
I’m guessing you’ll be happier in physical therapy. You’ll help more people and you’ll help them directly, right in front of your face. It’s tough, but satisfying work. Go for it.
That’s it for me, everyone (see, I kept it right around 700 words today!). Any comments? Let us know below.