Does a STAHM need a Master's degree?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2008
Does a STAHM need a Master's degree?
26
Mon, 12-15-2008 - 12:37pm

Hi everyone,

I'd like to get your opinion on something (I hope this is the right forum). I am at a crossroads in my career path. I graduated with a Psychology degree back in 2003, but since then I had been working in a different field. Recently, I've been trying to decide whether or not I should go back to school for my master's degree in the field I originally studied. Since I will basically be starting over, it's going to be at least 3-4 years until I am done with school. The problem is that in 3-4 years, my husband and I want to start having children, pretty much around the time I anticipate being done with school. I know that I want to stay home with my children when they are young, which would keep me out of work for a while. Would it be even worth it to get my master's degree and going through all that work already knowing that my career will be 2nd to my family?

Any opinions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2008
Mon, 12-15-2008 - 12:46pm
I say get the degree. There are no guarantees in life and you can't predict on how long it will take once you start trying to have kids. In the meantime you could be working and making connections that can help you return to the workforce when you are ready.

-Darri 41, DH 36, DD 21, DD 10, DD 9, and DS born 03/29/08

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2003
Mon, 12-15-2008 - 12:51pm

At what point would you anticipate returning to work and would the master's degree make a significant difference in your being able to obtain employment rapidly after several years out of the work force? (In the event that you needed to quickly augment or replace your DHs income)

If you are in a field where a masters is the bare minimum to obtain a job/appointment/etc., then do it now, because if you ever intend to go to school, I will tell you it is infinitely easier without children. Also, intent to have children and actually getting the timing set up don't always align.

If, however, the difference between an undergrad and a masters is minimal in your field (or if, in the other direction, a masters is just as insufficient as a bachelors, for those fields that really require a PhD), why would you invest the money? Education for its own sake is a noble concept, but potentially a pricey one. If you were going to have to carry student loans for years while you were at home and on only one income, would it be worth it?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 12-15-2008 - 1:13pm
Since it is a professional masters, it seems like a very worthwhile thing to have. You might need extra money and decide to work PT while your kids are small. With a marketable degree like that, you will have better chances of getting a lucrative PT gig. As a licensed psych you would also be able to work in the school system, which is always nice when you have kids. Apart from that, your kids won't be small forever. It is nicer to get the schooling out of the way now than having to start over later.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 12-15-2008 - 1:32pm

What if you change your mind and decide not to SAH?


And by the way, those of us who work don't put our families second to our careers, so you might want and be able to have both a career and be a parent.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2008
Mon, 12-15-2008 - 1:59pm

I agree with everyone else....get that degree!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2008
Mon, 12-15-2008 - 2:22pm

Ideally, I would like to stay home at least until they start school. So I am thinking that for most of my 30's (I am 28 years old right now), I will be with my children. I will be going for my M.S. in Counseling with an emphasis in Higher Education, so I definitely will need a master's degree but I do not think a Ph.D is mandatory.

My main reasons for getting the degree are for personal achievement, allowing me to work in the field that I want (when/if it comes time for me to work) and, most importantly, in case anything happens and we can't afford to live on a single income.

Basically, I am trying to think ahead and I don't want to be 'stuck' later on, wishing that I had gotten my master's when I had the chance. But, at the same time, what if I never use it and it goes to waste? I guess I have a lot to think about and discuss with my husband.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 12-15-2008 - 2:28pm

Education cannot be wasted, IMO. Once you have learned something, it is yours to keep forever. It will always be an advantage and an enrichment in your life in some way. In your particular case it is also very practical besides, since it is a degree that leads to a job (unlike a master's in Hittite, for example).

As a ripe old lady of 45, I also have to tell you that there is a lot of life left past 40. Get the degree.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2008
Mon, 12-15-2008 - 2:30pm
THANK YOU all for your input btw! There are some points that I never thought to consider...
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Mon, 12-15-2008 - 5:45pm

What does it mean to "waste" a degree? I don't think an education is ever wasted, especially if acquiring it gives pleasure to the person learning. I don't mean

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2005
Mon, 12-15-2008 - 10:45pm

I got my master's degree in psychology 6 months before giving birth to my first child - SO WORTH IT, especially if you can get an assistantship to offset the cost of tuition! I definitely say get the degree. The career that I'm able to have with it doesn't require me to put my family second. I teach a Monday night class and a Saturday morning class. My son is oblivious to the fact that I'm working - he's asleep for one and playing with Daddy during the other.

My caution would be about loans. Do everything you can to avoid taking out too much in loans. Try to find someplace that will waive in-state tuition in exchange for you working an assistantship (either teaching or research). That way you can graduate with almost nothing to pay off, so you won't need to work after graduating if you don't want to.

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