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    Useless degree/returning to school

    I am in a dilema. I am 31 and have a law degree from a public university. I have about $60,000 in remaining student loans. I have only been able to obtain temporary work in the legal field, and currently earn about $62k per in a position with little room for advancement. I realize law school was a gigantic mistake and I would like to leave the legal field and go to pharmacy school to increase my earning power to around $110,000 per---but only after 5 more years of school. Would it be wise to:

    1) pay down $9,000 more in debt, then:
    2) Liquidate my IRA of about $50k and pay off my loans, (I previously worked in a factory and saved for retirement in the 90s and my investments did well)
    3) Return to pharmacy school and accumulate more student loans.

    ????????????

    #2
    Pharmacy isn't much better as a field than law right now. I was interested in pharmacy school but ultimately decided against it after reading many stories of graduates that are unable to find jobs. A lot of pharmacy schools have opened, leading to an over-saturation of the market, much like the legal field.

    I don't know if the 100k in debt would be worth the risk, especially when you already have so much debt.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by koen411 View Post
      I am in a dilema. I am 31 and have a law degree from a public university. I have about $60,000 in remaining student loans. I have only been able to obtain temporary work in the legal field, and currently earn about $62k per in a position with little room for advancement. I realize law school was a gigantic mistake and I would like to leave the legal field and go to pharmacy school to increase my earning power to around $110,000 per---but only after 5 more years of school. Would it be wise to:

      1) pay down $9,000 more in debt, then:
      2) Liquidate my IRA of about $50k and pay off my loans, (I previously worked in a factory and saved for retirement in the 90s and my investments did well)
      3) Return to pharmacy school and accumulate more student loans.

      ????????????
      You're 31 now, but 13-22 years ago, you worked in a factory and saved money which you invested well. What sort of factory was willing to hire a minor? What did you invest in?

      Do you enjoy the legal field?

      62k is not too shabby for someone just starting out. Instead of giving up so soon, why not give it some time, gain some experience, then look for a position with room to grow?

      Do you live in a large city? Perhaps it is a matter of the legal field in your area is saturated, but opportunities exist elsewhere? Are you willing to relocate?

      Comment


        #4
        The BEST degrees for job prospects these days remain to be business management, human resources, finance, accounting, marketing, operations management, information technology, computer science, and engineering. Some life sciences such as biology and chemistry can be good too.

        Ultimately I recommend you stick with where you are happy. Under normal market conditions, law is a good field because it is a very necessary expertise. You make $62,000 per year? That is not too shabby at all.

        Do you like law? Do you see things in the field improving over the next few years? Do you like pharma? Are you looking to pharma just because of the money?
        Check out my new website at www.payczech.com !

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by koen411 View Post
          Would it be wise to:

          1) pay down $9,000 more in debt
          Sure. Assuming it leaves you with some semblance of an emergency fund. You don't want to take all your free cash and use 100% of it on debt.

          2) Liquidate my IRA of about $50k and pay off my loans, (I previously worked in a factory and saved for retirement in the 90s and my investments did well)
          Absolutely not.

          Taxes + Penalty + Setting you back several years of retirement savings + paying off loans that cost less than what you'd expect to earn = terrible decision.

          3) Return to pharmacy school and accumulate more student loans.

          ????????????
          Why on earth would you go to pharmacy school?

          I agree with dczech. I think you're just doing it for the money.

          Here's an interesting viewpoint on that, I'd recommend watching the 1st 2 minutes or so. The whole thing is good, but the 1st 2 minutes speak to what you're dealing with.
          Warren Buffett MBA Speech

          Comment


            #6
            Without commenting on your prospects or your debt - go to the student doctor network forum and look through the pharmacy section. As has been indicated above - the field has problems of its own.

            Comment


              #7
              I agree with Petunia.

              I think you're giving up too soon. From law to pharm school is a huge change; do you have a strong interest in pharmacy? Also, do you have a family to support in the meantime?

              What made you decide to go into law school?

              If you like the field, I think your time and money is better spent looking harder for a position that pays better and that you enjoy more. But first you have to believe that such a position out there exists for you...a defeatist mentality won't get you anywhere.

              If you do not like the field at all, the my advice would be different....

              Comment


                #8
                I agree with everyone else. Your making $62K and you think your degree is worthless. Wow, you need to spend some time on the job hunters forum. Honestly, you need to stick with what you have now and pay off your loans. If after that you decide that law isn't for you then perhaps look at another career.

                I have degree in biology and minor in chemistry. Haven't had steady work since 2007. Had temp work for a year and that ended in January. The job market isn't good right now, no matter what your degree is in.
                Last edited by Mori; 07-19-2012, 05:10 PM.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Mori View Post
                  The job market isn't good right now, no matter what your degree is in.
                  I disagree. But maybe I am biased.

                  I have a BS in Finance and have had my current job for 2.5 years (graduated college 3 years ago). I just got a promotion that takes effect on August 2nd!

                  About 50% of recent college grads are either unemployed or underemployed, but the statistics WILDLY vary based on your degree and location.

                  Anything in business, math, stats, and engineering are good degrees. These grads generally have a better employment rate than grads in other programs. Sadly, we have a increasing amount of people graduating with liberal arts degrees such as Russian Lit and underwater basket-weaving.

                  Ultimately, the getting a job is much more competitive than normal. The jobs are still out there, but obtaining a job today is far different than obtaining one several years ago. No longer is sending a company an online app and resume good enough. These companies get bombarded with apps and resumes, so you gotta do something that will get noticed.
                  Check out my new website at www.payczech.com !

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Yep thatís true and according to the research I conducted it is one of the reasons why some students lose their interest to pursue their study because they thought theyíll just spend time and money for nothing and might end up unemployed. Though I believe itís not only in the kind of course took up but more importantly the interest of a person in the field he chose. Losing interest on work may lead to unemployment too and job market has nothing to do with it.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      As a newly graduated pharmacist I have to echo some of the sentiments from before. Right before I started pharmacy school they predicted massive shortages in pharmacists due to so many of them retiring and the retail chains expanding at such an expansive rate. Well during pharmacy school a lot of that changed. The market crashed and some of those people close to retirement age kept working. The economy crashed so there were fewer Walgreens and CVSs opening. Now there are a boom of pharmacy schools so graduates are competing for positions

                      There are pharmacy jobs (right now), however, they may not be located where you are. In our medium-ish town there were 4 residency programs with 8 residents, 1 moved away, 1 went to retail, 2 got hospital full time jobs, 1 is an IS pharmacist, and 2 work prn at hospitals. Not the dream jobs we were all expecting, only 1 stayed on at the place where he did the residency.

                      However, our law professor was a lawyer turned pharmacist. So there may be a niche in the pharmaceutical world for a lawyer such as yourself. Pharmacy school is a big (and expensive) commitment. I don't know that I'd jump into it without shadowing some pharmacy areas and getting to know a lot more. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions. I really enjoy pharmacy, and think its a great field, but I just want to let you know that the grass isn't always greener.
                      Last edited by ktmarvels; 07-20-2012, 04:43 AM. Reason: typo

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I don't think that pharmacy would make a better options. Like others said, I've heard a lot of pharmacy graduates who don't have any work right now or don't do much in earning!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Never once in my life did I manage to make $62K a year. The highest I ever got before disability was about $35K a year. What you are making now is a great income. Much higher than the average wage in America. Are you basing your job decisions on money alone?
                          That is sad because you would be so much happier doing something you love and are truly interested in, than just trying to follow the money. As the others have pointed out, pharmacy may not be the best choice as your school loans will end up higher and you might not get a job at all.

                          If you are truly unhappy with your job, you might want to look into working with a job counselor that might help you figure out between your skills and education, etc. what area to head for. Especially if you were only looking at pharmacy as a higher income job, the counselor might be able to help you find a high income job that you never thought of. Just be sure before seeing our paying the person, you are clear on their billing and have references -- that you check!

                          Do the numbers also. Going to chool will cost you X amount of dollars that you will probably take out in loans, minus the 62K a year you won't be making while in school, Then assuming you land a job immediately that pays you what you expect, how long before you have paid back everything. And if you don't get a job right away, how will you support yourself as the bills continue to add up? Run the figures of what you would make now till retirement, and those same numbers if you took time out for more school and more loans and what you would earn until retirement. Are you truly going to be ahead--assuming somewhere along the line you don't get disabled? People think it can't happen to them, but I'm here to tell you it does happen. I went to nursing school in my early 30's. Hurt myself on the job and wore out my knees and then was hit with severe arthritis. I have not been able to work since I was about 45. If instead of picking going into nursing, I had gone into accounting, I probably could have worked for many more years (I had the head for numbers so it would have been a fairly easy thing for me to take) since accounting may stress a stomach but not the whole body like nursing can. When was the last time you saw a pharmasist sitting? Are you up to standing 8 hours a day now? Lots of things to consider before a job change and going back to school, like are you supporting a family now or do you intend to in the near future?
                          Gailete
                          http://www.MoonwishesSewingandCrafts.com

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Degree is not useless

                            I don't agree that your degree is useless - you've landed a $62k/year job. Plenty of 31-year olds would like to be in your position (except for the debt). But you should be able to pay off the debt with your income level.

                            If you really want to practice law, take on part-time work. Perhaps you can work your way into a law job. Figure out why you are not getting the law jobs you've tried to get. Have you asked the companies that turned you down?

                            Are you single? Have kids? If you really want to pursue another career, downsize everything, cut expenses to the bare minimum, and pay off your debts in 2 years. You could even continue for another two years and build up a nice pile of cash to fund more education.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by ShawnaC123 View Post
                              Pharmacy isn't much better as a field than law right now. I was interested in pharmacy school but ultimately decided against it after reading many stories of graduates that are unable to find jobs. A lot of pharmacy schools have opened, leading to an over-saturation of the market, much like the legal field.

                              I don't know if the 100k in debt would be worth the risk, especially when you already have so much debt.
                              I tend to agree. I know several who have recently grad at the top of their class and can't find jobs. Also, we have several pharmacies around us that have closed.

                              Many large companies now pretty much force their employees to use mail order pharmacies. It is hurting the ma and pa pharmacy. The chain ones are carried by their otc, grocery and clinics--the pharmacy part of the store is just a break even.

                              Comment

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