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#1539 - 05/27/2009 21:54 PM Am I crazy? 34 and thinking of changing careers.
tveek Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/27/2009
Hi everyone, I just found this site today while googling around. I recently was laid off from my job at a software company. I worked there for almost 10 years, gaining experience in customer support and QA testing. I even made a modest salary of ~65K/year. (not bad for where I live, especially considering I have no college degree)

My dilemma is that while I am very good at what I was doing, I was abysmally unhappy doing it. I only ended up doing it because a job offer came along from someone I knew and before I knew it, it had become my career.

I've been considering this lay off as a potential opportunity to get into something that I love. Specifically I'm looking at going into the fine arts/illustration field since I really love and enjoy creating art.

I've looked at some schools and right now I really like a private university in San Francisco (I'm not really keen on going to a public college or university that will require me to take several unnecessary courses). I will look into some other schools, but currently this one is very appealing.

What scares me though is when I think about coming up with tuition costs and further, paying for the needs of my family (I'm married and have three children ages 8, 6, and 3). I'd have to sell or rent my house where we live now, and then move them all to california (probably east bay area), and housing there is oh so cheap - not.

Am I crazy for even considering this? There's even a good chance that as a professional illustrator I'd be at a lower income level. I just wonder whether uprooting my family and putting us deeper in debt is really a good decision.

Anyway, it's something for me to talk about with my wife more I guess.

I do have a question, does anyone know of any financial aid or grants that might be available to me as a dislocated worker? Specific to my situation--I'm thinking of going to school for a career change, not to just get new skills in my current career (I think some programs stipulate that you have to be going for skills in your current profession).

Also, since I'm considering going to school in another state I don't know if that limits what programs I take advantage of.



#1540 - 05/28/2009 13:21 PM Re: Am I crazy? 34 and thinking of changing careers. [Re: tveek]
hereinvegas Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/03/2009
Loc: Las Vegas
Well... some things I know, and some I do not...

I do know that educating yourself is one way to combat possible future layoffs. Not only that, It feels great to be back in school and enjoying what I am learning. I will be done with my bachelors this year and it was the best decision I have ever made. I am a few years younger than you, but age should never be a deciding factor... 50 is the new 30, right? wink

I will say this... if you are seeking a traditional bachelors degree, you are going to have to take the 'core' anywhere you go. This will be comprised of something like 3 english, 3 math, 3 social sciences, 2 history, etc etc etc.
There really is no way around this, unless you just want to complete certificate programs.
The best, and cheapest way to go about this is to do the basics at a community college or state university paying in state tuition. Private schools around SF will cost about 3k per class, community college will cost about $400 per class... so for your core requirements, in state is the way to go. You can always transfer! It does take at least one full year to gain residency, but Cali does have great in state schools and prices. (Take advantage of online classes, they are so much better than when they first came on the scene 7 years ago!)
If your income is very low this year due to time spent un-employed, you will be qualified for financial aid. If you receive nothing but excellent grades, scholarships are always available.

As for graphic arts salaries:

Graphic Design Specialist
25th%ile Median 75th%ile

$40,073 $46,095 $53,461

Edited by hereinvegas (05/28/2009 13:22 PM)


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