Thursday, July 8, 2010

Am I crazy, or what?

Sooooo.... Remember how excited I was to be DONE with my thesis? And potentially DONE with school FOREVER?!

Well, for a few years I've been toying with the idea of being a therapist. However, in my area there aren't any part-time programs and I am a little too afraid to quit working in order to go and do something like that full time.

I was idly looking online for a program similar to the one a friend of mine is in (only she's in San Francisco and I live on the East coast, so that particular program is out.) Her program is great though in that it meets for 1 weekend a month and the rest is online.

Weeeeelllll ... It turns out that Penn has a similar program! 1 weekend/month + 1 week in the summer!

Now, Penn is about 7 hours from where I'm at-- Not great, but doable if it's one weekend a month, right? There's also a train directly from my town to Philadelphia (though that is a 10 hour trip, somehow, inexplicably...)

The big catch? The program is $67k, by my calculations. EEEGADS, right? (As compared to similar programs nearby which are full time but would only be about $20k.)

*sigh* Right now this is just and idle thought-- I wouldn't even be able to apply until next June anyway, so I have some time to think about it.

The idea of being able to set up a private practice is very appealing, but I don't know if I'd be able to justify the cost. (I'm very wary of loan debt! I've managed to get through school with only putting $5k on a credit card (0% interest, thank you very much).

I even looked into Penn's tuition assistance program for employees (assuming I could get a job there... but who wants to live in Pennsylvania? eww.) but that would only cover 50%. Worth uprooting my life for? Meh. I don't know. I've grown accustomed to my little town and I like it. I wouldn't mind moving, but only if it was to someplace like the Bahamas or Paris or something more exciting than where I'm at now. Philadelphia? Not better than where I am now. (IMHO, YMMV and all that.)

So, do y'all think I should go for it? Or just stick to what I'm doing now and thank my (mostly) debt-free stars?

(PS- I should add that they have a distance learning doctorate program as well which seems pretty sweet-- Same type of set up-- 1 weekend a month, and it's only a 2 year program... But it's only $20k (odd, no? I may be wrong about that-- It may be $40k... hard to tell from their site if that's the cost for the entire program or just 1 year.) That one is appealing too-- Because I would really love Dr. in front of my name!-- But at the same time I feel like the counseling degree would give me more flexibility. I'd love to open up a private practice, but it leaves the door open to continue to work in a college setting. I can't decide which one would be best... Probably the doctorate would be a better return on investment, but I feel like the counseling one might be more satisfying. Choices, choices, choices... and all of this is assuming I get IN, of course.

I'm also a terrible snob (as well you know!)... and the fact that it's Penn makes me feel better about the investment. I don't think I'd be considering it if it was someplace like DeVry or U of Phoenix... )


Anonymous said...

Hey! I live in Pennsylvania! I'm a lifer, even. :( And we're even thinking of buying a house here in the very near future, so. Oh god, what's so bad about it, really? Like, from a outsider's perspective, what makes it an "eww"? I know what I don't like about it, but...enlighten, plz?

Okay, now back to you. I think 67K is way too much, but on the other hand, it's UPenn. Great, great school. The distance education thing wouldn't be a strike against you if it's coming from UPenn.

My assumption is that, if the counseling degree is more spendy than the Ph.D., then they probably have a track record of folks who have made up the money either through current employment or projected future employment. So I guess, if I were you, I'd figure out that part: how likely would you be to make up the 67K in about five years? If it's doable, then I'd go for it. If not, then...I'm as wary of debt as you are, so it would be hard to sell myself on it.

Hypatia said...


Hmmm... Pennsylvania... For me it evokes images of joyless strip malls and gas stations (much like the rest of the US, I know), narrow mindedness, and with the same shitty weather as the rest of the east coast but lacking the charm of the other states. (Though I should point out that I live in VT, which is a godless socialist state, and damn do I love it! The only other places I seriously want to live are France and Canada...and, ok, probably Hawaii)

I spoke to my therapist who told me--in not so many words-- that as far as she was concerned the pay described in the government link (in my other post) is a lot lower than what she makes.

She pointed out that working for yourself can cut your income in half with taxes and overhead costs though.

I contacted Upenn to get a more accurate reading on what the cost is, but even with the cost the program is very appealling... the thought of working for myself, setting my own hours... BLISS!