Originally got my undergrad in history. My plan was to go on and get my Masters in Teaching, and become a middle school/high school history teacher. I worked to put my wife through her Masters program first, and now it is finally my time to go back to school. Only now I am having some second thoughts as to what I want to do. With no teaching experience, I just do not know much I would actually like it. That route does not provide me with many other options should I decide I don't like it. Another option would be to get an MBA, which would give me more career options.
After that long story, anyone have any advice? Been through a similar situation? I am considering doing some volunteer work and getting my name in for substitute teaching to help get an idea if I would enjoy teaching. Other than that, not quite sure where I want to go since I was set on teaching for so long.
In all honesty, for your well being I would advise not doing it. I graduated with a history degree and am certified to teach high school and middle school social studies. The job market is terrible and much worse than I ever expected coming out of college. I love history and have been living it since I was in 8th grade, but surviving in the real world does not always mean you can do the things you love.
I student-taught, the kids loved me, the department chair loved me, I volunteered to coach the track team and spent my free time trying to show I have a great work ethic, then come time when there was an opening for a position; the principal hired a total stranger instead of someone who was in the building for the past 7 months working for free. It was aggravating and not to mention I attended the so-called "career fairs" which was nothing more than a meat market of me standing in line with hundreds of other applicants. It was like auditioning for American idol.
Unfortunately substitute teaching will get your no where and you will be treated poorly by some of the teachers. I subbed for a Catholic school and a history chair told me that they will only look towards candidates who completed a history masters. I could have went for it, but was in no way willing to get into debt for a degree that is still worth very little. People with masters in history are still having trouble finding work.
I decided to go to grad school for accounting. I love history a lot more, but I was not going to go through the stress of not finding work and burying myself into debt. Education has become a political game where the old teachers look at graduates with contempt. I miss the students and enjoyed discussing historical events and ideas with them, but they will have to be taught by tenured teachers who for the most part are more worried about their pensions.
Thank God I found a career working in an office with a history degree. I plan on acquiring a CPA and if you love business I would recommend going into that route. An MBA is still a pretty generic degree and geared towards managers who are willing to move upwards in a company.It is not worth the cost.
If you love history I would only recommend studying it as a hobby. What you've described is exactly what I went through and what I have been considering while I was an undergrad. After all the stress I finally decided to drop it. I wish I could return my teaching license for a refund because it has done nothing for me.
The sum up my spiel: Teaching history is not the hard part, if you love the subject your students will like you because they will see your enthusiasm. The hard part is fighting in the politics of the educational system.
No experience, but I read the papers.
A MBA isn't a good idea unless you have a good idea what you want to do with it. You won't get into a good MBA program unless you that that idea, anyway. And a mediocre MBA, especially one you pay for yourself (as opposed to with grants) is never a good idea. CNN Money and other sites crunch the numbers on good MBA programs and the return on the education investment.
I have friends who were able to get jobs teaching English overseas pretty easily, with just a BA. That would be a good way to see if you like teaching. It would give you experience teaching (good for a teaching career) and living overseas (good for a business career). I think they went through agencies. You could also contact consulates.
If you know how to work the system and have the grades and test scores, it's totally possible to enter PhD programs in history and not pay for it. That would basically be deferring your career. With a PhD you could teach HS or college.
As an MBA I agree with Rebekah
What I found was that unless you want to go into Banking / Business, the MBA is the add on degree. When I was job hunting it was my Engineering degree that got me my job and my MBA that helped me get promoted.
This is how you will read on the resume "I have an BA in history and I have an MBA".
I'm not sure what the two together will buy you compared to every other BA in history. In the job market. Now Masters in History, that is another level and lets you teach at Universities as an instructor.
The best bet is to go to the career center and ask to see the MBA job listings. It will let you know what companies are sourcing from your University. If you don't like the companies you may not want that degree from that University.
What are you doing right now? That will tell us a lot.
I am currently in my 4th semester of 8 of going to night school for my MBA. It was not a decision I made lightly and I am working my ass off to do this. I regularly am getting with many different advisors to continually focus down what it is I even want to do. I really wouldn't advise it if you don't have the drive. I've been kissing the feet of the execs so long, I have a huge, massive desire to be on their side of the desk. Even more so to be in consulting to tell the f'ers off and get paid for it.
Graduated in '97 with my BA with a double major of History and Political Science, other than a brief stint in construction and working in a factory, I've been working desktop and admin side of IT, pricing and pretty much aging myself out of that market.
Thanks all of you for sharing your input with me. Daniel, it definitely seems like you and I were in a very similar situation. Currently I am not working, my wife and I are about to move back to Idaho, where we want to establish our roots. The education system in Idaho is really going down hill. Tough to find jobs, and tons of program cutbacks as well as possible teacher cutbacks. There seems to be a trend towards online high school classes which seems like it won't work out well for newer teachers. That is definitely part of the reason I am conflicted. I am leaning towards taking a different career path.