I have a BA degree in history. I am searching for a career and after long consideration I don't think pursuing a Masters/PhD in history is worth the time, stress, and still lack of career prospects. I want a career that pays decent (35K and up) with some insurance benefits. Some advice would be appreciated on where I can go from here. This BA was possibly the biggest mistake I have ever made but I now want to try to undo the damage done.
I can go back to Grad school but with a history degree I am rather limited in what I can pursue a masters in. Accounting is so far the only graduate program that accepts non-accounting students. If there are other good fields out there I would love some input.
Should I be certified in a specific trade or field? Could I be certified to do something in machinery or in the medical profession?
I just want a career that can get me out of my parents house. And military is an absolute last resort.
I don't know about that belief that only accounting school accepts non-majors. I got CS masters w/o having a CS degree (though I did have to go back and take the classes -- you can't do advanced CS till you've done basic CS!). Law school accepts majors from CS, math, English, history, whatnot. Etc.
I think you should think about what kind of job you'd like doing, and prepare for that.
You're going at this in the same backwards thinking that got you an undergraduate degree you're not happy with. You need to "begin with the end in mind," as Steven Covey would say. Don't find a degree program that will take a history major or you'll find yourself with a degree you don't want, again. Going back to school is fine but don't get an accounting degree by default.
What were your plans for your history degree when you started? Why has that changed?
If all else fails look for an entry level office job to get on your feet. Once you're there see what types of things you like and don't like. Look for opportunities to move into something you're interested in.
Are you really in Chicago? You've got a whole urban area to look at?
Liberal arts majors should just take whatever job they can get and see where it leads. My law firm likes to hire BAs as receptionists and promote them to legal secretaries. About half end up going to law school. Another half realize they hate law firms and go into teaching or whatever, they all make a living wage while they're here and excellent benefits.
As you look on monster, craigslist, and linkedin, be sure to also look at the government jobs listings, too.
Your university also has career counselors for people just like you.
Then why'd you major in something that's not exactly marketable?
Don't think career right now. Get out there and get a job, any job if you're that desperate to be independent.
What was your goal for your history degree? Most people with majors like that, end up teaching.
So, why not pursue teaching?
Agreed. Look into teaching certification. Teachers make better money than you'd think. Solid work. Long summer vacation. Fairly steady employment. And you can work anywhere. Then again, there are a lot of really bad teachers out there that teach because they can't think of anything else to do ... so make sure you're doing it for the right reasons, and you're doing the kids justice.
There's always law school. They accept qualified candidates with all kinds of degrees. But, that's a big 'ol expenditure of time, effort and money if you're not sure you want to be a lawyer. Attorney job market can be a little rough, too.
But, Chuck's first question is the better one ... why did you get a history degree? This isn't a smart-assed rhetorical question. What drove you to pursue a degree in history? What did you want to do with it? What was the original plan?
You can do anything a high school graduate can do. Other than that, there are sales, office work, research, writing, and military.
My goal was to teach and I am certified to teach, however the job market for social studies teachers is terrible. There are hundreds of candidates for one job opening. As much as I would love to teach, I also have to be realistic. Finding office jobs and other jobs that pay on average $10 an hour is better than doing nothing, but I would never be able to live on that in the long-run. Right now I am 24 years old and feel that I should be settled by now. I cannot think of any other long-term options besides going back to school. And following the rule of "do something that you love" is how I ended up in this situation.
Long term is not what you need to be thinking about if you can't even support yourself now. Get that job that pays ten an hour and start saving cash to relocate to a more prime area for work.
Thinking long term is always a good thing. Short term thinking is how people end up feeling trapped. You don't have a ton of time to think long term, you need to make a move, but don't make a short term decision that you then regret.
Take advantage of the fact that you can live with your parents for a bit. The last thing you want is to get a job you and an apartment and then want to leave after a month to go for a teaching job somewhere else.
Then there's your answer. Teach. If the teaching job market is dead where you are ... move somewhere else. It ain't dead everywhere.
My sister-in-law just got hired teaching 1st grade at a brand new school. My wife just switched from a music teacher into the 2nd grade classroom. My brother just got a fresh teaching job (high school band director) in a completely new town ... after traveling all over Texas for what must've been a dozen interviews. This is all in the last two months.
Now's the time to be applying. If schools are hiring, they're hiring now. Get certified to teach all grade-levels from K-12, then blanket every school district you can think of with your resume'.
Where do you live?
Until you find something ... substitute teach. Easy gig to get -- mediocre money, at best, but its better than nothing. I did it for a few months between law school and the bar exam. All you need is a degree, a bit of training, a background check, and the ability to answer the phone at 5:45am and say "yes" to a job (that last one cooked my goose. I can't say "yes" to hardly anything -- sex, bacon, "do you want me to leave you the hell alone?" -- at 5:45 in the morning).
Also, for what its worth, it is often easier to transfer within a school or district than to get hired outright. So, if you can get offered a job at a rough school in a good district, or a position that isn't exactly what you want (math instead of history, elementary instead of high school, whatever) -- take it and transfer in a year or three when a better opportunity opens up. Lots of teachers have to put in their time in DMZ schools waiting on an opportunity in a good school. My wife did.
And, if you do a good job, long-term substitute jobs occasionally open up into full-time teaching positions when, for instance, a pregnant teacher decides to stay home with the kiddo or something.
There are lots of ways to get your foot in the door for a teaching gig. Your goal isn't unrealistic.