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January 23, 2013


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Not to rain on your parade, but did you check to see what the job market is like for a marriage and family counselor in Portland?

Where I'm at the field is saturated and getting licensed requires a sponsorship from a clinic that is nigh impossible to get. A friend who recently got that holy grail and started working was rocking a whole $28K a year, working full time.

I'm all for following your dreams, but a piece of paper does not equate to success and money. It might just mean more debt. I'd slow down and do some research first, if you haven't already.


FUCKING LOVE THAT LAST COMMENT!! I'm learning to cope, with all the crazy medical madness in my life, but teaching my kids how to cope?? WOAH!! Mind blown!! AWESOME!

And yes, I have learned that until I take care of ME, I can't even remotely take care of anyone or anything else!!

Keep trucking....

Rachel R.

Wow. You and I keep having more in common than I realized. I was also taking care of an infant when I was eight years old. Unfortunately, the deadline for most schools' applications is in February. I found that out when I applied to graduate schools. Similarly, I need to get motivated to apply for teaching jobs now for Fall quarter, since this is when they're doing all of their hiring.

Like I wrote in your other post, I've recently been able to start making a change in my attitude toward things and become much calmer in the last month. However, the stress about running late or having too much to do still gets to me a lot. I'm still not sure how to handle it. If I figure it out, I'll let you know. One thing that helps is to make sure that you take deep breaths. It calms you down and helps you think clearer.

Rayne of Terror

I understand the draw of graduate school. I have the privilege of having done the graduate school (a top tier public in-state tuition law school) I wanted to do. But from this side I can see a lot of graduate school is fools gold. Be SO SO careful of taking on non-dischargeable debt for what may or may not be a worthwhile extra degree. If I has it to do over again I would not go because the student loan debt now figures into every (financial) decision I make.

That said, I am so very, very glad to see you taking care of yourself and it seems like you were out of control for awhile and now you've turned a corner. Hang in there, I'm rooting for you.

Rachel R.

Unfortunately, I'm going to echo the sentiment of others expressed here. Four years after graduating, my graduate degree has not equaled any job for me. However, it taught me how to craft a story, so that is invaluable to me. If you do not think that you will benefit from a graduate degree, other than landing a job, you may want to really consider it. You also may need to move to a small town to build up experience because bigger cities, like Portland, are saturated.

Jen D.

What is your rush? You said you just decided to go to school...shouldn't you do a needs assessment for the field you want to work in and plan finances, etc? I'm all for chasing your dreams, but I really think you need to slow down and make sure this is the right decision and the right career before adding more stress and financial woes to your life...


Amanda, all the other posters are right. I'll be more blunt. Don't be an idiot. The market is saturated up and down the west coast and beyond. Call yourself a "Life Coach", print up some business cards, and do it that way. I live in Marin County, and life coaches are the "thing". They make a bloody fortune and you don't even have to be licensed. You can be people's "little mother", and advise them on life choices AND finances (utilize the education you've already paid for.)Bonus: Just like many mechanics drive beaters that haven't had the oil changed in a year, most life coaches I've run into are disasters in their private life. So you'll fit right in.


"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be." ― Shel Silverstein


This will most likely make absolutely no difference at all in your decision, but keep in mind the fact that graduate school is going to leave you with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and a degree that very well may not net you a job that pays any more than what you make now. A (rare) good starting salary for a licensed counselor is around $30,000 a year. When you factor in the student loan payments you will be making, on top of rent, food, utilities, etc., your financial situation will be markedly WORSE after graduate school than before. Going full time, the course work and practicum will take you 2-3 years. That is 2-3 years of struggling in order to make what a basic administrative job could pay you right now. And right now, you do not have $20k-30k in student loan debt to pay off on top of your regular bills. This pursuit of this degree might very well ruin you.

I am so sorry to sound like I am trying to squash your dreams, but I'd like to think of this as a warning from someone who knows this story all to well. I know about a dozen people right now who are struggling to find work in their graduate fields, and they are all being crushed under the weight of their massive student loan debt. Library science degrees, urban planning degrees, social science degrees, and, yes, counseling degrees are expensive degrees that do not result in well-paying jobs. Chasing this degree will just make whatever financial hole you are in right now get larger and more impossible from which to emerge.

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