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What's the best thing to do after finishing my undergrad?

Hey y'all, I am finishing my undergrad in the next year and I'm having trouble figuring out what to do next. I have the option to stay on my school for one extra semester and get my credential; problem with that is, in the long term, I plan to get a MAT at some point and some programs I've been researching have a credential component anyways. Knowing that I thought it would make more sense to go straight into a masters program which would take longer than a semester but I would end up with a degree and credential. However, I'm not sure if that's the best choice for me financially, I was hoping to take a break after my upcoming graduation and try to work and save some money, I guess I would have more opportunities on that regard if I got my credential on that extra semester. So I'm just looking for some advice, has anyone had to make a similar decision? How did it turn out? Also open to hear y'all's opinion. 

Beatriz Santos Lima de Moraes
Beatriz Santos Lima de Moraes
30 Activity Points

Beatriz, James has some very good points for you to consider. What is your motivation for getting your masters? After 14 years of teachng, I did go back and get my masters. My motivation was to be able to go into administration when an opportunity came along. It's always better to have the certification and not need it, than to have an opportunity but not the qualification needed. I do know that having experience in the classroom helped me immensely with my masters. Good luck to you. 

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
92299 Activity Points

Hi Beatriz! It sounds like you'll be graduating with a degree but not a teaching credential/certificate. If so, and you want to become a teacher, I would get it soon and look for a teaching position. As you get experience, you may discover areas that you'd like to pursue in a Master's program (e.g., assessment, research, STEM, administration, curriculum). I'm not sure if districts still provide tuition assistance for grad school, but that would be worth looking into as you search for a job. Also, going for a Master's may help you with continuing education updates. Good luck! -- Mary B

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
10110 Activity Points

Hi Beatriz! I did have to make a similar decision. I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in English. While I was taking my undergraduate program, I worked summers for a federal agency. After graduation, I took my Master's Degree part time in the evenings and weekends while working for the same agency. I completed my Master's Degree in Education and got my certifications. Since I had a Master's, the certifications were lifetime. I left government service and taught in a parochial school for a year at which time I was offered a full time job with the government. After 30 years, I retired under full pension and went into teaching full time. This long story, for me, underscores a couple of things. First, make sure you get your certifications and credentials before you leave. Studies show that after students leave college, they generally don't go back. If you can get your Master's Degree while working, I would go for it. Studies tend to show that the more education and qualifications you have, the more you can earn. Not always the case, but it's good to play the percentages. Just my two cents but I would lean toward completing your educational program, first, and work, second. I know it's expensive, but the degrees, certifications, and credentials are life affecting decisions. Best of luck. Sounds like you will do just fine. :)

James Johnson
James Johnson
95308 Activity Points

I happened to get my Masters and teaching certification at the same time, but teaching was my second career. The reason I got my Masters over just a teaching certification was because I wanted a Masters, and also the course work for getting the Masters was just a little more than just getting the certificiate. I figured if I was going to do all of the work, I might as well get my Masters also. I also like that I could teach at a community college level with my Masters in the future if I wish. I can't tell you what to do but I think that having classroom experience is very important in the long run. If you are very close to getting the credential, I personally would finish it off. 

Brenda Velasco Mizenko
Brenda Velasco
2695 Activity Points

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