Going Back to College After 30 and with Kids?

Updated on May 30, 2013
A.H. asks from Clearfield, UT
16 answers

My husband went to college years ago, got an accounting degree ( no cpa) then went to get a master in business management, but did not finish due to job relocation to another state. He has not been able to get hired in any job related to his education, he finally give up on finding a job as accountant or any management job. Anyways ,he has a permanent job now, low salary but pays all the bills, his coworkers only have high school diplomas, he is the only one with higher education in the office, but they all make the same salary and some even more( those with more years in the job) so, could it be a wise idea to go back to school for another career. He works at a near hospital and has realized he loves the medical field,but he and i think it is too late for him to go back to school. Specially cause we have children to feed, we cannot afford to quit his job...so could it be a wise option or not?

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answers from Baton Rouge on

I went back at almost 30 and was the single parent of a toddler. I worked full time and went to school full time. It can be done.

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answers from San Francisco on

The "medical field" is pretty wide and vague. Does he want to be a doctor, a PA, an administrator, what? How much college is he thinking about, what exactly is required?
If you are home full time with the kids he can probably do it part time, evening classes (depending on what kind of degree he's going for) but it will take a while. I earned my Bachelor's Degree this way but it took me ten years. Of course, I took time some time off after each pregnancy, so that naturally made it take longer.
If you are working too then I imagine this will create some stress, as he will be home less and less to help with the home and kids.
It's never too late to go back to school (I was 37 when I graduated!) but you both need to go into it knowing EXACTLY what you are getting into as far as time commitment and COST. I was able to pay for school, I didn't incur any debt, that's something you need to consider too. Would the potential extra income pay off any student loan debts he may incur?

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answers from Miami on

I thought at first that you were the one who wanted to go back to school. And I was going to tell you that my mom did it, and you could too. However, you are talking about your husband here.

Honestly, I think he's working in the wrong place. NO ONE has a college degree in his office - that just means that he will never advance there and all the college work he did is for naught.

He needs to continue to look for better employment, even if it's not in the medical field. He could look into finishing his masters online, if it's possible. Some places actually pay for classes as long as they are related to his field.

I hope he doesn't give up looking for a job more akin to his level of education. My husband wouldn't have the job he has at all if he hadn't gotten his masters. If you are positioned right in a job, the masters can make all the difference in how you are promoted.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Accounting is one of the hottest job fields right now, so it sounds like you must live in a terrible job market. I think it comes down to whether you want to stay or move.

If you want to stay, he needs to find a career path that will value his college education. Maybe it makes sense to get a different degree, but think hard about the investment. There's a big difference between going to nursing school and becoming an MD. It's going to mean a lot of single parenting on your end, no matter what.

If you're willing to expand the job search, he should be able to get something in accounting. An MBA and even a CPA isn't essential right now to get hired (although both help).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I would suggest he schedule a visit with a career counselor at at least two different schools that he is interested in. He could get more information about programs offered, class schedules, expectations, and possible financial aid. They should also be able to help him figure out what he is most interested in pursuing and the employment possibilities. (MN has a site www.iSeek.org, that has a lot of that information on it. Your state might also have something like this.)

I've been working and going to school for a total of 15 years (masters and now PhD). It IS possible, but the two of you need to get more information and discuss the practical side of how you would work together to make this happen.

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answers from Seattle on

4 years of school
35 years till retirement

Do the math

31 years of new salary
Vs 35 years at present salary


If you're barely getting by... It may actually make MORE sense to be in school.

- Financial aid (grants & loans)
- Student family housing
- Subsidized daycare

Purely on a money aspect... I "made" more by being in school when my son was little, than I could have working. This isn't true for everyone, but its true for many.

Back in the beginning, when my marriage was good... I went to school full time, my husband part time & he worked part time. Combined, we brought in 50k per year in grants & loans, and saved over 30k per year (daycare, housing, insurance, bus passes, etc.). Meaning that our actual standard of living was at 80k. Versus the 36k we made as 2 entry level jobby job workers.

The HARDEST time was when we switched (my ex went full time, and I went part time... Because he graduated 2 years before I would have. And got a great job. My ex is math challenged... His new salary nixed all my funding, but there wasnt enough for me to stay in school. So I had to take 2 years off

So Im very serious... Do the math.

Long term, he has over THIRTY YEARS to be working... So he probably "should" go back to school. Whether that's 1 class a quarter, or quit his job & go full time depends on the funding available. Which is set up a year in advance in most cases. Meaning you'll have a year to prep for the change... But do be smart. Do the math. Figure out the best course for your family.

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answers from Chicago on

Tell him to go!!!! He can take a couple of classes at a time or take some online. There are ways to do it with kids, jobs, and responsibilities. And, I know at least my community college has lots of resources and support for adults going back to school and who have families and such. I'm sure others have the same- at my school it's called TRIO.
It's not easy to juggle all the family and work stuff with school but it can be done.
I agree with the other posters who said to visit a school and speak with a career counselor to figure out exactly what he wants to do and how to go about it.
Good luck to him and yay for him going back to school!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

My husband did his MBA and got his Masters while working full-time. It was tough on me because I was basically a single parent for those years, but it DID open a lot of doors for him. That was 15 years ago and now, he's making a fantastic salary - we are very comfortable, financially.

Your husband should look into programs that offer evening classes. It might take him longer, but he wouldn't have to quit his job. It might be tough on you with him being a full-time worker and full-time student and unable to be there a lot of the time. But if he and you have the motivation and drive, you'll be able to pull it off. It might seem scary and the risk might seem high, but the payoff may very well be worth it - it might be the best thing for the long term interests of your family.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I think going back to school is a great idea. However, it may not happen exactly as he may want it.. By that I mean, he may have to take one or two evening classes. Which means that yes, he would need to keep his current job.

That isn't a bad thing, in fact, his not being in a management position at this time and not having the kind of responsibility that goes along with that type of position may allow him to have the energy he will need to attend night classes. That isn't to say that people who aren't in management don't have stressful busy jobs, In fact they do, I just mean that at least he may not have a big traveling schedule and duties that might cause him to work 60 hours or more a week (which is what some of the managers I know do)

That said.. while it doesn't appear that he has his dream job, could be something better is in store. You said he loves the medical field , maybe as you noted, it took his working near a hospital to realize this. Had he gone into management or cpa work, then could be that dream would never be realized..

So No, it's NEVER too late to return to college... as mentioned he will just have to go at night and or on the weekends... there are many ways to achieve a goal and many different roads in which to use...

I would also bear in mind that despite a person not having a high school diploma, often those with more on the job work experience are more qualified.. so degree or not, some things you just can't learn in school... which leads me to .. even when if he goes back to school for the medical field, he may still have to work his way up the ladder... in which case, it's also one's personal attitude that plays a role in their success.

I would say to him, keep positive, always be grateful and yes, do follow your dreams and if that is going back to school... find a way to make it work within your current life structure..

go for it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Many colleges have programs that are structured around a full time job, so he wouldn't have to quit his job. Some are even online and can be completed WHENEVER he wants. However, he will be BUSY - so you guys will have to figure out which is more important.

I went back to school at 38 and got a Master's Degree in Computer Information Technology. I can tell you that Health Informatics is a HUGE business right now.... that would combine your husbands math skills with medical technology.

I can tell you it was difficult... especially if he is changing fields. I did. I had to study for the first time in my life. They estimated that school was 20 hours of "work" for each class outside of the class time - in projects and papers and general studying. I found that to be generally true, but more in some classes if I didn't have any background in that subject.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wichita Falls on

It can be done. It is HARD but if your husband is unhappy with his current career path, he needs to find an alternate plan. There are a number of colleges that cater to non-traditional students that have schedules that will work around a standard work week.

Having said that, he needs to know what he wants to do and where he wants to be, not kinda think he might be interested in. I would first look into a aptitude test to figure out what he is suited to, then visit the school and map out how to accomplish it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Youngstown on

I live in an area where people with Master's degrees have trouble finding work as well. I'm going to be 34 soon and have a 13 year old son. I'm a nurse and I went back for my bachelor's, which will be done in August (yay!) and I am expecting a baby October 1st. I plan to start grad school in the spring. I will also be working, probably 2 12 hour shifts a week, not so much because I have to but because I will need the experience to get into the field I want after grad school. It is hard, but many schools are offering much more flexible programs now because of the influx of adult students due to the economy. I go to Kent State U and they have several nursing programs becoming available which are mostly online, with clinical hours on the weekends to try to accommodate working parents. Many of the people I run into in my classes are adults with degrees in different fields who have decided to make a career change. The oldest person in my clinical group right now is almost 50 years old. If he has post bachelor's education, he may want to even look into becoming a physician's assistant...the programs in Ohio will accept any undergrad degree. It is hard, but it can be done. I am sort of a "life long learner", I will probably always want to go back to school for something, so I don't ever think that it's too late, it may just take a little longer with the responsibilities of work and a family. If you have any questions I could help you with feel free to inbox me. I hope this helps and good luck!!!
Also...Just thought I would mention this...if he is not sure which area of the medical field he would like to get into, many hospitals have an "education department" and can make arrangements for prospective medical/nursing/radiology/etc. students to shadow employees so that they can get an idea of where their interests are. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

it's never too late-my mom's friend (now in her 80's) went to law school at age 40.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

He is WAY underemployed if he is the only one with a degree and graduate classes. It may be your geographical area or that he just settled. It doesn't sound like healthcare is his thing, just found a job processing whatever. I bet my 19 year old daughter makes more as a restaurnat server, sad but true.

There are so many options in the "medical field". I'm in laboratory sales calling on hospitals and physicians....nobody has only a high school diploma.

Regarding school...he is going to be the same age regardless. Will it be a change? Sure. I think he needs to look around seriously for other options with his current degree and also explore education.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

I graduated from high school and wanted a break from school. I went into the army at 18 and got out when I was 24. I went back to school after I got out of the army. I am a single mother and I work full time. I also go to school full time. I talked my sister into going back to school as well. She is in her 30s and started a year ago. She has the only income and is a mother of three. She is a better student than I am and has made the deans list every semester. She is very OCD about her work. I am on the other hand very average and my grades show that. But I am passing my classes. It can be done you just have to be willing to put in the time. Now if you aren't really feeling this you should let him know. If you don't want to support him in this it will be more a problem than anything. He will need about 2 hours of time alone if he takes an online class and more if he has to go to campus. A lot of the medical classes may not be offered online.

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answers from Honolulu on

Per his Employer's job description and job requirements for the position, a "degree" is probably not mandatory or even required. For his job. Thus, his co-workers do not have college degrees and only High School diplomas. And they got hired.
Hence, that is the pay they make. Because-- Their job position and being hired for it, is NOT contingent on having a college degree. So it doesn't matter, that your Husband has a higher degree than them. The job, does not require one. So they all make the same starting... pay.
For the others in the office that make more pay... it is because: they have more years there on the job. And so, per annual reviews or annual "raises"... those people have accrued higher pay. Because, they have MORE years on that job. They have seniority. In pay. Because they have more years on the job. And per annual reviews/raises... their pay has increased incrementally. This is typical of companies.
I used to work, in HR.

Now, your Husband is thinking of going back to school in the medical field.
But he has to FINISH his degree. In order to get, a better position and pay. If he goes to school and never finishes his degree and never actually graduates, he will not have achieved anything. Going back to college will be moot.

MANY MANY people, go back to college at that age and older.
My Husband did. And finally, got his degree. He did it while we did have our children. BUT, he also had... a FULL time job, while going to school at the same time. It is hard and time consuming. But now that my Husband actually finished his degree and graduated... he THEN got, better jobs. With better pay. BECAUSE... the jobs he applied for, REQUIRED a certain 4-year college degree. On which, the job pay, is contingent upon.
This is typical, with jobs which require, HIGHER education degrees.

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