Husband Wants to Change Careers

Updated on March 13, 2013
T.L. asks from Cuba, MO
10 answers

My husband came home from work last night and wants to go back to school. He has a B.S. and then some more college. The field he now wants to go into is in a complete opposite direction and may cause us to relocate (I'm ok with this part as long as I have family close by). Our problem is that we are still (and not even close to paying off) paying on his other school loans. He is the bread winner per say. I do work full-time, but make less than half of what he does. Me supporting our family is not possible with my current job. I am really scared about this. He said he isn't going to quit work and go back to school, but I really don't want to add another 2 years of schooling onto the debt he currently has. As soon as I graduated I paid back all of my student loans asap so I owe nothing towards my schooling.

Has anyone else gone through with a sig. other totally changing careers, or have you?

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So What Happened?

It is a master's degree.

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answers from Raleigh on

My husband did. He went back and got a second degree in accounting after we got married. He continued to work part-time, also. We just rolled up the debt into one after he finished, and we are still paying on it. :(
The good part is that the second degree isn't as expensive as the first (as long as it's not a master's or doctorate). Most of the general college credits from the first degree will transfer to the second.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Houston on

Funny you should ask this. My wife in the process of purchasing a franchise as we speak. The process should be completed mid April. We have been talking about it for almost 4 months. It is in the same line of work she is currently in, but this will be her company. Big leap.
It is a HUGE step with her being the sole earner. It was part of the reason we just moved (to reduce monthly expenses). It will be an adjustment for all involved.
Make sure the two of you talk it to death, every angle, all the what-if's.
Maybe set a timeline. Talk talk talk .

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answers from Washington DC on

Yes. My husband started grad school 4 months after we got married. I was bitter and jealous to be honest but made peace with it and moved on. He was in the program for four years and we had a child during his final year which included an internship AND him maintaining his FT career. Was it easy? No but it is done and he is in a job that makes him happy which makes me happy. He went from a state job with ridiculous demands with limited staff to a job that is busy but brings him a sense of joy and accomplishment. He is in a school system that allows him to be home earlier every day, has holiday breaks, including 6 weeks in the summer to be with our first child and I when #2 arrives this summer as well. The debt is the unfortunate part but look for grants/scholarships, etc. I know a lot of agencies cut tuition reimbursement when budgets are tight but that could be an option.
What are you afraid of? That is the part I don't really understand? I hate debt! I am still paying on a student loan and I graduated 14 years ago but I don't let it get me down or cause me fear. No debt is 'good debt' but Student loans don't have much weight unless you aren't paying them.
I don't think it is healthy for your husband to stay at a job that he doesn't like. He will become a slave to it and it will sap the joy out of other areas in his life. I think it is worth the research into the program he wants to pursue. See how it can work financially and along with the family schedule and go from there.

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answers from Springfield on

I've made a career change, but like you I had no loans. I was also single and was able to find a graduate assitantship to pay for school.

It might be time to try and think outside the box. Are there any scholarships he can apply for? Is the degree he's seeking a graduate degree? Could he get a graduate assistantship to pay for it?

If he has a very specific program in mind, I would suggest he speak to someone in that department. When I wanted to go back to school I set up a meeting with the assistant chair of the department. She was very helpful in many ways, but she was very interested in helping me find ways to pay for school. Working with her, I was able to find an assitantship.

Are there any job opportunities at a college/university? Employees sometimes get free tuition or at least discounted tuition. If he's able to find a job at the school, he can begin taking a class or two each semester.

Talk to people and keep asking questions. There are ways to pay for school other than loans.

ETA - Since you mentioned he wants a Master's Degree, definitely ask about assistantships. My assistantship paid all tuition and fees, a monthly stipend (not much, but it was still helpful) and health insurance. I did have to pay for my books. Depending on the field it might be possible to get the books used. It's really worth at least exploring.

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answers from Dallas on

Well, yes and no. I say yes, because for almost two years my husband bounced around trying to find his "perfect" job. He got it and was so dissapointed and realized he liked what he was doing prior to the two years of bouncing. (I swear we changed insurance so much, I am an expert on plans now - LOL)
However, none of his changes required additional schooling. He did consider getting a teaching certificate and I was supportive, but he lost energy there, too.

My sister and I had a discussion about all this bouncing and indecision and is it a "guy thing" or not, but the conclusion we both came to is - let him do it. We are not their mothers. We are their partners and if the role was reversed would we want their support? Yes! Also we realized sometimes this mussing or discussion of career change was just that - thinking out loud, bouncing ideas off of us. So, if he is still going to work full-time, the $$ and opportunity is there for this new career, then support him. What is two years of school costs if you can make it up in increased pay or increased satisfaction and happiness in the long-run:)

Just to clarify - my sister's husband was bouncing at the same time - we are not married to the same guy. I re-read it and it sounded funny.

EDIT: I am working on my masters. Totally worth it. AND he could possibly get departmental or university scholarships. I was fortunate enough to get my last year of grad school scholarshiped by the department.

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answers from Boston on

I haven't done it yet but am considering biting the bullet and switching to a more technical kind of role, which will require that I get some business intelligence certifications. I figure that if I hate the classes I'll hate the career so it's worth finding out whether or not it's a good fit. My husband is still trying to pick a career and he's 44. To his credit he's been in the same industry for 9 years, which is a record for him, but he has had more than 10 employers in that span and hates what he does. In exploring different careers he's taken a few classes at night here and there to see what he likes and does well (nothing has really clicked so far).

For me, it would depend on what the career change is to. Underwater basket weaving? Um, no. A useless, generic MBA? Probably no to that too. A master's in something where it opens up opportunities that he can't get without the advanced degree and where the increased income will pay for the cost of schooling in a few years? Yes.

My most successful friends all have advanced degrees. I have a friend who went to law school at 35, right after her husband got some advanced degree in accounting. They had two small children at the time. They were both already in fields where the advanced degrees would pave the way to better paying positions and both worked FT while in school. It's a lot, but if he's realistic about the degree and his job prospects and it will benefit you all in the long term, it's probably worth a serious look.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

A year after getting out of college and starting a career I decided to pursue a Master's degree in Education even though I did not have any prior education/background in Education. So it was a complete career change for me too. Hubby and I were still only dating but living together so I broached the subject with him so he would understand that my loans/debts would be 'ours' when we got married. He said if it made me happy, then it would make him happy. I was going to go into education, and we knew I would not be making a lot of money. I did University of Phoenix and it cost me 36K. But I got to keep my job and do it online which is what I wanted to do.

I never did find a teaching job, but having my Master's degree led me to a different and better job (ie: higher paying) than I would have had IF I were a teacher. So in the end, it worked out because I am making more than I would have if I would have not pursued my Master's degree OR went into teaching. That being said we are still paying off my loans and will be for awhile. But I think the decision was the right one.

Adding more money onto a loan is certainly scary, but a good thing is that he can put his loans (old and new) on hold (I'm pretty sure) if he goes back to school full time then can defer them for a certain period of time and do a repayment plan that will work with your household budget.

In the meantime, I would see where you can cut back in order to start saving or planning for the time when he wants to look for other work and may be out of a job.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

How much does he like/dislike his current job? How close is he to paying off his BS loans? If close to the end, I'd ask him to wait until he's done repaying them, but if he has several years left on them, I can't imagine waiting that long to change. Will he be miserable if he has to wait many years?

The agreement my husband and I have is that I won't take any more classes until my undergrad is repaid.

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answers from New York on

Yup. Same boat. I was debt free before I married. I had paid off my grad school, and paid off a mortgage. Hubs left his career when he moved to NY to live with me. He thought he could do well here without further schooling, but after several low paying dead end jobs, he and I talked about it and he applied to law school. He went full time and I was the sole wage earner. We decided that an unfulfilling and low paying day job would just distract from and prolong his study. He's incurred a mountain of debt. We had the stress of getting married and having a child all the while, and have acquired a mortgage and moved house too.

I can't say I was thrilled throughout, but I applaud him for having the courage, as an older student, to undertake and pursue a new career and to have landed a first job in his prefered practice area.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

If he's unhappy at work then he's going to eventually be unhappy in life in general too. I think if he can do that classes and get the other degree he should go. You should be able to have the same choice too though.

A masters can be done in a short amount of time, like a year or year and a half if he works year round and does't take summer or interim time off.

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