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nutherjrfan
nutherjrfan UberDork
10/15/19 6:56 p.m.
rob_lewis said:
NOHOME said:

 A PMP Certificate 

-Rob

wait do what now?

rob_lewis
rob_lewis UltraDork
10/15/19 11:21 p.m.
nutherjrfan said:
rob_lewis said:
NOHOME said:

 A PMP Certificate 

-Rob

wait do what now?

LOL.  While probably more fun and more lucrative, I meant a Project Management Professional certification. 

JesseWolfe
JesseWolfe New Reader
10/16/19 4:40 a.m.

I don't have a degree in anything, just a GED.  Turned wrenches for 13 years and moved to being a subway car electrician, I'll probably finish of my career in this field by the time I'm 52 and pension out making good money without a degree, but a bachelor's in some kind of aerospace engineering field would definitely help my post retirement goals. 

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
10/16/19 4:56 a.m.

In reply to infinitenexus :

All the degree gets you is past the screeners. HR people who see if you can be hired. 
 

You need that to get access to even be considered for most higher paying benefits offering jobs.  Can't fake it, too easy to check,  and then you're thrown out. 
 

The next question is do you go through the front door or the back door/ window?  Many many jobs are filled by relationships. Knowing the right guy, having a family member or friend make the connection past HR.  
 

 

That usually only works though if you have real experience. Successful experience you can point to and say, here's my documentation.  Letters of recommendation.  Awards, bonuses, achievement certificates.  ( Those have to be real too because you can bet HR will be asked to confirm them if you've bypassed  HR ). 
 

or Work for your family. 
 

One area you might look into is sales and marketing.  That's one of the better paid non specific areas where any degree is good enough. 
With language skills you'll be in high demand and foreign travel is especially financially rewarding. 
The job itself is more about building relationships than actual sales. 
What's good about that is sales can be extremely cut throat but relationship sales is more about friendship and people skills. As such you'll have a lot of job stability once you're established.  Management is well aware of the delicate nature of international sales. They only rock the boat if that is clearly called for.  

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
10/16/19 5:16 a.m.
SVreX said:

Having worked in a medical environment for the last few years, I say no, No, NO!! 

Unless you work well being micromanaged and accepting blame for stuff (in a PC manner), it’s a soul crushing environment. 

It looks really good on paper. But I’d say less than 5% of the people are really happy at what they do, and many live in fear of unpredictable work demands. (Unless you are a doctor)

Both of your posts are spot on the money.  I've a sister in law who's been a medical transcriptionist. And now she scrambles to find work. More and more doctors verbally report it and have computers do that work.  Sort of voice mail translation if you will.  
 

Yes a 4 year degree is entry level requirement for many better paying benefits offering jobs. And you can't fake it anymore. Too easy to be detected and once detected forget about getting hired.  Your credentials will get you hired but you need to get past HR 

 

 

johndej
johndej HalfDork
10/16/19 5:56 a.m.

If the GI Bill is paying for it why not? Get yourself eligible for more options. Hell I was just talking to some folks at Auburn University and they are starting a craft brewing degree. As has been said, do something that interests you... getting back to doing homework after any length of time having a life sucks (trust me).

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Reader
10/16/19 7:18 a.m.
Robbie said:

I suggest becoming an electrician.

I had considered this for a while and was going to go in that direction, but I forgot to mention that I wrecked my back and knees in the Army so most trades aren't much of an option for me.

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Reader
10/16/19 7:29 a.m.

So I spent a good portion of my GI Bill going to a local school for some certifications (A/V install and repair and video production*) but I have a bit left in it.  I will most likely just go to an online school, because I don't have the time (or the money left in the GI Bill) to go to school full time again.  My wife and I are moving down to Sebring, FL hopefully within the next few months, and with the smaller job market there I need something broadly applicable.  Medical billing is a pretty big industry down there.  State government jobs are a bit soul destroying but they have excellent benefits (my dad has been a state worker for 30 years now) and they're stable, and if I could land one of those then they would pay for college.  Right now I'm thinking business administration or possibly project manager (good recommendation, thanks).  From what I've read, business administration is one of the most widely applicable degrees out there, so that would help me just land a decent job.

Thank you everyone for all the replies, I really appreciate the advice!

Also since someone asked, currently I process insurance for a company down in Fell's Point.  My salary goals down in Sebring would be modest, $40K/year and up would be plenty for the low cost of living down there.

 

*There's a ton of video jobs in the DMV area so I went to school for it, and then after applying with three dozen companies I learned that not a single one is hiring for anything entry level, only for 5+ years of experience.  At least it got me my sweet wedding photography side job though.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/16/19 7:44 a.m.

Wedding photography??  Put some effort into that. 

Its all about marketing. If you can sell your services at the right price, you can make an excellent living without too many working hours. 

My DIL does it. She works on average 3 weekends a month, and makes about $3K per wedding. After expenses and 2nd camera, perhaps $2K. 

She makes $70K a year, with very little time and very few headaches. 

But she’s VERY good.

She’s also REALLY personable and encouraging.  My son is a top notch videographer, but he can’t do weddings. He doesn’t have the personality for it. 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/16/19 8:01 a.m.

...but still get your bachelors. 

bmw88rider
bmw88rider UltraDork
10/16/19 8:09 a.m.

From personal experience, A degree helps a lot if you want to move companies. Work paid for the majority of mine and I'm glad I did it in my 30's. I never had an issue with the content it was more just the desire to be there. I felt like I was missing something and working multiple jobs and going to school just sucked. So I'd pick up classes here and there and did a lot of CLEP exams. Cut my load down a year for less than $500. When I finally did it, The classes were easy to me because I had done the work for years and it really was a check the box activity. Graduated with a 3.95 GPA

 

So now I have no issues if I want to move companies and no need to start lower than I should. It never held me back within Dell but I knew I would have never even gotten interviewed if I had applied from the outside.

FuzzWuzzy
FuzzWuzzy Reader
10/16/19 8:22 a.m.

If $40k/year is enough and you enjoy not taking work home with you, go an admin route.

One of the easiest and most relaxing jobs I had was being an Admin Assistant 2, making $45k/year, great benefits, and banker's hours/days. Paid my bills, left me some money to throw around, and I got to see and be with my family all the time.

Can it get boring? Yes. Can you feel like you're not being used to your potential? Of course. Does it sound not exciting or glorious? Most definitely. But when you get down to it, isn't that the same for just about every job that isn't in engineering or running a company?

 

There is also going in the insurance route like my wife. Work with a State Farm agent, let them pay you around $15+/hr, pay your licensing fees, be essentially a licensed agent for your state and then go find an independant agency that'll pay you more and provide better benefits.

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Reader
10/16/19 9:06 a.m.
SVreX said:

Wedding photography??  Put some effort into that. 

Its all about marketing. If you can sell your services at the right price, you can make an excellent living without too many working hours. 

My DIL does it. She works on average 3 weekends a month, and makes about $3K per wedding. After expenses and 2nd camera, perhaps $2K. 

She makes $70K a year, with very little time and very few headaches. 

But she’s VERY good.

She’s also REALLY personable and encouraging.  My son is a top notch videographer, but he can’t do weddings. He doesn’t have the personality for it. 

I'm an excellent wedding photographer and if I were to stay in the DMV area I would pursue it full-time.  I work for a woman (I'm a 2nd-3rd shooter) that runs the business and she makes $3-4K per wedding, working almost every weekend per year and doing engagement shoots and similar shoots during the week.  She does very well for herself.  The downside is where I'm moving, the market is very different and much, much cheaper.  I will be pursuing some wedding photography down there on the weekends and hopefully I can land something good as a side gig, but I know I'll probably make less.  I dunno, maybe the pay for 2nd shooters is fairly universal.  But that's okay, I enjoy it and it's a nice way to sample some awesome food and enjoy myself.  I still need to learn the cupid shuffle and the wobble, though.

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Reader
10/16/19 9:11 a.m.
FuzzWuzzy said:

If $40k/year is enough and you enjoy not taking work home with you, go an admin route.

One of the easiest and most relaxing jobs I had was being an Admin Assistant 2, making $45k/year, great benefits, and banker's hours/days. Paid my bills, left me some money to throw around, and I got to see and be with my family all the time.

Can it get boring? Yes. Can you feel like you're not being used to your potential? Of course. Does it sound not exciting or glorious? Most definitely. But when you get down to it, isn't that the same for just about every job that isn't in engineering or running a company?

 

There is also going in the insurance route like my wife. Work with a State Farm agent, let them pay you around $15+/hr, pay your licensing fees, be essentially a licensed agent for your state and then go find an independant agency that'll pay you more and provide better benefits.

The cost of living down in Sebring is very low - the house we're looking at is big and in a wonderful community, for $150K.  So making $40K/year down there, combined with my military retirement and whatever my wife makes, will have us pretty set.  But there are less jobs down there, being a small town, and wages are notably less as well.  An administrative assistant job down in Sebring would probably pay 10-15K less than what you described.  My dad works for the state and makes I think around $68-70K/year down there and has the amount of financial freedom that I'd like.  So I figure something like $40K for myself as a starting point is a realistic and reachable goal.  Of course, more would always be better!  And having a degree that would give me the flexibility to search different paths would help a good bit as well.  

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Reader
10/16/19 9:17 a.m.

So due to time constraints, and because it's often cheaper with the GI Bill, I'll be using an online school.  Anyone have any recommendations for a good online place?  This is totally new territory for me.  Also on that project manager certification - is just a cert enough to land some good jobs, or is that something most people will scoff at and then require a bachelor's?

spitfirebill
spitfirebill MegaDork
10/16/19 9:23 a.m.

When the first Gulf War was going on, our company was caught up in the bad economy and going down the drain.  BMW was starting their new plant.  I wish to Hell I had gone to tech school to learn robotics and gone to work for them. .  

FuzzWuzzy
FuzzWuzzy Reader
10/16/19 9:30 a.m.
infinitenexus said:

So due to time constraints, and because it's often cheaper with the GI Bill, I'll be using an online school.  Anyone have any recommendations for a good online place?  This is totally new territory for me.  Also on that project manager certification - is just a cert enough to land some good jobs, or is that something most people will scoff at and then require a bachelor's?

Check out your local CC if you're only wanting your associates. For bachelor's, I've never cared for any of the online colleges; they all felt predatory to me. 

For the PMP cert, I was under the assumption you need to essentially apply to it, demonstrating your experience, like a few other certifications out there, but I could be wrong.

 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/16/19 9:39 a.m.
infinitenexus said:
 Also on that project manager certification - is just a cert enough to land some good jobs, or is that something most people will scoff at and then require a bachelor's?

Nobody pays high salaries to PMs just because they have certification. You have to produce, and that’s related to experience. 

The certificate gets you in the door. 

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Reader
10/16/19 10:11 a.m.

So is it truly worth pursuing or would be essentially a short cut, and should I just focus on a bachelors?  Sorry for the million questions, this is all pretty new and unknown territory for me.  Unfortunately online classes are going to be pretty much a must for me, also.

rob_lewis
rob_lewis UltraDork
10/16/19 10:14 a.m.

A PMP certification isn't an easy one as it requires the classes and demonstrated hours towards project management.  Now, some of those hours can be personal (one of my PMP's did that), but some will need to be business related.  I would agree that it will get your foot in the door.  In some cases, they still may require a degree, but it will be a much smaller subset. 

I think it's worth looking in to.  Getting an Agile certification (Scrum Master is most common) only requires the class to receive the certification.  However, a quick look at opportunities within 25 miles of Sebring, doesn't show anything open.  Depending on the state offices, however, more state institutions are trying to moved to Agile processes, so there might be something there.  Then again, I've seen a number of remote scrum master opportunities that might work.

-Rob

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
10/16/19 10:25 a.m.
infinitenexus said:
Robbie said:

I suggest becoming an electrician.

I had considered this for a while and was going to go in that direction, but I forgot to mention that I wrecked my back and knees in the Army so most trades aren't much of an option for me.

HOLD UP

Were you rated service-connected at all? Getting a military retirement and/or VA benefit?

With eligible GI Bill left you qualify for Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation where the VA pays you to get retrained in something that you want to do and can do, all the way through a Master's Degree if needed. Shoot me a PM ASAP.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
10/16/19 10:26 a.m.

Have you considered becoming a crane operator? It's a quick school and not too expensive to get certified, you won't be stuck behind a desk, and you can make very good money.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
10/16/19 10:33 a.m.

I may be a bit of a contrarian, but in my 20 years experience in the working world, I think the engineering degree is more worthwhile.  I know you're going to say, "What about all that math??"  Yes, the math sucks.  And I was bad at it- I flunked differential equations the first time I took it, and got a 'D' ('D' is for 'Diploma', by the way) the 2nd time.  I graduated with a bachelors in Mech Eng with a GPA of 2.4.

Because I'm hard-headed, I went back to school and got my Master's degree.  I managed a bit over a 3.0 this time (I forget exactly, might have been a 3.1 or 3.2).  Got a 'C' in "Advanced Differential Equations" (passed the first time!)

I won't sugar coat it.  College sucked.  It was 18-21 credit hours a semester, one summer semester, and took 4.5 years full time.  My Master's took me 4 years part time, while working.  

But it was worth it.  I'm 42, have no student loans left, and make enough to live comfortably in the Baltimore area while supporting a family (as the sole breadwinner).  

I went for engineering because I'm a hands-on guy and I wanted a degree I could take anywhere.  But I also knew I didn't want to be 60 years old and slinging wrenches for my livlihood someday.

ANY degree is better than no degree.  But you only live once.  

As for earnings- you gotta look at the long term.  When do you want to retire?  What are your current yearly expenses?  If you live on 40K a year, after taxes, without any money left over (and without saving anything) then you'll need about $1M to retire (on top of social security).  But of course, if you're not saving anything, then where's that million going to come from?  

Having multiple income streams is another big plus- you mentioned the wedding photography.  You could expand that out too.  Every Christmas we get family photos taken as presents for the grandparents.  We typically meet a photographer somewhere picturesque (like a park, or a forest, or a tree farm, or something) and they get $200 or $300 for 15-20 minutes of taking our pictures and then sending us 10 or 15 "finished" print choices.  We pay to get them printed online (at like vistaprint or something).   Seems to be a good market for this as the photogs we've used usually book up.  Then there's proms, wedding invite and save-the-date photo sessions, and other events.  Weddings are big money but also big pressure and commitments.  

yupididit
yupididit UberDork
10/16/19 10:39 a.m.

Seriously email me; cherrodover@gmail.com 

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Reader
10/16/19 10:43 a.m.
z31maniac said:

Have you considered becoming a crane operator? It's a quick school and not too expensive to get certified, you won't be stuck behind a desk, and you can make very good money.

Almost went that route, actually.  It's a solid career choice. For several reasons I decided against it and went with the desk route.

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