Tuesday, April 6, 2010

College Musings and Blues

I am old for a college student, in regards to my peers, at the age of 26. Until last year, I was completely unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, and things changed. For the better, or so I thought.

I have always been interested in knowing things, especially history since so much of what we know about our history is missing. Due to this, I decided to go to school in a feeble attempt to become educated enough to, hopefully, become a professor. Since the nearest college of any type is over an hour away from me, I was limited to online college classes (and still am). After exhaustive research into the myriad of for-profit schools and their shortcomings, as well as online class schedules for traditional schools, I settled on Grand Canyon University.

As a college, GCU is decent and though I worry about the quality of what I being taught, I find solace in the fact that the college is regionally accredited. Of course, they do not have a Masters program in what I the subject that I wanted, namely History, nor do they have a Masters program in the subject that I have recently decided that I would prefer to become part of, namely Anthropology. Of course, they do not even have a BA program for Anthropology, but that is neither here nor there.

In looking at the time it will take to get at least a Masters degree, the cost of getting such a degree, the job availability for such a degree, and the average salary, I became very worried. So i started to look around my area for jobs that require degrees and the prospects are not just disheartening, they are outright bullshit.

Many jobs require at least a BA in a given subject, but also require 3 to 5 years of experience. Okay, I can see the need for experience, but how is one to get said experience if no one is taking new graduates? Secondly, the wage for these jobs are at the $13/hour mark. $13 dollars and hour? Why would anyone go to school for this and spend 3 to 5 years in a similar job for the experience, when I am currently getting paid $10 an hour for a non-educated job? I do not understand why people do this and looked into my own future job field and saw that it was rather good.

However, a good friend of mine is 3 classes away from graduating from a Technical College for an Associates in Web Design and has average wage prospects out of the gate that are only a little less than the prospects someone would have if they had a Masters in Anthropology. I mulled it over for a while. I have coded 2 business websites (very basic, but they still are decent: http://www.wishwood.com and http://www.bransonrv.net) for two people that I know, so while it was done for free, they got what they paid for. I.E. an amateur.

Now I am looking into finding a school that offers such a class and degree, because while web design is not my favorite thing in the world, I find it easy and coding seems to work well with my thought processes. The only problem is, no one is offering that sort of degree in a 250 mile radius from where I live! The closest degree offered is a Graphic Design degree, but it is dealing with font creation, screenprinting, and textiles. Not that I have anything against those things, but if I want a font there are thousands for free online and if I want to screenprint something there are numerous tutorials out there for anyone to find. There is even a college (Drury College) that offers classes that are held in Second Life, but no Web Design degrees except for an 18 credit course for teachers that is meant to help teachers create classroom blogs.

I have scoured the web for colleges and technical colleges that offer the degree that I want (Web Design). I have only found one for-profit school that is not accredited (is only a "Candidate") and has some rather poor reviews (yup, ITT Tech), and one Web Design course at a local tech school that only has 1 coding class that seems to think that a 9-week class will teach someone everything they need to know about html, java, and flash to build professional websites. In other words, what I have found are jokes.

If anyone out there can help point me in the correct direction, I would be extremely thankful.

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