Careers Vs. School

Brittany Hayes, Reporter

Soon-to-be-graduates are deciding whether to seek jobs upon graduation or apply to graduate school, and they’re finding that for certain majors, graduate study is a must.

Dr. Glen Tellis, Speech Pathology chair, said that the job market for Speech Pathology majors who do not continue onto graduate school is grim.

“You can do nothing with an undergraduate degree in Speech Pathology. There is nothing you can do. You can become an aid, but if you don’t get into a Master’s program then you cannot practice as a speech pathologist,” said Tellis.

Tellis said job availability of aid positions is limited to certain parts of the country and the pay is little more than minimum wage.

“Texas has aids and they do have paid aid positions but maybe it is 10 bucks an hour, 12 bucks an hour, whatever the minimum wage is for that area,” said Tellis.

Getting into a graduate program is not very easy for an aspiring speech pathologist, however. Tellis said a school such as Penn State will have around 400 ap- plicants per year for their graduate program but only 20 positions to offer to students. This makes the field highly competitive.

“On average, to get into a Master’s program, you need a minimum of 3.8 or 3.9 GPA. There are times I’ve had a student with a 3.8 GPA and they cannot get into a Master’s program,” said Tellis.

MU is one of a handful of universities in the country that has a five-year program for speech pathology that enables students to obtain their Master’s degree. Students must keep a 3.5 GPA to stay in the major.

Because of the five-year program, MU can only take in one or two students from different universities for the graduate program each year. Tellis said some applicants with GPAs as high as 3.9 have been wait listed due the high demand.

Even after obtaining a graduate degree, student must complete a fellowship, which is similar to a residency. They must also apply for a state license.

“It’s a paid fellowship. At that time you are really on your own, at the hospitals, schools, wherever you choose to work. At the end of the 9 months you apply to speech language hearing association for your certificate of clinical competence to practice and you apply to the state you work in for your license to work,” said Tellis.

Job opportunities are abundant and Tellis said that the job market is going to continue to grow in the future. As a result, professionals demand to be treated fairly.

“I had this girl call me and she was in an organization, and she was working there for four years and they underpaid me, over- worked me, didn’t appreciate me, and weren’t flexible with my work schedule so I gave them two- weeks-notice and said goodbye. She got a $15,000 raise somewhere else. It’s rare to have a field where you can do that,” said Tellis.

Philosophy majors also need to think about completing grad school applications.

Dr. Mark Painter of the philosophy department warns students that without a Master’s degree, jobs are limited.

“When somebody wants to major in philosophy they are usually interested in going to graduate school because there’s no real job for a philosopher with a BA. It’s not like we’re looking for a philosopher. There’s a publication that the American Philosophical association has called jobs for philosophers but it’s almost exclusively academic for people with higher degrees,” said Painter.

Students who obtain philosophy undergraduate degrees often go into fields such as science, business, or law. When this happens, those students are likely to make more money than their peers, according to Painter.

“The thing about the undergraduate degree by itself is that there has been some studies, but they show that people who have philosophy degrees and no other degrees going into business or whatever – mid career – end up having higher salaries than other people who have just an under- graduate degree, say in history or something of that sort,” said Painter.

Painter believes this is because philosophy majors are self-motivated problem-solvers as a result of their undergraduate course work.

He said one way students can stand out among graduate school applicants is to be published before even leaving college.

“There are a lot of undergraduate journals where someone can get published before going to graduate school. That way you can go in there and you can show them ‘this is what I did.’ This is an indication of commitment to the field.”

Another tip is to attend as many philosophy conferences as possible and network with other people in the field.

“We’re trying to get our majors connections with other schools so they can get letters of recom- mendation from people other than just our professors because we’re pretty small here. It becomes incestuous in a way. You’re coming out of a small department, of course they are going to write you good evaluations. So if you can get evaluations from someone from another institution because you met this person at a conference then that looks better on your resume,” said Painter.

Those who wish to make philosophy a life’s work need to go all the way – to the Ph.D.

In sports management, a graduate degree is not required to obtain work, but Dr. David Gargone, Director of Sport Management, said students should move directly to a graduate program if they wish to obtain their Master’s.

“Students are already in school mode. It’s always a challenge to come back to school when you’ve already started your life.”

Gargone also encourages students to go immediately for their MBA because later in life, they might not have the time to go back to school.

“One thing also that I see when I talk to professionals who are very successful in their careers, who don’t have Master’s degrees, is that they cannot come back and teach. They want to come back into the classroom, but they can’t because they didn’t get their MBA or graduate degree. A lot of them can’t go back to school because their career is too demanding or they have families,” said Gargone.

He said students should, however be forewarned about the more rigorous graduate school curriculum.

“Make sure you are ready for the change in academic intensity and also to understand an MBA or graduate degree doesn’t guarantee you anything professionally. A lot of students have the misconcep- tion that if they stay in school an extra year then they are better than everyone. That really is not the case,” said Gargone.

The Master’s degree will not lead to an increase in pay, either, until many years down the road.

“The Master’s degree in most business situations are going to pay off for people further in their career, so I highly encourage students to participate in our 5 year MBA program with the under- standing that the MBA isn’t going to make a difference when they are 22-23 but when they have 5, 10, 15 years worth of experience,” said Gargone.

Most entry-level jobs in the field are low-level positions, he said.

“Most students, if they want to work on the professional side of sports, are going to start at an entry-level position usually ticket sales or some sort of sales,” said Gargone.

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