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To be contemplating starting another degree at the age of 47.

(35 Posts)
oldnewmummy Fri 28-Sep-12 13:32:17

I was having a conversation with my sister yesterday about how she wished she'd gone to university but it was too late now, and I started thinking to myself about what she could retrain as and how she could finance it.

And then I started thinking about myself. I'm currently a technical writer and lecturer and make a decent salary working part-time (son is 5.5, and I work during school hours, and not all of those).

But I know that several of my income streams are likely to diminish in the next few years, but I don't want a corporate job as son is only 5.5. I've often thought about training as a counsellor but it seemed daft to give up a decent income.

At the same time, I want to be earning money as long as possible, since son is young.

So I suddenly thought about studying as a counsellor during the days I'm not lecturing, and then I'd (eventually) have an alternative career that I could run in parallel to my existing business as I get established in practice.

This would take around 5 years full-time (I'm in Australia) but I'd be doing it part-time so could be up to 10 (hopefully less).

So am I insane to be thinking about this? I already have an LLB, an MBA and I'm a Chartered Accountant so maybe im just collecting qualifications. As I said, I don't want a corporate job anyway, but I've been out of the corporate world for so long I doubt I'd get a decent job anyway. Counseling has always been the thing I'd do if I won the lottery.

Is it possible to reinvent yourself in your 50s?

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Fri 28-Sep-12 13:36:37

yes, of course, go for it! grin

Latara Fri 28-Sep-12 13:39:47

Yes go for it; i have friends qualified as Staff Nurses age mid 40s to mid 50s after lifetime of care assistant work; did struggle to qualify but they didn't have your academic skills.

You are clever so it should be enjoyable & not too hard hopefully.
Congrats on acheivements so far though too.

NK2b1f2 Fri 28-Sep-12 13:41:08

It's never too late to reinvent yourself smile. I'd go for it if I were you (but then I am also a collector of qualifications wink). Good luck!

AMumInScotland Fri 28-Sep-12 13:44:15

If you can find the time and the money, then why not? Counselling sounds like a good choice of career for someone with life experience, so starting a career in it at 50+ is not going to be a disadvantage.

RichTeas Fri 28-Sep-12 13:47:08

You could retrain, especially as everyone is going to be retiring later and later, but having completed three serious qualifications, one wonders if you will become bored with counselling too? Perhaps dealing with others struggles when you are in your fifties will not seem as attractive as it does now, while you are in your forties? I don't know, I'm just guessing. However, I wonder why you don't do something related to law or business on an independent basis, being so well qualified? There are plenty of "non-corporate" lawyers and accountants? It would seem you should draw on that experience rather than sweep it away.

teenagersmother Fri 28-Sep-12 14:12:53

Go for it ! I have just finished my BA (HONS) in education at the grand old age of 49 years old and am so proud of myself. I studied part time whilst working full time.

As it seems like retirement is getting further away it made sense to open up my career options. Could be the same for you.

oldnewmummy Fri 28-Sep-12 14:13:59

Thanks everyone.

Rich Tea: valid points. I've no professional qualifications in law, so doubt I could do a lot with it. The accountancy has served me very well, but I've been in education since 1991 so think I'd find it hard to be taken seriously as a consultant etc. Plus I'd need to swot up on Australian tax etc., and my heart's not really in it.

I'd continue with my current lecturing/writing business for the foreseeable future, so not a total waste.

But I do worry that I'm feeling enthusiastic now but it's a long slog. After my MBA I swore I'd never do any more exams!

oldnewmummy Fri 28-Sep-12 14:16:20

And well done to all you "mature learners"!

BartletForTeamGB Fri 28-Sep-12 14:45:34

Go for it. My MIL had left school with little to no qualifications and went to secretarial college. At the age of 49, she, for the first time, started a university degree. Did a BA, then a Masters, then a PhD! At the same time, she took up the violin, having always wanted to play it as a child but was never allowed as she had to learn the piano because they had one already, and got to Grade 8!

I think she is amazing and an inspiration.

Ithinkitsjustme Fri 28-Sep-12 15:14:36

Funny you should ask this as I have just come to the conclusion that sitting behind a till in Tesco for the rest of my life is depressing, and I want a full time job for the first time in my life. I am now 41 and have no idea what I am going to do but I know that I have to do it now or just rot.

wordfactory Fri 28-Sep-12 16:43:29

Go for it.

Today was induction day for the MA I teach on, and our oldest student this year is 70!!!!!

wonderstuff Fri 28-Sep-12 16:50:04

Go for it. I'm seriously considering a doctorate to retrain for chosen career. If it takes me til I'm 43 (I'm 33 now) then I would still have 25 years until retirement!

eragon Fri 28-Sep-12 16:51:40

I am 46 and am starting my BA in early years on monday. I work part time, juggle the kids and volunteer my skills for some other charites.
I am doing a full time course, and will get my BA in 9 months.

Goldrill Fri 28-Sep-12 16:55:49

Go on - you obviously also like doing academic stuff too, so it will be interesting and rewarding in its own right, rather than just a means to an end.

I'm 37 and hoping to start a PhD that will probably make no difference to my career prospects, but will be very interesting - I may be slightly biased!

Francagoestohollywood Fri 28-Sep-12 16:56:27


Well,, I would love to reinvent myself and I am 42. I am in Italy though, where it seems rather complicated. But certainly the revolution has to be started somewhere and given that we will live longer we have the right to reinvent ourselves!!!

didoreth Fri 28-Sep-12 17:31:06

Do it.

I'd thought for years that if I won the lottery I'd become a doctor (thinking I could then pay to study abroad somewhere, as I thought I was to old to get into medical school here).

I started graduate entry medicine at the age of 43.
I'm now 50 and 2 years off qualifying as a GP.

Its been really hard work, and I'll probably end up slightly worse off financially at retirement than if I'd stayed in my previous occupation. But I LOVED every minute of the degree course, and I LOVE my job. I feel lucky every day that I was given the opportunity to do this.

If you know in your heart that counselling is what you want to do, go for it.

Goldrill Fri 28-Sep-12 18:59:30

ooh - didoreth - I thought nowhere would take you past 35 for graduate entry. Do you mind me asking where you're studying?

puds11 Fri 28-Sep-12 19:01:10

My mum did her counseling course part time and is now a qualified counselor. I say go for it!

SoleSource Fri 28-Sep-12 19:05:38

Go ahead and do it!
Wish you all the best smile

Autumnalis Fri 28-Sep-12 19:08:56

Tbh I would be warry of a TEN year degree. It's a very long time to keep interested and enthusiastic about something. Ok with shorter degrees. Do you have to have the full degree, couldn't you do with something shorter? If you want to work on your own then reputation and word if mouth will count for more than the exact letters after your name.

didoreth Sat 29-Sep-12 11:12:00

Goldrill I think most medical courses don't have upper age limits anymore. I wasn't the oldest to graduate in my year.

oldnewmummy Wed 03-Oct-12 08:17:55

Saw my niece at the weekend - she has a degree and masters in Psychology and is just starting psychotherapy training. She said you don't need a schoolgirl degree to train as a psychotherapist, so I started researching the situation in Australia. It turns out I can do a 3 year PT Masters in Psychotherapy at the Uni where I teach, then need supervised experience etc. But a lot quicker than I thought.

So I just need to get on the course now. Currently in the UK on holiday, so will go and have a chat with the admissions people when I get back.

Thanks for the comments everyone.

NumericalMum Wed 03-Oct-12 08:26:54

Wow didoreth that is inspirational! I would love to do something more meaningful as I do have a corporate job, which I am good but often feel the world would be no different without my job. I do think that with a small child retraining now would be impossible but the fact I could do it later never occurred to me!

I don't have much to add OP. I was thinking yes, do it, until you said you had so many other qualifications. I fear you bore easily as you are only 47 and have so many differing qualifications. Is there likely to be work for a counsellor with minimal experience in 10 years? Enough to support your retirement and a teenager?

oldnewmummy Wed 03-Oct-12 08:36:42

Re work options: I've a friend back home who's a counsellor, so a long chat with her is on the cards. I'd be building a practice in conjunction with my existing job, and I've a (supportive and quite well-paid) husband around.

Re bored: it's a valid point and one I need to give a lot of thought to. My qualifications are not so disparate as they appear, though. I did my Chartered Accountancy straight after university and then started the MBA when I was about 39. Then my darling boy came along and any desire for a corporate job went out of the window.

Will think on it, though!

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