Thoughts on Grad School

With a private massage practice, factoring 3 clients/day (accounting for no shows and sick days), 5 days/week, leaving myself 4 weeks of vacation, I stand to make around 40k/year. Of course, a crapload of that goes to self-employment taxes, but even so, if we keep out of serious debt, my family doesn’t need more than that from me.

The problem is, when the economy really sinks, no matter how mainstream massage is becoming, I believe that it will always be seen by most as a luxury. And, as much as we MTs might like to think massage is this life-saving thing that everyone needs, for most it is a luxury. Helpful, wonderful, healing, sure. Everyone likes a good back rub, but when people are struggling to buy groceries and gas, people fire their housekeepers and massage therapists at about the same rate.

If I’m going to put all the time, energy and money into a graduate degree, I’m going into a field that allows for job security, management opportunity, and an income of 60k or more. It also needs to be something I feel good about doing, something that I will enjoy studying and practicing.

I’m considering an advanced degree in nursing, and becoming a Nurse Practitioner. I have a knack and love for learning the ways of the human body, so that’s a start. Nurses are in high demand, and probably will never want for enough jobs. I could specialize in women’s health, or even go into midwifery (nurse midwives in Louisville? 80k average). It’s still hands-on – in fact, Nurse Practitioners do a lot of the things doctors do. Plenty of opportunities to run things and boss people around. And, once I’ve slogged through what would probably end up being 4 years of school, I can apply my holistic approach to Western medicine, and do a lot of people a lot of good.

I’m nowhere near close to settled on it. I just don’t know what all is out there. I could describe a thousand working class jobs, but I just don’t have a clue as to what the Other guy does. Any ideas? How does one research what job to go after? My career future is a wonderfully blank canvas. I may still live off the grid and shoot squirrels for dinner.

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