Career shift to ID program @ 40yrs old?? Comments


I am 40 yrs old considering going back to school for an BA ID.

I currently design furniture and accessories and other home & office related products. My education was in graphic design and I slowly worked my way to my current position. I have been self-employed for about 2yrs. now working with manufacturers and my clients are growing but I can see where additional education would broaden my scope.

My question…at 40 or 45 when I would graduate, will I realize a return or just lose time with my existing clients.??

And…can anyone comment on the new program @ U of Houston or
UL of Lafayette, La.??

appreciate comments[/list]

I know a guy who went back for ID (MS degree though) back in the late 80’s early 90’s. He was in his early 40’s when he graduated. He did design for a while but ended up going the management/business route… makes more $$ than a board designer.

Things are a bit different then they were back then though. (Although the economy was pretty bad in the early 90’s too.) He had great skills using Alias, which at the time was not all that common. Now its expected that you know the latest applications (note plural.) As a graphic designer you have several under your belt (I assume) but you will need to become proficient at some of the 3D apps as well as pro engineer. Otherwise the younger people will get the job not you.

You are offering something more than someone just out of school (when you graduate.) Maturity, professionalism, experience working with people both in-house and vendors. Be sure to sell this when you get out.

I have a bit more info (that I don’t want to post on a public forum.) Feel free to contact me at:

Going back to school as an older student with a well paying and stable career is a tough decision. Will it increase your base of clients and your income? Who can say - it depends on how you use your degree, and what you’ve gained by the experience. From what I’ve read and seen of friends, I.D. appears to be a mine field for prospective employees - very difficult to make a living and break into… It seems entrepreneurial more than stable in general. But that seems independent of school, and even of your abilities - considering you already seem to have something going.

For me, I like the ability school offers to see how other people motivate and use their talents. I see it as a chance to network within the design community, a challenging motivational tool, and a kudos for a portfolio/resume… but in the end, whether it’s a setback or not will depend on you.

One thing I will say, don’t let anyone tell you you’re too old - that’s just not true. I’m staring at that big 40 mark and will be going back to school to finish a bachelors! I have a well paying job in a stable industry and perhaps will even fall back on that if my hopes don’t materialize - but that won’t stop me from experiencing school and learning. No one can predict what will come of the time spent in school…

…life’s short and not always about pragmatic endeavors.

Good luck,

I was in a not too dissimilar situation, and rather than spending four more years in school I went the Master’s route (theoretically as brief as two years though mine will take 3 1/2…but could have been 3 without family, work, eating, etc.). I picked up and moved from Austin to Raleigh w/ family and will finish this December. I am very pleased with the ID program at NC State, it’s a relative bargain, and my classmates continue to comport themselves very well throughout the United States and abroad (I can give you plenty of examples back-channel if you’d like to get with me privately).



…under the nome de plume “mothman.” If you have any questions you can contact me through my profile…