Objective education/career advice

I am in need of some objective advice regarding decisions I need to make about continuing my education or starting my career.

The background goes as followed:
B. Environmental design (2003) - Architecture
B. Environmental design(2004) - Industrial Design
M. Industrial Design (2006)- currently finishing

I am scheduled to graduate in August and am applying for jobs right now, however without much success yet. Although I’m not completely discouraged, I know there is “plenty” of time before I graduate. I have an internship that dates back to when I was pursuing my first degree. Since then, I have either been in school or studying abroad, leaving no time for additional internships. I have been employed but just not in Industrial Design.

The current problem/dilemma is, I’m being recruited and am considering entering a PhD program in Integrated Textile and Apparel Sciences sponsored by the Dept of Consumer Affairs and Textile Engineering. Because I’ve logged so many hours in my Masters, the program should take about half as long, 1.5-2 years. I’ll most likely have a teaching position as well to keep me employed and my tuition waived.

Oh, my design interest are varied, not just to industrial design.

I understand that for my short term career, there is going to be very little advantage to having such an advanced degree. Especially in the pay. My Masters is probably too advanced for some. I do see myself teaching after working and gaining that “practical experience”. As well, I don’t see myself as just a designer. Sure, I do have some talent, or I wouldn’t have gotten so far but I’m probably more suited for product development, research and management.

Are there advantages to just finishing my education while I have the contacts I have now and the financial ability to do so? Or do I forget about it and focus on trying to get a job right now and then maybe someday go back to school? The problem with that is, am I really going to come back to school? The unknown is unsettling.

I know there are critics out there who don’t see the value in advanced degrees in our creative field, so try to give me some valid points if your going to be critical. I’m trying to get a variety of advice from a variety of people. So I appreciate what you have to say.


…looks like you have been at uni for about 8 years now, but only you will know when enough is enough…the phd op sounds too sweet a deal to pass up, considering id is not your only interest…ya gotta go with your bliss on this…unlikely the job market will be any better or much worse 2 years from now and the longer you work the harder it will be to go back.

I tend to agree that the longer I’m out of school and working, the harder it will be to go back to school. But is that enough of a reason to continue in the PhD path now? I’m just really uncertain. Someone suggested I look for some freelance work to help with my lack of design experience should I continue school. As well, someone mentioned that I could leave off my PhD degree when applying for jobs, especially if I’m prepared for the salary range my work experience will get me. I really don’t expect a higher salary just because of my education. I’m balanced enough to know that I do have to earn my keep. But is leaving that information off a good idea? And why would it be a bad idea? I guess I’m looking for both pros and cons to continuing my education or getting a job now. Again, advice is welcomed. Thanks.

Speaking from someone with degrees in Architecture and Industrial Design. You will price yourself out with more advanced degree. Design is a very practical field and all judged by portfolio and the degrees are just a line on the resume that most people barely glance at. You will learn so much in a job that you will not be able to pick up in school.