LAW School versus Accounting versus Teaching--- what do I DO? (senior at UC-Berkeley
I am a current senior at UC-Berkeley majoring in Economics having a real tough time as to what I want to do when I graduate spring 2010.
I have narrowed down my career paths to 3 options, law school, middle school teacher, or accounting.
My GPA is 3.4ish.
I am somewhat interested in criminal and forensic law. For law school I would need to start studying for the LSAT ASAP and take the October Exam. I could graduate Fall 09 or Spring 2010 if I choose to take more classes. (I am a current 4th year). However, with this economy and the tough competition for jobs I am not sure if law school will be worth it in the long run, assuming I even get into a top 15 law school.
Having tutored students I could see myself as a middle-school math teacher. But with low teaching salaries (35K starting I hear) I know the money will be big dissuading factor in this economy. For teaching I could graduate in spring 2010 or fall 09 and immediately start some 2 year master's program to get my credentials. However, the idea of parent conferences and having to create a lesson plan everyday, extends the job far beyond the 8-3 regime. (I have spoken to a couple teachers about this).
Accounting intrigues me because I am good at math, I tend to be very organized, and the profession itself tends to be recession proof and stable-good pay (55K+ starting). However, I know that 3-4 years down the road I will get sick of filling out charts and tabulating numbers. Plus, I prefer a job where I am not isolated in a cubicle working long hours. I like to do things on my feet and work in a social atmosphere. Another problem with accounting is I would have to stay in school till at least Summer 2010 to have completed the 7 core accounting classes.
I would appreciate anyone's input in regards to these 3 careers. Ideally, I am looking for a career that is stable, well-paying (45K+ starting if straight out of school), and not office abundant. I prefer to do things on my feet and enjoy social interaction.
thanks in advance for any advice
I suggest you take some time off and broaden your search. It's okay to start working on the LSAT or the other grad school tests while in your senior year -- it might even give you an idea as to which direction to take (or not).
Right now, the economy sucks and finding a job out of law school is next to nil -- many of my peers are out of work, doing contract work and the like and it's pretty bleak, especially for government jobs. It may be different in 3 - 4 years when you get out, but seriously, my generation isn't planning on retiring any time soon, especially with the age for collecting full social security benefits going up. We may be tired, but we aren't stupid.
I have a friend and colleague who graduated with a BA in economy from Cal; received his JD from UCLA, and his accountant degree from USC. He passed the bar but has never practiced. He loves being an accountant and he's maintained his essence of who he is. He spent two years working for an accounting firm, then went on his own and makes a ton of money and picks his clients. He goes to work in shorts, he watches soap operas on t.v. in his office at lunch, and he gets to go through people's stuff. You like forensic law -- forensic accounting is a goldmine. And very interesting, tracing funds -- surprisingly so.
So, between the above two, I'd pick accounting in a heatbeat. This isn't to say I don't love practicing law, I do. But it's become more of a business than a profession in the last 20 years, and that part, for me anyway, is not fun. Collections are now everything and very difficult. You try to collect, they try to sue for malpractice. It's known in the profession as debt avoidance. So private law has become almost like a sales job these days, so sad, because it is such a noble profession, especially helping people resolve their problems.
Middle school teacher -- that would be a gas! I don't think the downside would be the parent teacher conferences. Just the age of kids -- when they are at their meanest, really, kids going through puberty -- ah we all rememer that, and it was brutal for everyone! On the plus side -- summer vacation!
thanks for all the insight UCLA777
right now, im leaning towards accounting, i got six more accounting classes to complete so i anticipate being done by Summer 2010. if i don't like accounting sooner or later, i always study the lsat and prep for the jan-march
just of out curiosity, what kind of jobs can an accountant transition to? is it common to see people practice accounting for 3-4 years and then head off to a different career path, or get an MBA?
forensic accounting intrigues me, i will definitely look into that
oh and does your friend work for one of the Big 4 firms?
on a side note, would you recommend retaking Statistics 20? I screwed up freshmen year and got a C.
If I took Statistics 2 I understand I will get no credit, but does that also mean I won't get get the C replaced by an A assuming I get an A?
Middle school teachers may start out making $35,000.00 but many make much more after they gain some seniority and possibly a graduate degree. They also get a few months off a year and all holidays off as well. You might want to talk to a few people at the career center regarding your options.
1. By the time you get out of law school, the recession will have ended
2. Teaching salary depends on where you work and how much of an education you have. In Marin County, a teacher with a masters start out at 55k and go up to 120K when they're in their 40's.
3. Accounting gives you a decent starting salary but there isn't much room for growth because the skills are so replaceable.
My 2 cents:
- Don't do law school. Waste of time & money.
- Don't do accounting. The work is boring, the hours are sometimes very long (tax season) and the work environment is extremely anti-social (auditors don't even work on site)
- Of the three, teaching is the best option but realistically speaking, it might be hard to land a teaching position right now
- If you can't find a teaching position, consider other options until schools start hiring again. Example: SFPD officers make 75K starting pay and easily make six figures by the end of their 20's