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Dear Liz: I’m 64 and have a master’s degree in education but can’t find a job. Is it too late to go back to school? I was thinking of majoring in occupational therapy.

Answer: It’s never too late to go back to school — but it is possible to spend too much doing so.

The good news is that occupational therapy is a fast-growing field with many job opportunities. The bad news is that you typically need a master’s degree to be an occupational therapist, and master’s programs (as you know) aren’t cheap.

Plus, your age is a factor to consider. Getting hired after 50 is tough, regardless of your field.

So rather than invest a ton of money in a master’s program — or, worse yet, borrow to fund this education — consider becoming an occupational therapy assistant. This field is relatively high paying and usually requires an associate’s degree, which you can get at a low-cost community college.

Before you begin, though, you should research the job opportunities in your area to make sure demand is high enough that your age will be less of a factor.

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I am 62 and also would like to go back to school to take a training certification to teach the 8 hour OSHA Hazwoper classes that people in the hazardous and solid waste jobs need to stay certified. I’d like to have my own business doing these classes. Is this feasible?


I don’t know, Edith. You might want to talk to the career counselors at a nearby community college, who may have more information.


If you want to go back to school for the love of learning, have at it. But if your goal is to earn more money, going back to school that close to retirement and/or death age is extremely unlikely to pay off.