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How important was your college degree to your career path?

Discussion in 'Education and Career Development' started by gafftaper, Jan 8, 2011.


Read the 1st post FIRST: How important was your college degree to your career path?

  1. I would not have my job without my college degree.

  2. It was the most important factor, but other factors were also helpful.

  3. Education was equally important as other factors.

  4. My college education had very little to do with reaching my career goals.

  5. What degree?

  1. Ford

    Ford Sr Product Manager, Chauvet Professional

    Likes Received:
    Product guy
    South FL
    Hi Joseph,
    Your community college degree, with work experience will be enough to get you started in the industry, if you work hard, and have a great attitude. Take classes outside of your major. the perspective that you can gain from classes in Art and History is as important as any education that you get from your core classes...possibly more so when you encounter situations where there is not a formula that you can plug in to get your answers.

    That said... I agree with the others that have said that transferring to a Bachelors program after you get your Associates is not difficult, if that is what you want to do. If you have good grades in college, they will outweigh the bad grades you had in High School. Do not underestimate the value of a face to face meeting with the professors at the school that you plan to transfer to (if you decide to go that route).

    Returning to my original point though... In my experience (which is completely subjective), our industry is much like the rest of life... you get out of it what you put into it. If you truly like what you're doing, and you work hard, and you listen, and you show-up ready to work (not show-up in time to take a bathroom break, grab a cup of coffee, and then put on your toolbelt), then you will get opportunities, and the people above you will want to hire you to work on their crews. once you get to the crew-chief level, your education will become more valuable (as a door opener).

    Finally, remember that being a student does not end when you stop going to school.
    Keep learning.
    Keep pushing yourself.
    Read, pay attention to the news, watch Youtube videos, study everything from art, to networking (human and electronic), to photography and video production, to audio (if you're in to that sort of thing), go to concerts, see movies and plays, keep your eyes open... DO NOT STAGNATE
    All of it will add up to making you a well rounded person who will have the best chance at excelling in whatever field you end up in (I'm partial to lighting, myself).

  2. MadADDer

    MadADDer Member

    Likes Received:
    Theater Technician
    Saint John, NB
    It was a certificate program. The college I went to didn't offer a degree program at the time. My instructor was huge on the thinking for yourself aspect, though, and taught us not only what to look for when you got stuck, but how to look for it. 15 years later, I'm still learning more and more about the things that he taught me. (Of course it doesn't hurt that my boss is a retired electrical engineer. I learn a lot from him, too.)
  3. RonaldBeal

    RonaldBeal Active Member

    Likes Received:
    After high school (Thomas County Central High School, Thomasville, GA) I went to Middle Tennessee State University, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, just south of Nashville, majoring in Mass Communications/Entertainment Technology, as part of their Recording Industry Management program. I also got a job at the theater on campus. I started doing lights, sound, and audio studio recording. When USITT held their event in Nashville (it was either 1993, or 1994,) Vari-Lite rented our theater to do demos of their new series 300 system and the relatively new VL-5's. That following summer, I applied to work in the Vari-Lite Nashville shop, and started working as a shop tech, and eventually started touring. I have been gigging ever since, and have been lighting crew chief on some of the largest tours in the world.

    My college experience gave me access to the folks at Vari-Lite, which allowed me to get my starting job. What I learned in the entertainment business law classes, and theater drafting classes have been valuable during my career, but not essential. I never finished to get a degree, and I would say that the degree itself holds little value in this business. The education itself, and the exposure it gives, on the other hand can be priceless.

    On major tours, I have worked with people with degrees in physics, political science, art history, economics, business administration, and philosophy. I have also worked with a fair bit of prior military service folks. Quite a few people I worked with have come from MTSU's Recording Industry Management program. Even more have been Full Sail graduates. Almost every one says the education they got there was not helpful, but the access and exposure to the industry definitely helped. Interestingly, I tend to see theater majors most often as local stagehands, but can't think of one that I have actually toured with, that stuck to the business. (maybe rock and roll doesn't suit their taste, and they stick with more "traditional" theater.)

    Just my $0.02


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