Q: My daughter isn’t exactly sure what she’d like to get her degree in, but she’s a figure skater and has said she wants to coach figure skating. Any advice?
A: Whether or not a person makes a living in a field is a valid question but having a degree doesn’t automatically provide that answer. This is a question about whether or not a degree is linked to a target career, and that’s not an easy answer. Not all careers are essentially linked to a degree – but some are.
Since she is a figure skater, she must have contact with at least 1 or 2 coaches. Those are the people she should get career planning advice from. If she can ask them what they did, what they’d do differently, and if they could offer a suggestion for her- she’ll get great advice that way!
Think of it this way: if your daughter wanted to start a small business, she could earn a degree “in” small business, but that doesn’t automatically give her a job or propel her small business toward success- it gives the skills that may help her in small business, but a person can still be successful in small business without a degree; the two are not essentially linked. To look at the other side of the coin, if she wanted to be a doctor, she couldn’t do that without the degree and license; those two things are essentially linked.
When the degree isn’t essentially linked to a career:
1) Get advice from several people doing what you want to do (see above).
2) Find out what the right training is for that field. In many cases, the type of education may not be a 4-year degree: CE or adult education, certification, apprenticeship, seminars, on the job training.
3) Don’t do something just to do something. Find out the right steps and do those instead.
4) Do things consistent with your age and station. For example, 18-year-olds are traditional students while 48-year-olds are non-traditional students. 48-year-olds don’t live in dorms, 18-year-olds do. It fits. There are perception issues to deal with when your actions don’t match your age and station.
Finally, if you’re Homeschooling for College Credit and earning college credit in high school, there is certainly no harm in pursuing a general degree of some kind. Whether it’s a simple 2-year Associate’s degree or something more focused like a 4-year Bachelor’s degree, you can always provide her with a well-rounded general education at home. When she starts to develop specific educational goals, you’ll simply start to focus more in that direction. Remember, there is life after 25! Even if she earns a degree today, the likelihood that she’ll need additional education and skills in the future is very high. You couldn’t check all those boxes now even if you tried.
Specific to this question, I did look up the requirements for U.S. Figure Skating coaches – and a degree is not required, but there are requirements.
Their site states “U.S. Figure Skating appreciates the cooperation and understanding of all members to help implement these minimum requirements to ensure that the environment in all U.S. Figure Skating programs is as safe as possible for all participants. This will help give parents the highest degree of confidence that their children are not only receiving good care and proper instruction but are safe from improper conduct.”
1. U.S. Figure Skating Full Membership (either through a member club or as an individual)
2. Successfully pass the annual background screen
3. Verification of current coach liability insurance
4. Completion of CER Courses
5. Additional requirement – PSA Membership if coaching in qualifying competitions only
Note: Non-compliant coaches who attempt to coach at a test session or competition are subject to disciplinary action by U.S. Figure Skating and/or the PSA.