Shelf life

By EUGENIA WILLIAMSON  |  October 13, 2010

Of course it isn't. But there are some real questions an aspiring publishing professional needs to ask herself before she commits to that path. Is serving time as an unpaid intern, followed by a couple years as an editorial assistant making less than $25,000, worth it, as long as you're doing something you love? Does working in a field under constant struggle to keep up with technology sound like fun?

For many, the answer is yes. That's why publishing courses abound. A masters program in publishing, like the one at Emerson College, costs two years' private-school tuition. Publishing certification courses — practical instruction in editing and marketing offered everywhere from Harvard University Extension School to Boston University — can cost anywhere from $500 to $2000. But you don't need to blow the rent (or many months of rent) on a class, or even $60 on a program application to find out what someone in publishing does. You can sample it for free before you take the plunge.

For the publishing novice, we recommend attending a free information session at Boston University. Every semester, BU offers a Certificate in Publishing and Digital Media. The two-course fee of $4390 and weekly six-hour commitment are daunting. However, before each class begins, BU gives a free two-hour seminar explaining the benefits of taking the course. Zero commitment, zero dollars, and a good overview of how publishing works. The next sessions start in January.

For information, call 617.353.4497 or visit professional.bu.edu/cpe/publishing.asp.

Do you want to teach English?
If spending your days impressing the importance of literature upon the youth sounds like fun, what better way than to teach English? Unfortunately, thanks to the recession, teaching jobs are harder to come by these days — so it's important to figure out if teaching is right for you before you enroll in an education program.

Linda Beardsley, the director of teacher education and school partnerships at Tufts University, encourages aspiring teachers to start by visiting a classroom. If you have a specific education program in mind, they'll be happy to help arrange your visit. If not, most local schools are willing to let you drop in, but be sure to call the office first.

Classroom experience is invaluable. Why not volunteer at 826 Boston in Roxbury? It seems an ideal spot for those who want to see what it's like to help kids with their reading, and they've got a volunteer information session on October 19. Volunteers can lead pint-size creative-writing workshops and provide afterschool homework help, both great ways to see if school kids are as wonderful as you remember them to be.

Once you've tutored and spent some time at a real school, make an appointment with Tufts. Before you go, think about why you want to be a teacher and what your experience with young people has been. Beardsley says that people with work experience make tremendous educators, since they know the workings of the world that they're preparing students for.

For further information about Tufts, call 617.627.3244 or visit ase.tufts.edu/education | For further information about 826 Boston, call 617.442.5400 or visit 826boston.org.

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