Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Any night or online physics programs?

  1. Jun 29, 2007 #1
    I am currently a semi-professional who works as a technician with an associates degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology (it's what my dad told me to do). I have next to no interest in the hands on aspect of the field and have on my own free time studied quantum mechanics and some differential equations and linear algebra, and I have decided that I want to go to school to be a physics professor. I do not want to quit my job, since I need it to pay the bills, but I am unable to find any local college that offers a night program in physics and it is evidently not a popular online degree (as far as I know, Ellis College is the only one that offers some very basic classes in math and physics but no real degree).

    I've ran out of ideas of how to get the degree without completely altering my current lifestyle. Anyone willing to give out some ideas?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2007 #2
    I managed to find a job that let me work (full time) around my school schedule so that I could finish up my degree. I forst went to community college (at night) and got all the lower division and GE finished, then transferred to UCLA. Took only 2 - 3 classes per quarter, and worked around that schedule until graduating in 3 years with a double major in math/physics.
  4. Jun 29, 2007 #3
    getting a BSc won't let you teach physics in college, only high school
  5. Jun 29, 2007 #4
    First off, thank you both for the advice/warning.

    I doubt that would work where I work, since they are only open on Monday through Friday 8-5 and that is the set time everyone works. Perhaps I need to find a new technician job for that to work?

    I'll worry more about that as it comes and I am assuming I would be moving on to grad school, but as a grad student don't you usually have more opportunities to pay for college by TA positions?
  6. Jun 29, 2007 #5
    usually yes
  7. Jul 2, 2007 #6
    That may be your only option, but whether this is still possible, only you know. The job I had was working as a lab technician in a clinical laboratory. My job was to set up the automated machines that would perform testing of serum for hepatitis, HIV, and a small number of other pathogens. Since clinical labs are (generally) open 24/7, it was easy to work around sschool. Later, I had a job (also at a facility open 24/7) that manufactured the test kits for testing pathogens. I don't know where you live or your work experience, but you might want to give labs like this a shot (they generally pay betweeen 8 - 12 an hour, depending on where you live).
  8. Jul 6, 2007 #7
    This is what I do. Work in a vet lab at night, school in the AM, the money is ok, enough to support myself and pay for school. Though not enough to convince me to give up classes.
  9. Jul 11, 2007 #8


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    You'll still be living below poverty in my opinion.

    At UBC, you would get $20,000CDN by working TA and what not. Let's assume you get an extra $2000CDN from scholarships or grants or whatever. So, that's $22,000CDN. Also let's assume it's 100% tax free.

    Now, you have to pay tuition with that money which is $5000 atleast. So, now you have $17000 left. Say another $1000 on books, so down to $16000.
    Also, let's assume you pay only $500 rent (low end student housing in Vancouver). That costs $6000 a year. Down to $10000. Let's now assume you eat $75 of food a week. Cost of living is high in Vancouver, so naturally food is a bit more expensive whether you eat out or not (I wouldn't plan on eating less). That's now about $4000 out of your budget. Now, you're down to $6000. Keep in mind, you never bought clothes. You never went out. You didn't even get cable or a phone. You don't even have any kind of furniture you might want. Let's say you average $20 a week for going out. (If you plan on not having a life, that's your decision not mine.) So, now you have $5000. Say you get basic phone package for $20 a month. Now down to $4750. Now you average $500 a year on clothes so now $4250.

    Also, I increased the salary and lowered the budget. That's not enough of a buffer for me. Because realistically, you can't live in cheap student housing. Why? Too loud, too many undergraduates who aren't serious, bad environment, it stinks, etc... It's cheap for a reason. That's student housing for you. So, let's say $700 a month is the real value in the good old expensive Vancouver. You now only have $2250 left.

    My plan? Go to work full-time while going part-time. Let's say I only get a modest $40 000 a year job. Taxes is like 22% at that salary. So, you have roughly $31000 left. But let's make it $30000 to round down a total of $1200! Now, you're going to school part-time so you get a tax break of about $3500 so you're now back up to $33500. So now, let's say I wanted to rent a nice condo which would be like $1200 a month. That brings me down to $19000. Now, I want to eat good food so I spend $100 a week on myself. So, I have $18500. (Notice I'm overshooting the expenses and undershooting the income.) Now phone and going out down to $15000. (Going out a lot!) And say $1000 for transportation (public yearly fee is only $600). I now have still $14000 to spend or invest!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Investing is wise. If you don't invest, you're hurting yourself in the long run. I'd probably invest atleast $6000 of that.)

    Now, why the hell would someone want to live on the edge? Just imagine if I was making $50000 instead of $40000 or the part-time tax business I plan on starting to make extra money. I'll even have enough to fly to other universities to attend conferences meanwhile my other fellow graduate students sit at home while I network all over the country and US.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook