Hi everyone, I'm new to the forum, my name is Aaron and I'm not a physicist but would like to be. I'm 30 years old, I started working as a software engineer for a startup company before I graduated from high school. My software engineer career took off and I never went to college. Now, having been a successful software engineer for the last 13 years, I want to pursue my true dream. I want a career in physics. I'm currently taking my college general ed via an online university (Florida Institute of Technology) while I still work full-time. I plan to quit my job and go back to school full-time in about 6 months when I'm finished with my GE (crossing my fingers for UC Berkeley). What I'm wondering is... How far do I have to go? I would like to do government research, maybe work for JPL or LLNL in the area of quantum physics. Maybe be a university professor and do research for the university? I'd like my PhD, but it's going to be really hard, I'm sure. Assuming I'm starting as a junior transfer, how long will this take? 6 years? If I do the time, will I get a PhD? I've heard that some people never get them because a PhD is granted and not just something you complete? If I only get my MS in Physics, how far will that take me in my career? One last and very important question... Those of you with PhDs, what do you do? Do you love your job? In the software world that I live in now, its pretty mundane. Thanks in advance! PS - Whats the pay like?