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Bad GPA, but want to work as a lab technician

  1. Oct 10, 2009 #1
    Hi, I want to get a job as a lab technician but I have a bad GPA in physics right now. Is my degree completely worthless; I know I won't be able to go to grad school now, but I would like to continue on to that road even though I be walking on a different path to grad school.
     
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  3. Oct 10, 2009 #2

    G01

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    How bad is bad? Also, do you have any reasonable explanations for why it is so low? (i.e. Are you working while getting your degree? )

    Do you have anything on you're resume that could make up for lower grades? (Club President, internships?)

    You will have to give more information in order for anyone to offer you good advice.
     
  4. Oct 10, 2009 #3
    like above a 2.0 but slightly below a 2.5. I know I won't be going to grad school right away. I just want to work as a labtechnician and I have experience working in the lab with my professor. I have no excuses other than I worked all the physics problems by myself and never joined a study group and had poor study skills.
     
  5. Oct 10, 2009 #4

    G01

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    OK. Below a 2.5 will be a problem if this is all you have going for you. Unfortunately, many employers may read a GPA below 2.5 as "This person does not have any work ethic."

    Do you have anything else? Internships? Other relevant work experience? What are you're skills? Can your program? Build Circuits?

    You are going to need others things on you're resume that make you look like you have something to offer to the company. With you're GPA, you can't count on them hiring you under the assumption that you are going to learn the skills you need for the job. You need to show them that you already have what the employer needs.

    Also, you need to focus on getting the highest grades possible between now and graduation. If you can show a dramatic improvement in GPA over the last several semesters, you can use that to you're advantage. i.e. (You've developed learning and studying skills that you didn't possess as a freshman/ sophomore.)

    In short, you need to give employers a reason to hire you as your GPA won't be able to do that in it's current state. You can't just state a <2.5 GPA without explanation. You need to tell employers why they should still consider you, why your GPA doesn't reflect your potential as an employee. You need to tell them what skills you can offer.
     
  6. Oct 10, 2009 #5
    But I love physics , I just have not developed great study skills and my professors have not been in guiding me in the right direction. I study a lot by myself, but I been making an effort to understand the fundamental concepts that did not seem to materialize on paper. Do you think I should repeat some classes to improve my GPA; Aren't their jobs that train you for the job position you were hired for for just having a physics degree?
     
  7. Oct 10, 2009 #6

    G01

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    Yes, you can get jobs by having a physic degree. A physics degree usually shows that a person has great problem solving skills and great work ethic. It also shows that they will probably be able to learn anything else that is needed for the job. However, a physics degree with an GPA that is just a little above 2.0 does not show any of these things.

    You either need to increase your GPA, offer a great explanation for why it is low and why that does not reflect you're real ability, or offer some other marketable skills.

    Employers are going to be hesitant to pay to train someone who has not shown that they are willing to put effort into learning. Unfortunately, this is the way employers will look at your GPA, despite whether or not you love physics or not.

    You need to show them, that you are willing and able to learn what you need to learn. You GPA just does not show that. Those are the facts.

    If you can do anything to increase your GPA, you should do that. This includes repeating classes that you got low grades in. Also, if your major GPA is significantly higher than your overall GPA you should point that out on your resume.
     
  8. Oct 10, 2009 #7

    symbolipoint

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    From the o.p., noblegas:
    Some employers may accept an unexperienced new technician and train him on-the-job, but many will not. In whichever cases you locate if you are hired, the training might not be very lenient for much time, so you would need to sharpen yourself as your are trained and practice or at least you will make people impatient for a while if you are allowed to stay for some time. Training during work on the job is often not very formal.

    Are there some practical courses you can study/learn at your school before you graduate? Courses which are geared for training? Maybe some engineering courses might help? Also there might be some community college or vocational courses nearby that you may attend part time.

    Programs for physics have mostly hard courses, difficult to earn high grades. If some of your (or any) of your courses you earned less than C, then you really need to repeat them; even consider pre-studying some courses before you enroll in them officially.
     
  9. Oct 11, 2009 #8

    Vanadium 50

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    At the risk of sounding harsh, so what? A potential employer isn't asking himself if he should pay you to meet your goals. He wants to know how you can help him reach his goals.

    Another unpleasant fact is that you potential employer, if he's like most employers, has people who are much better at generating excuses than generating results. Odds are, he's not looking to increase their number.

    If you have poor study skills, whose fault is that? Your professors aren't guiding you in the right direction? Are they doing this to everyone, or just you? All of your professors? And if the answer to both of those questions is yes, and it's as bad as you say why haven't you transferred?

    The job market is not very good right now. It's more important that ever to present yourself as someone who can help your prospective employer meet his goals.
     
  10. Nov 10, 2009 #9
    Well, what sort of job can I get with just a college degree where they don't look at GPA?
     
  11. Nov 10, 2009 #10
    You seem to be missing the point they're trying to make. A degree != a job necessarily, especially with a low GPA and no mitigating factors.

    Not only are you unlikely to find a job in a technical field where they don't look at the GPA of someone right out of college, but you have to ask yourself what kind of a place wouldn't look at a potential employee's GPA. Answer: a place run by idiots, which is somewhere you wouldn't want to work anyway.
     
  12. Nov 10, 2009 #11
    That can't be true. Most jobs don't even require a college degree, let alone a high GPA. What about working as an intern for free with hoping that you will eventually get paid while you are interning .
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
  13. Nov 10, 2009 #12
    Just look at it from the employer's perspective: it would be ridiculous to hire somebody with such a low GPA and no good excuse for it being that low. For the reasons symbol and Van mentioned, no employer stands to gain anything from hiring any candidate with these qualifications (excluding the off-chance that you are lucky enough to find a place patient enough to give you all the training needed to do the job, in which case more power to you). I don't mean to come off as being rude, but potential employers really are only looking out for their bottom line.

    Honestly, even the intern thing seems a little bit shaky to me. I've never done an internship or been in charge of hiring interns, but I have to imagine that there would be candidates with better GPAs and/or other qualifications that would be much preferred.
     
  14. Nov 10, 2009 #13
    A college degree is generally not what gets you hired; it is what gets your foot in the door. It is what allows the employer to narrow down the stack of applicants, and if it is a particularly competitive job, they can throw out the resumes that do not have advanced degrees, or high GPA's, or degrees from top schools.

    But ultimately, except for a few top students, the schooling itself is not what gets someone hired. I am not saying that GPA does not matter, but it matters a lot less if you have the kind of skill sets that the employer is looking for.

    If you have the kind of resume that shows you understand the industry (have worked similar jobs before and do not need to be trained), work well as a team, have leadership skills (military service pays off a lot for the previous two), et cetera, you are a lot more likely to get the job than the guy with a better academic record who is fresh out of college.

    Ultimately, not too many employers would prefer to hire fresh graduates for just the reason that a lot of them are 23 year olds with no industry or serious work experience, and if you are one of them, with a low GPA, then you are in that same life boat.

    My best advice is to work on getting better grades, and build you skill set. If you do not have good teamwork and leadership experience, get some. Volunteer for a community organization (serious volunteering, not a few hours a week), join the military or americorps. Take unpaid internships in the industry. Do things that will give you a leg-up on real-work work experience, especially anything that shows that you have leadership, teamwork, or industry experience.

    Once you manage to get into the industry and get serious experience, a lot of employers are not going to look carefully at your GPA, but if all you have on your resume is your degree, you are going to be last in line.
     
  15. Nov 13, 2009 #14
    What criteria do you have to meet in order to be hired as an unpaid intern?
     
  16. Nov 13, 2009 #15

    Vanadium 50

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    It is difficult to get unpaid internships except through your college or university. This is because of minimum wage laws.
     
  17. Nov 13, 2009 #16
    What do minimum wage laws have to do with unpaid internships?
     
  18. Nov 13, 2009 #17

    Vanadium 50

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    Unpaid = less than minimum wage.
     
  19. Nov 13, 2009 #18
    Couldn't a person volunteer to work for free? Why doesn't the minimum wage law apply to colleges?
     
  20. Nov 13, 2009 #19

    Vanadium 50

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    In most cases, there are exceptions for the minimum wage only under carefully controlled conditions, and one of those are where there is a clear educational purposes. Companies aren't allowed to set up a giant pool of unpaid workers and call them "interns". Hence you really need to be working with a school.
     
  21. Nov 13, 2009 #20
    Ha! Here is an idea. Get a dual major in science education or whatever is required for teaching high school in your state. Then take the Praxis exam. It seems like the worst math majors I've met were in math education (there was maybe one guy who seemed to be a pretty strong math student). It might work. After some experience, go into private tutoring, you can make good money. Then go to school for your masters and become an instructor and tutor high school on the side. You can make very good money tutoring.

    If you really, really want to pursue physics, you could really scrounge around and find a masters program that will give you some kind of conditional acceptance. Then just get a 4.0 in that program and you'll at least be employable in a technical field.
     
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