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Career guidance for a community college student

  1. Jun 28, 2010 #1
    Howdy everyone, I'd like to start of by saying that I read that article called, "so you really wanna be a physicist", it was nice information but now I have a few questions. So here's my dilemma, I did pretty mediocre in high school, maybe a little less than mediocre and now I'm attending a fairly nice community college and my GPA is around 3.7 something. I recently got interested in physics and I want to pursue this career but I need a "ok" on my course of action. My course of action is to get all my general education out of the way in my upcoming semesters, I already completed two. Afterwards, I decided to pay off for my college by joining the armed forces, the marines, I don't see another option on this part. Then I am to go to a university until I get a PH.D in physics. Now for some questions. In the article the kind sir mentioned that people switch from physics to other careers easily, I think he said lawyer im not sure, but how is it easily? Also, what exactly are the kind of jobs physicists land, some where in the article but is there a list out there? And I heard from my chemistry professor that jobs for chemists and engineers are going to rise because of people getting too old, does this apply for physicists too? I apologize if these questions are common sense and if my grammar is outstandingly bad.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2010 #2
    No one? How about just one question. I don't want seem like I am spamming this nice forum but i'm quite anxious to get more info. I would like to know exactly how easy is it to switch into a related field or another field once you've gotten a physics Ph.D. For example, I go to the university and get the Ph.D but decide the outlook for physicists is bad and decide to be a software engineer or lawyer or something. How easy would that be and what career would be the smart back up career for a physicist, I'm guessing medical doctor would be out of the picture.
  4. Jun 30, 2010 #3
    I have some thoughts. I think joining the armed forces is a great thing to do, but I think in this case it will cause you to lose momentum towards your physics goal. Getting and maintaining momentum is a key to pushing forward. You need to talk to professors, do some undergrad research, build relationships (as the article you read says). Joining the armed forces before you even get your BS seems off to me. That sounds like a good thing to do if in four years you find you dont want to go for the PhD. You say you want to do it to pay for school, but getting your BS isnt that expensive if you go to a reasonable school, and the PhD will be paid for.

    You also ask about switching fields. After getting your BS in physics is a great time to switch fields I think, not after getting your PhD. Get your BS in physics and you can do law school like you mentioned, or you can move into many different scientific, engineering, health and economic fields.

    If you get your PhD in physics you will have spent alot of time specializing in physics, from there you could move into engineering, education or maybe even finance. I wouldn't plan on using the PhD to drastically change careers. Like you say, your not going to become a medical doctor or a lawyer after spending 6-7 years after your BS on a physics PhD. You can switch to something if you have to, but it makes more sense to switch after your BS if you know that you do want to switch.
  5. Jul 1, 2010 #4
    Thanks Academic, That is really the reinsurance I needed to hear. If I find a job soon I wont need to go to the armed forces. I really don't want to lose momentum I can tell its important. Thanks again sir, now I can move on with my goal of being the next Einstein comfortably because now I know that I can safely abandon that goal.
  6. Jul 2, 2010 #5
    don't know if you know about this already or not but be sure to fill out the fafsa you might be surprised at how much financial assistance you are eligible for.
  7. Jul 3, 2010 #6
    unless your hopelessly middle middle class haha. The community colleges I know of are well under 10k a year so a combination of things would transpire a major reduction of your tuition bill. You should look into websites such as fastweb.com - a ton of scholarship opportunities, and a bunch of other resources - there is money out there, but you gotta be dedicated. So lets say you find on the website, a scholarship award of 100 bucks is offered if you write an essay about hypothetical topic A - do the research (the topics are usually very general, and if they are specific it is easy enough material to learn and understand for the most part), write an awesome essay and bang 100 bucks - do this nine more times over a course of the year (or more if you have the time) and that is a total of 1000 dollars - that with FAFSA and perhaps financial aid or merit scholarships your school might offer and you would have a significantly reduced college tuition. Also don't be afraid to talk to your schools financial aid office, sometimes meeting the right people can also pool in a little more money.
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