• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

Career help, please?

  • Thread starter Xasuke
  • Start date
  • #1
13
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

Well, hey!

Pretty much, I'm a senior, and it's time to make the decision for careers and colleges. And I'm struggling. I'm having a hard time choosing between aerospace and physics. Advise, please? I don't just want to build rockets.. I don't just want a degree in physics. I guess I just want to "explore space." But I love physics too. Would it be ok to major in engineering, while taking a lot of physics?

Colleges, yes, I could use some adivse here. I don't want to jump into a super-cometitive college right away like MIT. Is it ok to transfer into a ivy league after undergrad year? Any recomendations for colleges? Thanks! =)
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
HallsofIvy
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
41,770
911
It's probably more difficult to transfer to a "top" college AFTER a year or so in a "regular" college than to be admitted as a freshman. The "top" college is going to ba a little suspicious of how well you will be prepared for their upper level courses since you haven't take THEIR lower level courses.

Back when I was in college, around 1970, one of my friends was in "Aerospace Engineering". The department called all of their lower level majors in and recommended that they change majors! The U.S. had just completed the Apollo program and was cutting back a lot on their space program. I don't know how that job market is doing now.

If you want to "explore space" then you are probably better off in a physics program than an engineering program. Most colleges don't require that you declare a major until the end of the sophomore (second) year so go ahead and take some introductory courses before you decide.
 
  • #3
13
0
Oh, wow, I haven't checked this thread in a while. Luckily, I managed to catch it in my email inbox.

Anyhow, thanks for replying. Seriously -- that helped me out a lot! But, sorry to be a hassel, as I have one more question.. Is it possible then to get an undergraduate degree in a "regular" university and then move onto a "top school" for like masters or a phd? (I know I'm thinking WAY ahead than I should be)

Thanks!
 
Last edited:
  • #4
13
0
Oh never mind.. You already answered.. (Kinda read it wrong the first time) It'll be harder, thanks again.
 
  • #5
I am also considering careers and I am only a sophomore in highschool.
I know this sounds ridiculous but my parents don't know a whole lot about careers in science. Can anyone advise me regarding government careers (NASA and the like)? What sort of thing are they looking for and is there a demand for jobs in the fields of astrophyics/aerospace engineering?
Do you receive a lot of special government benefits such as health care?
I am considering AFROTC in college. And for college, a small liberal arts place in the east such as Swarthmore or BArd.
My physics teacher seems to think the airforce would let me out of my service to receive a Ph.D in astrophyics because it would "benefit them."
I am interested in the field of space (like Xasuke mentioned) in general. I did not want to make a new thread about the topic because this one seemed similar. Any response is appreciated. :smile:
 
  • #6
136
0
Xasuke, I think you might have misinterprited what HallsofIvy was saying. He was more referring to the known difficulty regarding transferring during your undergrad years I believe. Many if not most undergrads go to a different school for grad school then where they got their BA/BS degrees and it's not unusual to do so at all.
And don't worry about thinking ahead, I'm an astronomy/physics undergrad right now and knowing what you want to do beyond getting your degree is certainly regarded as a plus!
 
  • #7
Solar Flare said:
I am also considering careers and I am only a sophomore in highschool.
I know this sounds ridiculous but my parents don't know a whole lot about careers in science.
Don't feel bad, my parents are the same way.

Solar Flare said:
Can anyone advise me regarding government careers (NASA and the like)? What sort of thing are they looking for and is there a demand for jobs in the fields of astrophyics/aerospace engineering?
Do you receive a lot of special government benefits such as health care?
I am considering AFROTC in college. And for college, a small liberal arts place in the east such as Swarthmore or BArd.
Yes. I can't speak for NASA, but the USAF is in dire need of officers with technical (Eng/Physics) degrees. Companies like Lockheed Martin are always looking as well, and will direct-hire you if you have military experience. As for benefits, if you are in the USAF, you receive free health care and reduced prices on just about everything else. It's a pretty good deal. Scientists/Engineers usually don't deploy to far-off places, so it's good for family life. AFROTC is a good deal. Forget about the four-year program if you don't need the money and do the one or two-year program instead. You will be and officer regardless.

Solar Flare said:
My physics teacher seems to think the airforce would let me out of my service to receive a Ph.D in astrophyics because it would "benefit them."
They won't "let you out." Instead, they will pay your salary and allow to go to school for free (at AFIT or another civilian institution), with a follow-on job at a lab waiting for you when you complete your degree. This is a fantastic deal.

Solar Flare said:
I am interested in the field of space (like Xasuke mentioned) in general. I did not want to make a new thread about the topic because this one seemed similar. Any response is appreciated. :smile:
The USAF will let you fly satellites right out of college. As an officer you will be trusted with billions of dollars of equipment and extremely sensitive information. Which brings me to an important point. If you want to play with the cool toys, you'll need to be eligible for a Top Secret security clearance. If you've done lots of drugs, or have a shady past, it probably doesn't matter how smart you are, they aren't going to let you in "the circle of trust." I know my ramblings sound like a recruiter, which I am not, but I've worked with/for the military, and the stuff above is knowledge gained from personal experience.


Let's Review:

1. Do well in HS/keep your nose clean
2. Join AFROTC in college (preferably a 2 or 1 year program)
3. Graduate and commission as a 2Lt
4. Apply to AFIT or ask for a space ops assignment
5. Have fun with your career until you get out (4-20 yrs)
6. Work for a defense contractor
7. Profit!!!
 
  • #8
I thought I'd reply to this since I re-stumbled upon this forum after two years! Thanks so much for the advice..and now I am a highschool senior and I've noticed my goals have sort of shifted....
I want to be a pilot in the AF which is an even greater stretch. I'd like to get a scholarship so that means I'd have to do the 4-yr program. However I am still interested in a degree in physics and aerospace engineering. But piloting stuff aside, which would be better in terms of a job (providing I dont take the ROTC route) for a job? I could do undergrad with a degree in physics from a small university (liberal arts) and masters in AE elsewhere? Or undergrad AE and masters in physics? I don't know which would be better if any...
 
  • #9
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,704
1,716
Undergrad (BA/BS) in Physics followed by an MS in AE is more likely than Undergrad in AE and MS in Physics. However, in the former case, one would need a certain level of proficiency in the various disciplines (subjects) within AE.

Master's Programs are more specialized than Baccalaureate programs, which cover a broader field of topics. In AE, one can specialize in structures, materials, power systems, propulsion systems, avionics/electronics/communication, guidance and control systems, . . . and combinations thereof.

A physics degree would likely offer more versatility in the current global market place, but that also depends on other variables such as particular courses and electives.

The aerospace industry has contracted over the years and is very competitive. There are a limited number of 'big' programs, and organizations like NASA have restrictive budgets. At the moment, we have to get past the termination of the Shuttle program and the introduction of the next generation Launch Vehicles.
 

Related Threads for: Career help, please?

  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
1K
Replies
17
Views
2K
Top