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How far can I possibly go?

  1. Aug 27, 2011 #1
    I'm trying to plan out my future a little bit and I've run into a bit of a dilemma.

    A little background first...

    I've graduated from a 2 year community college with a degree in CIS. I also have a handful of certifications from said community college, as well as some well known IT industry certifications. I currently work for the state as an IT Analyst and I will make around $60k this year. Four years from now, my salary will have fully matured to about $71k/year (this is guaranteed).

    I'd like to keep this job for as long as I can, seeing as how it's very easy for me to perform, my coworkers are great, the pay is good and, in spite of the economy, it's very stable...not to mention I get a free tuition waiver of 6 credits/quarter for any college in the state of WA.

    Now here's the problem: I'm wanting to switch my course of study from IT to Math and Physics. I would like to go as far as I can with Physics in particular. I would love the opportunity to attend graduate school and maybe even obtain a PhD. The problem is, I'm really hesitant about leaving my job by the time I'm ready for graduate school.

    My question is, would it be at all possible to go "all the way" (PhD) while keeping my current full-time job? From what I've read about graduate school, it sounds like you are on a tight schedule 24/7, which makes it seem impossible for me to achieve my academic goals without quitting my job.

    Thanks so much for reading my long post.

    Some extra information:
    I live in the Seattle area
    I'm 26
    I'm single
    I have no children
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2011 #2


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    You're making more with an associates than I am with a PhD in physics. And it took me 10 years of working 60 hours a week to get that job (which requires 60 hours a week of work, without overtime). No, you can't get a PhD in physics and hold a job on the side, much less a full-time job. In fact, many schools won't allow you to try.
  4. Aug 27, 2011 #3
    Thanks so much for the response, that's kind of along the lines of what I was expecting. My academic goals aren't salary inspired, it's just something I've wanted to do. Although It saddens me to hear that PhD physicists have to go to great efforts to make such a salary... I think that's not okay.
  5. Aug 27, 2011 #4


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    I would certainly agree with you there. Sure, I could go work for the government and start out at twice what I'm making now, but I (think) teaching college is what I really want to do.
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