I have an A-level in physics but no degree, what jobs can I get?

  • #1
DeathByKugelBlitz
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I have a Foundation Year pass but dropped out of uni in the first year due to COVID making learning go online, which was terrible. All I can find online is stuff you need a degree for but nothing about A-levels
 

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  • #2
PeroK
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I have a Foundation Year pass but dropped out of uni in the first year due to COVID making learning go online, which was terrible. All I can find online is stuff you need a degree for but nothing about A-levels
That, it seems, is the way of the world these days.
 
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  • #3
DeathByKugelBlitz
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are you looking for a job or another degree? what is your goal?
I'm not looking for another degree, looking for a job
 
  • #4
Choppy
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Unfortunately I'm not sure that you're going to find a whole lot of positions where having completed A-levels or first year of university physics is the entry bar. If the position is technical enough to require some kind of expertise in physics, then at minimum they'll be looking for someone with a bachelor's degree.

You might want to consider options for careers where they will typically train you like technical trades in the armed forces or a nuclear power operator. Or you could consider some community college training for something like a surveyor, or various technician jobs.
 
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  • #5
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I did an IB diploma (including higher level physics), which is of similar education level to A levels, when I was in highschool. I remember hearing that that could get you a job stapling photocopies together.
 
  • #6
pinball1970
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I have a Foundation Year pass but dropped out of uni in the first year due to COVID making learning go online, which was terrible. All I can find online is stuff you need a degree for but nothing about A-levels
Lab technicians, R&D, QC/QA. Which industry are you looking at?
Labs do day release part time so you could do UG over a long period if your initial period goes well.
 
  • #7
pinball1970
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I did an IB diploma (including higher level physics), which is of similar education level to A levels, when I was in highschool. I remember hearing that that could get you a job stapling photocopies together.
Some of these guys are struggling, I am not sure how helpful or funny you thought that comment was.
 
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  • #8
f95toli
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One possibility would be an apprenticeship. Some national labs in the UK do have apprenticeship programs which do pay a (small) salary. Effectively, it is a hands-on training to (initially) become a lab technician.

Note, however, that these are very competitive; it is much easier to get into university than to get accepted to one of these programs; but it is an option if you are interested in a career is science but does not want to go to university (at least not straight aware, as far as I know most of our apprentices do end up going to uni after the apprenticeships)
 
  • #9
StatGuy2000
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To the OP:

You stated that you dropped out of university due to the disruption from COVID-19, and the switch to online learning.

Is online learning difficult for you? And why will you not consider re-applying and re-enrolling back to university?
 
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  • #10
wle
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Some of these guys are struggling, I am not sure how helpful or funny you thought that comment was.
It may have come off a bit snarky but it is the reality as far as the value of a high school diploma is concerned.

Completing A levels (or equivalent levels of high school education in other school systems) is not a professional qualification. What you learn in A-level anything is very basic and superficial compared with what you learn in an undergraduate degree, not only in terms of subject matter but also technical ability and experience accumulated along the way. So if an employer is looking to hire someone who already has relevant education or professional training it would make very little sense for them to ask for A levels.

This does not mean that somebody who has not got a university degree can only do a menial job. It merely means that it is entirely normal that employers are not going to post ads saying they want to hire someone with A levels, simply because that by itself is not a qualification of anything significant. Realistically, if the OP (or anyone in a similar situation) wants to do a professional STEM-related job then they are going to need significant training well beyond anything they learned in high school, and are going to have to think about how and where they get that training. University is one way (and probably still the most straightforward and worth considering; this COVID pandemic and the disruption it is causing are not going to last forever), but other kinds of professional training, certifications, internships, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training do exist.
 
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  • #11
pinball1970
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It may have come off a bit snarky but it is the reality as far as the value of a high school diploma is concerned.

Completing A levels (or equivalent levels of high school education in other school systems) is not a professional qualification. What you learn in A-level anything is very basic and superficial compared with what you learn in an undergraduate degree, not only in terms of subject matter but also technical ability and experience accumulated along the way. So if an employer is looking to hire someone who already has relevant education or professional training it would make very little sense for them to ask for A levels.

This does not mean that somebody who has not got a university degree can only do a menial job. It merely means that it is entirely normal that employers are not going to post ads saying they want to hire someone with A levels, simply because that by itself is not a qualification of anything significant. Realistically, if the OP (or anyone in a similar situation) wants to do a professional STEM-related job then they are going to need significant training well beyond anything they learned in high school, and are going to have to think about how and where they get that training. University is one way (and probably still the most straightforward and worth considering; this COVID pandemic and the disruption it is causing are not going to last forever), but other kinds of professional training, certifications, internships, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training do exist.
Yes and it can work both ways.
We got some decent interns in lab with A levels only or part of their UG sandwich course.
Getting a good tech young can sometimes be a good fit.
We had graduates that came in on a lower level and thought the job was beneath them after a few months even though we explained the job description explicitly.

One of the smartest ever placements was this 15 year old lad, I showed him stuff once and he just got it.
I asked him to come back to us once he had completed his A levels, he didn’t- probably ended up doing medicine or something.


Anyway my point is some employers will give interns/ A levels a chance and if they are good in the lab a decent supervisor will look to develop them.
They can always do day release to get a degree if that is an option (and they push for it)


This was an industry not academic lab so I know competition and opportunities is tighter there, it depends on how wide the OPs net is.
 
  • #12
DeathByKugelBlitz
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To the OP:

You stated that you dropped out of university due to the disruption from COVID-19, and the switch to online learning.

Is online learning difficult for you? And why will you not consider re-applying and re-enrolling back to university?
I failed first year twice so will not be able to afford going back, and yes online learning is very bad
 
  • #13
StatGuy2000
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I failed first year twice so will not be able to afford going back, and yes online learning is very bad
I see. Since you are based in the UK, my understanding is that the situation with respect to COVID-19 is much better, with most restrictions set to be removed. So I presume this means that in-person classes will eventually resume.

In that case, it may be more feasible for you to resume your education. Because the truth is that just completing A-levels is simply not enough for you to be qualified for any type of employment.

I would also suggest that you carefully examine why you experienced so much difficulty in university. Are you struggling with the learning material? Are you more of a visual learner, or a verbal learner? What are your study habits? These are things you need to carefully examine for yourself.

As for being able to afford higher education, my understanding is that UK has various loan programs and grants to cover tuition fees. I would suggest you look at all your options in this regard.
 
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  • #14
DeathByKugelBlitz
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I see. Since you are based in the UK, my understanding is that the situation with respect to COVID-19 is much better, with most restrictions set to be removed. So I presume this means that in-person classes will eventually resume.

In that case, it may be more feasible for you to resume your education. Because the truth is that just completing A-levels is simply not enough for you to be qualified for any type of employment.

I would also suggest that you carefully examine why you experienced so much difficulty in university. Are you struggling with the learning material? Are you more of a visual learner, or a verbal learner? What are your study habits? These are things you need to carefully examine for yourself.

As for being able to afford higher education, my understanding is that UK has various loan programs and grants to cover tuition fees. I would suggest you look at all your options in this regard.
I am unable to afford university since the loans only apply for the length of the course + 1 extra year, I've already used the maximum loan
 
  • #15
StatGuy2000
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I am unable to afford university since the loans only apply for the length of the course + 1 extra year, I've already used the maximum loan
Have you not spoken to universities about financial aid options available? Here in Canada (where I live) there are numerous available for students to receive financial aid. Are there nothing like this available in the UK?
 

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