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Looking for a career change, unsure on how to proceed

  1. Jan 13, 2013 #1
    So I should start off by saying that I love physics and astronomy. I would absolutely love to work in the astrophysics field. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how much I liked it until after I had gotten out of college.

    When I graduated highschool, money was extremely tight, so I wasn't able to go to a university. I ended up going to and graduating from Ranken Technical College, with an associate's degree in control systems technology. Basically, it's a degree in the maintenance and creation of industrial automation systems. After graduating, I got a job outside of that field as a database administrator for a marketing company, which is where I'm still at today.

    I'm wanting to go back to school. Possibly switch careers. It looks like my current associate's will transfer in and allow me to only have to take my core classes, which will be great. If I want to get into astrophysics, should I go ahead and major in that, or would it be better to get a BS in physics and then specialize in astrophysics later?

    Also, how far could I realistically take this? I can take night classes to get my undergrad, no problem. I don't really have the option to pick and choose my undergrad school though, due to having to keep working full time here (I'll be going to University of St. Louis, in Missouri). I'm also not sure how, if it can even be done, I'd be able to get into/fit in grad school later on.

    Any advice for a career change like this? It's just all very overwhelming right now.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2013 #2


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    Start with a bachelors in physics and take classes in astronomy, math, and computer science. Don't expect many of the technical courses you took to help; you're probably still looking at 3-4 years for a bachelors degree if you enroll as a full-time student. Most of the classes you need, especially after the first year, will not be offered as night classes. Most schools only offer advanced physics classes at one time, and that's when you take it. They don't have enough majors to offer them more often, so you'll be taking classes during the day. St. Louis is fine; they've got astronomers there. If you do decide to go on to grad school after college, that's another 4-8 years for a PhD.
  4. Jan 13, 2013 #3
    Well, if I end up needing to take some classes during the day later on, I might be alright. Since I work with a cloud-based system at my job, I can always work from home on those days if I really need to.
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