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Looking to change careers

  1. Dec 16, 2013 #1
    Hello all,

    I graduated in 2005 with a B.S. in Physics. I spent the better part of 2 years looking for a job that would use my degree. I ended up teaching. I've been teaching since Jan of 08. I've taught, physics, chemistry, math (from Algebra to AP Calc), and currently a business oriented computer application course at the local college.

    I enjoy teaching, but with a wife and 3 kids teaching just isn't paying the bills. I headed back to school to pursue a computer science engineering degree, but recently my wife had some complications after the last pregnancy and hasn't been able to head back to work, so that new degree might have to be shelved for now.

    I'm looking for advice. I've spent countless hours looking for jobs, but I never seem to find anything that I'm qualified for. I've felt like I'm spinning my wheels when it comes to job hunting. Where should I look? I feel like the "If you have a physics degree, your options are limitless," is something I've heard over and over, and I have no idea how to make that work for me. How have other people broken into other fields? How often do companies that ask for very specific qualifications compromise and go with someone that they can train/teach?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2013 #2
    From my friends' experience the best way to get a well paying job is through personal contacts. Otherwise even if you get your CS degree and are a top student, you may still end up teaching or doing something equally unprofitable. Only a limited number of graduates in any speciality end up making good money.

    An alternative advice would be to move to another country. There are places where teaching can give you enough money to support a family of five as a single income earner. For example China sometimes hires native English speaking (i.e. American, British) teachers in a variety of subjects for their elite schools. The pay in relation to the living expenses is fantastic, while the competition is not that high yet.
  4. Dec 27, 2013 #3


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    Your advice above is really not practical for the OP given that he has a wife and 3 children, and I suspect most teaching assignments in foreign countries (including China) will only pay enough to provide living expenses for a single individual. Furthermore, most non-English-speaking countries (again, including China) are highly unlikely to hire foreigners to teach in any subject other than English.
  5. Dec 28, 2013 #4
    A few months ago and then once again a couple of weeks ago I saw a job opening where native English teachers were required to teach technical subjects (including physics) in an elite Chinese school. The pay would be sufficient to comfortably support a family of 5. I can't find this advertisement anymore, but it seems that such options appear from time to time.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
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