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So I dont want to be in academia what now

  1. Sep 9, 2011 #1
    So I dont want to be in academia....what now

    Im a current Junior undergrad student studying physics, and after reading about "post-doc hell" academia has gone to last on my list of things I want to do, I know there are jobs in the private/public non academia sector out there for those knowledgeable in physics my question is what level of a degree should I get if im looking for something outside academia and what kinds of jobs are out there?
     
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  3. Sep 9, 2011 #2
    Re: So I dont want to be in academia....what now

    For this career path, I would finish your BS in physics and earn a masters degree in an engineering field. Try to get some practical work experience along the way.
     
  4. Sep 9, 2011 #3
    Re: So I dont want to be in academia....what now

    thats what I was figuring, now what kind of engineering, EE seems to be the big one but I hate circuits if people can give me a basic overview of other engineering fields that would be great (I know that sounds stupid but im looking for more of what a job in a specific engineering field might look like) aka I know what ME "is" but idk what kind of jobs I could expect from it etc
     
  5. Sep 9, 2011 #4

    wukunlin

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    Re: So I dont want to be in academia....what now

    that will differ a bit from school to school, best way to find out is to look for a handbook or something in the engineering faculty in your university
     
  6. Sep 9, 2011 #5
    Re: So I dont want to be in academia....what now

    It depends on what you want to do with your life, but if you want to do research, then I'd still suggest getting the physics Ph.D. Once you realize that you won't be able to make a career in academia, it may make your doctorate more enjoyable, since there is one less thing to worry about.
     
  7. Sep 9, 2011 #6
    Re: So I dont want to be in academia....what now

    bottom line idk what I want to do with my life short of a few things
    1) I dont want to be in academia as a job
    2) I want to do something practical
    3) if possible I want to be challenged/engaged at whatever job I find (challenges are fun and keep me interested)
    4) money is always nice but ill take a lower salary for a job I like
    5) like I said I want to avoid post-doc hell

    obviously 3 is a bit of a luxury in this economy but I can hope I also happen to be in DC and am considering a summer job posting somewhere in the area (USA jobs has STEP jobs (student temp employment) for physics undergrads that im looking at which might help me figure my life out a bit
    edit: I wouldn't mind research but i'm not big on knowledge for the sake of knowledge
     
  8. Sep 10, 2011 #7
    Re: So I dont want to be in academia....what now

    Depending on the laws in your country/state, this may make it difficult to become a PE. Being a PE isn't necessary, but it sure does open a lot of doors. Frankly in a discussion about employment where you aren't getting a physics PhD, I see very little value in the physics BS.

    There could be other reasons why you're getting this BS though.
     
  9. Sep 10, 2011 #8
    Re: So I dont want to be in academia....what now

    I know, had I figured this out earlier engineering would have been the way I went but its a bit late for that, which is why I posted this
     
  10. Sep 12, 2011 #9
    Re: So I dont want to be in academia....what now

    Actually from my personal experience classes during the first two years in engineering are very similar to physics classes -- I was an engineering student and until my sophomore year we had physics students studying calculus, Differential equations and some physics classes with us. But junior and senior years are where things start to get significantly different. Perhaps if you can switch majors, or petition to switch a major, it will take you a shorter time to switch to engineering than to do it by going to grad school after your finish your bachelors.
     
  11. Sep 12, 2011 #10
    Re: So I dont want to be in academia....what now

    thanks for the advice but I already thought of that and its a no dice at this point without going the extra year so no dice
     
  12. Sep 13, 2011 #11
    Re: So I dont want to be in academia....what now

    Yep I see what you mean. I think many factors will influence the decision that you will make. Perhaps if you're planning to obtain an engineering degree to qualify you for certain jobs, then maybe one extra year can seem a better option than applying for grad schools and spending 2 extra years after you have finished your Bachelors degree. But if you're planning to go and get a master degree in an engineering field of your interest, then perhaps finishing your physics major and then going to grad school seems a better option. (and you can discuss with an adviser what courses you can take during your undergrad to meet the pre-requirements for going into the graduate studies of your choice).

    Best of luck!
     
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