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What can I do with an Associate's Degree in Mathmatics?

  1. Jun 12, 2015 #1
    I really need some help.

    I've spent the past 20 years shooting for my dreams. I got an associates in Electronics and a BA in Graphic Design. Needless to say the past 20 years have yielded no fruit. It's been 10 years since I've gotten my BA and I've never been able to use it. So basically it's become a $74,000 piece of toilet paper.

    Now I'm 40 and am working in a warehouse. As a 30% disabled Vet I know my body is not going to be able to hold up forever. So I need to find an education that will benefit me and help me finally make a life for myself. Recently, I've learned I can afford to go to a local community college and get an associates in mathematics. But when I talked to their rep, they said unless I plan on a BA in something, it's not going to do me any good.

    So I need to ask, if I was to pursue something else would a BA in mathematics be a plus or minus. Are their any careers out there that someone can make a decent living at with mathematics but is not impossible to get into? Any thoughts or suggestions would be welcomed.
     
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  3. Jun 12, 2015 #2
    That doesn't sound like a very employable degree to me. Even at the BS level just taking math classes doesn't sell you to an employer. My first thought is to look for a more trade oriented 2 year degree.
     
  4. Jun 12, 2015 #3
    Like what? Welding?
     
  5. Jun 12, 2015 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    If you respond hostilely to those who are trying to help you, pretty soon there won't be all that many people who want to help you. Just sayin'.

    The fact of that matter is that too an employer a BA in Graphic Design plus an AA in Mathematics = a BA in Graphic Design. The other fact is that at this point in your career, employers are going to be looking much harder at your employment history than your degrees. There aren't many jobs where one sits at a desk and inverts matrices or calculates integrals, the business need that they are trying to fill will surely require a lot of training irrespective of the exact job, and the best predictor of whether this is a good investment or not is your work history to this point.
     
  6. Jun 12, 2015 #5

    symbolipoint

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    Welding? No. Metallurgy? Maybe. Mathematics is only a good choice if you earn a degree (bachelors, at least) in something else, or something more. Scientists, engineers, business planners, use and need mathematics as a tool. Some kinds of technicians may need to have mathematical understanding and skills.
     
  7. Jun 12, 2015 #6
    Hostilely? If my responses have come across that way I truly apologies. I was just trying to understand what he meant by a "trade". Usually, when I hear that, I hear things like truck driver, mechanic, or repairmen. (Never claimed to be the smartest person in the world.) As for my work history, unfortunately, it is not good. A lot has consisted of warehouses, coal mines, military and security; none of which I have any interest in. Just a way to keep our financial heads above water.

    Thanks for the reply. I guess that's what I'm looking for. My only question is how marketable are they? I suffered a huge loss the first time and I can't afford to try again and not have it yield anything.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2015
  8. Jun 12, 2015 #7

    symbolipoint

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    If that is your work history, nothing is bad about it. The prejudices would come in if you were unfortunate enough to have too many employment gaps. Those many time gaps give the principals cheap excuse to reject you as a job candidate.
     
  9. Jun 12, 2015 #8

    SteamKing

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    You seem to think that welding is a less desirable job than having a BA in something for which there is no position in the job market.

    There are several trades which pay skilled workers very handsomely, more in fact than many lawyers and other professional people can ever hope to obtain.

    If welding doesn't appeal to you, electricians and plumbers are always in demand, these jobs can't be outsourced, and being a veteran with a disability, some of your benefits may be used to help pay for training or can give you a preference when applying for a job in the public or private sector. If these jobs don't appeal to you, then perhaps training as a machinist could draw on your previous math education. A lot of machining jobs require good math skills to understand how to work the computer controls used to make the machined parts.

    I don't recommend jobs in service industries like fast food. Once the $15 / hour minimum wage comes into effect, all of those jobs are going to be done by robots. Hey, maybe that's another avenue of investigation! You can't run a robot without some math skills.

    If you want to do math, and nothing but math, study accounting. Financial rules are getting more complex, not simpler. When my late father hit a wall in his former career, he studied accounting by correspondence (no internet in them days), got a job briefly in tax preparation, and then landed a decent job in state government, from which he ultimately retired with a small pension and some medical benefits to supplement social security and Medicare.

    The point is, if you start crossing jobs off your list without investigating their pros and cons, you will almost certainly miss some good opportunities.
     
  10. Jun 12, 2015 #9
    I appreciate the responses. I can understand what you mean by missing opportunities. The problem for me however is that my body is only going to last so long before my knees and hips give out. Doing manual labor seems to be only a ticking time-bomb for me until I am completely unemployable. I figure I have a few good years left and am trying to plan for the future as best as I can. Maybe I'm just done for. Oh well. Thanks anyways everyone.
     
  11. Jun 13, 2015 #10

    SteamKing

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    You are assuming that all skilled jobs have the same physical requirements, that an electrician will work just as hard physically as a ditch digger or a hod carrier. This is not the case by far.

    This video was shot inside a modern automotive engine factory:



    The engine assemblers and mechanics in this factory all have access to power tools and power lifting equipment, so the physical part of their job is not as strenuous as it might have been 30 or 50 years ago. I'm not saying that all factories are like this, or you should run out and try to get a job in a Mercedes engine factory, but neither should you cross a trade off your list because you have an outdated notion of what goes on inside a modern factory, or what modern skilled tradesmen do.

    If you don't want to learn a trade, fine, there are other jobs like accounting which may better suit your math skills. Certainly, the physical demands of accounting are quite different from a lot of jobs, and you can continue working in this field until you become absolutely disgusted with it.
     
  12. Jun 13, 2015 #11
    Just ask yourself how a company if going to make money when they pay you to do stuff. Hiring you should be profitable to them. That's how they will think.

    Look around the businesses in your area. Think about how you can walk in there tomorrow, and make them more money. Hard to figure that out, but in the end that's the way things work.
     
  13. Jun 19, 2015 #12

    CalcNerd

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    BA in Graphics Design??? How fast can you learn AutoCAD? All of our designers where I work know AutoCAD and most started out as drafters with AutoCAD. Learn AutoCAD and some trade symbology (in a trade you know or think you will like) and you will be able to work in the design field in a fairly short time. The physical work will be far kinder to your muscles and you will be able to develop a technical background. As you work in such an environment you will be able to hone your technical skills and focus on an area of interest. Fields that need AutoCAD drafters (which develop into designers, which can ultimately evolve into engineers):
    .
    Architecture firms.
    Civil Engineering.
    MEP (Mech, Elect, Plumb) firms
    The actual trades themselves, such as Mechanical or Electrical contractors who often need to furnish AS Built drawings when they finish their work (and want to save a few dollars by having those prints done in house vs going back to the design firm),
     
  14. Jun 19, 2015 #13
    I think Gadgett has been misunderstood. In asking, "Like what? Welding?" I don't necessarily see any kind of hostile tone. It is a simple clarifying question. It is possible for someone to ask that question with a hostile tone, but it is also easy to misread tone in online discussions.

    Welding could be a great option. What about becoming a plumber? An electrician? A mechanic?

    http://www.wikihow.com/Become-a-Licensed-Electrician

    Opportunities multiply as they are seized or lost as they are squandered. Leave no stone unturned.

    I hope and pray for the best for you.
     
  15. Jun 19, 2015 #14
    Nurse? Truck driver? Bank teller?

    Good luck.
     
  16. Jun 19, 2015 #15
    I know several people along the lines of SteamKing's father... my dad did that as well. He worked in a manufacturing plant (labor, not an office job) for 30 years, barely graduated high school but always liked math. He didn't have any connections in the accounting world but made up for that by pure hard work, and ended up as a tax preparer. Not great money, but keeps my parents' head above water and it is much easier physically as my dad was getting older.

    Definitely not an option I'd rule out if I were you.
     
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