Working dad looking for advice to get started

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In summary, the conversation discusses the difficulties of pursuing a career in physics while working full-time and caring for a child. The individual is seeking advice on credible online schools and courses to begin their path towards a B.S. degree in physics. However, the conversation also raises concerns about the time commitment required for a physics degree and suggests exploring community college courses as a trial run. The conversation also touches on the importance of preparation and the potential challenges of a slow pace in completing a degree. The individual plans to do more research and is seeking book recommendations for a realistic understanding of what to expect.
  • #1
ALopez
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Hello,

Straight to the point, I'm looking for advice on beginning my path to a career in physics. The difficult part is that I work between 50-60 hrs a week and a 1yr old at home. I may be able to do 1 class a day but for the most part, online courses may be my best bet.

Are there credible online school/courses I would be able to take to get me started towards a B.S. degree?

Physics has always interested me and in the long term, I would like to work towards astrophysics.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you
 
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  • #2
ALopez said:
Are there credible online school/courses I would be able to take to get me started towards a B.S. degree?

Not so much.

Your bigger problem, though, is time. At that pace it will take you ~30 years to do the equivalent work of a BS. And if you want a career in physics - i.e. a PhD - it's more like a century.
 
  • #3
The time needed has occurred to me and changes would have to be made. The first step is always the hardest. However, just because something is hard, deosnt mean it can't be done. My current schedule is 1am to 11am which would leave my afternoons open most days.

On average, how many class hours per week would be required to bring that 30 years to a more sensible number?
 
  • #4
College is a full-time job. Figure 30 weeks a year for 4 years and 40 weeks a year and you get about 5000 hours for a BS. (People will quibble about the 5, but it's thousands and not hundreds). You need to figure out how to work that in.
 
  • #5
To the OP:

As @Vanadium 50 has stated above, if you are working 50-60 hours a week with a 1 year old to care for, I really don't see how you will be able to have the time or the resources to devote any significant time to pursuing an university education without some form of financial (or other) types of support.

Do you have other family members (a spouse, parents or other family members) who can financially support you, or who can help share some of the parenting responsibilities?
 
  • #6
One thing you could try is enrolling in a local community college introductory physics course.

This will let you see what kind of workload you're really looking at, and will help to give you an idea what doing a degree in physics is going to be all about. A lot of people like the conceptual ideas presented in popular science media, but then find that physics isn't for them once they start actually digging into the details, so it's nice to use something like a community college course as a trial run, to see if this is something you really want to do.
 
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  • #7
Welcome to the PF. :smile:
ALopez said:
The difficult part is that I work between 50-60 hrs a week and a 1yr old at home.
ALopez said:
My current schedule is 1am to 11am which would leave my afternoons open most days.
What kind of work are you doing? What is your educational background so far? What math classes did you take in high school? Have you taken the SAT exam yet to see where you stand (assuming that you are in the US)?
 
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  • #8
Vanadium 50 said:
College is a full-time job. Figure 30 weeks a year for 4 years and 40 weeks a year and you get about 5000 hours for a BS. (People will quibble about the 5, but it's thousands and not hundreds). You need to figure out how to work that in.

Some students I mentor are on track to get it done in close to 5000 hours, but they started with 30-36 college credit hours earned in high school that transferred and applied to their degrees. They were also very well prepared. Personally, my BS in Physics required closer to 7000 hours, but I was poorly prepared. But having had lots of adults returning to college in Physics courses I taught, too slow a pace can result in a significant loss of momentum and result in bouts of forgetting and relearning. A wonder how workable a 3-6 credit hour pace really is in the long run. But you can't tweak up zero. I think the first step is getting the needle off of zero and then make necessary adjustments from there.

I've known some adults who were able to ramp up efforts to full time later in life and complete their degrees. (GI Bill, inheritance, well-funded termination packages, and the like.)
 
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  • #9
I appreciate everyone's input and will definitely head your advice. I'll start small with some research and see where that leads.

Would you recommend any books to give a realistic insight into as to what to expect?
 
  • #10
berkeman said:
Welcome to the PF. :smile:What kind of work are you doing? What is your educational background so far? What math classes did you take in high school? Have you taken the SAT exam yet to see where you stand (assuming that you are in the US)?
It's been some time. I did get some college education with calculus and trig, and some physics classes included. As far as the SAT, yes I have taken it, but again, it's been years so I can't remember the score.

As of right now, I'm a tow truck operator in Vegas with plenty of down time during those early hours.
 
  • #11
Have you considered the cost? The tuition for a quality university course can be upwards of $1000 per credit hour even for on-line courses.

What is your ultimate goal in pursuing this endeavor? What is the maximum time you think you can afford to dedicate to achieving it? I knew a few persons who worked on business master's degrees part-time and took them about four years to complete. They either had no children with the spouse also working or one child with a spouse.
 
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  • #12
Choppy said:
One thing you could try is enrolling in a local community college introductory physics course.
ALopez said:
I'm a tow truck operator in Vegas
Looks like there are some community colleges available in that area...
ALopez said:
I did get some college education with calculus and trig, and some physics classes included.
Was that at a community college or at a 4-year school? Did you graduate with a degree at that time, or had to stop school to work?

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  • #13
ALopez said:
... a career in physics.
What kind of career in physics?
Physics has always interested me and in the long term, I would like to work towards astrophysics.
Please have a better reason and clearer plan than that. You are a dad and have dad responsibilities.
 

Related to Working dad looking for advice to get started

1. How can a working dad balance his career and family life?

Balancing work and family life can be challenging for any parent, but there are a few strategies that can help. First, prioritize your time and set boundaries between work and family. Communicate openly with your employer and family about your needs and schedule. Additionally, delegate tasks and ask for help when needed. Remember to also take care of yourself and make time for self-care.

2. What are some tips for being a more involved dad while working?

One way to be more involved as a working dad is to make the most of the time you have with your family. This can include planning fun activities, helping with homework, or simply spending quality time together. Additionally, try to attend important events and appointments for your children, and stay connected through regular communication.

3. How can a working dad manage work-related stress?

Managing stress is important for both your mental and physical health. As a working dad, it's important to find healthy ways to cope with work-related stress. This can include exercise, mindfulness techniques, and seeking support from friends and family. It's also important to set realistic expectations for yourself and prioritize tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

4. What are some ways a working dad can support his partner?

Supporting your partner is crucial for a healthy and happy family life. As a working dad, you can support your partner by actively listening and communicating, helping with household tasks, and being understanding of their needs and responsibilities. Additionally, make time for date nights and show appreciation for all that your partner does.

5. How can a working dad create a strong bond with his children?

Building a strong bond with your children takes time and effort, but it's worth it. As a working dad, you can create a strong bond by being present and actively engaged in your children's lives. This can include playing together, having meaningful conversations, and showing interest in their hobbies and interests. It's also important to be a positive role model and consistently show love and support for your children.

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