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Pseudo Career Change Advice

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Pseudo Career Change Advice

Postby Chadwick S » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:52 pm

Hello all,

I am considering beginning a graduate program in order to facilitate a career change. I've read a few other career change threads on here but would like some feedback on my particular situation.

I graduate in 2011 with a BS in Biology from a small liberal arts college with no research experience. This lead me to be an environmental educator, ropes director, Outward Bound guide, and eventually school teacher for children with learning disabilities and finally teaching AP Environmental Science at one of the top schools in the country. I currently serve on the boards of 3 outdoor oriented nonprofits as well.

During my time teaching, I earned a graduate certificate in Geospatial Analysis from the University of Florida and learned to write custom add-ins for ArcGIS in C#, some coding in Python, HTML, CSS, and Javascript. I also did my preMBA coursework through Harvard Business School's HBX CORe program partially to be able to teach the economics section of AP Envi Sci more accurately.

I have read the "follow the money" advice and recently followed it. When my girlfriend took a new job and we had to move, teaching positions paid roughly 65% of what they did in my previous school so I took a job doing investment and insurance planning for Northwestern Mutual.

I currently am miserable.

We are moving again after 8 short months due to my girlfriend getting a promotion. She fully supports me returning to graduate school instead of getting stuck in another soul sucking job. I have applied to a program in Environmental Informatics - the intersection of business, ecology/environmental science, and GIS. It is a professional science masters but has opportunities for research. From there I would like to pursue a PhD.

I don't necessarily care what the title of the PhD is, whether it's in Geography, Environmental Science, Conservation Ecology, etc, I just would like to use my technical skills in GIS to solve problems related to wildlife conservation and whatever program a professor doing that is in, I will gladly join. I am unsure whether that is a clear path or not as I'm primarily trying to base that decision off the research interests of specific professors not degree titles.

So in summary, I'm 28. Would like to eventually teach at a smaller liberal arts college. Have an active interest in the outdoors and wildlife conservation. Have some technical skills in coding and GIS, along with a teaching background.

Any general advice? Is this a viable path? Should I narrow down some things or make some avenues broader? Are there any skills I should learn or things I could do to better my chances of admission or increase future career opportunities?

I should also add, money is not a terrible concern. It was at first which is why I took the finance job but my misery has overcome that. We enjoy living in transitional neighborhoods, pouring back into our communities through gardening, free little libraries, and other avenues of social justice, and as such live fairly cheaply with weekends spent camping, fishing, and exploring. Also I can double my investments monthly through day trading so already have the ability to fully fund my masters if no assistantship presents itself. Thanks in advance for your knowledge and expertise.
Chadwick S
 
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