Looking for a career change

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Looking for a career change

Postby Jeffery D. » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:38 pm

I have completed my AS degree at a community college and will be transferring into a University to complete my Bachelor's. I am having trouble deciding on what type of degree to get. I am very passionate about genetics but I am nervous about what career options I would have. I am entertaining the thought of a PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, or any similar field of science. I want to earn a living but at the same time I would've to find the genetic sequence for a disease so we can find ways to combat them. My first step is working on a Bachelor's but what should I be considering at the same time?
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Re: Looking for a career change

Postby John D. D, » Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:10 am

From what I read of your interests, I would suggest the following classes:
1) genetics
2) molecular biology + lab
3) human physiology or pathology
4) computer science programming class

This is assuming you have already had chemistry and organic chemistry with labs, and can pass AP exams in chemistry as well as algebra with good grades.

Most importantly, if the science academics are going well, try to get a paid internship in a lab with the possibility of working full-time over the summer. Also, you could look at temporary jobs on the business/marketing side if you have the interpersonal skills and an interest in money.
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Re: Looking for a career change

Postby Dave Walker » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:55 pm

I think John D.D. thinks the poster is in high school, but I assume "AS degree" means Associate of Science degree.

My advice is to really think hard about what you want to do with the degree, not what it should be in or what you need to learn. It's much better to talk to people about their jobs and learn what they did.

For a PhD realize you have: the rest of your bachelor's, 4-7 years of a PhD, a postdoc at 3-5 years and possibly a second 3-5 year postdoc before you emerge as a PhD scientist, or a tenure-track professor. That is a long time.

Have you considered Masters'-level jobs? Many of the supporting jobs around research do not require a PhD, and will get you on your career track much faster as a result (shaving off 8-15 years after your Bachelor's).

Does this make sense? I think you should set up informational interviews with any people who have jobs that seem interesting as a starter.
"The single factor that differentiates Nobel laureates from other scientists is training with another Nobel laureate." -- Sol Snyder
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Re: Looking for a career change

Postby John D. D, » Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:02 pm

Astute...If I did think that, it would only be my polite way of suggesting the appropriate time frame for the question. :-)
In this case, he's probably about on target with when the question should be asked, and his path may be interpreted to mean difficulty with paying for a traditional 4 year, hence the emphasis on getting a paid internship as a way of career support at this point.
P.S. I try to block out the Sol Snyder quote because it rubs me the wrong way. I'm pretty sure I can just not read it.
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