Author Topic: Degree/Career options  (Read 262 times)

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Offline sylvan

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Degree/Career options
« on: March 07, 2017, 09:30:42 AM »
I've spent the majority of my adult life lost. Finding myself and my place in life has been a journey. I've found myself, now I just need to figure out how to give myself a liveable LIFE. I've been a personal trainer for a few years, and all things fitness/activity interest me. In December, I finally decided that I would go back to school for a bachelor in Athletic Training and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Even though I'm almost 33, the time investment seemed worth it and not intimidating. I only needed 4 classes as pre-reqs to get accepted into the Athletic Training program, which is limited to 30 students per year, and I have to submit my application by May 1 and have all my pre-reqs done by end of summer term. I'm taking Human Anatomy and Physiology 1 and Nutrition, and Human Anatomy and Physiology 2 and Physics next semester. I went to signup for summer classes, and realized that I'm missing Trig as a pre-req for Physics, and I would have had to take it this semester. Now, I can take a College Level Exam for Trig to get the credit on my own before summer term, but I would have to essentially teach myself College Trig in a month. Even if I can do that, there are no online Physics classes during the summer, and I am physically incapable of sitting in a class room for that long. I would have to get registered as a student with disabilities (which should be no problem) and hope that they will waive the attendance policy for the class. A far more likely scenario would be to take Trig during summer, and try and get the transfer school to either accept me conditionally or allow me to take Physics alongside my major classes the first semester. With it being a limited acceptance program, I initially thought I would be a lock, but not with the need for an accommodation.

I found all this out yesterday and it kinda put me in a tailspin. It's all I can think about right now, and my head is in a fog. What initially didn't sound intimidating or overwhelming is now giving me second thoughts. I'm a shell of my normal self as far as my fitness/health because of some injuries. It's no surprise that my gung-ho passion has waned with my not being involved in any of the physical things I love. And I'm also thinking about the length of time it will take, and how much I want to just start some sort of sustainable, enjoyable life. I'm now weighing other degree/career options, but this is where I can't see the full picture. I only see the words of the degree, not all the possibilities it holds. There seems to be a tremendous cross-section of jobs around here, as well as people at different stages of their careers.

tl;dr - Major issues have me rethinking college degree. Is it worth giving up 5 years and all the mental effort that goes with completing a doctorate, to come out the other side 38 years old with a decent-to-high paying job that will hopefully align with my self-interests when I get healthy? I'm good at pretty much anything (smart guy, mostly too much for my own good). Should I just commit 2 years to completing a BA and get on with my life?

Offline Chino

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Re: Degree/Career options
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2017, 09:36:01 AM »
Man, that's tough. Part of me says stick with what you like if it pays the bills, at least for now. I settled on a BA because of the salary, health benefits, weekends/holidays off, and stupid amounts of PTO. I'm miserable Monday through Friday and then after 3pm on Sundays. If you decide to go with a more general BA, I'd suggest trying to work whatever career you settle on into the health and fitness stuff you enjoy.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2017, 10:33:31 AM by Chino »

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Re: Degree/Career options
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2017, 09:45:23 AM »
So this is a 5 year bachelors degree and doctorate program in one (that seems like a lot)?  And do you have an associates degree or something?  I'm a bit confused as to where you are educationally now and what this program is.  Also, why can't you sit in a class?  I think that's kind of important to understand because maybe going back into a classroom for 5 years where you have issues with sitting in a class, isn't the best idea.  I'm typically not going to recommend people don't get educated, but just trying to understand a bit more.  Part of me says to get the Bachelor's degree at least and see if that open's doors for you.  You also don't talk about the cost of this education.  Maybe it's too personal, but it's also a bit hard to give any advice without understanding all the details.  If it's not putting you into major debt, definitely try to get the degree.

Offline Phoenix87x

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Re: Degree/Career options
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2017, 10:22:26 AM »
I would go for the physical therapy degree.

That was actually what I was planning to do if pharmacy didn't work out for me. Its a solid field, with solid job security and since its something you enjoy that's a HUGE plus.

I kind of had the same dilemma facing me a few years back. I was getting older and I wasn't sure whether to Just get some whatever job to pay the bills or go to pharmacy school and do something I actually would enjoy. It took 6 years of my life, but I am glad I choose to go all the way, since I really enjoy my job and actually look forward to going to work.

Sure it sucks it will take so long, but PT is a job you can do in to your late 60's if you still wanted to. So that's a decent income, doing something you enjoy for 25+ years. I think its worth pursuing.

And one last thing:  SOHCAHTOA  ;)
All people die, but not many people ever truly live

Offline sylvan

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Re: Degree/Career options
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2017, 10:27:26 AM »
I was kinda waiting on some of these questions to elaborate where needed.
Chino - I'm aware of some of your misery :lol. That's only a half joke, because I'm aware of most people's misery when it comes to jobs. And that's been the main problem with my career ambition. I don't want to be miserable, and I certainly don't want so spend the time/money/energy going to school to become miserable. Money and benefits and perks have never been a driving force for me. But, PTs make really good money, and that was a nice later realization after committing to becoming a PT.

Cram - I already have my AS, and only needed 4 classes as pre-reqs for the Athletic Training bachelor's program, which is limited to 30 students per year, and is changing to a Masters level program in 2022. The cost is irrelevant. Without getting into details, I had every intention of finishing my Doctorate with no student debt. But, I'm paying for it (not financially) in other areas of my life. The reason I can't sit in a class room is because I've got some sort of "condition" where I become EXTREMELY uncomfortable in certain climates. Cold can make me sweat uncontrollably from my upper body. Sweating because you are cold, which obviously sounds odd, is not fun. The more I sweat, the colder I get, and it's an exponential cycle that I can only describe and being the most uncomfortable a person can be without being in pain. Large air-conditioned fluorescent tombs are terrible for me (office buildings, class rooms, courthouses, etc.)

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Re: Degree/Career options
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2017, 10:33:01 AM »
Damn thats tough, if this comes at no financial burden you can't handle and you can find a way to make it work with the classes and your condition, I would say to do it.  What's the other option, to continue being a personal trainer?  I mean if you think you could be happy the rest of your life doing so,  that's great but I don't think you'd be having this discussion if that were the case.  If you want something more you should go for it.  I don't think the age means much if you aren't going to be hampered with significant debt at 40 that'll take 30 years to pay off.  I do wonder about the condition though and how the school and you can make that work.

Offline sylvan

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Re: Degree/Career options
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2017, 01:13:23 PM »
Well, turns out my academic advisor was shit! Not only did she not catch that I needed Trig as a pre-req for Physics, which is a pre-req for the Athletic Training program... she left out that there are different pre-reqs for the Doctorate of Physical Therapy. So while the Athletic Training BA will get me into the DPT program, there are additional pre-reqs not included in the BA, which include Chemistry 1/2, Biology 1/2, and Physics 1/2. There are 5 additional classes I would have to take alongside my BA major courses, which would extend my BA another two semesters. Not the worst thing. BUT, online classes are not accepted for chemistry, physics, or anatomy classes. Only hybrid courses where the lab is done in person. I'm currently in A&P 1 online, which is not a hybrid. But my instructor secured a classroom to do our lab in person. I might be able to get that okayed as a hybrid course, but I can't take the other 5 courses IN class, as already noted. And in reality, I highly doubt I could pass Chemistry 1, let alone 2, and Physics 2. Frankly, I'm not entirely surprised to find the requirements (but Chemistry 2, really?), I only wish I had been made aware before making these decisions. I still am meeting with another advisor tomorrow, but I'm getting a strong feeling that DPT might not be plausible.

Nevermind. Turns out there's no existential discussion to be had. Just world shattering is all.

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Re: Degree/Career options
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2017, 01:25:31 PM »
What about different programs?

chem 1 was a requirement for athletic training at PSU (my good friend did that for his undergrad, went on to become an orthopedic surgeon) but yea chem 2 seems a lot unless that's a lab?  We all took chem 1 and chem 12 (lab that goes along with chem 1).  Chem 12 was one of the worst classes ever at PSU.  Once a week 4 hour lab where the instructor was instructed to not help at all and everyone struggled and would hardly complete the labs.  Also I had a solid B going into the final and finished with a C+, I must have not done so well on that.

Offline sylvan

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Re: Degree/Career options
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2017, 01:55:27 PM »
I get that it's a medical/health based degree, so having Chem 1 would be helpful. But Chem 2 w/ Lab seems like overkill. And so does Algebra-based Physics 2. I have a decent idea of what PTs do on a regular basis. There are no advanced chemistry ideas or elaborate physics based math being done. Not enough to warrant a second Chem and Physics. The majority of that stuff is done by the doctors before hand. Even my doctor consulted musculature on google when we were trying to pinpoint an injury. And you're telling me that Advanced Chemistry and Physics are necessary?

Yeah, other programs are a possibility. At this point, though, it's like pulling something out of a hat. I'm sold on the idea of school and a BA, and if it took wasting a semester and changing paths, that's a lot better off than I was when I had NO plans for the future. Pretty much any other major is like looking through a window at a world that I don't know. It's really hard to walk through the door, regardless of my confidence in my ability to adapt and understand. What if misery is waiting for me on the other side with Chino?

Offline Snow Dog

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Re: Degree/Career options
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2017, 10:04:19 PM »
Sylvan,

I've been following your post for a bit, and as someone who is a physical therapist (been practicing nine years with a DPT) and is familiar with the rigors of the program, I hope that I can help you with things. If nothing else, maybe some information about things would be a good start anyway.

First, let me tell you that the work to get to this point was worth it. Sure, seven years of school was a wait, but I love what I do. It's very satisfying to help people with their physical problems and bring them back to their prior level of function. It's gratifying work, and the people you work with, both patients and coworkers alike, are generally pretty awesome.

Second, to address your quibble about the pre-reqs: Yeah they suck. Physics was the fucking bane of my existence in school. Hated that class with a passion. And I use just about precisely zero of chemistry and physics in what I do every day. But the reason why they have students take those classes is not so much for the content itself, but rather that the graduate programs want to see that you know how to think through and analyze a problem to arrive at the solution. And that's a good portion of what PT's do is solve people's functional problems through symptom and movement analysis. Yeah chemistry and physics suck ass and they're about as applicable as dick to what you'll be doing, but every program requires them. And it's just another hoop to jump through to get where you want to go.

And if that's got you discouraged, hear me out for my third point - if PT school feels impractical or out of reach, have you looked at going to PTA school to become a physical therapy assistant? There's less time in school needed to complete the program, which will equal less debt with loans, and you'll start making money faster. You'll also have less responsibility than a therapist will, and there won't be quite as much paperwork to do as what a therapist has (it's easily my least favorite part of the job). On the down side, PTAs generally make less money, and I'm not sure their job market is quite as broad as it is for full-fledged PTs, but it still can be another option to consider. If you'd need/want more money than a PTA would make, if you go through the athletic training program that you're considering, you could do some of that work on the side as well.

Hope this helps. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I'd love to help any way I can! :)

--Matt

Offline sylvan

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Re: Degree/Career options
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2017, 12:53:14 PM »
^^^ Thanks a lot for those thoughts Matt. If anything, it makes it a little more difficult for me (more to come on that) to decide, because DPT was the whole reason for starting this. The reason I wanted to do Athletic Training is because it would cover sports injury/prevention etc, and then PT to cover post-injury recovery, which comes around full circle with my high-level fitness degrees to get athletes into performance condition. That would literally encapsulate any potential issue/problem/request/goal/anything that ANY athlete in ANY sport could need. That was my plan to separate myself in the field and also to work where I wanted to work, which is with athletes. Unfortunately, that whole path seems highly unlikely at this point, but not entirely impossible. And oddly enough Matt, they don't have an APT BS. The former community college, now state college, that I'm transferring from has an APT A.S., but UNF movement science degrees only include AT, EP, and DPT.

It looks like conditional acceptance to a limited acceptance program minus a pre-req is pretty much impossible, so taking Trig in the summer and deferring Physics post-transfer is a NO. Slightly more possible, but still not likely, is talking a Science Dean into allowing me to take Trig and Physics at the same time. Even if possible, that would be terribly difficult. What was the last resort seems like the ONLY possible way to get into the Athletic Training Bachelors program this year before it turns into a Masters program, and that's to take a CLEP for Precalculus. I would have to study and take the test in time to enroll in a Physics class that starts May 8. While I initially thought that would be ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE to do that, I found THIS:
http://www.degreeforum.net/general-education-testing-discussion/12375-precalculus-clep.html
Which at least give me a sliver of hope that it is POSSIBLE if I choose to continue to pursue the Athletic Training program.

Another way to DPT is Exercise Physiology. The only reason I would ever get this degree is as a stepping stone to DPT. It doesn't interest me in the slightest to pursue a Bachelors that will open essentially the same doors as my training certifications. As a pre-req, it swaps out Physics 1 for Chem 1, and I don't need a pre-req to take Chem 1. Unfortunately, the application deadline is also May 1 and 7 of 8 pre-reqs have to be completed by application deadline, and I would need A&P 2 and Chem 1 during the summer. So that doesn't work.

And even then, I would need to take Chem 1/2, Physics 1/2, Biology 1/2, and another Psych class alongside my major classes, or post-B.S., to meet the requirements for DPT. And Biology 1 would be a second time because it would be more than 7 years since completion. So with Exercise Physiology as a possible path out, the only way there is through Athletic Training. Then I wonder if simply getting my B.S. in two years is the way to go, instead of committing to what looks like closer to 7 years. Even though there's not debt waiting for me on the other side doesn't mean it's the best way to spend $35,000 (B.S.).

I think all this gives me a different perspective on what's right for me. Maybe that money is better spent invested in trying to grow a Training business. Even though I'm not business minded, it seems like a far less intimidating venture relative to 7 years of advanced schooling. I talked about my "condition" earlier. I spent 90 mins having a great conversation with the advisor today. I was miserably physically uncomfortable for most of it, and by the time I left, I couldn't go do anything else with my day before changing clothes. Maybe I just need to acknowledge that some things aren't meant for me. There are some things that some people just CANNOT do, regardless of whether they want to or not. My dad's blind; he doesn't get to be a race car driver.


Offline Skeever

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Re: Degree/Career options
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2017, 01:01:20 PM »
I don't know your situation, nor do I know your field, nor would I pretend to... that said, IN GENERAL, I have a rule about doctorates.

Don't do 'em. Unless they're free/fully funded. And then, really think hard about it. You probably still don't want to do it.

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Re: Degree/Career options
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2017, 02:02:37 PM »
Slightly more possible, but still not likely, is talking a Science Dean into allowing me to take Trig and Physics at the same time. Even if possible, that would be terribly difficult.

I can only speak from my own experience, but my collegiate level physics (I took 4 physics courses) all required a large amount of math, specifically trig.  I would not recommend doing both at the same time unless your specific physics course happens to be less math intensive and you think the trig class is more like a math refresher than a new learning experience.

Offline Snow Dog

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Re: Degree/Career options
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2017, 11:38:04 PM »
Bummer that the physical therapy route doesn't look to be working out for you, but it seems like you're exploring other possibly promising options. Best of luck with whatever venture you decide to go with, though!