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Jen

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Thoughts on Pathways, public health, my future generally? :)
« on: February 08, 2021, 01:15:24 pm »
I'm 42 and at a job I like well enough. Pay isn't anything to write home about, boss is about the nicest guy you could ever hope to work for, but he wants to be putting in mission papers in a couple of years so it's somewhat temporary.

I'm feeling a drive to finally get a degree, and for lots of reasons I won't bore you with, Pathways looks and feels like the right way to go. The trouble is, I don't feel super confident that many of their limited degree choices will leave me with good employment options. Right now I'm heavily leaning toward public health. Epidemiology is really interesting but I'd probably need a master's to do much with it. Same with marriage and family (which everyone seems to be doing, anyway). If you have any experience or insight into Pathways or a career in public health, do you care to share?
 
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pnr

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Re: Thoughts on Pathways, public health, my future generally? :)
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2021, 03:25:45 pm »
Pathways has a pretty restrictive first year (intended to bring one up to speed to do college work).   If you need to ease into, then maybe that is the way to go.   But if you are able to read write think and do math and work on your own, you may find yourself helping others more than being helped yourself for the first year.   

If you have any college at all, see if the college you attended has a program to help those who dropped out get degrees.  Find out if a college near you, or governor's university allows credit for basic course with life experiences, and see how many credits you might qualify for.

If you feel weak in math, go do the Khan Academy math from K-12 (because it requires demonstration of understanding to move up, you will be able to do the college math when you complete the k-12).  And it is free.   (One way to where your skill set is presently is to take the ACT or SAT test, or take PERT or TABE at your local community college or vocational training office.  ACT will more accurately reflect college expectations.) 

You might also look at Great Courses which has college courses you can purchase and do at your own pace (I think Harvard now sells some of its catalog that way too nowadays.)  And some of these places provide credit too that may be transferable.

ETA:  Some colleges have special programs and even grants for parents returning after kids are grown.  If you fit into that category, look for them.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2021, 06:05:20 pm by pnr »
Nauvoo 1270, Feb 2005
 
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dyany

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Re: Thoughts on Pathways, public health, my future generally? :)
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2021, 04:54:14 pm »
From what I have seen, epidemiology requires either a doctor of medicine (MD) or a PhD in a specific research field (biochem, genetics, etc.). Have never seen anyone with a Master's even attempt to crack into that industry, as it's research/academia based, so high education is the biggest priority.

Otherwise, if Pathways feels right, that might be the way to go. I know multiple people who have started there and moved on to more and have felt very, very blessed and improved by it.

But I also have to say: degrees are not a panacea. What are you wanting? A certain kind and level of job satisfaction? Feeling like you are doing important work? Income? Benefits? Stability? All of those and others are valid vocational goals, but YOU have to decide what YOU want most (and it is almost always a combo, so you'll have to prioritize, including possibly choosing a number of them) and how much you are willing to sacrifice to get there, including cost, money, and even travel. The answer is not always school, certainly not always a 4 year or more degree, though sometimes it is.

Personally, you know I have 2 degrees, and neither have really helped me with work, but both helped me learn how to learn, how to analyze, how to think critically, and lots of other benefits and skills that have absolutely zip to do with job viability. I flourished for a while in tech and never really let that go, but that serves me fine in other capacities. I am finding a lot of satisfaction working in mental health now, but I couldn't support myself with it. Neither really use(d) either of my degrees directly. But that's not always the point.

So figure out what you want, at a nitty-gritty and almost ephemeral level. Then figure out what big goals might have the best chance of helping you meet those other goals. THEN figure out how to break down THOSE goals. All with the Lord's inspiration to guide you.

I know you can do it. That doesn't mean it won't be hard or that there might not be some course corrections or changes along the way, but that's usually part of the learning process. Which is what this entire life is all about, isn't it. :)
 
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Roper

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Re: Thoughts on Pathways, public health, my future generally? :)
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2021, 07:31:17 pm »
What PNR said. Also MPH (Master of Public Health) is pretty much the gold standard for working in any position of responsibility in the public health field. And, as Dyany said, most epidemiology positions require either MD or PhD.

One of my sons did Pathways for one year right when he got home from his mission. Then he went on campus, because they didn't have his program online. He had a good experience with Pathways. He said it was the right decision to help him transition back into being a student.

One other thing: Graduate school is hugely expensive. If you don't have help paying for it, or if you don't have a sizeable chunk of change saved, it's easy to get partway through and then quit. I saw it happen to several of my colleagues. Most of us were in our 40s and had careers and families. It definitely requires a lot of careful planning.

« Last Edit: February 08, 2021, 07:35:43 pm by Roper »
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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Jen

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Re: Thoughts on Pathways, public health, my future generally? :)
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2021, 07:56:12 pm »
What I really want is to be a teenager again and know that I'm a reasonably intelligent person who's got a good mind for not just raising a family and serving in the church, but for helping support my family and serve my community. I always thought I wasn't academic. I suppose people that knew me many years ago might assume the same. But I actually love to learn, and I'm told I pick things up quickly.

I want to do something fulfilling, I want to help people, and most of all I want to not be destitute if something were to happen to my husband. I want us to be able to give our kids some help through their schooling, and by golly I want to retire someday without having to greet people at Walmart.
 
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Palmon

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Re: Thoughts on Pathways, public health, my future generally? :)
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2021, 10:23:05 pm »
Several women I’ve know have used Pathways to get degrees. They were extremely happy with it - at least in the beginning. We moved and how and where they completed the degrees I don’t know.
I’m trying to get a DiL’s and son to at least leave it k at the program.

What about a degree in Public Health?
« Last Edit: February 08, 2021, 10:34:13 pm by Palmon »
 
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Roper

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Re: Thoughts on Pathways, public health, my future generally? :)
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2021, 10:41:08 pm »
I actually love to learn ... I want to do something fulfilling, I want to help people ... by golly I want to retire someday without having to greet people at Walmart.

Those are the primary reasons I became a teacher. Plus, I like having the same days off as my kids.  :D
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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dyany

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Re: Thoughts on Pathways, public health, my future generally? :)
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2021, 10:55:34 pm »
I will add this caveat to Roper's statement about the cost of grad school:
While he is partially right, especially in that scholarships for grad school don't generally exist for even a fraction of what they cover for undergrad, there ARE options, and with how horrifically admin-bloated most universities have become, they are far less willing to pay for actual tenured or even full-time professors, and instead rely far more on adjuncts (qualified instructors who are not tenure-track material) or GAs (graduate assistants) or TAs (teaching assistants). (It's one of the reasons that course materials have skyrocketed in price at exponentially faster rates than even tuition: qualified instructors at the school are not making enough to live, let alone pay off THEIR student loans, so they write up/put together course manuals/textbooks and then charge hundreds of dollars for what would literally cost only $25-50 in 'real world money.' But I'm apparently easily distracted today, returning to your regularly scheduled programme now....).

ANYWAY, there are a number of grad school programs these days NO LONGER CHARGE TUITION. That's right. They don't, especially in liberal arts fields. Not that it's free, no! They have a very low acceptance rate, and everyone who gets into the program HAS to be a TA/GA for some of the craptastic undergrad core requirements (e.g., having to teach the required-for-every-degree, massive freshman composition courses where your soul dies reading the bad writing of hundreds of gormless freshmen). You will usually see this in liberal arts fields because those degrees are 90% useless outside of academia, so they are just priming the pump to keep the grad-student-munching-machine going, while not really having to fork out real dough--so the money can feed the administrative bloat instead. School has also been pushed so much that there are ton of disreputable and unaccredited schools and programs that have cropped up all over the place, where it's easier and slightly less expensive to get degrees, so people seeking ONLY the piece of paper flock there. I would avoid those programs.

Sorry I'm apparently cranky about the business. I LOVE school. I hate what's become of it, just in the 29 years since I finished my first undergrad. The love of learning and research is being squeezed out in the name of the almighty machine and stock prices.

There are some good things. There are a number of 'low residency programs' (especially with grad school) where you do 95% of your work online and go to the campus 1-2 weeks/semester. There's more grad programs and even undergrad programs available online from good universities than ever before (one of the good things advanced even faster by COVID, though most decent universities were moving into those programs before), More e-books available to save money, and even some online resources that can get you used or electronic textbooks for cheap and/or free. My original alma mater has even started offering a ton of online degrees, undergrad and grad, including a data specialist and a Master of Library Science, which tempts me EXCEEDINGLY and never would have been available before.

Know what you want and why you want it before you dive in. If you want help figuring some of that out, I'd be happy to help you with some of the options.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2021, 01:24:22 am by dyany »
 
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Roper

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Re: Thoughts on Pathways, public health, my future generally? :)
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2021, 11:30:18 pm »
I got my masters degree in Educational Leadership and Policy. The coursework was entirely online through the University of Texas. (I still had to do my internship in person.) I got the same degree as all the students who attended regular classes. The schedule was super flexible. I just had to do a LOT more writing to make up for the lack of dynamic in-class discussion. That turned out to be a good thing. When it came time for my capstone, most of my research and writing was already done. Still, the only way I was able to afford it was because Texas had a tuition waiver for military veterans who attended a state university.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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Curelom

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Re: Thoughts on Pathways, public health, my future generally? :)
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2021, 07:10:52 am »
Have you had college experience already? I’ve known a number of people who enrolled in Pathways, & it seemed to work well for some who needed a little help preparing for college-level work, in the sense that it gave them a perspective on the expectations & some practice applying the discipline needed for higher education. For mature people with work experience, this may not have been so necessary, but it seems to have helped some that I’ve known in a variety of situations.

True, Pathways does not have that many degree paths. Can you try it out for the fit for a semester & see what you think? I don’t know the admin aspects – is any of it transferable for either distance learning or matriculation at a Church college or any other school of higher education?

If you’re interested in a public health career where you can help lots of people but aren’t sure you want to pursue a doctorate, consider being a Registered Sanitarian (known in some states as a Registered Environmental Health Specialist) or a Certified Industrial Hygienist. These are not academic or research careers, although you will do a lot of study to stay current & take some CE classes. These are applied science jobs, where your work day is spent making your community a more wholesome place.

I worked occasionally with RS’s & CIH’s in my career, when issues of either public or workplace health or safety came up that were not strictly “law enforcement” matters. There is a lot of overlap between them, & some of the academic preparation is similar. The “registered” part comes from passing exams given by professional boards, similar to the bar exam.

Chances are your county health inspectors are RS’s (it may be legally required – I think it is in California). They may specialize in food safety, swimming pools, other water quality, air quality, toxic waste dumping, or pest abatement, along with more obvious things like disease control. In smaller counties, they may have to be generalists. If you call your health agency about food poisoning from Sam 'n' Ella’s Joint, it’s likely that an RS will handle it. CIH's work more with occupational health & safety, so ergonomics & exposure to noise, dust, chemicals, or repetitive stress on the job are in their wheelhouse.

https://www.neha.org/professional-development/credentials/rehsrs-credential

http://www.abih.org/

What I really want is to be a teenager again and know that I'm a reasonably intelligent person who's got a good mind for not just raising a family and serving in the church, but for helping support my family and serve my community.....

We already know that, so you don't need to convince us. Just tell yourself you are a great person with a lot to contribute to the world beyond your own personal bubble.  :)

.... and by golly I want to retire someday without having to greet people at Walmart.

😝 Take a little of everyone's advice here & your Walmart career will be a short one.
 
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Jen

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Re: Thoughts on Pathways, public health, my future generally? :)
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2021, 02:06:33 pm »
Thanks, all of you.  ;D Yes, I think I'm going to go ahead and do the first semester or two and see what kind of support and career counseling I can expect, and whether I'll come out of it with a job I enjoy and hopefully more earning power.

Curelom, thanks for the info about environmental health. Pathway offers something like that, and I've looked at it a bit. I'll look more!

Also, it seems like they're constantly offering more certificates and sometimes adding degrees. This seems like it might be one of those times I just have to step forward and pray for the path to be clear ahead of me.
 
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Re: Thoughts on Pathways, public health, my future generally? :)
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2021, 06:16:29 pm »
Curelom, Thanks for the info about the jobs you mentioned. I had never thought of those positions, but I can see how necessary they are. Just another career pathway that I never knew about.
 
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