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JassenB

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Master's degree....worth it?
« on: Feb 11, 2004, 05:13 »
Seeking further career guidance. :) I think the best career advice I've ever received has come from here.

I am currently finishing the very last class for my B.S. degree, which Eric Bartlett told me to stay on course and finish. It so happens that was the demand of my wife, as well. :)

I am also currently taking a few graduate classes in radiochemistry and dosimetry, which would apply to an M.S. in radiochemistry, for which I have all but been admitted.

I'm looking at the "opportunity cost" of being in school versus working, though. And, since I'm pretty much convinced I want to stay in the power plant arena, and I find the road life to be a very attractive lifestyle, I'm seriously debating whether it's worth it for me to finish a Master's degree.

Any thoughts? Is it worth my time? Would it really get me anywhere to have it, in terms of available work as a road tech?

Also, since you're reading this, is there any demand at all for contract radiochemists? I have yet to find any open positions in that field listed anywhere.

As always, thank you very much for your time, patience, and guidance. :)

-Jassen

JassenB

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Re: Master's degree....worth it?
« Reply #1 on: Feb 11, 2004, 06:21 »
I've got the "way" --- but I'm just tired of making $950 per month, so I don't know if I have the "will" part. :)

Not to mention that I hate school. :)

Oh, and that monthly income is only because of the GI Bill, courtesy of the canoe club (thanks Uncle Sam).

Didn't you leave the road life to get your degree in nuclear physics or something???

Thanks!
-Jassen

Offline Roll Tide

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Re: Master's degree....worth it?
« Reply #2 on: Feb 11, 2004, 06:45 »

I am currently finishing the very last class for my B.S. degree, which Eric Bartlett told me to stay on course and finish. It so happens that was the demand of my wife, as well. :)

You're married to Eric Bartlett!?!? Maybe you can put in a good word for me for future outages. :P

Anyway, you probably want some REAL advice. Does your choice HAVE to be either work the road or go to school? There are some good opportunities out there externally (mail and internet) which would not prevent working outages. It will take longer if you only take classes on a full-time basis in the summer, but your income can be higher and you have 10 years from date of discharge to use VA benefits.

I am trying to position myself for the external Master's program in Nuclear Engineering at UT Knoxville campus. I still need to get a few pre-requisites under my belt, and I would prefer to have some employer tuition assistance. Maybe I can start next year.

If you want to work contracts, HP is more suitable than chemistry (call Bartlett). On the other hand, a permanent position might yield good tuition assistance, especially since you can piggyback your VA benefits.  :-\

Best of luck. (And my compliments to your wife for supporting you in your education.)
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JassenB

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Re: Master's degree....worth it?
« Reply #3 on: Feb 11, 2004, 07:44 »
Thanks for the tips, Roll Tide. No, I'm not married to Eric. I guess I should check my sentence structure better around this place --- you would think I would know that by now. :)

I have pretty much done my B.S. via correspondence, online, and other such "non-traditional" means. Of course, my degree is the BSAST in Nuclear Engineering Technologies, courtesy of Thomas Edison State College and the Navy. So, it's taken me 8 years to get that done anyway, but 6 of it was in the Navy, and I spent 1 years at Amgen as an operator/mechanic.

I've pretty much decided that I don't want a permanent sort of position. In the Navy I was fortunate enough to literally never be at the same command for more than a year and a half (I volunteered for some non-nuke duties with Marines...long story). At Amgen, I got tired of going to the same plant and sitting in the same control room for 12 hours a day, day in day out for a year.

I didn't know that UT Knoxville had an external NE program. Does it cost an arm and a leg for out of state tuition?

I assume the contract companies (Bartlett, et. al.) don't provide any tuition assistance.

As for my wife, she is an R&D engineer with Hewlett-Packard, so she makes excellent money, especially at our age, so she doesn't want to move away from the area (and I like having a sugar momma).

One of the stumbling blocks I am having with getting into the contract HP field is that, even with a degree, I have no real HP/RCT experience, since I was an EM in the Navy. Qualifying CPAW and standing Control Point in the shipyards doesn't exactly give somebody a lot of experience. :)

So, getting on board with Bartlett has been a challenge -- all I have to bring with me is the B.S.

Thanks a bunch for the advice and for mentioning the  UT program in nuc eng -- I'll take a look at that.

Take care!
-Jassen
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2004, 07:46 by JassenB »

Offline Roll Tide

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Re: Master's degree....worth it?
« Reply #4 on: Feb 11, 2004, 08:26 »


One of the stumbling blocks I am having with getting into the contract HP field is that, even with a degree, I have no real HP/RCT experience, since I was an EM in the Navy. Qualifying CPAW and standing Control Point in the shipyards doesn't exactly give somebody a lot of experience. :)

.......

So, getting on board with Bartlett has been a challenge -- all I have to bring with me is the B.S.


Keep on the Bartlett and NUMANCO wish lists as a Jr. HP, since there WILL be outages where first time Jr. HP's are hired. March 2003 TVA SQN outage used some first-time Jr.'s, utilizing previous deconners and previous college as determining factors.

Assuming you have worked as a field (NLO / AUO) operator at a nuclear plant with your current degree, you should be in a good position for Bartlett or NUMANCO for the next outage season.

On the other hand, EM's can be in high demand for outages. With Navy training and systems understanding, you can make some good money. Contract electricians in many plants are hired via union halls, and this offers more summer work since there are chemical plant / paper mill / other industrial outages mid-summer and mid-winter. I can't give more specific details, but it may be a direction you want to check.

Many HP's work Spring and Fall, then collect Unemployment Summer and Winter. I haven't lied to collect unemployment, but they laugh when I tell them how much I make an hour and what I would be willing to work for. They stop laughing when they realize I actually make it during outages. File in MA or some other generous state at the end of each outage season.

Best of luck.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
.....
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Dan_E.

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Re: Master's degree....worth it?
« Reply #5 on: Feb 11, 2004, 10:36 »
Seeking further career guidance. :) I think the best career advice I've ever received has come from here.

I am currently finishing the very last class for my B.S. degree, which Eric Bartlett told me to stay on course and finish. It so happens that was the demand of my wife, as well. :)

Also, since you're reading this, is there any demand at all for contract radiochemists? I have yet to find any open positions in that field listed anywhere.

-Jassen

I know it's not contract or power plant (though there is one about 3 road miles away), it's DOE but i thought I would throw it at you for the wage comparison.

http://govs.pnl.gov/asp/ReqDescr/ReqDescr.asp?v_ReqNbr=107152&company=PNL

Take it for whatever you think it's worth, and by the way, Battelle is really big on education and tuition re-imbursement.

moke

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Re: Master's degree....worth it?
« Reply #6 on: Feb 12, 2004, 08:38 »
JassenB,

Whatever you do, keep your head to the grindstone because sooner or later you will have your opportunity. Also of importance is the fact that you must ask yourself if you will be ready when the opportunity comes knocking?

If you work really, really work hard while you wait, things will be that much easier. I recommend that you make a decision together with your spouse because you need her support.

I recommend that you keep probing and asking questions here because it will provide a wide range of input regarding a single target. When I first started traveling much of the probing was done by direct dialogue vice the world wide web. Take advantage of it.

Life is like a roller coaster sometime and you must dig deeper to find the strength especially when you are on the incline you are now at.

Goodluck!

Moke

actinium224

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Re: Master's degree....worth it?
« Reply #7 on: Feb 12, 2004, 11:28 »
If you go the traditional education route for your MS, then there are graduate assistant positions available.  Depends on the school and there enrollment, though.  This will add about $1000-1200 to your monthly income and you still get the GI Bill money. 
I'll chime in about the original question, since I'm up on the soapbox.  I also went the Navy-TESC path for my BS, but am now attending school full-time.  The knowledge that was required to obtain the BS will seem trivial compared to what is expected from you when you start work on you MS.  If you are interested in learning, then the MS will be less of strain.  If you just count it as another hoop to jump through, then going to work and gaining experience may be the best bet.  Either way, good luck.

alphadude

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Re: Master's degree....worth it?
« Reply #8 on: Feb 12, 2004, 01:45 »
the best ticket for all is the MPH masters in public health- this is the highest $$$ you can go- the chemistry thing is ok but kinda limits ya.  the MPH will get you the RPM job or the NIOSH job or the CIH, or the world health org job, or corporate director job-its basically unlimited.  cant do that with a radio chemistry degree. 

the radiochemist job..will get u in a count room at DOE, or plant chemist at a utility.. go MPH, then get the CIH then CHP .

oldnukeworker

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Re: Master's degree....worth it?
« Reply #9 on: Feb 26, 2004, 07:16 »
I started nukes in 80.  Worked outages and the road whore thing for ten years.  In 95 I got a on line degree and then a masters.  By 2002 I was a plant manager at a oil plant.  Nobady cares how or where you got it, just get it.  It makes you significantly more marketable.

 


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