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AIBU - to do a genetics degree at 50 ?

(11 Posts)
Mellowautumn Thu 10-Mar-16 21:12:17

After years of being in Sales - My a levels were science but want into a well paid sales job rather than uni. Now want to retrain - have looked at loads of options and gentics and evolutionary studies keep jumping out at me.
I will happily take a foundation year but have no idea if it's a realistic house at my age and what jobs are available afterward

Micah Thu 10-Mar-16 21:24:32


For the subject's sake, yes. It's fascinating and well worth studying just out of interest.

However, if you're looking for a "career" out of it, no. Pay's shit and there aren't that many jobs, and what jobs there are are crap pay. There's industry, but that usually involves a relocation unless you just happen to be in slough, or manchester, or near their labs.

For example- 4 year degree including foundation. If you want to stay in the field it's a lab technician/research assistant job- crap pay and general lab dogsbody. If you want to climb the ladder, you need a phd- another 3-4 years on a minimum grant or unpaid.

First post doc at 57. You'll likely do at least 2x3 year contracts (no job security, all 1-3 years). So you're 63, looking at maybe at getting a lectureship.

I got my phd at 28, left for an unrelated career shortly after.

Mellowautumn Thu 10-Mar-16 21:55:54

Thanks -I had a feeling it would be the case sad -

RubbleBubble00 Thu 10-Mar-16 22:20:47

What micah Said

There biomedical or clinical scientists but jobs are hard fought

BestZebbie Thu 10-Mar-16 22:31:06

YABU if you want to do it to start a career in that field.

YANBU to do further study for intellectual stimulation, at any age.

grumpysquash3 Thu 10-Mar-16 23:23:33

Hi OP, I'm jumping in to balance the thread here.
i have a degree in genetics and molecular biology. I also have a PhD and I have a really interesting (quite senior) job in a biotech company discovering new cancer therapies. Quite well paid. I am now mid 40s - have been working for nearly 20 years since my PhD, 12 years in academic research and several in Industry.
There are lots of jobs in science. But - and it's a big but - pick your course well. If I was completely honest, evolutionary studies is interesting, but completely useless as a vocation. If you did genetics and biochemistry, that would be different. Definitely pick a course that has a year industrial placement - if you have that, it will be hugely easier to get a job afterwards.
You don't have to have a PhD to get a job, but you do need experience. Voluntary lab experience in the summer holidays will really help.
And make sure you go to a good uni, ideally a RG although there are others that are ok. The poorer Unis don't have research departments and the lab experience you get is not as good. Employers really do care about that.
I hope that helps. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions smile

Micah Fri 11-Mar-16 08:35:11

Not really much balance grumpy!

Pick your course well- means likely relocation. Voluntary work in the summer, means less than no money for the 4 years of degree.

I also have a PhD and I have a really interesting (quite senior) job in a biotech company discovering new cancer therapies. Quite well paid. I am now mid 40s - have been working for nearly 20 years since my PhD, 12 years in academic research and several in Industry

You have a degree, a PhD, 20 years of post doc experience. O/p will be nearly 80 before she gets to where you are now- she'll be nearly 60 before she starts earning at all.

Would you start your career path over again now, at 40?

I suppose it depends on o/p's finances. If she can afford 10 years with no income (and possibly uni fees to pay on top), and entry level pay for the rest of her working life, great. If she has mortgages to pay, children to support, bills to service, it's not realistic.

DrDreReturns Fri 11-Mar-16 08:47:36

As pp said if you are doing it solely for intellectual stimulation then yanbu, but as a career move I wouldn't recommend it. By the time you graduate you will be mid fifties and the pay for graduate jobs in life sciences is generally shit (I know from personal experience). The really interesting stuff is generally only available to people with a PhD, or people with a few years experience in their jobs, both of which would be seven to eight years away for you.

Mellowautumn Fri 11-Mar-16 10:02:38

I have a reasonable private income from my previous life but do have children, live rurally and don't want to relocate too drastically.
I have 4/5 years to retrain and then want to be up and running at a reasonable level. I have considered Social Work, Phychology and now genetics but nothing really ticks all my boxes sad

Micah Fri 11-Mar-16 11:02:47

Have you looked at "professional" degrees- where you end up with a professional qualification? Most likely to be NHS though.

Genetic counsellor (will need to do an Msc after)
Radiologist (this would be my pick if I could!)
Theatre technician- cardiac/respiratory (work heart/lung machines for example)

Again, pay isn't stellar. Pharmacy possibly being the exception. The rest will be starting around 25k.

Mellowautumn Fri 11-Mar-16 14:13:30

Thanks Micah I will have a look at those !

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