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Biomedical Science or Social Work degree!?

(60 Posts)
FlyingHigh20 Fri 13-Jan-17 05:13:57

DD is struggling to decide between these 2. She would need to do 4 years for biomedical science as she doesn't have an A-level in science. Or social work? She wants to either get into pathology (which she doesn't even need the bioscience degree for, but she wants to learn more about science before applying for a trainee role - what other science education could she do instead of the degree?) or child protection.

Which is better do you think??

FlyingHigh20 Fri 13-Jan-17 05:14:25

This was meant to be in chat. Will ask for it to be moved.

MyrtleMoans Fri 13-Jan-17 05:49:58

I don't know anything about biomedical science but i wouldn't encourage her to do social work. My local council will shortly be announcing that the majority of those they employ are being made redundant & replaced with unqualified staff.

If she wants to be a pathologist, she needs to become a doctor, dentist or vet. The biomed degree is only useful if she can then convert that to a degree in one of the above.

MundayCakes85 Fri 13-Jan-17 06:01:34

I am currently sat in a lab after doing a Biomedical Science degree. There are jobs around, but without a Masters etc there is a cap on pay in the NHS.
Degree can be useful as a platform to other careers.
No idea on social work, sorry!

Welshmaenad Fri 13-Jan-17 06:21:17

I'm in the final year of a social work degree. It is very demanding but rewarding. She will need to have a lot of experience in the social care field before she applies, for most unis. She should also be aware that the vast majority of her course mates will be mature students, possibly with children, and if she wants a 'traditional' carefree drinking student lifestyle she probably won't get much of that from her course mates!

piginboots Fri 13-Jan-17 06:34:08

Does she want to be a pathologist as in someone who performs post mortems? I'm pretty sure she'd need to study medicine and become a doctor first. Definitely something to check!

Gallavich Fri 13-Jan-17 06:39:45

My local council will shortly be announcing that the majority of those they employ are being made redundant & replaced with unqualified staff

Statutory social work tasks can only be undertaken by a qualified social worker so that sounds unlikely. One thing she will always have with a social work qualification is job prospects, but it's low paid and doesn't offer much career progression.
If she has an aptitude for science and the interest in that field then encourage her to follow it, she will have a more successful career financially. I wish I had gone into a better paying career, social work doesn't even pay me enough to live on.

BoomBoomsCousin Fri 13-Jan-17 06:46:02

The Royal College of Pathologists says you can get into pathology with a biomedical science degree ( ), not just via medicine. Doesn't look like she could get in without a degree though. Where is she getting her info from?

Could she take a year to do science A levels now, to see if she would be any good at it, and use that to help her decide on the path she wants to take? Maybe also try to get some experience with social work and some work shadow opportunities with both?

Assuming she's good at them, science subjects are more likely to put her in a position to earn a good wage, whether she goes into pathology or not, but social work is a hugely needed profession.

flouncybeetroot Fri 13-Jan-17 06:50:06

To be a biomedical scientist in the NHS, she will need to do the degree, plus a training year in the lab, preferably as a placement year in her degree.
As with most things in the NHS, there isn't much money, so labs won't be expanding much, and she will be likely expected to work on a 24/7 shift rota

HardofCleaning Fri 13-Jan-17 06:53:50

I would definitely go for biomedical science. A science degree is a good starting point for whatever she might want to do in the future and she can always move into social work from there. Obviously social work is incredibly demanding and if at some point she changes her mind and wants do move into a different career the science degree will be a much better launching pad.

Fintress Fri 13-Jan-17 06:54:19

A degree in Biomedical Science will give her more career opportunities. There are various fields of pathology (lab work) and not just in the NHS. To become a pathologist (doing post mortems) you need a medical degree.

NewNNfor2017 Fri 13-Jan-17 06:56:00

They are very different fields - biomed sciences is very inward looking and examines evidence, whereas Social Work exclusively focuses on other people and outcomes.

If she's waivering between two very different career paths then perhaps she'd benefit from some youth coaching and careers advice to help her navigate this decision?

Headofthehive55 Fri 13-Jan-17 06:56:10

Science subjects are hard. i think she needs to try a science A level to see if she like it before doing a degree.
Not sure of the jobs prospects either. I did science and it wasn't well paid at all.

JeffreyNeedsAHobby Fri 13-Jan-17 07:00:49

Could she look at Public Health Bxc instead as a route to refine choices via an MA?

floatyjosmum Fri 13-Jan-17 07:36:37

They are 2 very different jobs so I would get her to look into it a lot more.

I'm a child protection social worker and in theory my job is safe as you have to be qualified to do a lot of the work. Adults is very different and they have a lot of unqualified workers.

The work life balance is hard to get in sw, so I'd get her to take that into account. We rarely go out on a Friday night as we may not get away in time.

There are jobs out there but I think it harder for newly qualified sw to find work and the pay can significantly different between councils.

As someone said there are a lot of mature students on the course, a lot of unis will expect some experience as well and there are 200 days of placement to do as well.

lastqueenofscotland Fri 13-Jan-17 07:37:42

I wouldn't do a social work degree. If that is what she is considering she'd be better doing sociology and then the training afterwards

bigredboat Fri 13-Jan-17 07:42:33

I would suggest she only do a social work degree if she wants to be a social worker, the placements are long and demanding, if she wants a totally different career at the end of the course I imagine it would be hard to keep motivated.

Afo Fri 13-Jan-17 07:50:03

Having completed a biomedical science degree, there's no way I could have gotten through it without without biology and chemistry A-Levels, some of it was heavy stuff. The genetics module had apparantly the highest failure rate in the entire university (I scraped it the 2nd time). Biochemistry and physiology were hard enough to get my head around as well, never mind without a science background. I ended up not working as a scientist, many of my classmates didn't, so it is a good solid degree to move on from.

Monkeymarbles Fri 13-Jan-17 07:51:54

Can she do some work experience?

I did a degree similar to bio med and realised I HATED being in a lab. Totally wasn't me. Liked science theory but not the practical application.

Retrained and now I'm a health care professional. Love it. The public sector is a pretty scary place to work at the moment and it's difficult to say how it's going in the future but the professions themselves will always be needed. Has she also considered physio, ot, speech and language or nursing? All have you can work with children and have different advantages in terms of opportunities to work privately/third sector/outside public sector.

Good luck!

TiffanyAching42 Fri 13-Jan-17 07:52:04

I'd suggest that if she really wants to be a social worker she waits and does a postgraduate degree qualification. Social work is a demanding course, and life experience and experience working in social care (volunteering usually) is just as important as academic qualifications. I was grateful I waited to social work as a post-grad, I was so much more mature and ready for the course.

GnomeDePlume Fri 13-Jan-17 08:10:06

When doing the uni trawl with DD even I as a non-scientist could see huge differences between different institutions for biomedical sciences. There were some courses which were very much set up to feed hospital path labs.

However, at one institution we could see that the field of pathology is going to change. We had a fascinating talk about some research being undertaken into automation of standardised testing.

They were working on a testing machine which would take a urine sample in at one end and push out a detailed result at the other meaning that a specific prescription could then be issued on the spot. This machine could be located in the doctor's surgery meaning that for routine tests the sample would not need to go off to the path lab.

Ultimately DD went into biochemistry which she loves.

Crumbs1 Fri 13-Jan-17 08:15:54

Sounds like she needs careers advice as the two are quite polar opposite and require a very different mindset/personality from the other.

thekaratekid Fri 13-Jan-17 08:21:21

I did a biomedical science degree. If she wants to be a biomedical scientist in the nhs then she needs a degree accredited by the institute of biomedical science to build up her portfolio. Mine isn't (uni's gloss over this fact) and I looked into converting it and it was so much hassle. Probably the only roles in an nhs lab without an accredited degree are capped at band 5.

A couple of years ago they were doing the "healthcare scientist" training route. You trained on the job and got a masters at the end. From memory, they were taking all sorts of science degrees, not just accredited ones. My info is about 3 years out of date though, so best to double check the facts!

There are lots of career options with biomed but the lab isn't for everyone. So perhaps some work experience would help her make her mind up?

flissfloss65 Fri 13-Jan-17 09:09:44

What A levels is she studying for? Surely she would need at least biology and chemistry A levels to get on the course.

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