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Up Topic Welding Industry / Metallurgy / Advice on where to go from here
- - By MRWeldSoCal (***) Date 11-16-2016 03:31
So I have been working as a welding instructor for 5 years now. I recently became a full time instructor at a college and I love every minute of it.  Now the college wants me to peruse a degree.  They would like to see me get at the very least a bachelors or even a masters and would like me to begin this spring of 2017.  I didn't need a 4 year degree to teach, just my AA degree which I have in manufacturing, CWI and 6 years minimum welding experience plus a giant list of things I needed to know about welding and industry.  Im at about 14 years welding now.

   So this brings me to the dilemma, hoping to hear from Al, Brent and you other older and wiser role models of the welding world.  Do I go the easy way or the hard way?  I can jump right into a liberal arts degree and be done with it, or i can get a much more focused in awesomeness degree that will take me much longer.  I love welding, and metallurgy, and chemistry.  I am not the sharpest math guy when it comes to calculus but I am ready to challenge myself on that level.  I don't know what to do.  The idea of even trying to get into a Caltech or Cal Poly for metallurgy or material science scares the living S*** out of me.  Just seems like crazy pressure let alone a school like that taking a guy like me with only a AA in which I was surfing for PE class.  Not the best grades when I was younger because I just wasn't focused.  Now I am focused, let alone I'm a damn teacher now so I get how it works.  I wouldn't mind the degree in teaching or in education but I fell like not learning more science will hinder the quality and depth of my lectures.  Cal State long beach offers a BA in chemistry which is still quite an intense work load, but it transitions into a masters program for secondary education which would be a great blend if it all.  I want to be the best teacher I can, and have as much answeres as I can.  That bad part of living out in so cal is there are no welding degrees out this way. 

Not sure which route to take. Interested in any input you may have.


Parent - - By welderbrent (*****) Date 11-16-2016 10:53 Edited 11-16-2016 12:23
No welding degrees in So Cal?  Contact the District 21 Director, Sam Lindsey.  He is on down in San Diego but as District Director he knows a lot about the sections in So Cal and the Colleges associated with AWS and welding.  You may be right in that while they teach welding, them may not have the kind of degree you are after.  (You can find his name by searching the District Directors on the main AWS Website)

Now, that is a difficult question.  Everyone has their own ideals, goals, needs, expectations, and priorities. 

You need to do some soul searching to decide what YOU actually want from this continuing education opportunity.  And, while you may start right away, how long will this actually take?  The higher the degree the longer you will be committed (literally if you let it get to you).  Don't worry as much about what they want, but what do you want and where do you want to go with it?

Don't try to achieve it all at once.  Goals have a planned time frame with realistic stepping stones and a final completion point.  It is like saying you want to lose 50 lbs.  Great.  What are your goals?  Your plan?  One month or one year?  One year is realistic, one month is not.  Then, break it down into monthly and weekly steps/goals that lead you to completing the yearly final goal.  Same principle for your plan.  As I see it, if you plan on one of your shorter range goals/steps being the bachelors, then do that.  Either re-evaluate at that point or go into it knowing that once there you plan to go on.  Even if your plan is to go on as of this moment, plans and goals are always flexible.  Things change, job, family, location, finances, etc.  But, don't let every LITTLE thing detour you, stick with it or you will fail. 

Nothing you decide will be a wrong direction.  Any advancement is good and will make you better at your job.  And, if I remember how most schools work, it will mean more pay when achieved.

Pick your major in something associated with what you already have to keep hours to a minimum and add your side classes that just need credits, like the phys ed stuff but in metallurgy,  so that you achieve the degree but get added education and knowledge directly applied to your arena of teaching.  From there, if you add a Masters, get more specific in your area of interest and needs at that point.  You can always take a couple of extra classes on that level to get where you need instead of loading yourself down right now with classes that may not get you to that first step quickly enough.

It becomes a most difficult decision when you already have some education that you can add to as opposed to starting from scratch and choosing which way to go.  You are looking at the time and money factor that doesn't effect the decision for others. 

So, take the fast route to the degree by adding in the line of current education but take your sidebar credits in things that will definitely add to your welding and teaching.

He Is In Control, Have a Great Day,  Brent
Parent - - By MRWeldSoCal (***) Date 11-17-2016 19:27
Thanks Brent, yea you have a good point. I really want to be able to get through to the up coming future of welders, and I know the benifits from tacking a pure teaching degree path will help a lot.  The person who inspired me to be a welder happens to now be my boss 14 years later and he knows his stuff to the literal rocket science level and it is really great and pumping people up on what they are capable of.  When I was younger I always wanted to know chemistry on a solid level.  Maybe I can take classes with is as I go.  Ill keep you posted. Ill be getting my classes next week or so.

Parent - - By 803056 (*****) Date 11-18-2016 02:35
What are you doing with your life for the next 10 or 15 years? Watching television, waste your time reading the Forum, pick your nose looking for something interesting? Why not invest your time in yourself. It pays handsomely in the long run and you get to meet some interesting people along the way.

Not everyone completes their degree in two, four, or six years. Some of us are slow learners. Myself, I was 29 when I complete my AS, 40 when I earned my BS, and 46 by the time I wrapped up my MBA. You know something, I don't regret any of the time I spent in class. I enjoyed nearly all my courses. Then again, I wasn't specifically working on a specific degree. I took courses that tied into my career welding. I took physics with a youngster who was born to my first boss during a summer between high school and college. I took solid state electronics and computer architecture because the new power supplied are all solid state. Steel design courses because it made sense to understand the industry I was working in. It was my wife that finally said you're taking all these courses, you should get a piece of paper that says you learned something. She was right. That silly piece of paper opened a lot of doors.

Go for the degree.

Good luck - Al
Parent - - By MRWeldSoCal (***) Date 11-18-2016 09:17
Thanks a lot for that Al, I am for sure going for it.  They have a Cal state with a Masters program in Vocational Education and I could always minor in something I am interested in or even take some related classes and get where I want to be.  Thanks for the added motivation.

Parent - By WeldorJoe (*) Date 11-21-2016 18:37
Al is right! But when isn't he!
I received my Masters in Career and Tech Ed when I was 44.
Good luck!
Parent - By MRWeldSoCal (***) Date 11-22-2016 01:49
It hit me like a sack of bricks the other day.  My love for off roading and the idea to make my own steel haha. Im going for a geology Bachelors which rolls into a Masters in Secondary education.  Its all the classes that interest me and its not killer hard intimidating haha. 

Parent - By kcd616 (***) Date 12-02-2016 07:15 Edited 12-02-2016 07:32
my friend,
cal poly Pomona is good school
cal tech a great school
harvey mudd is the best
you got great advice from everyone
make your choice on quality and cost
as you know so cal was my home base, grew up there
always my best my friend
edit: it is so cal think about commute time,
driving can be a real in the a**
Up Topic Welding Industry / Metallurgy / Advice on where to go from here

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