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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

If you could earn a PhD in any subject, or a journyman's ticket in any trade, what would you choose?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (17707points) February 1st, 2016

I cannot choose. What would you choose and why? Maybe your answer would help me choose.

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30 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

I thought you were going for the psychology degree…

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@Mimishu1995 I’m not sure anymore. It is like I’m banging my head against a wall. Psychology is my default career. I’m considering going into law , and becoming a judge. Everything is open.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Engineering or world history, depending on whether or not I had a trust fund and how strong the campus coffee is.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I guess I would go for creative writing. Don’t know if there is any PH.D like that in the world.

Seek's avatar

Anthropology Ph.D., emphasis in iron age non-Roman European cultures.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar


jinx, and damn she had to be specific

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@Mimishu1995, you can do a PhD in Writing. You’d probably produce a substantial piece of writing with an exegesis. The exegesis is the theoretical/scholarly component.

I’ll pass on doing another PhD. I wouldn’t mind doing a degree in visual art or something like that.

cazzie's avatar

Chemical engineering.

cazzie's avatar

Or microbiology/organic chemistry if such a thing exists.

johnpowell's avatar

Mechanic. Learn to fix cars.

People that need cars fixed are desperate so you can totally screw them over. And you can’t outsource your mechanic to India.

AdventureElephants's avatar

If I could get the job without the expensive degree I would do so. If not, well, I either settle for a different job or get the education it takes to get what I want.

jca's avatar

My choice for myself would either be something in history (but it’s not practical for me at this point in my life). The downside is that with history, you’re either teaching or you’re teaching haha. My college professor said his wife was a high school teacher at one of our local public schools (an affluent county) and she made more as a HS teacher than he did as a college professor.

If I had a choice of what to do for fun, it would be some further study in some art – which would not be practical as a career but would be totally for fun. Sewing, jewelry making, soldering, painting, faux finishing, upholstering…..

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I made my choice in engineering and was offered a chance to do a PHD but turned it down. Getting the alphabet soup on the end of your name in some fields is potentially career suicide. It really depends. I don’t enjoy the politics of higher positions. I’m not a “meetings” person. I like to do actual work. I may have been happier long-term staying a technician. Ultimately the pull of learning new things always determines my direction and if I had the funds to retire and be a full-time student I would. Probably start with physics and math then move to earth sciences then literature then history

elbanditoroso's avatar

Either become an electrician or a plumber.

Steady jobs, professional, creative, and they will be in major demand forever.

Welding is also a high demand skill, but not nearly as creative.

janbb's avatar

Victorian Lit. I even have my thesis topic picked out but I’m not going to go for it. I don’t have the desire or the discipline for it.

A PhD is a long hard thankless slog – not worth it IMHO unless you have a definite career goal.

LostInParadise's avatar

You have to look at your particular situation. You are older than most of those who would be going for an undergraduate degree. You would have to spend four years for a BS plus another few years for a PhD. Do you think you are up for that long haul? Job prospects for those in the social sciences are not as good as in engineering and certainly not as good as for those who have mastered a trade. In particular, I do not see a path from your interest in parapsychology to employment. I think you should seriously consider learning a trade.

As for me, I got a degree in math and ended up as a computer programmer. When I went to college, there were no computer science majors. If I had the chance now, I would probably take a mix of math and computer science courses, which would satisfy my academic curiosity and also provide employment opportunities.

janbb's avatar

@LostInParadise I agree with everyone you’ve said but in addition would say that the PhD usually takes between 5 and 7 years.

I think you need to find some realistic goals – both social and professional – @RedDeerGuy1 – and stick to them, instead of this flailing around. But we’ve all said this to you before.

Cupcake's avatar

Maternal and Child Health with a certificate in Epidemiology and experience in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, focusing on maternal/infant and maternal/child bonding within the context of past maternal trauma/abuse.

I have 3 interviews for PhD programs this month.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Cupcake Gee… Can you be a little more specific? the 19th Century? ;-).

I would get one in Photonics. I understand and regularly use optics for varous wavelengths. However, the manipulation of photons still seems magical. As Moore’s Law ages out we will need something better and Photonics seems to be a potential solution.

If you were looking for sometihng that would offer you employment I’d go with @johnpowell ‘s suggestion of Auto Mechanics or Plumbing. Those are careers that will be around for decades. You get to meet and talk with customers about their problems and you perform a service with a definite goal and quick reward. Fix the car, you get paid.
Plus knowing how to do stuff is useful in your own world. There’s no need to call a plumber to fix that leaky faucet and pay $200. Do it yourself for $3 and smile.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I like @johnpowell‘s idea. Car mechanics are always working. Always.

cazzie's avatar

My hobby is in the realm of the chosen subjects I named. I also live in a very technology based city with a huge teaching hospital and loads of fields of studies that get government grant for technology research. If you don’t live in such a place or have that type of hobby my choice is useless. Pick something practical that you can feel passionate about.

Cupcake's avatar

@LuckyGuy I’ve had to think (and talk) a lot about it lately, as you can imagine. :)

gondwanalon's avatar

Electrical engineering. I took a class in semiconductors in junior college. I loved the complexities the the transistor. I think that the transistor is man’s greatest invention. Today our world spins using the technology of the transistor. But ce’ la vie, I chose a different major (Clinical Science).

Zaku's avatar

Someone I know who recently completed their PhD etc in psychiatry and is ready to practice… is now in a worse dilemma, which is that he feels the industry expects him to prescribe drugs for psychiatric problems, which he believes to usually be the wrong call.

Your other candidate, law, is of course also potentially full of moral dilemmas, though we need more ethical lawyers. Hopefully you’d be one of those.

Personally, if it were going to be awarded by magic rather than years of hard work and study and possibly evil loans, and all costs being equal, my choice would still depend on where my real talents and sympathies and interests and passions lay. I’d welcome official accreditation and magic skill boosts with a PhD in game theory or related useful computer science, or even computer animation.

If I can choose magic skills I don’t have to study, I might like to have a mastery of Law (I’d be damn ethical), or psychology, but I’d choose psychology because it’s interesting and useful for everything, not because I want to spend my time doing psychotherapy.

But I think everyone’s core goal should be to find their genius and do whatever that is.

ScottyMcGeester's avatar

I thought this question was completely different. Like I thought you were just asking for the sake of seeing what people would reply. Because I wish I would have focused on physics more and the whole quantum mechanics stuff is cool. Like if I magically were able to just a PhD in that, I’d be like “Hell yeah!”

flutherother's avatar

Something useless such as Chinese Tang dynasty poetry.

Cruiser's avatar

@LuckyGuy Your being a plumber comment reminded me of one of my all time favorite Far Side cartoons

I would liked to have been an Acoustical/Sound engineer. I took an acoustics class in college as an elective and LOVED that class. Got to mess around on one of the 5 original MOOG synthesizers first ever built in the sound lab and it was hours of endless fun.

syz's avatar

PhD in entomology. I have no idea what I’d do with it, but I’ve always loved and been fascinated by insects.

Cruiser's avatar

@syz You could come to the rescue of home buyers like me where 2 home inspectors, 3 exterminators all said the house we wanted to buy was infested by powder post beetles that were second to termites in terms of home destruction and eradication would cost upwards of $30,000.00. To the rescue was a university entomologist who inspected the house…walked over to the lazy Suzan…opened it and found an old box of Froot Loops tipped over behind the trays that was infested with tiny bugs….looked closely at them and said these are drug store beetles which are harmless and only required tossing out the box of stale cereal.

johnpowell's avatar

My original answer was what I think RedDeer should do.

But my dream job would be process engineering. I would be much happier if I had went to school to design the machines that do this and this.

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