Upon finishing a bachelor’s degree, most graduates are faced with two options: jump into the job market, or pursue further studies. The economic crunch in the last three years hasn’t helped settle the score, either. There are those who think that since job prospects are dim, they’re better off beefing up their resumes with master’s degrees while waiting for things to level out. Others figured there was no use sinking further into student debt, and started sending out applications by the dozen.
This reignites an older question. Does it make more sense to work in the academe or the industry? Should you start cashing in on all those skills you spent the last four years developing, or stay in school and help people who are still on their way? There are pros and cons to both sides, and at the end of the day the only one who can make the decision is you. In most fields, however, you have five things to consider:
Choice: As a university researcher or professor, you usually get to choose your subjects. You get a bit of this freedom researching for a private company, but there’s more pressure to get results, whether it’s a concept or a product–and there are professional relations to consider.
Money: Much of the work in academia goes to getting your work funded. It can get very competitive, especially in up-and-coming fields like computer science and physics. In the corporate world, your employer is your financier, and the pressure is more on proving you deserve that funding.
Scale: Academic research is necessarily limited by the available resources, although they do allow you to plan follow-up projects over several years. A competent industrial researcher can get his tools much more easily, but usually can’t plan too far into the future, as his company is more concerned with fast results.
Goals: An academic’s goals are usually to get funding, get published, and teach at the graduate level, in that order. As an employee, you want to produce what your company is paying you for, whether it’s a product, a strategy, or sales targets. If you want to publish and teach along the way, great, but your employer is concerned first and foremost about your product.
Impact: If you’re the idealistic type, you’ll want to stay in the academe, where you can choose to work on meaningful projects. Not that you can’t do that in the corporate world; it’s just that as an academic, you can focus on your own passion, without the pressure of deadlines and bottom lines.Read More
Medical billing and coding is one of the many industries that cropped up with the rise of outsourcing. As hospitals in developed countries struggle in a weak economy, they cut down on labor costs by passing whatever work they can to contractors instead of a full-time staff. Medical billers and coders work on the administrative side, either from home or in-house, keeping track of bills, treatments, and prescriptions using industry-specific codes.
In the U.S., the average medical billing and coding salary ranges from $30,000 to $50,000 per year. This depends largely on the conditions of your work–whether you work from home or at the hospital, how big the organization is, and whether you have health insurance and other benefits provided. Medical coding and transcription are usually the highest-paid sectors, as they’re more specialized. A medical records coding technician can make around $45,000 a year working full-time. Medical billing is less lucrative–a clerk whose job mostly involves office paperwork usually makes less than $35,000.
Although the levels of specialization vary, medical billing and coding require the same basic knowledge. Both involve learning medical codes, either to send accurate invoices to insurance companies or to work more directly with insurance agents. This takes anywhere from six months to several years of training, depending on how specialized you want to get. For example, transcriptionists often work from audio files recorded by doctors, who are often too busy to write things down themselves. This obviously calls for better attention to detail, which is why a transcriptionist’s pay has more room for growth.
Despite the average (and sometimes below average) pay, medical billing and coding offer some pretty useful benefits. For one thing, it’s a stable job: since people will always need healthcare, they’re not as vulnerable to drops in the economy. Computerization may lessen demand but in a key field such as health care, it’ll take several years before machines can be trusted fully over human intervention.
Workplace benefits also come into play when gauging medical billing and coding salary levels. Those who work in large hospitals get regular vacation time, health coverage, and maybe even a retirement plan, which they pay for (usually partially) out of their salaries. Independent workers enjoy a more relaxed environment working from home, can choose their own coverage and declare more tax deductions–and save for the occasional deadline, they can usually set their own hours.Read More
The pay gap has existed for a long time, but it has widened significantly in the last ten years. Female doctors made only $3,600 less than their male counterparts in 1999, but the difference had gone up to $16,819 by 2008, according to a study at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health.
The findings aren’t all that surprising, according to the study’s head, Anthony Lo Sasso. Female doctors tend to opt for lower-paying jobs, usually in primary care, or simply work fewer hours, he said in a public statement.
What comes as a surprise, Lo Sasso said, is that the starting salary gap is still disconcertingly large even if we take into account the hours, the specialization, and other factors. For one thing, he pointed out, the pay differences exist equally in primary care and specialty fields.
Indeed, the preference for primary care fields, which include pediatrics and family medicine, has gone down from 1999 to 2008. While about half of women finishing med school or training went into primary care in 1999, only about 30% did so in 2008, approximately the same ratio as male doctors.
In an interview with Reuters, Lo Sasso admitted the salary differences were unexpected, and that they couldn’t as yet explain why–there are no observable characteristics unique to female doctors that could account for the gap.
The possibility of gender bias hasn’t been ruled out, but Lo Sasso says it’s not the only answer. It is just as possible that women are simply settling for less in exchange for more family-friendly terms, such as a regular schedule. Even outside healthcare, women are more likely to trade off a larger salary for non-monetary benefits.
The researchers obtained data from over 8,000 doctors who had just finished training programs in New York. They chose the Big Apple because it has the largest number of resident physicians and residency programs than the rest of the country.
The study was published in Health Affairs, a peer-reviewed journal on health policy and the healthcare business, in February 2011. The team was made up of Lo Sasso, Michael Richards of Yale University, Chiu-Fang Chou and of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Susan Gerber of Northwestern University.Read More
Yet a new report by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, tells a different story. The report disproves many confident pronouncements about the alleged weaknesses and failures of the U.S. education system. This data will certainly be examined by both sides in the debate over highly skilled workers and immigration. The argument by Microsoft, Google, Intel, and others is that there are not enough tech workers in the U.S.
The authors of the report, the Urban Institute’s Hal Salzman and Georgetown University professor Lindsay Lowell, show that math, science, and reading test scores at the primary and secondary level have increased over the past two decades, and U.S. students are now close to the top of international rankings. Perhaps just as surprising, the report finds that our education system actually produces more science and engineering graduates than the market demands.
These findings go against what has been the dominant position about our education system and our science and engineering workforce. Consider reports on national competitiveness that policymakers often turn to, such reports as the 2005 “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” by the National Academy of Sciences. This report says the U.S. is in dire straits because of poor math and science preparation.
The report points to declining test scores, fewer students taking math and science courses, and low-quality curriculums and teacher preparation in K-12 education compared to other countries.
The call has been taken up by some of the most prominent people in business and politics. Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, said at an education summit in 2005, “In the international competition to have the biggest and best supply of knowledge workers, America is falling behind.” President George W. Bush addressed the issue in his 2006 State of the Union address. “We need to encourage children to take more math and science, and to make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations,” he said.
Salzman and Lowell found the reverse was true. Their report shows U.S. student performance has steadily improved over time in math, science, and reading. It also found enrollment in math and science courses is actually up. For example, in 1982 high school graduates earned 2.6 math credits and 2.2 science credits on average.
By 1998, the average number of credits increased to 3.5 math and 3.2 science credits. The percent of students taking chemistry increased from 45% in 1990 to 55% in 1996 and 60% in 2004. Scores in national tests such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the SAT, and the ACT have also shown increases in math scores over the past two decades.
And the new report again went against the grain when it compared the U.S. to other countries. It found that over the past decade the U.S. has ranked a consistent second place in science. It also was far ahead of other nations in reading and literacy and other academic areas. In fact, the report found that the U.S. is one of only a few nations that has consistently shown improvement over time.
Why the sharp discrepancy? Salzman says that reports citing low U.S. international rankings often misinterpret the data. Review of the international rankings, which he says are all based on one of two tests, the Trends in International Mathematics & Science Study (TIMMS) or the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), show the U.S. is in a second-ranked group, not trailing the leading economies of the world as is commonly reported.
In fact, the few countries that place higher than the U.S. are generally small nations, and few of these rank consistently high across all grades, subjects, and years tested. Moreover, he says, serious methodological flaws, such as different test populations, and other limitations preclude drawing any meaningful comparison of school systems between countries.
As far as our workforce is concerned, the new report showed that from 1985 to 2000 about 435,000 U.S. citizens and permanent residents a year graduated with bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in science and engineering. Over the same period, there were about 150,000 jobs added annually to the science and engineering workforce.
These numbers don’t include those retiring or leaving a profession but do indicate the size of the available talent pool. It seems that nearly two-thirds of bachelor’s graduates and about a third of master’s graduates take jobs in fields other than science and engineering.
Michael Teitelbaum, vice-president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which, among other things, works to improve science education, says this research highlights the troubling weaknesses in many conventional policy prescriptions.
Proposals to increase the supply of scientists and engineers rapidly, without any objective evidence of comparably rapid growth in attractive career opportunities for such professionals, might actually be doing harm.
In previous columns, I have written about research my team at Duke University completed that shattered common myths about India and China graduating 12 times as many engineers as the U.S. We found that the U.S. graduated comparable numbers and was far ahead in quality. Our research also showed there were no engineer shortages in the U.S., and companies weren’t going offshore because of any deficiencies in U.S. workers.
So, there isn’t a lack of interest in science and engineering in the U.S., or a deficiency in the supply of engineers. However, there may sometimes be short-term shortages of engineers with specific technical skills in certain industry segments or in various parts of the country.
The National Science Foundation data show that of the students who graduated from 1993 to 2001, 20% of the bachelor’s holders went on to complete master’s degrees in fields other than science and engineering and an additional 45% were working in other fields. Of those who completed master’s degrees, 7% continued their education and 31% were working in fields other than science and engineering.
There isn’t a problem with the capability of U.S. children. Even if there were a deficiency in math and science education, there are so many graduates today that there would be enough who are above average and fully qualified for the relatively small number of science and engineering jobs. Science and engineering graduates just don’t see enough opportunity in these professions to continue further study or to take employment.
With U.S. competitiveness at stake, we need to get our priorities straight. Education is really important, and a well-educated workforce is what will help the U.S. keep its global edge. But emphasizing math and science education over humanities and social sciences may not be the best prescription for the U.S. We need our children to receive a balanced and broad education.
Perhaps we should focus on creating demand for the many scientists and engineers we graduate. There are many problems, from global warming to the development of alternative fuels to cures for infectious diseases, that need to be solved. Rather than blaming our schools, let’s create exciting national programs that motivate our children to help solve these problems.
By: Alisha Dhamani
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Sometimes, these scientists can make mistakes if they dont follow established procedures, which include keeping exact files on the evidence in a case. In some cases, these mistakes can have a negative impact on innocent lives. Several individuals have been sentenced to death on the basis of expert forensic evidence and testimony. Later on, it was discovered that these people were innocent, and the real criminals were apprehended. In these cases, science save an innocent life, and the courts could provide justice. Recently, over eleven individuals were released from a Chicago jail after new forensic evidence showed they were innocent. These people had already spent years in jail as a result of mistakes made in the legal system.
You can get a degree in forensic science online in just a few years. To earn a degree, you need to have a previous degree in biology, physics, chemistry, or physical science in order to register. Some online colleges require a minimum of a bachelors degree in one of these subjects before you can begin courses in forensic science. If you want to find a degree program in this field you should consult organizations such as the American Board of Criminalistic-ABC, American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors-ASCLD, National Forensic Science Tech Center-NSFTC, International Association of Forensic Science, and International Association for Identification-IAI and International Society for Forensic Genetics, and International Association for Identification-IAI and International Society for Forensic Genetics.
Degrees in forensic science may cover budget analysis, forensic accounting, working in a morgue or hospital, studying DNA, or working with computers. There are many areas in which you can work after getting a forensic science degree. Computer forensics involves investigations of evidence by tracking information via computer technology. It is a new field, but expertise in this area increases daily. Computer forensics involves extracting data from various media and presenting the evidence collected to the courts. This field uses extensive software programs and applications. The FBI, CIA, and other law enforcement agencies use forensic science with computers to resolve their cases.
An online forensics degree requires more work and specific background education than other online degrees, but if you want an exciting career with many opportunities and a chance to make a difference, do not let this keep you from pursuing on online degree in forensic science.
By: Kenneth Scott
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From a lower-end staff to a cook a change of career from food science to handling or preparing food may not act as a ladder of promotion, Instead it helps in interaction with clients and grasping other workers who work in more discriminated situation.It makes him more compatible with clients he meets daily.
Facing a change of career from Food to Computers would take time for developing. The former career is nourished with technical skills which can never be useless but the latter one needs to be updated with the change in latest technologies.A change of career from Food science can encourage the aspirant to face new fields in Research and Development in Food Science. With his existing skills the worker could cope to more serious challenges, improvising their knowledge from Food to other suitable fields, or they shall find a total change of environment.
A change of career from food science to a mechanical type of employment will need some time preparation. This is because the work carried out in Food science is not much mechanical.In some cases of Food Science involving strenuous physical activity and heavy lifting, an outgoing duty, in the construction firm, physical education or even horticulture would need good level of fitness compared to the needs of a Food Scientist. A change of career from Food would need an assessment in physical fitness. Assessment in health and potential is mandatory as it tests the real capability of the individual.
Change of career from a Food Science to any other health related science or nursing will need more training and practice.Guidance from experts related to the field is necessary to carry out certain social tasks The same applies when changing to fields involving administrative skills and specialized retail services.
Change of career from Food Science provides the worker a larger scope of options to make use of the skills gained through years of experience and training.
By: Abhishek Agarwal
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