Career Change advice...

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by BlueMason, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    I am a junction where I am looking to change careers (currently LEO) and am torn between two very different areas.

    1) Law. I am prepping for the LSAT and am positive that I can get a good score. My area of interest lies in Criminal Law and extensive experience in a specialized area of computers would be looking to get into Special Prosecutions (I am also done the course work for my Masters and am about to embark on the dissertation stage.) Articling positions are not easy to come by; take into consideration poor undergrad marks (I do have valid reasons for those, but no need to get into those here) and my age 41 (45 by the time I'd be done), I have a couple of serious roadblocks when compared to someone 20 years my junior with high marks (firms look at undergrad marks as well as Law School marks.) That being said, I have extensive experience in computer forensics, which should be an asset.

    2) Psychology. I have always had an interest in Psychology and how the mind works. After a recent psych exam (I know what you're thinking, but it's mandatory with my job) I came away with a newly sparked interest in Psychology. In this field I think that age would be more of a benefit than hindrance. There are excellent online programs out there and I would be going for an undergrad in Psych followed by a Masters + certifications.

    Option 2 would render the Masters I am pursuing now useless (it's in Computer Forensics), Option 1 would benefit from it.

    Yes, there is Option 3 (staying where I am), but that is simply not in my cards (I have my reasons.)

    I truly do not know which path to pursue in terms of interest as I have an avid interest in both.

  2. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    Take a look at Forensic Psychology, I hear about it from time to time. Also, another interest area could be HFE (Ergonomics). Human Factors Engineering is a cross-functional discipline between psychology and engineering. University of Idaho has a pretty good online option in this field. There are a bunch of subsets within both of your fields that you could make it work. Of course depending on your aptitude, luck, and most importantly the availability of employment options (i.e. stuck in one place vs. being mobile, etc.)

    Good luck.

  3. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    Thanks for the reply. I am not mobile so that does limit things a bit for me.

    Perhaps I should also mention that I thoroughly enjoy listening to people and then try to offer advice on how they can solve their issues, so I am definitely looking for a counseling role ( I am CISM trained as well) - so the Forensic Psych thought is intriguing, thanks!
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Option two isn't necessarily incompatible with your Master's degree in Computer Forensics. Social engineering is a major way that information systems are compromised.
  5. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    Surely is, however I don't see the connection between Social Engineering and Psychology/Counseling? :dunno:
  6. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    If you are in Canada, getting into a law school may be difficult.

    In the US, law school admissions has become easier over the past few years. The number of law schools has been growing, while the number of prospective law students has been falling. Many US law schools are struggling with underenrollment, and been forced to drop their acceptance standards.

    But Canada is different. There are far fewer law schools in Canada -- only about 15 total (not counting the French-language schools in Quebec), compared to some 200 ABA-approved law schools in the US. My impression is that admissions are still quite competitive in Canada -- a typical Canadian law school will admit 100 to 200 students per year, but will have 1,000 to 2,000 applicants for those slots, as shown on this table.

    So Canadian law schools commonly get around 10 applicants for every slot. This means that they need to reject a lot of applicants, and they will definitely use GPA as a tool in making those rejection decisions. The same table shows that the average GPAs of accepted students are consistently in the 3.5 to 3.9 range. If your undergrad GPA is below that range, you may need very high LSAT scores to compensate.

    It might be easier to get into a US law school -- but then you might have a harder time paying for it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2013
  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    The first sentence was: "Social engineering, in the context of information security, refers to psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information."
  8. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    Thanks guys... never mind the chances of getting into Law School - let's focus on the career question :)
  9. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I don't see how your master's degree would be all that useful for either path other than boosting your GPA. An IT background might be useful if you were pursuing a career in intellectual property law. I heard that there are still a lot of opportunities in intellectual property law, but not so much in criminal law. If you aren't going to attend a T14 law school, you're going to have a hard time finding a job that actually utilizes your law degree. Graduate psychology programs often require at least a couple of undergraduate psychology courses, so you have to think about that.

    While there are degree programs in forensic psychology, most forensic psychologists are just clinical or counseling psychologists with training in criminal justice settings. You're going to need a PhD or PsyD for this. Some doctoral programs will give you advanced standing for having a master's degree in psychology or a closely-related field. Without the master's degree, you're looking at 5 or more years in a doctoral program. You might be able to get into school psychology with just a master's or EdS. Your other option would be social work, marriage and family counseling, or mental health or professional counseling. Those only require a master's degree. Another option that requires much less schooling, depending on the state, is substance abuse counseling. Most states only require an associate's or bachelor's degree.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2013
  10. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    It would be one of the law schools in Canada - B&M.

    Counseling Psychology is what I am leaning towards. I do have an undergrad with a couple of Psych courses, but have no problem in going for another undergrad with a major in Psychology and then on to the Masters (both fields will take me about equally long). In Canada, one requires a BA or BSc Honours degree to get into a graduate Psychology degree programme; I checked and in order to register as a Psychologist, the graduate degree can not be an online degree.
  11. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I didn't even pay attention to the fact you're in Canada.
  12. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    Any thoughts on online undergrad Psychology majors? I already have an undergrad and hope that at least some of the GenEd courses I took will be credited. I am looking for Universities with a solid reputation in Psychology, 100% online, RA only; US/Canada only and must be an honours programme (a requirement for the Canadian Universities I am looking at for a Masters) and lastly the price needs to be reasonable.

  13. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

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