Allied Health for a less-than-perfect specimen
August 10, 2013 10:18 AM   Subscribe

So I'm a 23 year old recent college grad with a psychology degree and a long face. Why? No job, a shitty, inconsistent transcript to show for the last six years of my life ( barely eeking out a 3.0 because of significant and unrelenting problems with fatigue and depression, now somewhat under control), no work experience... oh, and I have cerebral palsy. All this helped build a brick wall almost impossible to see over, much less climb. This morning though, I managed to get bright-eyed and bushy tailed for all of five seconds after reading a Business Insider article that listed medical sonography as one of the best jobs available to those without a college degree. ( I've come to consider my degree a throwaway ( it's from a state school, it's in psychology, which makes me a decidedly un-special snowflake, and, like I said, the grades aren't frame worthy). Everything about medical sonography- the pay, the type of work, job growth and time-to-completion of the program is attractive. Trouble is, I leave much to be desired in terms of the physicality needed ( lifting, transporting patients, etc). What else can I do that offers all or many of these same benefits and is cripple friendly?

I'm in NY but it'd be cool to move to say, California or the UK within a few years and so I'd want something with transferrable skills and a good general job market, along with everything else mentioned. Have at it, Mefites. Make me a productive member of society!
posted by marsbar77 to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There may not be much patient positioning depending on the type of sonography you study/practice. I'd suggest investigating a little more into different sub specialties.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 10:34 AM on August 10, 2013

You're right: getting a degree that provides you with a credential or a skill you can apply will make it easier for you to get a job. And often those jobs pay better at an entry level.

However, something to keep in mind is that all the occupations that do not require a skill or cred of some sort all use pretty much the same set of transferable skills.

So, in the eyes of an employer there is little difference in an English grad versus a history grad versus a psychology grad.

Some employers want you to "join the tribe" before they hire you, and want a commerce degree or something. But commerce grads still join marketing departments and do the same tasks that can be done by a psychology grad.

Instead of jumping at any occupation that seems like it's easy to get into, try to figure out what you really want to do, and the "transferable skills" an entry-level position might need.

Healthcare is a good field to get into, because it's only going to grow as the population ages. Also, you're young. You have plenty of time to get technician creds, which will help you in the long run.

Don't let the wall stop you. Set the goal, set the benchmarks needed to achieve that goal, and chip away every day.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:45 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Perhaps I came across as overly desperate for money/ benefits. Not the case really. I do love medicine and this just seems like the best route with the most direct influence on patient care that doesn't take an arm and a leg money and time wise, to get into. I plan on going for a Masters in psych and maybe, years from now, medical school, but I do need to make a sharp turn in my path for the time being.
posted by marsbar77 at 10:50 AM on August 10, 2013

A 3.0 from a state school is not nothing. And I doubt anyone would think twice about you taking a bit longer to finish school when you have evident physical challenges (it doesn't matter if that's not the actual reason it took so long). You might be underestimating your chances a bit--although yes, it is totally brutal out there right now.

Have you been in touch with your school's career office? Usually they continue to offer their services to alumni, and those can be hugely helpful. More germane to the point--they can probably put you in touch with professionals in medical sonography who can give you solid advice from inside the field.
posted by elizeh at 11:23 AM on August 10, 2013

I had a friend who was working as a phlebotomist while getting her Psy.D. She liked it a lot, and she was teeny and had some health problems herself, so I would assume it's less physically taxing than sonography. It might be worth looking into.
posted by jaguar at 1:16 PM on August 10, 2013

As someone with cerebral palsy, how much fine motor control do you have?
posted by Nomyte at 1:24 PM on August 10, 2013

Response by poster: My hands, in terms of fmc are fine, thankfully. Especially if I can lean one arm on something like an exam table.
posted by marsbar77 at 1:30 PM on August 10, 2013

I know this is something you have heard before, but networking is a really good way to get your foot in the door. If you are at all interested in non-profit work, which can be more disability friendly than other sectors, or legal / paralegal / law clerk work, you might check out and network within the disability community, which is pretty developed in most cities, and particularly in New York, D.C., and the Bay Area, California. In addition to in-person events and informational interviews, you can connect on line to the disability community via LinkedIn or via disability listservs including if you are interested listservs that are CP specific. I get a lot of job postings through listservs and social media.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 4:24 PM on August 10, 2013

If you want to move, make sure that the credentials move with you. I don't know how it works in the US, but in my country (Australia) sonographers are expected to have a postgrad diploma. Checking what the UK wants in this area might shape how you go about working towards it.

I would suggest that the patient moving thing is a red herring - there's very few situations where one person is expected to move a person alone for safety reasons, and any patients requiring assisted transfer in hospital will typically arrive at the medical imaging department with a nurse + wardie.
posted by chiquitita at 6:58 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Any interest in computers/IT? I've spoken several times about my husband's experience getting into the networking field with Cisco certifications (CCNA, CCNP). He's not what I would call a techy guy, but he's really gotten into the problem-solving aspects of the job. It's been a nice solid career with huge advancements in not a lot of time, and the certifications mean he can go pretty much anywhere.

He started community college at age 30, and now his company is paying his tuition so he can finish his bachelor's degree :)

And I KNOW it's disability friendly, because his supervisor had a fairly significant mobility issue and used a crutch. Opportunities for being sedentary and non-sedentary abound.
posted by Madamina at 11:20 AM on August 11, 2013

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