Raking Grad: Five legit careers from the hit show
Drugs. Adultery. Sex. Crime.The popular television series "Breaking Bad" builds a titillating storyline around these highly controversial topics. And yet, the show manages to offer truly relatable characters that you'll cheer for and against all at the same time. So, what's "Breaking Bad" all about? It's about a man who created his own options.
Set in New Mexico, "Breaking Bad" revolves around Walter White, a chemistry teacher who learns he has terminal cancer. After discovering that it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for radiation and surgery, Walter realizes that treating his cancer would likely leave his family flat broke. With a pregnant wife, a disabled son and few options, Walter makes the life-changing decision to use his expertise in chemistry for his family's gain. He starts making crystal meth and unwittingly dives head first into a world of crime, murder and deceit. Along the way, he meets dozens of complex characters that will change the story, for better or for worse. Among them are Gustavo Fring, an entrepreneur who built an empire in the public eye while living a double life and Saul Goodman, a defense attorney who is much more like a criminal than a lawyer. Walter also toes the line with DEA agent Hank Schrader, who happens to be his brother-in-law, and Hank's kleptomaniac wife, Marie, who makes her living as a radiologic technologist.
As Walter's story evolves, each character's profession helps shape what unfolds next. With that in mind, here are five "Breaking Bad" careers you could start working towards today at colleges in New Mexico.
Walter White, Chemistry Teacher: Walter White's love of chemistry is obvious. He sees it not only as a profession, but as an art form. Although Walter uses his expertise in chemistry to do some very bad things, his story does make a career in chemistry seem oddly appealing. His knowledge of chemistry becomes his super power, as he makes bombs and poisons his enemies.
If you're interested in honing your own chemistry skill set solely for good (unlike our friend Walter), you might want to consider earning a degree in chemistry from the University of New Mexico. Located in Albuquerque, the school offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees, including B.A., B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees. And, although you won't learn how to make crystal meth, you can learn chemistry fundamentals that could lead to groundbreaking discoveries in the world of chemical compounds and prepare you to earn a teaching credential.
Gustavo Fring, Entrepreneur: Gustavo, also known as "Gus," takes entrepreneurship to a whole new level. Gus is a man of many talents and few words. He owns a plethora of legitimate businesses that serve as a front for his vast criminal empire. Setting aside the fact that he uses his entrepreneurial prowess to break the law, Gus does have some serious business skills that we could all learn from.
If you're interested in building a business empire of your own, you might want to consider learning the tricks of the trade at New Mexico State University's College of Business. Whether you're working toward your business management degree at the bachelor's, master's or Ph.D. level, this Las Cruces university has you covered with programs that teach techniques for profitable (and legal) business management. It's also home to the Arrowhead Innovation Network, a technology startup incubator that connects entrepreneurs and researchers to create innovative solutions and promote local economic growth.
Saul Goodman, Lawyer: Defense attorney Saul Goodman will do anything to keep his clients out of jail. And, if he has to break the law in the process, so be it. He doesn't use the catch phrase "Better call Saul" for nothing, after all. His methods often teeter on the verge of criminal recklessness, but he does seem to have a knack for protecting his client's best interests. That is, of course, as long as he's getting paid.
If you're interested in beginning a career in criminal law, you could start by earning a degree from New Mexico Highlands University. The school offers a Master of Arts in Public Affairs that offers an in-depth education in sociology, political science, economics, literature and history. This degree program is designed for students looking to go to law school, or enter politics or government service, and offers concentrations in political and government processes, and historical and cross-cultural perspectives.
Hank Schrader, DEA Agent: Hank Schrader is a DEA agent who lives and breathes his career. And, as the seasons progress, he becomes obsessed with apprehending the criminals who produce mass quantities of crystal meth right under his nose. And while you might find yourself cheering against good guys like Hank, you can't help but have respect for his profession. After all, a career in criminal justice can be dangerous, stressful, and as you'll see in "Breaking Bad," deadly.
If you're interested in a career chasing the bad guys, you could check out the University of the Southwest in Hobbs, which offers a bachelor's degree in criminal justice that can be earned entirely online. Students in this degree program may gain the skills and knowledge necessary to work towards a career in law enforcement, the court system, border protection, homeland security, or corrections.
Marie Schrader, Radiologic Technologist: Since Walter's sister-in-law is a radiologic technologist, she is well aware of what his cancer diagnosis really means. Her profession requires taking the images that doctors use to diagnose injuries and illnesses.
Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque offers an Associate of Applied Science in radiologic technology for students interested in a career in medical imaging. The degree program can be completed in as little as two years of full-time study and prepares students to take the certification examination administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Topics covered include anatomy and physiology, fundamentals of radiography, patient care and clinical preparation.
If you're interested in pursuing one of the careers featured in "Breaking Bad," or just interested in how to change careers, it's good to know that there are degree programs at universities in New Mexico that could help you do just that. And, you can use the show as a lesson on what not to do. Earn your degree, pursue your career and always keep it legal. Because, as you'll see on "Breaking Bad," breaking the law often has unintended consequences.