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Is it possible? PhD synthetic biology



Posting for my boyfriend - he is 25 years old with a high school diploma and 5 years of welding/ fabricating experience. In his free time he loves to research about biology, biochem, genetic engineering, etc. And he'd like to work in a lab doing genetic engineering/synthetic biology. He wants advice on how he could pursue this in a cost effective way. He thinks he would need to get a PhD to be able to work in a lab doing what he wants to do. 

Would you recommend he starts by getting his general education classes at a local/low cost college? Or do you think he would need to start at a more expensive private college to be able to be successful in this field? 

He seems to think his age being already 25 with no college diploma is a disadvantage. I told him it's not, but would appreciate if others could give their opinions on this.

Thank you!!

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