If You’ve Been trying to Decide About More Education, read this.
So, you’re considering doctoral studies. You want to weigh the pros and cons, and the cons are considerable: a lot of debt, a lot of time, the possibility of having to move across country to attend the program of your choice.
Before you count yourself out, though, take some time to consider these very real advantages….
- Better employment opportunitiesA doctorate doesn’t guarantee you a job, but it will open doors that would be closed without it. For example, few universities will hire someone to teach full-time if they don’t have (or aren’t close to completing) a doctorate. Similarly, practicing law requires a doctorate, as does being a medical doctor. In some professions, a doctorate is not necessary, but is highly regarded—meaning that your resume will shift to the top of the pile once someone sees the degree.
- Job SecurityAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a person with a doctorate is less likely to be unemployed. A doctorate offers job security, especially in jobs where a doctorate is highly regarded but not absolutely necessary. If the doctorate is necessary, competition among doctorate holders will likely be fierce; if the doctorate isn’t necessary, then it may become a liability, in as much as someone with a doctorate will draw higher pay and benefits. In positions where doctorates are highly regarded but not necessary—such as in teaching high school—the doctorate can be a real plus and add an element of job security.
- A Professional NetworkDepending on the discipline, doctoral studies can last several years. In that time, a doctoral student will have the opportunity to meet several experts in the field, attend conferences in which professional contacts are made, and work with a variety of top-notch scholars. That sort of networking is not available to those who pursue a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.
- Higher PaycheckThe higher the degree, the bigger the paycheck. Earnings are tied to educational achievement. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly earnings in 2009 for someone holding a doctorate was $1532, compared to $1257 for a master’s degree and $1025 for a bachelor’s degree. The point is clear: if you want more money, get that doctorate!
Okay, so the “Dr.” in front of your name is pretty cool too.
Going through years of studying for a PhD degree also means that you will have built up a reliable and diverse set of professional networks. You will have worked with renowned experts and scholars in the field and will have made important contacts during conferences, all of whom will be excellent career references and can provide recommendations for any job positions. There truly are great career advantages for you with your doctorate.