Career Advice

Reasons to Strive for PhD Degrees

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At some point in their academic careers, most people entertain the notion of earning a PhD, or doctorate degree. It’s the highest level of scholastic achievement in a given discipline and marks the holder as an accepted expert in their field of endeavor. PhD’s aren’t easy to get; it usually takes between four and seven years of study in addition to a traditional four-year college diploma. Most psychologists, many economists, and some lawyers hold this highest designation. Why do they put themselves through the rigor, time, and expense of obtaining those three special letters after their names?

It’s not always about money, though that is the primary reason for some. But there are additional motives in the hearts and minds of students who toil away on their dissertations and doctoral projects for two, three, or four years. Here are a few of the most common reasons to get a PhD. See if you fit into any of the following categories. If you do, consider speaking to an academic advisor and exploring your options. Not every school offers the PhD, and some only feature it in specific fields, like chemistry, history, or linguistics.

Job Prospects are Virtually Unlimited

By far, one of the key motivations behind sweating out a doctoral degree is related to career options. There’s a myth that this high designation locks you out of some jobs because employers view you as over-qualified. Don’t believe it. In today’s highly technical, specialized job market, expertise is rewarded and sought after, especially for higher-paying positions. And if you decide, for whatever reason, to avoid the corporate world, you can always take your degree into the classroom and teach high-school, college, or specialty schools.

At some point in their academic careers, most people entertain the notion of earning a PhD, or doctorate degree. It's the highest level of scholastic achievement in a given discipline and marks the holder as an accepted expert in their field of endeavor.Click To Tweet

They Earn More Money

There are infinite advantages to earning a high salary, and most of them are obvious. One that is often overlooked is when your salary is large enough to pay all your bills and allow for a significant amount of savings, you can pay off any education loans rather quickly. This rule applies double to anyone who holds a PhD.

For example, the average undergraduate pupil who takes out private student loans is making a smart move to begin with. That’s because private loans have higher lending limits, reasonable terms, and competitive interest rates. Not only can borrowers finance their education, but they don’t have to begin repayment until they finish their schooling. For PhD holders who go right into the job market with fatter paychecks than their peers, it’s usually possible to pay off student loans several years early. And don’t forget, private loans come with no penalties for early payoff.

Teach at the College Level

You can be a college instructor without this highest of degrees, but it’s nearly impossible to move up the hierarchy without it. In fact, most university presidents and department heads hold doctorates. Many graduate institutions, law schools, and research institutions won’t even hire you unless you hold the degree. But if you dream of teaching in your field at the very highest level, don’t underestimate the financial and academic heft of the PhD. At major academic institutions, you’ll need it if you hope to earn tenured status, which is the highest level of job security you can get in the world of education.

To Serve as Economists

Even if you hold a bachelor’s or master’s in economics, you can’t officially hold yourself out, professionally, as an economist. You need a PhD to do that. In government and private industry, you won’t even be able to apply for economist positions unless you hold a doctoral diploma. Many banks and other financial institutions use economic specialists in a wide variety of jobs, which means you have your choice of interesting career paths whether you opt for the public or private sector.

To Author Top-Selling Books

Have you ever browsed the top-selling books in categories like finance, law, criminal investigations, chemistry, teaching, history, and dozens more? They are filled with authors who have three letters after their names, namely P, H, and D. That doesn’t mean you must hold the degree in order to be a successful writer. Far from it. However, when you are able to showcase your educational background in a prominent way, prospective buyers automatically view you as an expert in your chosen field and tend to purchase your books before those written by less qualified authors.

To Become Research Scientists

In some of today’s hottest fields, like robotics, artificial intelligence, high-level computer programming, digital security, facial recognition science, big-data analysis, and aeronautics, holders of a doctorate in one of the many scientific disciplines is almost a requirement. Not only do these job categories and industries come with high pay, but they also are among some of the most interesting ways to earn a living. With the right academic credentials, you can be on the cutting edge of society’s most vital advancements. Browse the websites of a few major research and development firms and you’ll see evidence first hand.

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