Careers for PhDs Outside Academia

Getting a PhD can enrich your mind, but what about your bank account? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 2009 median weekly wage of $1,532 for PhD holders, but despite this high figure, PhD candidates are rightly worried about the future. University jobs for PhDs are becoming scarce. The Los Angeles Times reports that between 2007-2009, openings for PhDs in math departments dropped 40 percent, while between 2008 and 2010, there was a 27.5 percent decrease in humanities department jobs listed by the Modern Language Association.

5 Careers for PhDs Outside of Academia

Despite these discouraging statistics, a PhD is still a good investment, because it is a respected credential beyond the university walls. There are many great careers for PhDs outside academia, including the five below.

1. Pharmaceutical Researcher

Scientific research is the career with the greatest number of advanced degree holders in the workforce, and demand for researchers with PhDs is expected to remain high. People with doctorates in life sciences, as well as medical doctors, have excellent prospects for employment in the pharmaceutical industry, as the aging population means that researchers who develop and improve drugs should be especially sought-after. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 2009 mean annual wage of $91,720 for medical scientists working in pharmaceutical industry.

2. Lobbyist

Many political science, public policy, and economics PhDs find work with government agencies or as lobbyists for private sector businesses. Drawing on their training in statistical analysis and knowledge of the political process, they study pressing issues and present their findings to lawmakers. They influence policy and help shape political platforms. Earnings for health care, energy and financial services lobbyists in Washington, DC was as high as $177,000 in 2009, Washington, DC news source The Hill reports.

3. Biotech Careers

Biology and other life science PhDs are joining the biotechnology industry. Biotech companies harness biological processes to create drugs, improve agricultural production, implement greener industrial practices, and innovate many other products and applications. It is a booming field, driving a 21 percent growth rate for biological science jobs through 2018. In Florida, where biotech jobs increased 18 percent between 2001-2008, the average wage for the industry is $55,264, and PhDs can expect to out-earn this average, according to the Palm Beach Post.

4. Corporate Communications Manager/Director

Manager or director of corporate communications are great jobs for English PhDs. Communications directors oversee teams that conceive, write, and edit newsletters, reports, press releases, Web content and other material distributed within a company and/or between a company and its clients/the media. As the dependence on Search Engine Optimization grows, so does the need to have people around who are good with words. The average salary in 2009 was $126,000, according to data from Spring Associates, Inc.

5. Market Researcher

Market researchers conduct studies to gauge how consumers think and act, so psychology or social science PhDs apply their expertise in this field. By collecting and analyzing data to understand the psychology and behavior of consumers, market researchers help companies create and sell useful products. Job growth is expected to be especially robust for those with advanced degrees, including PhDs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median annual wage of $61,580 in 2009.

There are also bountiful jobs for PhDs in non-profit organizations, think tanks, and as independent contractors or consultants. So don't let the daunting odds of becoming a professor stop you from getting a doctoral degree. There are plenty of careers for PhDs outside academia that are rewarding and, yes, enriching.

 

 


Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Offers the Start Smart program, where qualifying students pay only $200 each for their first two 3-credit classes.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1995.
  • Features numerous online student resources at no extra charge, including an online library, course materials, and real-time tutoring.
  • Courses last 8 weeks and begin monthly.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Within 6 months of graduation, over 90% of new graduates land jobs in their fields of study.
  • Offers an $18k College Completer Scholarship for transferring students who meet requirements.
  • All professors hold advanced degrees, many with MBAs and PhDs.
  • Classes start every 8 weeks, and curriculum is updated regularly with input from industry leaders.
  • More than 85% of students receive financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants.
  • Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC/NCA).
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
5 Program(s) Found
  • Founded in 1949, Grand Canyon University is a premier, private, accredited, nondenominational Christian university located in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 16:1 and 33.9% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • As a Christian university, the school encourages students to find their purpose in Christ, with an emphasis on applying Christian values and ethics to the workplace.
  • 65% of students have cars on campus, and alcohol is not permitted for students of legal age.
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Potential students may preview a free, one-week mini course to get an accurate impression of the student experience.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
3 Program(s) Found

Prepare to advance your STEM career with Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. Our master’s degree programs empower you to create new career opportunities through a curriculum that teaches the latest theories and concepts rooted in real-world experiential learning. Best of all, our online course delivery gives you more control over your study schedule—perfect for students who are currently mid-career.

  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • Ashford Mobile app keeps students connected to the online classroom on the go.
  • Business program offered in partnership and collaboration with Forbes magazine.
  • Offers several credit transfer and previous experience options for students who qualify.
  • Dedicated to fostering intellectual and personal growth since 1918.
  • Offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in business, health, education, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Students can enroll at any time and begin studies in the fall, spring, or summer.
  • 9 out of 10 Florida Tech Students who apply, qualify for some type of aid, based on a Fall 2012 internal survey.
  • The average freshman retention rate is 77.3 percent.
  • Ranked #39 in Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Reports
  • Among the more than 50,000 alumni include several astronauts, CEOs, and 32 generals.
  • Special tuition rate available for active duty, selected reserves, National Guard service members and their spouses.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
2 Program(s) Found
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Was ranked 52 in U.S News’ 2014 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities.
  • Student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Distinguished alumni include Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courteney Cox.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Online Graduate Business Programs and Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Financial aid is available for students who quality, with more than $1,000,000 through 10 scholarships.
  • Offers 24/7 student services, including financial aid help, course registration, and career counseling.
  • Students may opt in for a two week, risk-free trial period.
  • Active-duty military, veterans, and Veteran’s Administration employees can save 15% on tuition.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
3 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the top 50 Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • 75% of undergraduate classes have fewer than 27 students, with a student to teacher ratio of 12:1.
  • More than 40 endowed scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Offers more than 180 majors and programs through 11 schools and colleges.
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • A private, Christian, liberal arts university founded in 1905 and open to students of any faith.
  • Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
  • Average class size is 20 students.
  • 97% of students receive financial aid, with the average freshman receiving $10,000.
  • Offers over 25 undergraduate degree programs.
  • Has approximately 5,000 students; 60% female and 40% male.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found

As an evangelical Christian university of The Wesleyan Church, Oklahoma Wesleyan University models a way of thought, a way of life, and a way of faith. It is a place of serious study, honest questions, and critical engagement, all in the context of a liberal arts community that honors the Primacy of Jesus Christ, the Priority of Scripture, the Pursuit of Truth, and the Practice of Wisdom.

  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • With 100,000+ students, it's the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation.
  • Since 1971, its mission has been to develop Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for impacting tomorrow’s world.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • The student-faculty ratio is 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 76.5%.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • In a 2013 survey, 83% of students said they would recommend the university to others.
  • Most degree-seeking online and campus-based students are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
  • Average class sizes is 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Founded in 1937 in Davenport, Iowa as the American Institute of Commerce (AIC).
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2007.
  • 100% online university, offering 40+ targeted degree and certificate programs.
  • Features frequent course starts, convenient eight-week classes, and possible credit transferability for prior coursework and training.
  • Offers several institutional scholarships and other financial aid opportunities to students who qualify.
  • Accredited by the Distance Education Training Council (DETC).
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Quick School Search
widget loading image

 

Featured Schools