A graduate degree does not automatically mean that you will work as a professor. In fact, over the last 20 years, there has been a large employment shift. Most graduate degree holders now work in industry or the public sector.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook from the US Dept. of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Job Hunting Resources
Your strategy will depend on which type of employment you choose. However, one factor will remain constant: the people you know will be your best resource. Your friends, family, graduate advisors, and professional society will be important sources of information and advice.
Academic Employment Resources
At these universities, faculty may teach both undergraduate and graduate courses, as well as supervise theses and dissertations. Independent research is expected of all faculty members, and independent funding through grants may also be an expectation. A PhD is required for faculty status.
Faculty usually have teaching responsibility for several undergraduate courses, and may supervise independent research. Classroom teaching is a major part of tenure evaluation. Research expectations for faculty vary widely from institution to institution, but some research is usually expected. A PhD is usually required for faculty status.
Associate Degree Colleges and Community Colleges
Faculty members typically teach very applied courses related to a trade or vocation. A Master’s degree is required for employment.
Private College Prep schools
Faculty are hired to teach and work with students preparing for admission to one of the above institutions. A Master’s degree is usually required for employment.
Industry and Private Sector Employment
Industry is focused and goal driven—and this sometimes can translate into less day-to-day flexibility than academic jobs. Private sector employers may be quicker to reward good work, and generally allow you to branch into career directions unrelated to your degree, unlike tenure-track jobs. Each individual company is different, and it’s important to research potential employers to see if they are a good match for your personality and interests.
Job Hunting Websites
You should begin collecting and preparing the professional documents for your job search well in advance. The two most important pieces of advice are:
- Write down or document everything you do
- Don’t throw anything out
You will need to show significant scholarly activity in your CV, and you will need examples of your work when you go to an interview.
Things You Should Be Reading
ScienceCareers.org – This website has industry career profiles, career paths, interviews with both students and established researchers, and help with networking. A must-read for all graduate students from AAAS.
The Chronicle of Higher Education – This is a must-read for any students considering employment in higher education. In addition to the largest collection of job postings, it has articles on trends and issues for those employed in academia, and career columns.
Other Helpful Reading
- What do employers want in a PhD?
- What Employers Want in New Faculty
- Early Career Resources from HHMI