For years, you worked toward your Ph.D. as though it would open every door you were interested in checking out, and rightly so. The doctorate degree labels you an expert in your field, and you put in the time and effort to get that prestigious designation.
Still, many people get their Ph.D. and have difficulty finding a job or at least finding one they are happy with. This is particularly true if you don’t want to go the academic route, which is the path often pushed on students as they take courses toward their ultimate degree. The fact is that there are other jobs out there in non-academic fields, but they’re not as well known or suggested.
Your STEM Ph.D. may qualify you for a job in the academic realm. Yet, that’s not all you can do. The problem is that when you seek out careers in other industries, you become overqualified. Employers don’t want to pay the salary that you deserve (even if you’re willing to take a lot less) because they expect you won’t be with them long. As you’re searching for a job outside of academia, you’ll hear a lot of these rejections.
However, with so many STEM Ph.D. graduate students getting their degrees every year, there aren’t enough jobs in the academic field to keep up with the demand. This makes it difficult to find your ideal role. Whether you’re trying to leave the academic field or you’re forced into it by necessity, here are five other careers you may want to consider.
Changing it Up: Other Careers Where You Can Use Your Ph.D.
Yes, it’s possible for you to work in the private sector and make good use of your Ph.D. In fact, many companies are looking for candidates like you, who are few and far between because they usually head to academia.
A STEM Ph.D. opens you up to numerous routes after your graduation. Industries need contractors, consultants, and experts like you to fill their positions and help lead divisions of their companies. Here are five potential careers that might interest you and will typically pay as well or better than your academic salary.
- Data Scientists - Data scientists with a Ph.D. can find positions in large industries around the world. Companies need individuals with strong analytical skills to help them make decisions about their future. You’d analyze research data, as you would in your own experiments, then apply that information to the business, evaluating the performance, sales, and marketing, and suggesting ideas for future growth.
- Consultants - As a consultant, you can work in various industries (and get paid well, too). This lucrative career field puts you in the driver’s seat. Clients come to you for expert advice, you provide it, and move on. Consultants can work as little or as often as they’d like as freelancers. The key is to ensure you have the experience to go along with your degree that proves you’re an expert.
- Writers - Do you enjoy writing research papers and editing them? Finding a job in this field, regardless of your Ph.D. type, is pretty straightforward. You can freelance in writing and editing, start your own blog, write a book and get it published or self-publish it, work as an editor in a prestigious journal, and more.
- Business Development - You don’t need to have a background in business development to get hired in this role. Your Ph.D. proves you can develop strategies, use data to drive decisions, analyze information, and come up with multiple hypotheses to find outcomes. These skills make you a natural in business development, where you can be an intricate part of the process of product development. From launch and deployment to managing the business, it’s all waiting for you and your degree.
- Science Communication - This job gives you the best of the private and academic worlds. Think of science communicators as the “influencers” of the science world in the 21st century. Someone has to get knowledge imparted to younger generations and the current society. To do that, you can work in science communication as a vlogger, blogger, public speaker, book writer, or even a YouTuber. If you’re good at what you do, you might even end up a celebrity communicator.
Interested in finding a new job, but not sure where to start? The perfect place to begin your search is with your Impactio network. Impactio connects scientific minds across the world. Use your network to send out feelers for the ideal career for you, and you might be amazed at how quickly you find job offers from those wanting to benefit from your STEM Ph.D.