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  1. #1
    AV8R is offline Registered User
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    12 reasons not to get a PhD

    12 reasons not to get a PhD - CBS News

    Interesting read. What say you?
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  2. #2
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    I think that people need to enter the doctoral process with their eyes open, having a realistic view of what it takes to finish, how much it will cost and what they can expect once they're done. In some ways it's similar to starting a business. Beyond that I think the article was primarily fear mongering.
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  3. #3
    distancedoc2007 is offline Registered User
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    It's a worthwhile read, but really only refers to the traditional 'carry on studying while still young, enter academia, strive for tenure' model. For that model, the truths in the article are not new. Grad students have always been farmed and exploited, tenure has always been a tough grind, and colleges have long been trying to control their labor costs and gain more flexibility in hiring. Getting a doctorate later in life to enhance an already successful career is a totally different story.

  4. #4
    me again is offline Registered User
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    Points 5, 9 and 12 really stand out as being accurate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn O'Shaughnessy
    5. Academic jobs are tough to find. According to the authors of the book "Higher Education ?," America produced more than 100,000 doctoral degrees between 2005 and 2009. During that period, however, only 16,000 new professorships were created. Here's another grim stat from the National Science Foundation: Only 14 percent of Americans with a doctorate in biology and the life sciences are landing an academic position within five years of graduating.

    9. More than 50 percent of faculty are part-timers. Part-time faculty usually don't have access to health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefits.

    12. Unfortunately, you can't eat prestige. But you can write obscure papers that only a handful of people will read.
    The basic master-tool of education is the Bachelors degree. That's all a person needs. It's the sheepskin that allows people to apply for jobs in management and/or it proves that the individual had the tenacity and intelligence to complete the requirements for a degree. Beyond that, it's up to the individual to forge his path in life.

    There will always be a need for graduate degrees, but that niche is very small -- and will remain small, although colleges and universities are flooding the market with graduates (masters and doctoral) who may have unrealistic ROI expectations. Catering to degrees at the masters and doctoral levels is a business and the ROI for those who are providing those educational services is good, but the ROI for those receiving those services may not meet the expectations of the vast majority of seekers/students.

    For the average Joe, it is best to take that Bachelors degree and commence living life with it. No other degree is necessary for success in the vast majority of circumstances.

  5. #5
    major56 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by me again View Post
    Points 5, 9 and 12 really stand out as being accurate.



    The basic master-tool of education is the Bachelors degree. That's all a person needs. It's the sheepskin that allows people to apply for jobs in management and/or it proves that the individual had the tenacity and intelligence to complete the requirements for a degree. Beyond that, it's up to the individual to forge his path in life.

    There will always be a need for graduate degrees, but that niche is very small -- and will remain small, although colleges and universities are flooding the market with graduates (masters and doctoral) who may have unrealistic ROI expectations. Catering to degrees at the masters and doctoral levels is a business and the ROI for those who are providing those educational services is good, but the ROI for those receiving those services may not meet the expectations of the vast majority of seekers/students.

    For the average Joe, it is best to take that Bachelors degree and commence living life with it. No other degree is necessary for success in the vast majority of circumstances.

    In agreement, particularly the last paragraph...
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  6. #6
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    I don't agree that a Bachelor's is all it takes. My Master's degree opened a lot of doors for me. Perhaps it's just that I've been in an area with a lot of people who have them, but those areas exist.
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  7. #7
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    Many licensed professions require a grad degree.
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    sanantone is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    Many licensed professions require a grad degree.
    Especially in the mental health and healthcare professions. The trend is that the requirements are going up. Pharmacy went to a doctorate, nurse practitioners are supposed to be moving to a doctorate, and all physician assistant programs will be master's degrees. The only mental health profession I can think of that generally does not require a graduate degree is substance abuse counseling . There is undergraduate-level licensing for social workers, but their job options are very limited.

    For accounting , sometimes it makes more sense just to get a master's degree since you need 150 credits to become a CPA in most states.
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  10. #9
    Delta is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanantone View Post
    Especially in the mental health and healthcare professions. The trend is that the requirements are going up. Pharmacy went to a doctorate, nurse practitioners are supposed to be moving to a doctorate, and all physician assistant programs will be master's degrees.

    There is a difference between these "doctorate" degrees and the "Ph.D." These doctorates are vocationally oriented. The schools call it a doctorate but the curriculum and focus is entirely different from the PhD! These professional doctorates prepare the clinician to hit the road practicing their trade with little to no emphasis on primary research.
    Last edited by Delta; 11-03-2013 at 02:57 PM.

  11. #10
    sanantone is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delta View Post
    There is a difference between these "doctorate" degrees and the "Ph.D." These doctorates are vocationally oriented. The schools call it a doctorate but the curriculum and focus is entirely different from the PhD! These professional doctorates prepare the clinician to hit the road practicing their trade with little to no emphasis on primary research.
    My post was in response to the conversation about whether a graduate degree (this includes master's, professional doctorates, and PhDs) is worth it. For psychology , the Phd is preferred over the PsyD even for practice. For most of the mental health professions, occupational therapy , and physician assistant programs, the master's degree is the one for practice. So, again, I wasn't just talking about doctoral degrees. Then, there is the MBA and MPA people get to boost their salaries and chances for advancement. These are worth it if you can get into top schools. A master's degree is also needed to become an administrator in education . The job prospects for economics professionals are a lot better for those with master's degrees. Many jobs outside of academia for chemists, biologists, and physicists require master's degrees or higher.
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  12. #11
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    In many public school systems teachers are expected to earn a Masters within some given time frame begining with their hire date.
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  13. #12
    sanantone is offline Registered User
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    Even in school districts that don't require a master's degree, there could be a great ROI for those that pay more for a master's. If I were a teacher in my area, I would complete a cheap master's at WGU or somewhere else for the extra pay. Some police departments in my area pay an extra $1800 a year for a master's degree. I haven't calculated if the ROI would make it worth it to get a master's instead of settling for the lower incentive pay for bachelor's degrees. However, in addition to getting education incentive pay, the master's can knock off the years of experience needed to get an advanced-level peace officer certificate. Many police departments pay more for higher certificate levels, so you kill two birds with one stone. The same goes for corrections.
    Last edited by sanantone; 11-03-2013 at 04:42 PM.
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  14. #13
    Maniac Craniac is offline Moderator
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    EDIT: k, everyone- I deleted my stupid off-topic post and just left my previously muddled point below. Sorry about that.

    There are only three reasons I can think of to get a doctorate. (1) Work. 2) Personal growth/satisfaction. 3) Vanity. As far as I'm concerned, (1) is better off not being harder than it needs to be and I already have (2) and (3) covered. No doctorate for me, my friends!
    Last edited by Maniac Craniac; 11-04-2013 at 11:14 AM.
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  15. #14
    Delta is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanantone View Post
    My post was in response to the conversation about whether a graduate degree (this includes master's, professional doctorates, and PhDs) is worth it. For psychology, the Phd is preferred over the PsyD even for practice. For most of the mental health professions, occupational therapy, and physician assistant programs, the master's degree is the one for practice. So, again, I wasn't just talking about doctoral degrees. Then, there is the MBA and MPA people get to boost their salaries and chances for advancement. These are worth it if you can get into top schools. A master's degree is also needed to become an administrator in education. The job prospects for economics professionals are a lot better for those with master's degrees. Many jobs outside of academia for chemists, biologists, and physicists require master's degrees or higher.
    Okay. The OP was discussing about "12 reasons not to get a PhD". Just wanted to clarify that the "other doctorates" are not in the same context. I read the article and I believe it particularly mentioned the PhD however it may elude to other doctorates and if that is the case, then I disagree with the author because vocationally, those doctorates are absolutely necessary to practice as a clinician nowadays. It didn't use to be the case and most of those professions were bachelor degrees once upon a time. For some reason they evolved into a doctorate, PharmD, DNP, DPT, AuD, etc. I actually know some PA's that simply hold a certificate but most now are masters programs.
    Last edited by Delta; 11-03-2013 at 06:09 PM.

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  17. #15
    sanantone is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delta View Post
    Okay. The OP was discussing about "12 reasons not to get a PhD". Just wanted to clarify that the "other doctorates" are not in the same context. I read the article and I believe it particularly mentioned the PhD however it may elude to other doctorates and if that is the case, then I disagree with the author because vocationally, those doctorates are absolutely necessary to practice as a clinician nowadays. It didn't use to be the case and most of those professions were bachelor degrees once upon a time. For some reason they evolved into a doctorate, PharmD, DNP, DPT, AuD, etc. I actually know some PA's that simply hold a certificate but most now are masters programs.
    The article is about PhDs, but the thread got a little off topic in discussing master's degrees also.
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  18. #16
    SurfDoctor is offline Moderator
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    My favorite line is 12. "Unfortunately, you can't eat prestige."
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