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  1. #1
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    How Many Ph.D.'s Actually Get to Become College Professors?

    We've discussed the PhD glut before, but here's an Atlantic article that weighs in on it.
    BS, Info Sys concentration, Charter Oak State College
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  2. #2
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    The data is interesting to see but my main objection is with the idea that a professorship is the pinnacle or somehow the most desirable of employment positions. It's a flawed premise.
    American College of Sports Medicine

  3. #3
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    Agreed. The article also doesn't say whether taking on an adjunct position counts as success or not, and as we've noted, many people study for a doctorate for that purpose.
    BS, Info Sys concentration, Charter Oak State College
    MA in Educational Tech, George Washington University
    PhD in Leadership, U. of the Cumberlands (in progress)
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  4. #4
    RFValve is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    The data is interesting to see but my main objection is with the idea that a professorship is the pinnacle or somehow the most desirable of employment positions. It's a flawed premise.
    The article states "At the time 53 percent of all Ph.D.'s said they had intended to become professors. ......only about half of that group had obtained tenure within ten-to-fourteen years, while 33 percent weren't in academia at all."

    It takes into consideration desire to become a full professor. This means that if you want to become a professor, you only have about 50% chances of becoming professor in 10 o 14 years.

    The article doesn't talk about people with DL PhDs but if 50% is for traditional degree holders, I would assume that the 50% might go to 20 or even as low as 10% for DL PhD holders that completed their programs while working full time and did not have the time to publish or network by attending conferences, etc.

    So if you take into consideration that only 50% of the people that enrolled in a PhD graduate and only 50% get a full time professor job of the people that want to become professors, you only have about 25% chances of becoming a professor since the time your enroll and probably a lot less if your PhD is DL.

    As Kizmet mentioned, getting a DL PhD with the intention to become a professor is like going to the Casino with the intention of becoming rich over night.
    Last edited by RFValve; 03-03-2013 at 02:33 PM.

  5. #5
    Phdtobe is offline Registered User
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    Not all PHDs want to go into academia. Over 50% have found positions in academia off the bat. The over 50% placement have not changed since 1991. From 1991 to present the number of people earning PhDs have increase considerably. Someone help me, deductive or inductive reasoning, more people are finding academic positions now than in 1991: - 50% of a lower number in 1991 versus 50% of a higher number in 2011. Isn't depressing when others project their failures on others? Such as, I did a PhDs and is now struggling so you shouldn't do a PhD because you will suffer the same fate.

  6. #6
    RFValve is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phdtobe View Post
    Isn't depressing when others project their failures on others? Such as, I did a PhDs and is now struggling so you shouldn't do a PhD because you will suffer the same fate.
    I don't know in the US but in Canada you have about 50% chances of finding a full time permanent academic job after graduation. This is an average, your chances are lower if you are in sciences, engineering , arts but increase if you are in business, medicine, law, etc.

    I don't know about other schools, but my school offers a training about non academic careers for PhDs that basically show you your options if you don't get an academic job. Some career paths include tax consultant for research projects, research scientist, technical writing , management consulting, etc.

    I went for such a training a while ago, the trainer mentioned that 50% is over a span of 10 to 15 years so many just give up.

    I think people interested in Academia should have a plan B, you should also negotiate a post doc position in the case you don't find something.

    Getting a full time academic position is not easy. First, admission rates at good doctoral programs in Canada is competitive at most only admit 5 to 10% of the applicants. Only about 50% complete the program. Then, you only have 50% chances of finding academic employment and then about 70% of actually getting tenure (depending on the school).

    If you calculate the probability of making it to become tenured professor from the beginning to end is (0.07)(0.5)(0.5)(0.7). This is a bit more than 1%. This assuming that you are applying to prestigious programs, if you decide to take the DL route from a little known school chances decrease for sure.

  7. #7
    Phdtobe is offline Registered User
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    There was/is a shortage of Accounting PhDs in Canada and the USA. I will guess that a cpa earn more than a phd professor.

    College of Business > University of Illinois

    AICPA Scholars Program Aims to Increase Accounting PhD Faculty | AccountingWEB

    Not enough accounting PhDs? - The Globe and Mail

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  9. #8
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFValve View Post
    I don't know in the US but in Canada you have about 50% chances of finding a full time permanent academic job after graduation. This is an average, your chances are lower if you are in sciences, engineering , arts but increase if you are in business, medicine, law, etc.

    I don't know about other schools, but my school offers a training about non academic careers for PhDs that basically show you your options if you don't get an academic job. Some career paths include tax consultant for research projects, research scientist, technical writing , management consulting, etc.

    I went for such a training a while ago, the trainer mentioned that 50% is over a span of 10 to 15 years so many just give up.

    I think people interested in Academia should have a plan B, you should also negotiate a post doc position in the case you don't find something.

    Getting a full time academic position is not easy. First, admission rates at good doctoral programs in Canada is competitive at most only admit 5 to 10% of the applicants. Only about 50% complete the program. Then, you only have 50% chances of finding academic employment and then about 70% of actually getting tenure (depending on the school).

    If you calculate the probability of making it to become tenured professor from the beginning to end is (0.07)(0.5)(0.5)(0.7). This is a bit more than 1%. This assuming that you are applying to prestigious programs, if you decide to take the DL route from a little known school chances decrease for sure.
    So many numbers. Maybe you have backup citations?
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  10. #9
    Rich Douglas is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    The data is interesting to see but my main objection is with the idea that a professorship is the pinnacle or somehow the most desirable of employment positions. It's a flawed premise.
    Really, really, really agree. I don't know the percentages of PhDs that go into practice instead of academia, but the salaries are far better and the career opportunities are much more diverse.

  11. #10
    RFValve is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    So many numbers. Maybe you have backup citations?
    Kizmet,

    If this was a journal article, I wouldn't mind spending the time looking for these stats. But for a discussion board I am sorry if I don't give it more than few minutes, If someone has the time, the articles that normally refer to stats for placement, graduation, etc, for PhDs are included in the journal of university affairs. The journal is online here:

    Canadian Higher Education News, Jobs, Opinion | University Affairs

  12. #11
    RFValve is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phdtobe View Post
    Yes, there is a shortage now. Any PhD in Accounting from an AACSB accredited is gold now and can lead to a tenure track with almost no risk.

    Sorry if I don't have the stats to back up this now, all I know is that people are switching from PhDs in Engineering to Accounting at my University because of this shortage.

    Starting salaries are also very good, most starting salaries are in the 150K range.

  13. #12
    ryoder is offline Registered User
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    I just got an organizational announcement at my very large company which announced that a new division was being created with a Dr. at its helm. It covered his professional and educational qualifications. I thought it was encouraging to see a PhD running a whole new unit.

  14. #13
    03310151 is offline Registered User
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    This author has been writing a lot about PhD's lately. Here's another one of his articles:

    The Ph.D Bust: America's Awful Market for Young Scientists—in 7 Charts

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