Should I get a PhD?

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by AdamJLaw, Sep 30, 2008.

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  1. AdamJLaw

    AdamJLaw New Member

    I would like to teach online full time. Would it be worth it financially to earn a Phd? I know that it is a ton of work to earn a PhD and you may see the money earned as not worth the time spent, basically all I want to know is if I earn a PhD will I make very much more money teaching online? Second, does it matter where I get the degree from, Walden, Capella or Nova? Are they all the same or is one looked upon better then others?
     
  2. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    As far as more money, the school I teach for offers $200 more per class for a PhD holder vs. a masters degree. I think as more people get degees it becomes more competitive to get online teaching adjunct jobs. I PhD could never hurt and I have seen quite a few schools listing that as the minimum. I can't answer the second question but I would say - I hope not!
     
  3. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member


    Few schools are offering full time online opportunities including Walden, Kaplan, Touro and AIU. If you notice, all of them require a PhD for these appointments. I have interviewed with some of these schools and the catch is that at least two of these schools require exclusive contracts so you cannot teach anywhere else. Salaries for full time positions are about 60K but you can make about the same or more teaching part time at several schools but with no bennies.

    In my experience, a great number of faculty at online schools hold online PhD themselves so having an online PhD seems to be welcome for online schools. Walden seems to have more respect from the online schools as many full time faculty members hold degrees from this institution.

    Does it pay? It depends, if you live in LA or NY 60K might be not enough but if you live in Costa Rica or Argentina this salary might give you better life style than 150K in NY.

    Online faculty positions seem to pay lower than the average full time face to face position but they have the advantage that you can relocate anywhere in the planet.
     
  4. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    No, not unless it's a calling -- and even then it's a brutal experience for those who make it.
     
  5. makana793

    makana793 New Member

    I've always wondered this but does the subject area of the ph.d matter? For example, if I teach criminal justice online and I possess a master's in cj, would it hurt me if my ph.d was in another subject area? say public admin or education.
     
  6. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    As I understand it:
    • To teach graduate CJ students, you need a doctorate with a CJ specialization "attached" to the doctorate.
    • To teach undergraduate CJ students, you need a masters in CJ or you need 18 graduate credits in CJ.
    Consequently, if you have a PhD in public administration with a CJ specialization that is "attached" to your doctorate, then you can teach graduate CJ students.

    Confused yet? :)
     
  7. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    How about a JD - I occasionally see faculty listed with a masters and a JD.
     
  8. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    Yes, if you want to teach online full-time for a university, you will need a doctorate for most disciplines. If you wish to teach online for a community college, you need a masters, but the doctorate will help. Regarding the three institutions that you mention, brick and mortar universities will have a significantly lower instance of acceptance of online doctoral degrees than a virtual college or university. Having said that, Nova the highest number of its doctoral grads working at higher education institutions. Walden has been around longer than Capella, but I am starting to see more Capella grads in higher ed (especially in administrative positions).
     
  9. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    The subject area usually matters quite a lot. The first choice for most departments will be a doctorate in the desired specialization. However, depending upon the pool of candidates and your other professional experience (e.g. publications, presentations, professional associations, grants, research, etc.), I have seen many faculty members with education, law or public admin doctorates in CJ-type programs.
     
  10. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    Yes, this is not uncommon at all--I have several colleagues with the JD as their terminal degree.
     
  11. makana793

    makana793 New Member


    As always Dr. Pina, your feedback is much appreciated.
     
  12. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    No problem--I just like to help.
     
  13. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    After thinking about this for a couple of days I've decided that I disagree with me again (with all due respect). I know that he has earned a doctoral degree and I have not so I can't speak from personal experience as he can. My opinion is that if it is your goal to acomplish xyz then you should take all the necessary steps to reach that goal. I would not want to discourage someone from making the attempt simply because I knew it was going to be difficult for them to finish. My philosophy is that it's better to try and fail than to never try at all. At least then you can tell yourself that you gave it your best shot. One of the fears I have is that someday I'll be really really old and just sitting around thinking about all the things that I wanted to do but I never really tried to do. How sad. I think that Adam should give it his best shot. He wants to teach and it's clear that he'll have a better chance of that if he has a PhD (or whatever). I think he should go for it.
     
  14. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I say go for it. What is the worst thing that can happen? You will learn some new "stuff" and pass or fail out/drop out. Either way, you will still learn and that is never a bad thing.
     
  15. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    The dissertation brick wall

    It's for that reason that I "went for it" and then stuck with it. However, it's a frustrating experience for those who don't make it for a litany of reasons. As my brother (a tenured B&M professor) said, the attrition rate is 50% to 70%, once doctoral students hit the dissertation brick wall.
     
  16. Scott Henley

    Scott Henley New Member

    Interesting. Most European doctorates are dissertation-only (i.e. no courses). I have never understood the requirement for coursework within a doctorate, but surely taking these courses is not "working at the doctoral level" at all. This statement alludes to the fact that when the "real doctoral work" starts, many drop out.
     
  17. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    That's an outstanding observation! Kudos!
     
  18. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I think me again is basically saying to be careful because the commitment to get a doctorate is high and if you don't make the cut you will be wasting your money and time.

    The reality is that a doctorate from an online school like Walden, NCU, Nova or Capella is not going to come cheap. The work required might be less than traditional schools but still considerable. The question is if you feel that putting this amount of work and money is worth the extra few thousand a month you can get teaching online courses on the side. Online doctorates are not very useful for tenure track positions so the return of investment of these degrees is very questionable. Most people that follow them get some type of financial support by their employer or have the motivation of higher pay checks if they finish the doctorate because they work the education sector. If you feel that you will not reallly be getting much out of the doctorate and will paying the thousands of dollars, may be is better to use your time and money for another option that might give you a better return of investment.

    I personally invested too much time in my opinion to get a doctorate. It took me almost 8 years part time. The amount of time that I put could have been invested in an accounting or financial consultant license and could have gotten a much higher return of investment. Doctoral degrees should be followed because you love the field and not because you want to make some extra cash on the side in my opinion.
     
  19. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    It's a serious commitment, there is no doubt that's true. There are opportunity costs involved as well and that needs to be taken into consideration. However, I'm just trying to point out that there is also value, intangible though it may be, in taking your best shot at a goal. There is a type of value in "going for it," even if you don't reach the goal. Not everything is measured in dollars and cents.
     
  20. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (as close to an "accreditor" as Criminal Justice programs have right now) standards allows for a small number of J.D. holders who ALSO have a Master's degree in CJ to be appointed as full-time faculty in CJ programs. Earned "traditional" doctorates are still much preferred.

    http://www.acjs.org/
     

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