Starting a Doctorate at 50 - will colleges consider a 53/54/55 year-old first-time professor?

Discussion in 'Education, Teaching and related degrees' started by Ken Hensley, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Denominational differences. Where I am, our priests are squeesed hopelessly between the bishop and the evergreen parish council members, often have to hold down a secular job just to support the family, and are the farthest thing to a hotshot, sacramental grace and all. We have a few petty tyrants in cloth, but petty tyrants in the pew are way more common. Cccc-conciliarity...
  2. rodmc

    rodmc Member

    I have a colleague that just completed the Ed.D. through American College of Education. Time to complete was 4-years, and the cost was about $ 24,000. His feedback was he loved the program and felt he grew a lot as an educator. If you are considering licensure, check out

    Next question, does your employer offer tuition reimbursement? If so, take full advantage of the benefit. The company I work for covers 100% of professional development, which includes the cost of advanced degrees for essential employees. Get any free money you can to help cover the cost.

    Concerning your age, I started my doctoral studies in my 40s. The advantage to being older is your children are likely older, and you are more disciplined. As someone who regularly hires professors/instructors, if your experience is relevant, there is no reason you won’t be considered for a teaching position. IMO, experience is essential toward being a great professor/instructor.

    Finally, if you are working at a Christian university, your previous ministry experience and ability to teach from a Christian worldview is essential. Not sure where you are looking to teach, but I have a good friend on the Board of Regents at North Central University in Minneapolis. I say go for it! As a fellow 50-year old, take it from me; you are in the prime years of your life, and it’s time to share your wisdom with the next generation.
  3. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    I think where one gets their doctoral degree is important if they wish to move into academia. Most people you see with doctorates from UofP, Walden, Capella, etc. are ones who had a masters degree as was hired on as an instructor with the college or university they are with and need a doctorate to move into a professor position. Academia is competitive and obtaining a doctorate via distance is not ideal to move into it. If you are serious about it, I would recommend a traditional PhD. The easy way is sometimes not the best way. Personally, a masters via online education is GREAT however I would never even consider getting a PhD via online education...not for my goals.

    All that said, Steve and FTF were pretty accurate with their assessment of everything.
  4. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Are you suggesting that online Ph.D.s are easier? I don't think people go that route for ease, rather they do it for convenience. Most of these people are busy working professionals with families and they don't have the luxury of stopping their lives to attend school full-time.
  5. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    Speaking to the choir as I have a wife, 2 year old twins and a 3 month old. That said, my wife and I have already discussed it and once I am st the point for a PhD, we both agree the traditional on campus route is the best. Sacrifices have to be made in order to optimize ones opportunities. All I am saying is if you have 2 people with similar experiences and one has a PhD from Walden and the other a PhD from say the University of Florida, the UF candidate will get the job 9/10 times most likely. Where someone got their PhD is just as important as their personality and such. The more elite their professors, the more elite the program comes off. ‍♂️
  6. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    You haven't answered my question. Instead, you diverted to talking about your educational plans and hiring competitiveness between degrees. My question has to do with the easy aspect you mentioned, which I am assuming you meant in terms of rigor.
  7. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    I think online PhDs have their own difficulties when compared to traditional ones. Online decreases the student/professor interaction, decreases networking opportunities, etc. Academically speaking, they should be similar in terms of rigor but it is the other aspects that make a difference to me. I think online PhDs have their place but I personally would not do one if trying to break into the academic world.
  8. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Noted. Anyway, it is said that almost anyone can complete the coursework in a doctoral program. The dissertation is usually what separates the men from the boys or the women from the girls lol I don't disagree with you concerning traditional Ph.D.s and academic employment. Academia is difficult to get into as it is. So many schools trying to offer renewable lecturer, instructor, visiting professor or similar positions instead of tenure-track positions.

    Honestly, if I was ever to consider higher ed teaching at a teaching-focused university or community college, I think I'd have a good shot. I already teach a college prep criminal justice course which is semester long and follows college structure and utilizes college textbooks and materials. I also have law enforcement and juvenile justice experience. However, my passion is juvenile justice policies and programs not teaching.
    JoshD likes this.
  9. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member


    Yes, it is feasible a career as a professor at 55 but I would advise against any of the schools you mentioned. If you want to have a chance for a full time professorship, I would put my money in a solid program and preferably an on campus program with solid reputation. The programs you mentioned might be good for an adjunct or part time faculty career but not so solid for a full time career. I would also avoid leadership, general management, etc and choose a more marketable field such as finance, accounting, marketing, operations and IT.
  10. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    A bit sarcastic and harsh response but in general the points are relevant. The point is that the academic market is very competitive and it is not very realistic to think that a distance PhD from a non ranked school is going to to do the trick for a career change.

    These Doctoral programs in Leadership have a market, they are not meant for a person to change a career but normally taken by University or college administrators for a pay bump or by professional adjuncts that already have a relevant Masters (e.g. MS in Engineering) that are looking for a quick and soft doctorate just to comply with a doctoral qualification for adjunct work or a consulting gig. The one size fits all is a weakness but also is appealing to those that are not willing to spend long hours doing experimental work in fields such as Finance, Engineering, etc and prefer to do a dissertations that is soft that might not require extensive and tedious work.

    We live in an age of credentialism and education inflation. People spend money with non sense doctorates just to do the same job that before only require a bachelors (e.g. administrator). At my University, many administrators have doctorates in education, management or other subjects, it is just a way to differentiate themselves and get a job that pays well with good benefits.

    As Steve is mentioning, the DBA is becoming the new MBA, few people are doing it just to remain competitive. I work at AACSB accredited University, only 50% of our PhD graduates find a job in academia, I am sure other Universities have similar statistics. It is not very realistic to think that a PhD in leadership from a DL school is going to do the job. Some schools have a policy of not hiring people with DL terminal degrees, this includes people with DL degrees from good schools.
    JoshD likes this.

Share This Page