Life After Ph.D.

New Infographic Lets Users Explore Career Paths for Doctoral Recipients

In a time when the academic job market is more competitive than ever, many Ph.D.s complete school after nearly 10 years of studies with significant debt and without the promise of a job. Yet, graduate programs are producing more Ph.D.s than ever before.

To address this issue, the US National Science Board (NSB) has released an interactive infographic that explores 25 years of science, engineering and health (SEH) doctoral pathways.  The infographic allows users to see the number of doctorates employed in business, government and academic jobs and how career paths change over time. 

Using data from the Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR), the infographic lets users explore where doctorates in 26 SEH fields are employed across job sectors in education, business, and government, and to see how that changes with time.

Image Credit: National Science Board.

Image Credit: National Science Board.

The NSB announced the infographic as “a new tool for policymakers, educators, business leaders, students and others to asses the career opportunities for those with doctoral degrees in SEH fields.” Encouraging the academic community to seek employment in other fields outside academia.

“We need to exorcise the notion that those who get a PhD in a Science, Engineering, or Health field are limited to an academic career,” said Geraldine Richmond, Chair of NSB’s National Science and Engineering Policy Committee. “The data show incredibly diverse jobs that PhD holders are in across all employment sectors. It’s our hope that this brief helps raise awareness in students and faculty about the rich and varied career paths that these doctorates can take.”

Some of the key findings include:

  • More than 50% of SEH doctorates are employed in professions outside of academia within 10-14 years of graduating. A trend present for over 20 years.
  • Over 90% of respondents report job satisfaction 15+ years after getting their doctorate.
  • The majority of recent doctoral graduates engage in research and development, regardless of employment sector.
  • As their career progresses, PhD degree holders engage in other activities such as management.

To view the infographic, visit the NSB site