Profitable Ph.D.

December 10, 2010

In some cases, you can increase your earning power by getting more education. Indeed, in some fields, a Ph.D. is necessary if you want to get anything like decent pay. On the other hand, there are some fields where having such an advanced degree does not offer very many monetary advantages. Some professions pay more than others, and the same is true of different doctorate degrees.

Getting a Ph.D. can be a worth goal. It shows that you have mastery in your field, and can come with a great sense of accomplishment. However, if you want to get a Ph.D. in order to boost your earning power, it is vital that you do some research. What you pay for your education may not be worth the cost for some professions. If you get a Ph.D. in a profession that pays well, you can easily pay off the cost of your schooling, and live comfortably.

If you are looking for more information on Ph.D.s, school and what degrees are worth the most, these 25 studies and stats sources can provide you with some perspective:

  1. Back to School?: This interesting infographic offers a look at whether or not a college degree is worth the time and money put into it. It uses earnings information from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine how much you can make with certain degrees. On average, someone with a Ph.D. makes 203% more over a lifetime than someone with a high school diploma. The infographic also shows how much someone with a professional degree makes — and it’s more than someone with a Ph.D. It makes sense, though, when you realize that these professional degrees include professions like law, medicine and engineering.
  2. Doctorate (PhD) Degree Salary: PayScale offers the ability to look at average salaries for jobs for those with Ph.D.s. You can see salary ranges for different jobs, including college professors and scientists, that have Ph.D.s. There is even a salary range for “senior pastor” — someone with a doctorate in divinity. You can see which jobs pay the most, and get an idea of where you are likely to make more money.
  3. U.S. PHD degree graduates of the 8 highest paid professional: This interesting list encompassing earnings from Aug. 2007 to Sept. 2008 provides a look at starting salaries for different Ph.D. graduates in the U.S. On this list, Business Administration/Management is at the top, with a $81,438. After that, there are several engineering type jobs. It seems as though engineering Ph.D.s have great potential earnings.
  4. Salaries for PhD Physicists and Related Scientists during Spring 2004: If you are looking for salary numbers for physicists with Ph.D.s, this report from the American Institute of Physics is quite helpful. It offers salaries in the academic sector, as well as what you can get paid if you work in the non-academic sector. Pay can be quite good in non-academic settings if you have science Ph.D.
  5. Salary of recent S&E doctorate recipients 1-4 years after receiving degree: 2003: This table from the National Science Foundation offers some insight into the pay you can get within four years after graduation with a Ph.D. in science and engineering. The pay really isn’t so bad, and continues to reiterate that engineering and science fields prize Ph.D.s.
  6. The Salaries of Scientists by Discipline: If you are looking for information on science salaries, this report from Jupiter Scientific offers a look at different jobs within the science field. Geologists, physicists, biologists and chemists do reasonably well in terms of pay. Even astronomers get reasonably good pay.
  7. You can search a number of jobs that show you how much you might make with a certain Ph.D. and job title. You can find a great deal of information and statistics on different Ph.D. jobs. A great way to help you plot a career path.
  8. The Labor-Market Impact of High-Skill Immigration: This is an interesting look at the impacts that immigrants with doctorates have on the labor market in the U.S. The American Economic Review offers this interesting look at how the job market is impacted when foreign-born graduates are receiving a large number of Ph.D.s.
  9. Earnings of college graduates: women compared with men: A study that addresses the earnings of women and men college graduates. This study looks at different degree levels, including Ph.D.s.
  10. Gender Differences in Salary and Promotion in the Humanities: Another article that addresses gender differences in salaries. This study also takes a look at Ph.D. salaries, and considers some of the differences.
  11. State-By-State Salaries for Professors 2009-10: One of the jobs you can get with a Ph.D. is college professor. It’s not such a bad gig: You don’t work all 12 months, usually, and you usually have flexibility in your schedule. On top of that, some states pay reasonably well. If you have a Ph.D., and end up a full professor in Connecticut, you could earn more than $130,000 a year.
  12. The Salaries of Ph.D.’s in Academe and Elsewhere: A study published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives about different salaries that those with Ph.D.s can expect.
  13. The Market for New Ph.D. Economists in 2002: An interesting study looking at the job market for economists.
  14. Research on the Economics Job Market and Economist’s Salaries: A very helpful look at different resources about the job market, including what you can make with a Ph.D.
  15. Pursuing a PhD in Accounting: What to Expect: The CPA Journal looks at the job prospects for accounting Ph.D.s, as well as salary expectations.
  16. What It’s Worth: Field of Training and Economic Status in 2001: The Census Bureau offers a report on various fields of study, and salaries that go with them. Includes information on Ph.D.s.
  17. The marketing market: A study of PhD supply, demand, hiring institutions and job candidates: An interesting look at the forces that result in under-staffing in many business schools. Addresses salary as part of the study.
  18. Offers a number of valuable statistics about different salary possibilities. You can find information on what you can make with different Ph.D.s, as well as with other degree levels.
  19. Best Paying Jobs in America: This infographic offers a look at some of the best paying jobs in America. You can see that some of them require Ph.D.s or other advanced education and training.
  20. PhD Salaries Still Sinking: You can read this article in Washington monthly about how PhD salaries are sinking. An interesting look at a recent trend.
  21. How much is a PhD Worth?: This interesting article, making use of statistics, from Measuring Usability, offers a look at different factors that go into figuring what a Ph.D. is worth, and what affects salaries.
  22. CANADA: PhD offers little salary difference: Interesting stats from Canada that show, for that country, a Ph.D. does not make much of a difference from a master’s degree.
  23. More Jobs, Fewer New Ph.D.’s: Stats reported by Inside Higher Ed about job availability and salaries for those in academia.
  24. Careers and salaries: This summary offers a look at different salaries in different fields, and offers a look at Ph.D. salaries.
  25. 20 big-salary jobs, no degree required: If you are ambivalent about getting a Ph.D., you can explore other opportunities. Using statistical information, CNN presents jobs you can do and make good money — without a college degree.

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