Why a Ph.D. Is so Valuable

With much of the world experiencing a developmental phase, you may have heard that there’s an abundance of job opportunities available for college degree holders. With rapidly developing technology sectors, it’s no question that this is true. This is even more true for Ph.D. holders. The completion of a Ph.D. (or any graduate degree for that matter) is indicative of several attributes that are attractive to potential employers. 


The most obvious thing that a Ph.D. shows is that you are thoroughly educated in a specific field of study. For most advanced fields, this is a requirement. Employers want to know that you have an in-depth understanding of the field and have gathered a variety of experiences through your years of concentrated studies before hiring you for such a position.


One key difference between holders of a Ph.D. and bachelor’s degrees is that Ph.D. holders are not only trained to be experts in their field, but they are constantly encouraged to focus on advancing their field through innovative research. While researchers with a bachelor’s degree might simply note a problem or address it using conventional methods, the Ph.D. graduate is taught to diagnose the problem and seek alternative remedies. 


Another thing that a Ph.D. shows is the ability to commit to a multiple-year, intensive project. When searching for candidates to fill a position, this is exactly the kind of dedication that is required. Since most positions that require a Ph.D. are research-oriented, and most research projects are completed over the course of multiple years, employers are not interested in candidates who have shown an inability to commit – they want research to remain consistent.


While a Ph.D. is a significant investment, it is one that can be paid off within the early stages of one’s career given the significant increase in earning potential. Scholarships and grants are also available to help soften the financial impact of the degree. With the average salary for a first position taken by Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. graduates in Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) being a whopping $118,031 annually, it won’t take long to repay degree costs. Although not reflected in this statistic, earning potential increases steadily over time as experience is gained. 


When considering a Ph.D., it’s important to remember that such an advanced degree is not for everyone. Average completion time, as well as career outlook, are two of the most important factors to consider when faced with the decision to pursue a Ph.D. With Ph.D.’s typically requiring three to six years to complete, one needs to take into account the fact that they will be dedicating several years to a specific thesis that they may lose interest in within a few months. 


Once the degree has been completed and you are ready to start looking for jobs, it’s important to understand that you will be looking at positions that require a high degree of individual responsibility. Many people aren’t interested in such a high level of autonomy and would prefer to follow instructions – and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you’re looking to take a more hands-on approach and be a bit more creative with your daily work, a Ph.D. might just be for you. To learn more about graduate programs offered by CMKL University, visit us here.


Blog Post written by:
Michael Beddie
Intern