What is the Value of a PhD? – Is it Worth it for You?

Of all the college degrees out there, the PhD is likely the most misunderstood.  Some people assume that holding one makes you some form of higher education guru, while others think that they’re a giant waste of time, energy, and money.  The truth, as with most things, lies somewhere in the middle and those who are considering a PhD will likely want to know just what its overall value really is.  The answer is that it depends.

  • A PhD is required in most cases to enter a teaching position at a university or college.  If you’re hoping to enter a career as a professor, then, a PhD is absolutely invaluable to you.
  • Personal enrichment holds a very high place in many people’s minds and it is in this that many people value their PhD tremendously.  Having the ability to become a true expert in a field is important, and a PhD makes this possible.
  • Money is the main factor concerning the value of most things, obviously, and there too the PhD will stand out.  Figures show that holding a PhD can earn you double what someone without a college education will earn and will also net you even more money than those holding a master’s or associate’s degree in some cases.

Here’s where it’s important to mention that the higher earnings aren’t always the case.  The type of PhD you hold will have a huge impact on the overall value of it.  Consider the following.

  • Those in fields like social sciences who hold a PhD earn around fifty to fifty five percent more than those who only hold a bachelor’s degree.
  • But those who are in fields like biology or other physical sciences generally earn seventy five percent more if they have a PhD

In other words, the specific field you’re planning on entering will have a dramatic impact on your ability to earn more money.  While following your heart is important, if money matter more to youth then you should keep this fact in mind when earning your PhD.

There is also increasing evidence that in the open job market having more experience in the field is much more important than actually having a higher degree.  That means that instead of trying to focus on getting the best degree, many students find that they’re better served by earning a slightly less impressive degree and spending the remaining years getting real life experience instead of sitting in the classroom.

This is one aspect of the value of a PhD that is still up for serious debate, and many indicated that they will hire a more experienced worker with a bachelor’s degree over an inexperienced graduate with a PhD.  This isn’t always the case, however, and it will vary on an individual basis.  In other words, the value of your PhD may simply depend upon the employer you’re trying to find a job with.

Simply put, your PhD is one of the most respected degrees in the field.  If you want to know that your colleagues and peers respect you and that you are a true expert in your field, earning a PhD is vital.  It’s also invaluable if you’re hoping to enter a career as a professor.  But for those looking to simply enter the job market and reap the most benefits, the value of the PhD will come down to the field of study the degree is held in as well as the individual employer.  Basically, you’ll have to consider your goals and then make the decision that is right for your unique situation.