The job market is tightening in higher education. It is increasingly harder for those graduating with PhDs to procure permanent, tenure-track teaching positions. This is a reality for those currently in the field of communication as explained by Dr. Carole Blair in her article "The Deprofessionalization of the Faculty," which was published in the May 2019 issue of Spectra. What is more, there is plenty of evidence that several institutions of higher education are likely to downsize, fail, or merge over the next decade. Current faculty are aware of the situation:
Despite recent drastic institutional reductions and austerity measures, [a 2017 Gallup/Inside Higher Ed] survey revealed that only 48 percent of respondents were confident in the sustainability of their institutions’ financial models over the next ten years. Indeed, fully 71 percent of respondents agreed with the following statement: 'Media reports suggesting that higher education is in the midst of a financial crisis accurately reflect the general financial landscape of higher education in the U.S.'
Yet, I find that most faculty and graduate students talk like they're going to get jobs as faculty. If they are passionate about teaching, I do hope they procure a permanent teaching position.
However, there are alternative careers available for those who do not want a teaching position; or just want to get ahead of the curve of this change. I offer here a few ideas for alternative careers in this post. Keep in mind that some of the positions and professions listed below require skills that may or may not be obtained in a doctoral program. Thus, additional training, experience, and certifications may be required. I am therefore not suggesting that one can earn a PhD in communication and immediately qualify for these career or jobs. I believe, however, that the teaching, research, and administrative skills picked up in a PhD program are transferable and having a PhD in some cases may give you some expertise other candidates may not possess.
The following jobs are a possible pathway to a non-teaching position with additional experience and education. I am only offering a few, so please feel free to post comments about other options that I should add to this initial list.
Type of Jobs and Sample Job Ad
As is immediately clear if you look for similar jobs online, it is probable that a career choice into other professions and industries is going to be more profitable over time. If you are okay with a salary of between $40K and $62K per nine months (with 3 months off per year, which does have a quality of life premium), then an academic job will be suitable. But many of these careers / jobs should be financially attractive. Good luck.
About Craig + Get Help With Your Career
I am a professional career coach who has helped over 1500 careerists, from early career professionals to c-suite executives of Fortune 100 companies. If you want to discuss career strategy or ways to fill in experience gaps, please contact me. Over the past 15 years, I have helped several academics transition to corporate or nonprofit sectors and professionals transition into academic positions. I am one of LinkedIn's preferred vendors, frequently assisting them with career development pilot projects.
I am an instructor of business communication at SIUC. Connect with me on LinkedIn.