Ten Jobs Where You Can Use Your PhD

Earning a PhD provides you with more skills and career opportunities than you might think it does. Below are ten jobs where you can use your PhD—some in academic settings and some not. There are many other opportunities available to you; this list is just a place to start thinking about your career options.*


1. Staff culture writer, digital media company

Staff writers report on artistic and cultural events, providing analysis and context for a broad audience on a variety of topics. As a PhD, you already have the excellent writing and research skills the job requires, and your advanced training in the interpretation of literature, culture, and language enhances your ability to articulate the significance of cultural and artistic phenomena.

Sample Job AdStaff writer job ad


2. Dean of students, private high school

A dean of students leads curriculum design, develops academic and behavioral policies, and determines the best strategies to build students’ academic success. The research, leadership, and teaching experience you acquired while earning your PhD makes you a good candidate in this field.

Sample Job AdDean of high school students job ad



3. Assistant professor, university or college department

An assistant professor teaches undergraduate (and, depending on the institution, graduate) courses, serves on committees that help determine academic and organizational policies for the department and institution, and conducts research, with an eye toward receiving tenure.

Sample Job AdAssistant professor job ad


4. Research associate, variety of companies

As a research associate you would gather data to determine whether a product or service is desirable to consumers or companies. Your extensive experience conducting research and presenting it to a variety of audiences is a transferable skill that you bring to research associate positions.

Sample Job AdResearch associate job ad


5. Development writer, nonprofit or university

A development writer builds relationships with donors and increases public engagement through written and oral communication. Your ability to write about specialized research or technical activities for a general audience is useful for this position.

Sample Job AdDevelopment writer job ad


6. Assistant director, learning programs

Assistant directors have a variety of responsibilities, from providing instructional support to faculty members and graduate students to assessing and improving educational services. This can be an exciting opportunity to apply your teaching and leadership experience beyond the classroom.

Sample Job AdAssistant director job ad


7. Associate director, global programs

Associate directors work with faculty members to develop programs and curricula for students studying abroad. Your experiences teaching, developing educational programs, as well as studying, living, and researching abroad, are ideal for this position.

Sample Job AdAssociate director job ad


8. Program officer, think tank, foundation, or scholarly association

As a program officer you would take the lead in program development, which involves procuring grants and funding, managing projects, and overseeing budgets. These roles leverage your experience applying for funding and managing complex projects.

Sample Job AdProgram officer job ad


9. Copywriter, many companies and organizations

Copywriters produce and edit copy (i.e., writing) for marketing campaigns and then plan and implement those campaigns, which help companies promote products and services across a variety of media. Excellent research and writing skills and an ability to write for different audiences are essential for this job.

Sample Job AdCopy writer job ad


10. Curriculum designer, educational technology

Curriculum designers develop educational content and curricula to be delivered digitally to students or employees and often provide technical support to instructors or trainers. This is a great role for those who have developed skills in the digital humanities or in blended learning, and it also leverages your experiences in teaching and in curriculum development.

Sample Job AdCurriculum designer job ad


Your PhD gives you the skills to pursue a variety of career paths. To learn more about how to prepare for the job search and how to gain experience in the industries that interest you, visit the Connected Academics Web site.


*Please note that the job ads are provided as examples and may no longer be accepting applications. A job ad’s inclusion in this list does not constitute an endorsement of the employer by the MLA.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

3 comments on “Ten Jobs Where You Can Use Your PhD”

  • And don’t forget Government service at the Municipal, County, State, and Federal Level. I know Language and Literature academics who have pursued rewarding careers at all of these levels of Government service to the public, and have received good financial compensation, enjoyed reliable job security, defined-benefit pension programs, and the opportunity to pursue a challenging, rewarding job!
    Retired Training Manager and Senior Organizational Policy Analyst for Local County Government in Sunny South Florida! Life Member of the MLA, since Grad School in 1976.

  • There are a number of language editing opportunities in addition to copy editing. I made the transition from teaching English literature and composition to editing documents for ESL writers aspiring to publish in English-language journals. My experience helping ESL students at the Kent State University writing center and in my composition courses paved the way to helping researchers from around the world. The work is highly rewarding, and there are a number of great resources available online for both contract editors (freelancers) and full-time editors. This link provides a good overview of several types of editing roles: https://www.thebalancesmb.com/freelance-editing-jobs-1360401.

    Peter Marbais, PhD, ELS
    Quality Control Editor III
    American Journal Experts, a Research Square company

  • David -Ross Gerling says:

    I made the transition to a law firm in Spain whose clients are Brits and American ex-pats or just foreigners in trouble with the Spanish legal system. My work as ex-pat advocate is every bit as satisfying and infinitely more lucrative than teaching Spanish .
    David-Ross Gerling, PhD

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