PhD Job Opportunities and Expected Salary

A PhD is the topmost academic degree. Universities give the highest level of honour by awarding a person with a PhD degree. Abbreviated as a doctor of philosophy, it’s similar to the doctoral honour. 

As you go ahead in your academic career, learning becomes more subject-specific. For instance, if you are doing bachelors in biology, you have to learn plant, animal, human and cell biology subjects for 3 years. 

Once you enrol in a master’s program, you have to choose one of the above disciplines. For example, you choose plant biology. You have to learn plant biology throughout your masters.

As you go-ahead for the PhD, your subject becomes more focused, narrow and clear. In your PhD, you have to choose only a single topic from an entire plant biology subject.

Thus as the education level increases, the complexity of the subject decreases. The topic becomes narrow and more specific. 

The need for it to create expertise in one specific topic. And as we know, the salary pay scale of any expert is higher, doing PhD in one specific subject is a wise decision. 

And the philosophy literally means “lover of wisdom”. 

The main objective of doing a PhD in any discipline is to provide knowledge by discovering new things!

You have to document your findings in terms of PhD thesis or dissertation. Finally, to prove it true you have to publish a research paper based on your findings.

Using the present knowledge, one should develop new theories, postulations, protocols or processes. Using that the present knowledge can improve. But how can it help to boost one’s career?

In the present article, we will discuss on some job opportunities and salary you expect after completing a PhD degree. 

PhD- Job and salary:

In terms of job opportunities, higher places in any organisations are reserved for PhD candidates only.  

One can earn $100,000 yearly and pursue the highest position as well. Therefore, doing a PhD or doctoral is always a good decision for anyone. 

However, either degree isn’t so easy to get. 

A candidate has to invest a lot of money and time for doing research. It takes 5 to 7 years to complete a PhD. 

If we differentiate PhD and doctoral, there isn’t a fair difference between both, still, the PhD is strictly academic while the doctoral is more practical. 

For example, you can do, 

  • PhD in education 
  • PhD in biology 
  • PhD in psychology 
  • PhD in biotechnology 
  • PhD in engineering. 

While you can do a doctoral degree in,

If you are very much interested in learning differences between doctorate vs PhD, read our previous article: Doctorate vs PhD  

Now coming to the point, 

Let divide our discussions into two parts; job opportunities and salary expectancy 


As PhD and doctorate, both are similar, we will consider both similar here. 

What position at the job place you get after doing a PhD? What are the options for a PhD student? 

PhD is all about doing research in one specific subject. Hence the research (R&D) field is your first option. 

You can do a job in research organisations as well as research companies. You can apply for the post of research associate, research assistant or research coordinator. 

Based on your experience, you can even become H.O.D, dean or director of some research organisation. 

If you are just a fresh pass-out, still, you get a higher position than masters candidate.

Another great opportunity for a PhD pass-out is in the field of academics. Academics is a great place for a PhD fellow. 

Your job opportunities are lecturer, associate professor, assistant professor, HOD of the department or dean of the college or the institute. 

Again, a job position greatly relies on your expertise and experience in a related field. 

Your major responsibilities are to teach or educate students, prepare PhD candidates or to do academic works. 

Furthermore, with your academic responsibilities, you can also do research as well. You can write research projects and get fundings to do research.

You can publish your research and earn name and fame as a scientist. With this, you can patent your findings and can earn royalties as well.

Notably, in academics, the responsibilities vary. For instance, a candidate with a doctorate in education also has to play the role of leader. As a leader of any education system, their responsibilities are to improve the system as well. 

In addition to this, after completion of PhD or doctoral, one can also open their own clinic, organisation or NGC. 

For instance, a doctoral of philosophy or genetic counsellor can open their own clinic. Although, prior permission from the government is required. 

With the highest level of honour, one can also open their research or diagnostic laboratory. For example, with a PhD in genetics or microbiology, an expert can open a diagnostic or research lab. And it’s legal.

Also, with either degree, a candidate can do clinical practice at hospitals or private clinics. 

These are some of the options. But as per my opinion, doing a professors job at any college or institute is one of the best and easy options for a PhD. 

Besides all these, with a PhD degree, you can run your own business, become an online tutor or can open your own consultancy firm. 

Conclusively the job options are, 

  • Academics- lecturer or professor 
  • Leader, dean or principal 
  • Research scientist 
  • Data analyst 
  • Tutor or teacher 
  • Clinician 
  • Entrepreneur 


Now coming to the second part of our present topic. What salary should a PhD fellow expect!

First and foremost, I want to tell you that “it depends.” 

It depends on your expertise, experience, topic, subject and research, you’ve done. 

Now let’s first decode some of the statistics,

Here I am enlisting the salary pay scale for different PhD positions in the USA. 

  • In education (college or university professor): ~$70,000$- $73,000/year
  • Research scientist: ~$100,000/year
  • IT sector or software development: ~$120,000$ to $130,000/year
  • Healthcare: ~$98,000 to $100,000/year

These are some of the top options for PhD candidates. You can see how much your salary can be. Now let see how much you earn by doing a job at a research organisation. 

  • Scientist: ~$95,000 to $100,000/year
  • Research associate: ~$55,000/year
  • Associate scientist: $45,000 to $50,000/year
  • Research assistant: $35,000 to $37,000/ year

If you are a newbie and just completed your PhD, associate scientist post is the best option for you. Otherwise, with some experience (up to 4 or 5 years), you can directly apply for the post of research associated. 

However, vast experience, in-depth knowledge of the subject and clean expertise are required to apply for a scientist position. 

Furthermore, the salary amount that is paid to you also depends on the location of your service. For example, with a PhD, you can earn up to $1,23,000 in San Francisco, CA. With the same degree and same qualifications, you can earn up to $88,000/year in Chicago. 

In India, a newbie with a PhD or doctoral degree, the payable amount in terms of salary is up to 4,20,000 Rs/year. Which is equivalent to only $4,000 to $5,000/year in the USA.      

The maximum one can earn with a PhD is up to 250,0000Rs/year India. 

In the UK, the doctoral student can earn up to 15,000 to 17,000 pounds a year. 

Conclusively, in developed countries, the value of doctorate or PhD is high in comparison to the developing countries. 

Here is the list of salary amount of some subjects in the USA: 

Subject Salary (round figure) $/year
PhD in II ( information insurance)1,11,000
PhD in computer science 1,10,00 to 1,45,000
PhD in molecular biology 80,000 to 1,20,000
PhD in clinical psychology 90,000 to 1,50,000
PhD in physics 92,000 to 1,40,000
PhD in clinical engineering 96,000 to 1,50,000
PhD in aerospace science 1,00,000
PhD in engineering (general)93,000 to 1,86,000
PhD in organic chemistry 83,000 to 202,000

On average we can say with a PhD degree, you can earn up to $50,000 to $10,00,000/year within a few years. 

And I think it’s a good deal. 

However, as I said earlier, your expertise and experience matter a lot for your job position and salary. 

My opinion: 

I had done my PhD in Genetics. It’s a very specialised subject. A lot of money and time required to complete it. Therefore one thing is clear that it’s a highly demanding subject. A geneticist can expect $100,000 to $1,50,000 per year. 

Because if I open my own genetic lab, consultancy firm or clinic, I can easily earn that much. You have to understand the importance of your subject. You’ve to learn which topic will come in depend, based on that you have to select your PhD research. 

As per my opinion, if you have funding options in terms of scholarship, fellowship, loan or project funding. You must go for a PhD. 

Further, if you are at a good position at some organisation or corporate, and you think, a PhD degree can give you boost. Don’t wait! Enrol in some part-time PhD programs. 

I want to further add something very interesting here.

The Internet is a great business place. If you have an idea or expertise you can sell it. With a PhD, you can sell your idea, expertise, protocol, process or even your patent. 

Suppose, if you have developed a novel protocol or process for isolating DNA from cells. Patent it or copyright it. 

Now you can sell it on the internet. Along with it, make your website, add your boi or portfolio and sell your experience along with it. 

You can also consult a client, you can help them open genetic labs (because you have that expertise and they can trust you). And guess what, you can charge thousands of dollars for that. 

Therefore, doing a PhD is actually a meaningful decision in terms of long term goals. 

Do nothing and just follow your boss’s order, otherwise. The choice is yours.


Doing a PhD itself is a tedious job. Still, after completing your highest level of honour you can expect a fair amount of salary. Also, you’re honoured at the highest positions in any organisation. 

Besides all these, people see a PhD person with respect. You as a PhD or doctoral are considered as an expert or scientist. And I think that is the biggest satisfaction. 

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