This is for anyone who would like to pursue a Ph.D. so they can go into full-time teaching. I don’t want to rain on your parade. (Actually, I don’t really like parades. So I wouldn’t mind raining on one–especially if I could do it when there weren’t any clouds in the sky and people weren’t expecting it. That would be cool.) But here’s an outstanding infographic that helps explain why it’s so difficult to get a teaching job in higher education these days. In short, the job market for PhDs isn’t good.
If you don’t have time to read through the whole thing, here are some compelling statements:
- New doctoral degrees = 100,000; new professorships = 16,000
- The number of faculty approaching retirement age in the next 10 years is reaching the lowest level in 30 years.
- Full-time tenture track employees are down 15% while graduate student employees are up 45%.
I’m sure these numbers are at least somewhat different at seminaries and Bible colleges (for example, I think the number of faculty approaching retirement at seminaries is higher than this suggests), but that doesn’t mean the situation in theological education is any better (for example, I think the ratio of new degrees to new professorships might be even worse than this).
I don’t want to tell someone that they shouldn’t pursue a career in higher education if they’re convinced that’s what they should do. After all, I obviously did. But I do want to make sure that everyone knows what they’re up against. In this job market, instead of focusing on a full-time tenure track teaching position at the end of your academic golden road, you may want to visualize (at best) a dual-career option where your full-time time job supports your (adjunct) teaching passion. If you think you could be happy with that, then maybe higher education would work for you. If that doesn’t sound at all attractive, then you need to get realistic about what lies ahead.