There are many compelling reasons to choose a career in academia. Here are our top 10.
Many PhDs choose to pursue an academic career because they love to teach. There are very few other professions that offer the same opportunities to have such a long-term impact on students’ lives.
2. Mentoring Students
Mentoring students is another part of academic life that many professors find immensely rewarding. They take pride in helping their students succeed in their careers and professional development.
3. Follow Your Interests
When you work in academia, you have the freedom to determine what you want to research and lead a team to pursue it. You’re also in control of the funding for your work (though on the flip side it’s your responsibility to secure it).
4. Freedom Over Your Time
Academics are also free to choose how they spend their time. Aside from their teaching obligations, professors and researchers get to decide what projects they work on each day and when. Not being tied to the normal nine to five work hours allows academics to spend their time when they want and on the projects where they can add the most value.
5. Do What You Love All the Time
You know the expression “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? It might as well be talking about academia. At other jobs you might only get to work on something that truly interests you for a few hours of your workday, but as an academic you can devote all of your research time to pursuing your passions.
Compared to corporate or industry jobs, academic positions have significantly less oversight. As an academic, you only have a boss in administrative terms. In your daily life you don’t report to anyone. You are your own manager.
7. Collaboration Opportunities
The university environment promotes cross-disciplinary thinking and research and makes it easy to approach and collaborate with experts on just about any topic.
Tenured academics enjoy the kind of job security that rarely exists in the corporate world. Tenure offers academics financial security, as well as the freedom to take risks in pursuing new research lines or projects that can take several years to see results.
9. Have a Long-Term Impact
In academia you have less pressure to hit certain short-term deadlines which allows you to take a long-term approach to problem solving. You can focus on finding the best solution, not the one that will work for right now. This means academics usually tackle bigger problems that can have a lasting impact on the field.
Opportunities for travel abound in academia starting at the graduate student level. Academics usually attend national or international conferences a couple times a year. In certain disciplines, you might have the chance to research or do fieldwork for an extended period of time in another country.