Although I’ve previously shared some really bad reasons to get a PhD, doctoral degrees are incredibly valuable. Whether you’re starting a doctoral program or are considering applying this cycle, here are three good reasons why you should get a PhD.
To Contribute New Knowledge
The main difference between a doctoral degree and a masters degree is that in a doctoral degree program, you conduct original research and contribute to the literature in your field. If you have a unique perspective on a topic, problem, or theory in your field, then a doctoral degree gives you the ability to explore, write, present, and publish your work. Although general curiosity about a research topic isn’t a good enough reason to pursue a PhD, the desire to contribute new knowledge is a great reason to get a PhD.
To Become an Expert in Your Field
The desire for prestige is not a good enough reason to pursue a PhD —regardless of what your family says — but if you have been working in your field and want to be recognized as an expert, a PhD can convey that authority and expertise. Because doctoral degrees require people to have a breadth of specialized knowledge in order to discover gaps in the literature for their own research, completing a doctoral degree will definitely make you an expert in your field.
To Diversify Your Job Options
Although a PhD won’t necessarily exponentially increase your earnings (compared to an MBA, JD, or MD), a PhD allows you to work in almost any capacity. Want to teach in a university? You can do so with a PhD. Want to do specialized industry research? A PhD can get you there. Want to be a top level consultant for a government agency or NGO? Some consulting jobs actually require PhDs! Want to be an entrepreneur? Hi, it’s me – I’m doing it with a PhD! Although most people think about PhDs as degrees to prepare you for academia, there are so many job opportunities that are possible for PhD degree holders.