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I'm often asked by Inside Higher Ed readers what other realistic non-academic employment options are out there for A.B.D.s, newly minted Ph.D.s, and those contingent faculty members who are considering leaving academe for good but have no idea where to begin their search. Changing careers is daunting, particularly for academics.
We're trained to teach and design college-level courses; to do rigorous, independent and sometimes collaborative research; to write constantly and self motivate; to work, more or less, without supervision; to network at conferences and "present" papers to small groups of like-minded individuals; and to read and reference the same books and articles as the other few hundred or so people who are interested in similar topics. We've also spent 6+ years, give or take, earning our highly specialized advanced degrees. Some of us (me!!) have taken out hefty student loans to finance our dream of becoming a professor.
So what, exactly, are we qualified to do if becoming a tenure-track humanities professor is no longer possible? What else is there?
Top 10 Alternate Careers for Humanities Ph.D.s
1. Private and/or secondary school teaching
2. Academic administration
3. Corporate communications
4. Commercial or academic publishing
5. Freelance writing and/or editing
6. Non-profit work (i.e., museums, national parks, niche organizations)
7. Government jobs
8. Archives or libraries
10. Career counseling or coaching
I'm hoping the above list, arranged in no particular order, will help get the creative juices flowing. In future posts I promise to spend more time delving into the specifics of each possibility.