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Benefits of Postdoctoral Career

Updated on July 12, 2014

Career as Postdoctoral Fellow

After completing Ph.D., it is common among doctoral students to ask, what next? The postdoctoral appointment provides an opportunity to survive in research community for few years, and also, offers a possibility to demonstrate a degree of independence. Besides, science of all subjects is growing bigger with long-term projects, and more scientists with high skills and advanced degrees are needed to work with contemporary techniques. In a research lab, a postdoc plays a vital role in designing and running the experiments. He/she may also be responsible to collect massive amounts of data for publishing the findings. Now a days, the postdoc position is getting more recognized. There is a growing demand for postdocs, and the job market is quite competitive. The questions and answers of this hub may help those who want to pursue postdoc as career.

  • What is a postdoctoral fellow?

A postdoctoral fellow is a recent recipient of the doctorate (e.g. Ph.D., M.D., D.D.S., D.N.S., D.V.M., Pharm.D) or foreign degree equivalent, who is appointed in a research lab for a full-or-part-time service. As a postdoc, he/she will receive advanced training in specific area of research.

  • Why one should work as a postdoc?

After completing Ph.D., if one wishes to pursue career as an independent researcher then it is better to have some years of postdoc experience in his/her area of research interest. A postdoc will receive training/guidance from the lab principal investigator/mentor to become more competent in techniques, in solving scientific problems, and in writing for publications/grants. In several institutes/universities, it is mandatory to have postdoc experience to be appointed as a tenure-track assistant professor.

  • How is it useful to do multiple postdoc works in different labs?

It depends on individual’s interest. If one wants to advance in various techniques and scientific inquiry, posdoc work in multiple labs are good.

  • How many years of postdoctoral experience is required to apply for assistant professor position?

At least 2-3 years.

  • Is it necessary to have teaching experience while doing postdoc?

It is binding to have teaching experience along with your postdoc work, if you want to hold a position in academia at the level of assistant professor.

  • What are the career options for a postdoc?

There are several opportunities for postdocs including science writing, industry, intellectual property, publishing, grants administration, public engagements, and so on.

  • Can one write a grant while doing a postdoc work?

Yes. One can apply for fellowships, and in this way you will be walking towards as an independent researcher.

  • What is the salary range for a postdoc?

It depends. In U.S., for a fresh postdoc it starts with 30k-35k and a senior postdoc can earn between 40k-50k, varies on the number of postdoc experiences. In U.S., some labs strictly follow National Institute of Health (NIH) salary guidelines for postdocs.

  • What type of work is expected from a postdoc?

Postdoc usually work in the same specialty to that of host laboratory, and is expected to plan and conduct experiments, collect and analyze the data to publish in peer reviewed journals.

  • Where can I find more information about postdoc position and benefits?

In any university, there will be an established postdoc office and associates from whom you can collect all information.

  • Is postdoctoral appointment a temporary/permanent position?

By nature, a postdoctoral position is a temporary one. Usually it is renewed every year and depends on funding or the number of years the fellowship is awarded.

  • How to find postdoctoral position?

You can directly contact the lab’s principal investigator to find out about any openings. Also, there are excellent web sites to find the advertised positions. Some of the below links may be useful and it depends the area in which you are interested.


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    • Bopi-Cheppu profile image

      Bopi-Cheppu 3 years ago from San Antonio, TX, U.S.A

      Shivali Sharma, thank you for your comments.

    • Shivali Sharma profile image

      the vibe 3 years ago from Delhi, India

      Very useful career choice. Thanks for sharing valuable post.

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