How do I get a Postdoc Position?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 January 2019
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There are three items required to get a postdoc position: complete a doctoral degree program, determine your area of focus, and complete the hiring process. A postdoc is also known as a post doctoral student, or someone who has completed his or her doctoral thesis, which is the main product of a Ph.D. A doctoral degree is available is a wide range of subjects and disciplines.

In order to obtain a doctoral degree, you must first complete both a bachelor's and master's degree from a recognized university. These first two degrees are usually in the same field, but it is not mandatory. For example, a person can have a bachelor of engineering, a master of business administration, and a doctorate in engineering management.

The average length of time required to obtain a doctoral degree is ten years of full-time school. Most students combine student loans, scholarships, and part-time employment to cover the cost of these programs. There is a wide range of positions available on a university campus. These positions typically have higher salary ranges for candidates with graduate degrees and may include teaching assistant, graduate assistant, and research assistant.


There are three different options available when looking for a postdoc position: research, teaching, or industry. Research work typically has long hours and requires dedication to both the research and the administration of the research program. Funding for research must be applied for from granting and government agencies, and this requires a significant amount of paperwork.

Teaching positions are available at both the university and college level in your area of expertise. Many candidates find that an additional certificate in adult education provides valuable insight into effective techniques for training adults. Years of school as a student do not necessarily prepare you to become an effective instructor.

Opportunities for a postdoc position in private industry vary widely, depending on your field of study. For example, someone who has a doctorate in chemical engineering will find more opportunities in private industry than someone with a doctorate in Eastern religions. Keep this in mind when looking for a postdoc position.

The hiring process for a postdoc position usually consists of a detailed review of the curriculum vitae (CV) of the candidate, contacting of references, and then an interview. The CV for a postdoc position does not follow the standard resume format. Instead, it should list all academic achievements, including published articles, collaborative projects, inter-discipline work, committee memberships, and contributions to your field.



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