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What are the Different Postdoctoral Jobs?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 21 May 2018
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    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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There are a many different types of postdoctoral jobs, both in the public sector and private sector. Many are in an academic setting, though some may be in other public sector and private sector areas. Many postdoctoral jobs involve either research into certain areas of interest or teaching. Thus, many of these jobs are located on a university campus.

Postdoctoral jobs in the educational field, by their very nature, could be public sector or private sector jobs. This largely depends on the university, whether it is a public or private institution. It should be noted that, in many cases, the funding for a postdoctoral program may come from public sources, such as government grants, even if the university is not a public university. Often, these grants for postdoctoral research are awarded based on previous results and competition, with no consideration given to whether the institution is public or private.

Postdoctoral jobs are usually highly technical in nature, hence the reason why there is a need for someone with a doctorate degree to take control of the research. These individuals have reached the very apex of the knowledge currently available. They may not know it all, but they have a thorough knowledge of the subject area. From this point, their job description is not to learn what is already known but, in essence, to discover the unknown. This may be in the field of medical research, physical science, astronomy or other specialized fields.

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There are other postdoctoral jobs in the public sector that do not involve an academic setting that are also available. Most of these involve working for the government in some sort of research capacity. These jobs may be with agencies such as the Department of Energy, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), or the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA). These jobs will often come with full government benefits. Some jobs may last indefinitely. Others may be on contract for specific projects.

While the term postdoctoral jobs usually is not used in conjunction with jobs in the private sector, any job requiring a doctorate degree could qualify as such a job. Pharmaceutical companies, for example, will often hire individuals for postdoctoral research in the development of new drugs. This type of job is especially suited to those with degrees in pharmacy and chemistry or biology.

Those who would prefer to work on short term projects may consider a postdoctoral fellow. These fellowships rarely last longer than a year and provide a good place to network. Often, these fellowships provide a comfortable living stipend and will probably even include free accommodations and perhaps even free meals on a college campus. This provides additional value to the fellowship.

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