Pros and Cons of a Career in Academia
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Pros and Cons of a Career in Academia

Zoe Kramer January 19, 2023

Regardless of the course you’re studying, if you choose to pursue it at the postgraduate level, there will often be opportunities to pursue a career in academia. These positions range from a tutor, seminar leader, research assistant or even eventually a lecturer. These positions might be intriguing, but are they right for you, or would you be happier applying your knowledge in the ‘real’ world of industry? Here are the pros and cons of a career in academia, to help you decide which path is the best choice for you.

Cons of a Career in Academia

Pursuing a career in academia can be difficult to do. High-level academic jobs can be very competitive, which means you’ll have to work extra hard to build a CV that puts you ahead, and even then there are no guarantees. The pay is often less than in industry fields, and tends to be modest at best. It used to be standard practice for professors to receive tenure, which provides financial security, but this is becoming less and less common.

Comparatively, a career in industry can be appealing for many reasons. These positions can offer much higher salaries, a wider range of career trajectories and more room for growth. For many, practical application of knowledge is much more satisfying than the realm of the theoretical.

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See also: What Are Administrative Skills And How Can Students Hone Them?

Pros of a Career in Academia

However, that doesn’t mean that a career in academia is always a bad idea. If you are passionate about your subject, it can be an incredibly rewarding path to take. In some cases, a career can emerge organically as you pursue your studies, whereas industry jobs can involve a more convoluted process of acquiring transferable skills. As long as you know the risks, there’s nothing wrong with taking a bet on yourself. Perhaps your goal is to inspire others by teaching, or to delve deeper into a specific niche in your field. In those cases, you will be able to achieve a level of personal satisfaction that wouldn’t be possible in a high-paying industry job. Academia allows you to continue your own learning journey as you help others discover theirs. If that environment is something you deeply enjoy, there is no reason to feel pressured to leave it for a bigger paycheck.

See Also: Does Studying At A Good University Get You A Better Job?

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Zoe Kramer has been writing for GRV Media’s student-centric website Freshered since October 2022 and is now also contributing to HITC. She graduated from Cardiff University in 2022 with a BA in Journalism, Media and English Literature. During her time in university, she worked for her student newspaper as well as completing an internship with a book publisher. She has also written and continues to write book and theatre reviews. She is excited to now be pursuing a career as a journalist and learning something new every day. In particular, she loves writing about student life, books, the Internet, and travel. Originally from the United States, she is enjoying living abroad in the UK.