Online Jobs for PhDs

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By Angela Johnson

May 04 , 2020

According to a study by Cisco and reported in the Huffington Post in 2016, there would be 4.1 billion Internet users by 2020. Think we’ve reached that number yet? Probably. If not, surpassed it.

Why does that have any significance whatsoever to you? Well, with a larger number of users comes a larger number of opportunities!

At one time, online jobs were only for those select groups of people who performed a task directly related to the internet; computer technicians, programmers, support personnel. Now, there are thousands of various industries and businesses to choose from. Virtually anything that you can dream of can potentially be done remotely.

Of course, certain jobs obviously cannot be done online. The point is that do not think that just because you are in a specific field or industry that you cannot work from home.

A 2018 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 29% of the population can work from home in their primary role and of this figure, 38% of them are in a leadership role. In a more recent survey (April 9, 2020), writes that 37% of jobs can be done from home. As advances in technology continue to arise, job seekers will be amazed at the jobs that can be done remotely.

Having a Ph.D., wouldn’t you qualify as having the skills to be in a leadership role? Of course, you would. Aside from the many courses and experience that you have in your specialized field or industry, you certainly have had to develop your leadership skills and capabilities as well. You are highly educated and therefore will make you a good fit for any position you choose.

Does this automatically make you a good fit though for a remote position?

Let’s look at several other skills or qualities that you should possess to successfully find an online job and work remotely:

  • Are you trustworthy and dependable?
  • Are you passionate?
  • Can you work independently as well as within a team?
  • Are you a problem-solver?
  • Can you remain focused and diligent in a work-at-home environment?
  • Do you possess good communication skills?


Based on your exemplary academic record and perseverance to continue on to obtain your Ph.D., any employer will quickly and automatically understand that you know your stuff when it comes to the industry or specific subject matter. But what they will want to know before hiring you to work remotely is, do you have the mindset and skillset to work remotely?

A hiring manager will want to be sure that you can transfer the skills that you have acquired in the lab, the office, the academic classroom, and put them to good use while working remotely. Having soft skills may put you in the position to not only excel in your industry but to leverage working remotely as an option as well.

Although not all positions for which a Ph.D. is required or beneficial can work from home, the list is certainly growing as again more opportunities open up on and technology advances. Let’s look at just a small sample of online jobs that may be available to a Ph.D.:

  • Scientific research editing. With the availability of data available via the internet, research and documentation can easily be done remotely.
  • Medical writing. If you have excellent communication skills and the knowledge and expertise in this area, there is no reason that you cannot write regulatory documents, clinical research material, scientific and medical findings reports, and journal articles from the comfort of your home.
  • Consulting. Are you a subject matter expert? Can you offer relevant information in your field of expertise? Why not supply this information to others as a remote consultant.
  • Clinical research. Although has never before been considered a position that could be done remotely, more and more researchers coordinate, train, collect data and study clinical trial information remotely. With the ease of communication, this information may be in the right person’s hands even faster by someone working remotely than in the office next to you.

While these jobs may not be posted in mainstream online job boards, there are certainly high-paying remote positions for someone who holds a Ph.D. Based on the specific niche or industry in which you specialize, networking, and reaching out to a unique target audience may prove to be more fruitful.

Be creative! Identify companies for which you would want to work, research, and reach out to the specific hiring managers and inquire whether they have any positions available. With such impressive credentials, they may even be willing to create a remote position for you!!

You will not know how far-reaching the possibilities are for a Ph.D. to work remotely until you give it a try!

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