- Career Center
WHAT IS A POSTDOC?
Welcome! Are you currently working on your doctorate or have you recently obtained your doctorate? Are you unsure about your next step in your career? If you are interested in becoming an independent researcher or participating in research within an industry, government or academic institution, a postdoc position might be the right choice for you.
Listed below are the types of postdoc positions available, information to help you determine if a postdoc is the right career choice for you, and steps to help you get started.
Academic postdocs are where the NPA membership began and continue to make up the largest group of the postdoc community. The NPA works to support them in a multitude of ways through networking opportunities, career resources, volunteer and leadership positions, and advocacy efforts to name a few.
An industry postdoc position comes with unique challenges and opportunities. The NPA understands that industry postdocs operate within corporate models but also collaborate with academia and government frequently. The NPA supports industry postdocs and welcomes them to join the greater national postdoc community.
Postdocs appointments in government agencies and laboratories are unique career opportunities. The NPA provides resources to help you manage all aspects of government postdoc appointments. The NPA supports the government postdoc community and the collaboration of government postdocs with academia and industry.
If you are a graduate student or early career professional and are interested in becoming a NPA member, we offer several options for you to do so as an affiliate member (through your organization) or individual member.
The goal of a postdoctoral fellowship is to provide the training necessary for the postdoctoral scholar to achieve intellectual and professional independence and success. This toolkit was developed to provide definition for the scholar and his/her support community as to the competencies essential to achieving this independence. Some of these competencies will have been acquired during graduate training. Thus, some aspects of the competencies will describe refinements of skills already achieved, and some will represent new or advanced skills. View the quick guide here or Learn More.
Many doctoral recipients do a postdoc by default or as a delay tactic to figuring out what to do next in their career. The training you need will not automatically fall into your lap…you need to be proactive! The NPA has developed “A Prospective Postdoc’s Guide to Choosing a Postdoc” to assist graduate students in their decision to do a postdoc, and once they decide that a postdoc is the right choice for them, helping to land their postdoc appointments or positions. Learn More.
Once you have decided to pursue a postdoc position (or even before!), you should begin thinking about your career development. The NPA has developed a resource to help postdocs and prospective postdocs plan and achieve early career success with our Career Resources for Postdocs. With an eye on balanced research, professional and career development, this guide will help you along every step on the way!
Know what to expect at your home institution. View the "Supporting the Needs of Postdocs: 2017 National Postdoctoral Association Institutional Policy Report" written by the NPA in collaboration with Sigma Xi and published in American Scientist. The report summarizes the results from a 2016 survey of 130 institutions that hire postdocs and hold NPA memberships. If you are a NPA member, you can also view the NPA Institutional Policy Database which allows you to view the survey data online and view aggregate reports.
News items and features of interest to the postdoctoral community.