I received a doctorate from an online school Walden University. I have not had any luck finding a full time college teaching position. Should I pursue another Ph D from another reputable college? Can I use any of the coursework I already have to defray the expense?

  • 36
    Generally the people hiring for faculty positions care about what you accomplished during your degree - i.e. your research and, to a lesser degree at some institutions, teaching achievements - not just the fact that you have a degree. What have you actually achieved during your doctorate?
    – ff524
    May 31, 2016 at 21:14
  • 18
    As far as I can tell from this page, all of the doctorates at that university seem to be marketed to those pursuing professional careers, not academic/research careers.
    – ff524
    May 31, 2016 at 21:18
  • 5
    Did your program include any teaching experience? Or do you have teaching experience outside your PhD studies? You will be competing for college teaching positions with people who were half time TAs for several years. May 31, 2016 at 22:58
  • 18
    What have you published? This question is at least as important as "Where did you get your degree?" Yes, even for teaching positions.
    – JeffE
    Jun 1, 2016 at 11:15
  • Who writes the letters of recommendation for your job applications? Did you have an advisor? In mathematics, first-time job applications depend strongly on letters of recommendation... I'd worry that whatever else an "on-line doctorate" does, it doesn't create a circumstance that'd generate the kind of letters you'd need to get any job at all. Jun 6, 2016 at 18:54

7 Answers 7


There are many people who attend far more reputable institutions than Walden and accomplish significant amounts during their PhD program and still have problems finding meaningful teaching positions. It's unfortunate that you went through the entire program without realizing this.

Unfortunately, a lot of people think the process goes like:

  • Get PhD (in 3-4 years!)
  • Apply to a few great teaching jobs
  • Have to decide between multiple great offers

But the reality is often more like:

  • Get PhD... eventually
  • Apply to many jobs
  • Have a few interviews if you're lucky
  • Get rejected from most desirable positions
  • Decide to do a post-doc to get more teaching/research experience
  • Repeat while applying for post-doc positions

The academic job market is fairly saturated in many fields and so even if your degree was from an accredited and reputable institution, you may not have a simple case for getting a teaching job at a college. Particularly if your PhD experience did not lead to any teaching experience or publications.

I would recommend looking into local community colleges. It sounds like you did this online, which means you may have been working fulltime during your study - community colleges often have courses you can teach which you may be able to combine your academic study and work experience to be a desirable candidate.

  • 6
    Your perception/reality contrast is spot on. Jun 1, 2016 at 16:07
  • 7
    I think this is a great answer. Just to add what something you implied but did not quite say: the academic job market is so competitive right now that some people from absolutely top institutions with solid records have great difficulty finding academic jobs. So...the farther away your institution is from the top, the more trouble you will likely have. With a Harvard PhD nearly in hand, I found the job market surprisingly tough. The job market for my own (UGA) PhDs is tougher... Jun 1, 2016 at 17:34
  • 12
    ...From what I can tell, Walden University is reputable in the sense of being a real program which provides real training and places its graduates in real jobs where they can make use of their real degree. However, I didn't know it was reputable until I did an internet search based on this question: I had been suspicious that it was a diploma mill. So, unfortunately, I would expect candidates from better known universities to get academic jobs over Walden graduates unless they have done something exceptional to distinguish themselves. And I'm sorry for that; I don't make the rules. Jun 1, 2016 at 17:39

Looking over the Walden accreditation page, it appears that not all of their PhD programs are even accredited. If your PhD was in one of the non-accredited field, that is a complete career killer.

As far as starting over in a new program, I don't think that would be very easy. At least not in any of the programs in the US that I'm familiar with. Other universities wouldn't count any of your coursework from a non-accredited degree towards a PhD somewhere else. (Why would they?)

You wouldn't be formally disqualified from an academic job at a community college with your Walden PhD, since most community colleges don't even require you to have a PhD in the first place. Note, however, that competition for academic jobs is fierce, even for community college positions. I know several recent PhDs in philosophy from top 10 programs who teach in community colleges. So while I think it is possible that you could get a community college job in the US, I don't think it's very likely.

  • 1
    "that is a complete career killer", that depends on the desired career no? In academia, most likely. In industry, not necessarily. In government, likely not.
    – mikeazo
    Jun 1, 2016 at 12:36
  • 7
    @mikeazo I'm assuming an academic career is meant here, given the OP's post and the nature of the board. I think a job in government or industry is probably OP's best et.
    – user10636
    Jun 1, 2016 at 12:44
  • 12
    @mikeazo: OP is specifically asking about a career in academia.
    – loneboat
    Jun 1, 2016 at 14:02

I received a doctorate from an online school... Should I pursue another Ph D from another reputable college?

Based on the underlying assumptions of your question - which is that PhD's are like some kind of car, so if the one you got doesn't cut it then maybe you should get another one - I would say that your PhD has not been good enough, and your next one, if you obtain it somehow, will probably also be no good.

You've got it all wrong. A Ph.D. is a title; don't fetishize it. Are there subjects you are interested in researching? If so, go find a job doing that kind of research, under whatever title it may come (post-doc, PhD program, tenured facutly position, or even a job in a commercial enterprise or public institution with a research aspect to their activities).

Or if you're filthy rich, no need even for the job. Just write papers, conduct experiments, or whatever researchers do in your field.


Without knowing the accreditation your University has, it is safe to expect a lot of schools to question it. With Master's programs sometimes, you can get away with online because it is very knowledge specific, however, PhD's have other factors that are expected of recipients that almost always require a physical institution.

Sometimes you can transfer course work, but many Universities won't accept it.


"Online doctorate" raises big red flags. I've never heard of one of these programs being legitimate, because it would be really difficult to complete the functions of a PhD online. A graduate student is supposed to work closely with an adviser on an intensive research project, often leading to multiple publications. It just isn't possible to build that type of relationship if you're not interacting with someone in person. The letters of recommendation that you get from your adviser and other faculty members can be just as important as publications when it comes time to look for a job.

I'm sorry that you were taken in by something kind of scammy. As some people said, your best bet might be community college (or maybe even high school teaching).


Walden is just a scam like the Trump "University".

The degrees from these bogus schools aren't really worth anything.

  • Its a shame they are allowed to exist and trick people.
    – apg
    Jun 13, 2020 at 6:41

Walden is an accredited university, some of the Psychology programs may not be fully accredited, but they also have a number of other specific accreditations.

I was a doctoral student in a brick and mortar university a few years back before transferring to Walden as I was not happy with the program at that more traditional university. I found the online school to offer much more of a well-rounded education than what I was experiencing in the traditional school and I also found it to be equally if not more robust and demanding than my first school. The school from which I transferred, was not Ivy League. I do however, have experience with other schools, professionally and as a student, including the Ivy League schools. I have found that reputable online schools such as Walden do provide researchers and would be PhD's experience and education that is equivalent to traditional in-person programs. While the Ivy League schools do provide a good education, it is not to the exclusion of any other school.

While there is definitely a prejudice among some (and this is decreasing quickly) employers as to the pedigree of your degree, functionally I would argue that good programs are good programs and that as a holder of such a degree, that success should not be ruled out simply because there is a prejudice among certain people. I personally doubt the qualifications of someone who would judge my work based on where it is from without looking at the substance of it. I mean if this is the status quo, how different is that from not hiring someone because you think they may be of a certain race, religion, gender, etc.? Somehow that is not acceptable so why would discrimination based on the name of the school be acceptable, particularly when none of these people ever take the time to validate their claims. Online schools are not all degree mills. They often differ in the fact that they give an opportunity to most who apply, however, you still must succeed based on your own work.

Your PhD is valuable and respected. If you had one from Princeton there would still be detractors saying that Yale was better, to a lesser degree, but there would still be those who would find some reason to look down on it. The bottom line is what you do with your research and education.

I was where you were for a while, but I found that networking is key. People meet you, they see your work that is what they hire you for. How many people have good jobs and don't have a doctorate? Having a doctorate is not something that you should allow to discourage you even if it seems as though things are stacked against you. I suspect that your concern with the name on the degree is influencing how you present yourself. That is not to say that there is not real discrimination out there, but let those simple people live their own lives. Their small mindedness will be their own burden.

Education is more than just a one time brand name accomplishment. It is what you make of it. I know a lot of people with Ivy League degrees that finished school thinking the world would fall at their feet. That was not the case. One of the advantages of the lesser known programs and schools is that you really have to work hard all of the way through and for that you are in a better place.

Again, not to detract from Ivy League schools, just want to address the perception that they are the only places to get a good education.

  • 3
    Can you comment on whether you have pursued the kind of employment the OP is seeking - a full time college teaching position - with your degree? What was your experience like in that particular job market?
    – ff524
    Jun 6, 2016 at 18:59
  • 1
    This answer does not seem to address the issues specific to a PhD degree, such as mentoring by an advisor, nor the need for strong support from an advisor in a letter of recommendation for post-PhD academic positions of all sorts. Jun 6, 2016 at 19:32
  • 3
    You created your account to answer this question, so I suspect you are from Walden's PR team. In addition, you are the only one talking about Ivy League schools. No one here has suggested that "they are the only places to get a good education".
    – cabad
    Jun 6, 2016 at 20:31

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .