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Is it worth pursuing a Doctorate degree (career progression in FEDLE)

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  • izamsilas
    replied
    I do declare!

    I stand by my statement that a PhD in emergency management doesn’t do anything to assist with an 1811 position or career and is a self licking ice cream
    cone.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lady_Corrections
    replied
    Originally posted by izamsilas View Post
    Ok, everyone here is talking research PhD here, and OP said doctorate in Emergency Management. That’s add context. I stand by the point that a doctorate in any kind of public safety or gawd freaking forbid intelligence management will add anything to any legit job in the G. Those all tend to be advanced degree self licking ice cream cones...
    All PhDs are research doctorates and so are most EdDs. A doctorate in emergency management can be a PhD, DSc, or some other kind of doctorate. Most doctoral programs require a dissertation. If they don't require a dissertation, then they'll require an applied research project or capstone that's just as intensive as a dissertation. PhDs at traditional universities are fare more likely to be funded than applied doctorates.

    Leave a comment:


  • Redrum3215
    commented on 's reply
    I am a hiring official and I agree. Experience rules the day. A degree is preferred, but not mandatory in my agency (ATF). We have a few PhD’s in our ranks, but to be candid, it doesn’t matter in hiring or career advancement (Merit Promotion Boards). If you do it for your own betterment, good for you. Might not help your career though.

  • izamsilas
    replied
    Ok, everyone here is talking research PhD here, and OP said doctorate in Emergency Management. That’s add context. I stand by the point that a doctorate in any kind of public safety or gawd freaking forbid intelligence management will add anything to any legit job in the G. Those all tend to be advanced degree self licking ice cream cones...

    Leave a comment:


  • Levithane
    commented on 's reply
    Ok and the Federal government doesn't solely/always rely on those accreditation companies, I could get into this but thats a totally different topic. I made sure to put in recognized by the department of education or department of state regarding foreign institutions. What happens is that someone like me gets tasked with someones background, I do their interview etc, and I find out they had a foreign education they didn't initially disclose. I have no way of getting that in person obv, so I hand it off to the appropriate section. Sometimes the institution cooperates, and gives up the record with any disciplinary issues on the person. Sometimes the institution doesn't cooperate, and we're SOL. That's one less piece of verified information adjudication has when making a clearance determination, which may or may not hurt you. Now with the American institutions even if they aren't accredited, they always cooperate when given a release.

  • Ratatatat
    commented on 's reply
    I spent 27 years on the job, 2/3 of that as an 1811. Your 1811 experience? You have some apps in...

    I know what I know and I know this: education is a good thing but means next to nothing when the blood and teeth on the ground is your own or your partners.

  • Lady_Corrections
    replied
    There are funded PhD programs in the U.S. American PhD programs that require a master's degree or give advanced standing for a master's degree typically require about three years of coursework. How long it takes to finish after that is dependent upon how long you take to finish your dissertation. European theses are usually larger than American dissertations.

    Leave a comment:


  • Day.By.Day
    commented on 's reply
    For many jobs, they need a giant pool of people that eventually get cut in background & poly. It's not a 1 guy versus another guy for something like the these 1811. Like I said, it was a boost in the interview.

    "Take the low BA guy every time..." = If you are automatically discriminating applicants for a federal position on something that advertises equivalent entry chances for experience and advanced degree, then that is unethical. I've been on hiring boards, and that type of behaviour may point to your character issues more than the these faceless CVs.

    The OP has to make her/his own decision, she/he has plenty of advice on here from people. I'm speaking from 1811 experience, not sure if the OP has that in mind. There is no perfect path, diversity in the team makes us stronger, and it is up to the individual person. In the end, we all want to serve the public and would be willing to put our lives on the line. Let's not make this an issue of two camps.
    Last edited by Day.By.Day; 01-28-2020, 06:43 PM.

  • Day.By.Day
    commented on 's reply
    LOL. No one is getting a PhD to become an 11. That's just a perk if it happens for the COL. As I mentioned before, an advanced degree is not an automatic boost for entry level, and not all agencies adjust for it. And yes, the quote I posted from the DEA was a vacancy that had 7-11, posted last year.

  • Day.By.Day
    commented on 's reply
    Having personal experience with this, I can attest that a reputable university abroad clears background. Every Fed app has a section regarding foreign degrees, stating that an accreditation company must verify the validity. There are several US accreditation companies that work with this issue, and I've had no problems. Takes about a week. Some colleges in America aren't actually accredited (private ones, religious ones), so it is something to be checking for with each degree. Obviously, for overseas education, I'm not talking about a university in China, but preferably a well-known one in the top ranking.
    Last edited by Day.By.Day; 01-28-2020, 06:49 PM.

  • NCG128
    commented on 's reply
    Izamsilas- you made a good point that’s honestly what I was thinking as well. Thanks for your critical insight!

  • Levithane
    replied
    Originally posted by Day.By.Day View Post

    If you want it before you apply to the feds, I would recommend applying for a funded doctorate in the UK or Europe, Australia and Singapore (some very good programs in the EU! Especially in STEM and national security issues, lots of opportunity to gain an additional language also). The length is halved, only takes 3 years and you can decide to do a thesis by publication. This means you get some peer-reviewed articles out that people actually enjoy reading and look great for a future career outside the Fed route, instead of a lengthy thesis that 3 people may read.
    Would advise against doing this. Unless the foreign institution is recognized by the department of education or department of state, this is a good way to cause issues during a background/security investigation for a clearance. For a career in the private sector the above quoted is fine.

    Leave a comment:


  • waffledog47
    replied
    Agencies will give you an 11 with a PhD only if the vacancy was announced with the 11 grade included. In other words if it was 7-11, or 9-11, or 7-12 etc... which is rare at least for “entry level” 1811 vacancies.

    I’ve heard anecdotal accounts of agencies offering people with doctoral degrees the equivalent steps as a 9 (probably a 9-7 or so to get you to 11-1) if the position wasn’t announced as an 11, but not in the 1811 world specifically. Don’t get a PhD just in hopes of being an 11, alright folks.

    Leave a comment:


  • izamsilas
    commented on 's reply
    I'll bite here. Looking at some of your posts its seems like you've put in for ERO, HSI and possibly FPS? Are you just trying to get a covered position?

    In reality, if you want a doctorate, get a doctorate. Will it be helpful to an 1801 gig at ERO? Uh, no, not at all. I never worked DRO/ERO but worked CEU and a few other units with them regularly and interacted with them as an ICE OI agent for many years. Even if you're out and about as a deportation officer, you're not working anything that would require or benefit from an advanced degree. Look back at INS, nothing there would have benefited from an advanced degree, not even their criminal cases were very advanced.

    Now, in the 1811 world, I could only see a doctorate adding you any real value if you were aiming for a very narrow window of utility with a specific agency and/or mission. I know of some Bu folks working WMD with doctorates in biology and the like. I also know some working purely CT cases with advanced degrees that don't add much value to their case work. An advanced degree in a general career field like an 1811 doesn't ensure you working in the area of education. That's not the purpose of investigations.

    One last thing that speaks to me here, and I'm not trying to talk down to you here, is that what I see a lot with folks working advanced degrees in this career field is a problem with transition or conversion. I know a number of people that just had a hard time focusing on what they wanted, and getting it. Instead, they collected degrees in an attempt to make themselves more marketable on an application. Higher education is great, and yes it can mean more opportunities (potentially) after retirement. Ask yourself when you're going to retire, and will you have a relevant education at that time, after working a career as an investigator? If you want to be an 1811, take that drive and energy you're putting into a doctorate and pursue an 1811 position. Call OIG offices, contacts you have in your non covered Fed gig, meet people. Get noticed and get your foot in the door. Education will always be there, but until you are in a covered position, your clock is ticking, and more degrees won't necessarily help you get hired.

  • 9L81
    replied
    One of the agents I know left his previous job as a corporate attorney to eventually get student loan forgiveness on his then $270K in student loans. Took about If $130K a year (initially) pay cut. If you could put something together like that maybe the cost of a PhD isn't so bad.

    My wife has a PhD and some debt to go with it but she's not a Fed so we just pay it every month like anyone else. She's an engineer though. People offer her jobs pretty regularly. Not sure how I would feel about a PhD in emergency management. Would really depend on employment prospects.

    Leave a comment:

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