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Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Career Outlook

Jobs and Salaries for Ph.D. in Nursing Graduates

Only one percent of nurses have a Ph.D., according to a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine.1 More are needed to generate crucial research-based knowledge to enhance and advance nursing practice, as well as to fill the shortage of faculty at schools of nursing. A Ph.D. in Nursing from one of the top nursing schools in the country will prepare you for leadership positions in academia, clinical settings, private and public health care systems, pharmacological companies, and other organizations and businesses that seek to promote scholarly health care research. 

In the clinical setting, hospitals, health care systems, pharmacological companies and other businesses related to health care seek nurses with a Ph.D. to direct their research departments and oversee the integration of findings into organizational practice. Nurse researchers and scholars who were taught by the rigorous and application-based curriculum of the online Ph.D. program at The Catholic University of America may act as stewards of nursing science and practice by promoting scholarly investigation, demonstrating the highest levels of leadership and using their expertise to influence health policy.

Academia also offers promising opportunities.

  • According to a report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, in 2011 nursing schools in the U.S. turned away 75,587 qualified applicants, with almost two-thirds of the schools citing a lack of sufficient faculty members are the reason.2
  • There is also a push for younger nurses in particular to earn their doctorates: another AACN report outlined the aging faculty workforce, noting that the average ages of nursing faculty members with doctorates ranged from 51.5 to 60.5, with a wave of retirements expected in the near future.3
  • Nurses who are already teaching often need a Ph.D. to qualify for tenure or advancement.

Research better health care and prepare the next generation of nurses with your online Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from The Catholic University of America. Request more information or call us at 855-295-5711 to speak with our admissions team.


Institute of Nursing, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health”; excerpt available at

AACN, “2011-2012 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing,” available at

AACN, “2010-2011 Salaries of Instructional and Administrative Nursing Faculty in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing,” available at