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How to find a Postdoc Position in the USA? Simple Facts which would help you.

Finding a postdoc position in the USA or postdoctoral fellowship: To understand better, let me share how I ended up finding a postdoc position in the USA, at the University of California.


There are multiple ways to find a postdoc position in the USA, which I'll discuss shortly. Before landing this postdoc position, I had completed my Ph.D. in South Korea.

Table of Contents: Postdoc Position USA


How to Find Postdoc Positions (USA)

The top three effective ways to find postdoc positions in the USA:

  1. One of the most common methods is to visit the websites of universities you are interested in. For example, if you are interested in UCSD (University of California, San Diego) you can directly go to the UCSD website and search for research positions.

  2. Another way is to use job portals like ScienceCarrer, NatureCareers, etc. where you can find postdoctoral job opportunities and you can easily follow the instructions provided.

  3. Sometimes, not all jobs are posted on job websites. Certain professors have their own lab websites where they list job openings, so it's essential to check those too. Additionally, you might find job postings on university or institute websites as well.

It's best to do your homework and determine the universities or labs you're interested in, keep an eye on their job listings, and apply regularly.

When I applied for my first postdoc, the job was posted on the institute's website. There, I found the professor's email address, and they requested me to send my resume/CV.


I was really interested in the ongoing projects in the lab which motivated me to apply. However, there are other methods as well. Some individuals can apply for their own funding with a professor in the US and then come if the funding is approved. Occasionally, two international professors have collaborations, offering an opportunity to come to the US. There are various paths to explore, but I'm sharing the simplest approach, based on what I've done.



Postdoc Interview Process

In most cases, when applying for a postdoc position in the US, you'll be required to email your CV directly to the professor. Thus, you should compose a cover letter, attach your CV, and send it to the PI. If they find you suitable, they will arrange an interview.


During this interview, they might request a presentation of your Ph.D. or previous postdoc work. Occasionally, there could be one-on-one interviews with a professor, followed by presenting your prior work to the lab. Alternatively, you might give a direct presentation to all lab members. The format depends entirely on the professor's preference.

If your interview goes well and the professor is interested in hiring you, you will likely receive an email within a week or two from HR to initiate the hiring process.


In summary, the hiring process involves receiving an offer letter for signing, obtaining a DS2019 form, receiving instructions for paying the SEVIS fee, guidance for completing DS-160, details for scheduling an interview/biometric date, receiving information on obtaining the visa, along with other necessary steps.


Please note that the SEVIS fee amount may change in the future, refer to the USCIS website for the latest updates.

uscis sevis fee


Postdoc Salary in the USA

The average postdoc salary in the USA is $60,000 per year. Entry-level positions can start as low as $47,000, and they could go up to $79,000 per year. Salaries also vary from university to university and even across different states in the US. You can find the salary scale on the university's website.

For example, the University of California, Riverside salary scale looks like the following.

postdoc salary california

You also receive additional benefits, such as health insurance for your family, housing, and reduced-rate daycare facilities for children, among others. These benefits will vary for each university or institute.



Postdoc Visa Type (USA)

Most likely, you will receive a J1 visa and be subject to the 2-year home residency rule, also known as the 212e rule. I have written a blog about the J1 visa, the 212e rule, and how to obtain a waiver from the 212e rule, which we will discuss next.

However, there are instances where they might sponsor an academic H1B visa instead of a J1 visa. This decision will depend on your university's or institute's international office.


Please feel free to drop me a line in the comments section below and I will try to answer your queries.



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