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As with everything in life, academic career choices have a cost/benefit analysis. Some of the mainstream academic career choices are: tenured professor, non-tenured professor, staff scientist, laboratory technician/manager and postdoctoral fellow. So, starting at the bottom of the ladder with postdoctoral fellows and associates, let’s examine some possible benefits and costs. Before we can address this, though, it is important to note that in a number of academic institutions there are differences in rules and regulations pertaining to these two categories. Mainly, the differences arise due to the funding source. Commonly, postdoctoral associates are those whom the University funds through research grants, contracts or other University resources and are classified as employees. In contrast to postdoctoral fellows, who are non-employees, are funded by training grants to their research institutions or from alternative outside sources. ...