DrugMonkey is currently polling his readers about what he's calling the "postdoctoral requirement," specifically asking: "How many years of postdoc training are required before getting a faculty-level job?" Among the 157 respondents who say they began a postdoc in 2006 or later, 33 percent say three-to-four years of training are required, while 32 percent think five-to-six is more appropriate. Of the 75 respondents who indicated they began a postdoc between 2000 and 2005, nearly 31 percent consider five-to-six years best. And for the 39 respondents who began a postdoc before 2000, 30 percent agreed that five-to-six years of training are best.
In the comments, Joseph notes that postdoc lengths vary by field, but that overall, "greater than four years feels like excessive for the possible benefits." Arrzey adds that the average length of a postdoc "certainly has become longer over the last 15 years."