The present study investigated the TEFL Ph.D. candidates’ conception (TPCs) of professional identity development
(PID) during doctoral program. To this end, under a mixed-method design, two instruments were used to collect data: a four-point Likert-scale researcher-made questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. First, the questionnaire was mailed to ۸۰ Iranian Ph.D. students selected through simple random sampling. Then, to yield an in-depth understanding of how they develop their professional identity, ۱۰ participants with more than ۱۰ years of teaching experience were asked to take part in the interview. The results obtained from the analysis of the elicited data indicated that majority of the participants believed that lack of practical professional development courses, lack of scholarship, lack of employer support, the high cost of Ph.D. opportunities, and trivial increase in job satisfaction and security were among the hurdles of to their professional identity development. Regarding the factors influencing some participants’ withdrawal from Ph.D. studies, the results revealed that feeling of isolation and lack of dissertation writing groups were the most significant reasons. The findings of the study can have some pedagogical implications for teacher education programs in that they can be used to emphasize their strengths, eliminate their weaknesses, and to provide stakeholders with ample opportunities to improve the quality of doctoral education.