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What Types of Doctorates Are Available?
The pinnacle achievement in education, doctoral degrees may also open the doors to exclusive jobs and maximize salaries . For example, business Ph.D. holders earn 9 percent more over their lifetimes than those with only master’s degrees. In education, that number rises to 24 percent.
The reason is simple. The doctorate identifies that a student has mastered either the knowledge of a subject or the applied theory of one. Achieving the degree firmly establishes one as an authority in her field or discipline. Those are qualities that employers are looking for when filling leadership or top positions within their company.
And these types of degrees are growing in both popularity and scope.
Earning a doctorate is challenging and rewarding, but do you know what to really expect? Download this free guide for tips and insights to help you prepare for success.
The growing state of the (doctorate) union.
As emerging jobs have taken over the market, the rise in available doctoral degrees has followed.
Currently, there are a total of 88 different doctoral degrees available in the United States. And people are taking advantage of the opportunity
American universities awarded 52,760 doctorates in 2013, up 3.5 percent from nearly 50,977 in 2012 and nearly 8 percent from 48,903 in 2011.
In 2014, American universities awarded 54,070 research doctorates, the highest total in the 58 years that the National Science Foundation has sponsored the Survey of Earned Doctorates.
These numbers indicate that the bar is raising (and quickly) for many high-demand jobs. A master’s is no longer an automatic differentiator for competitive jobs.
Six Popular Doctorates for 2018
In many fast-growing and emerging fields, professionals are seeking to differentiate themselves by earning specialized doctoral degrees. Below is a list outlining seven of the most popular doctorates in 2017 and beyond.
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
If you want to lead a business—via the C-suite or the consultant role—this degree is for you.
The DBA is well poised to lead innovation, evolution and adaptation efforts to help the business meet the ever-changing demands of the economy. Programs teach students how to effectively lead and influence organizations—by teaching what makes businesses tick, improve, succeed and fail.
What you’ll learn:
All programs are different, based on the institution and your emphasis, but the core coursework might include subjects like:
- Leadership constructs and methodologies
- Organizational strategy and performance
- Organizational culture and behavior
- Modern management theory and advanced leadership principles
- Effective decision-making
- Performance analysis
- Application of ethical constructs
- Change management techniques
There are a variety of specialties you can get your DBA in, including: International Business Leadership, Human Resource Management, Project Management, Finance, Strategy and Vision, Marketing, and Strategic Management.
Doctor of Public Health (DPH)
If you want to lead programs that affect global or population health, this degree is for you.
The DPH is tailored to individuals leading policy and programs in the public health sector. Programs help students develop critical skills to identify, validate and improve population-based public health strategies, influence public health interventions and strategies, develop public health policy and programs, and establish economic models to drive meaningful change.
- Health informatics and analytics
- Public health leadership and systems thinking
- Economics of public health
- Community health assessment
- Global health and issues in disease prevention
- Public relations and communication for public health leaders
Common concentrations in Doctor of Public Health programs include: Environmental Health, Health Equity and Social Justice, Health Policy and Management.
Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA)
If you want to maintain a healthcare focus, this degree is for you.
The DHA is tailored to individuals leading businesses within the healthcare industry. Programs typically focus on the practical applications of public health theory, evaluation and improvement across the business of healthcare—including administration, policy, regulation, marketing, communication and program management.
- Organizational strategies to improve community and global health
- State, federal and private policy making
- Quality improvement methodologies
- Healthcare economics and financial reform
- Health data management
- Program evaluation models
- Improving health information governance
Common concentrations include: Healthcare Quality and Analytics, Healthcare Management, Clinical and Program Management, General Healthcare Leadership or Health Care Policy.
Doctor of Professional Studies – Instructional Leadership Design (DPS, ISL)
If you want to influence organizations through curriculum development, the Doctor of Professional Studies is for you.
DPS-IDLs develop cross-organization and multi-tiered learning strategies to help organizations improve and retain talent. Professionals in this area work to develop senior leadership competencies, technical proficiencies, knowledge-transfer systems and other important things.
- Emerging trends and technologies for instructional design
- Advanced organizational learning theories
- Innovative learning environment design
- Strategic assessment and decision-making
- Knowledge management
- Communication theory and strategies
This field is an emerging field—growing in popularity as a higher volume of legacy and tenured leaders are leaving organizations.
Doctor of Information Technology (DIT)
If you’re driven to help businesses succeed through the effective deployment and management of technology, this doctorate is for you.
DITs are more than technology specialists—they are embedded leaders who can drive organizations through critical IT-related challenges. Their work enables the success and growth of business plans and goals. From technology assessment to technology vision, these leaders influence the business’ ability to perform its mission.
- IT leadership principles
- Enterprise database design
- Enterprise systems architecture
- Emerging technologies (cloud, grid computing, etc.)
- Information assurance
- Information and network security
- Change and risk management
As organizations continue to rely heavily on existing and emerging technologies, DITs are positioned to have meaningful influence inside of organizations.
Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
If you’re driven by concepts of social justice and reform, or the proper execution of social work, this doctorate is for you.
DSWs are positioned to expand their independent practice or work into new populations or areas, or achieve leadership roles in social work agencies and organizations. These leaders drive social change and interventions that improve the human experience for disenfranchised or marginalized populations.
- Contemporary issues and social change
- Advanced social work theory
- Policy creation
- Human services administration
- Program and practice evaluation
- Public leadership
A Doctor of Social Work may concentrate their research in the following fields: Addiction and Social Work, Disaster and Intervention, Social Work Administration, Criminal Justice, Family Studies and Intervention, Clinical Expertise or Policy Practice.
Choosing Your Doctorate “Flavor”
As we’ve mentioned before, there are two types of doctorate degrees : the academic degree (PhD) and the applied degree ( Doctorate ).
A general rule of thumb is this:
Go for your Ph.D. if you want to pursue a tenured teaching career at a research institution (think professor at Harvard) or if a job implicitly requires it (think: principle scientist or university chancellor).
If not, opt for the applied.
The applied degree is typically recommended if you want to teach at a teaching institution (think small liberal arts university, Christian higher education, private charter schools), if you want to establish your professional credibility as a practitioner (think CEO, financial advisor, public health leader), or if you want to spend the prime of your career in consulting work (think contract researcher or circuit speaker).
Not sure which one is right for you? Go applied. It’s the most flexible program, giving you the best chance of learning things that you can apply in the boardroom or office the next day.
The Doctorate Gut Check
The highest possible achievement in education, the doctorate, firmly establishes you as an authority in your field or discipline. The degree may also offer competitive advantages, open the door to exciting career opportunities, and deliver substantial salary increases.
For these reasons, doctorate programs are growing in both popularity and scope—a reality that gives today’s professionals unique opportunities to leverage education to further their careers.
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A Comprehensive List Of Doctorate Degrees Just For You
Are you looking to earn your doctorate degree, but aren’t sure where to begin? Or maybe you’re just curious about the kinds of degrees that are available to you. In this article, we’ll go over the different types of degrees, the difference between research degrees and professional degrees, and finally, give you a full comprehensive list of doctorate degrees available in the U.S.
We hope you discover some new fields that pique your interest, and maybe even get you started on your path to earning a degree.
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
What is a doctorate degree.
There are four major types of degrees that you can earn in university. In order, they are: associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate degree.
A doctorate degree is the highest level of education in most fields. For fields of research or teaching it is usually a PhD, while other applied doctorates will include degrees such as Doctor of Medicine (MD), or Doctor of Education (EdD).
In order to earn a doctorate degree, you will first need to earn your bachelor’s degree. Most people choose to earn their master’s degree before entering a doctorate program, but it is possible to go straight to a doctoral degree in some cases.
Doctorate degrees can be divided into two major categories: research degrees and professional degrees.
What is a research degree.
A research degree focuses on exploring a topic in depth. A research degree gives students the opportunity to conduct their own unique research on a topic of their choice in order to produce their own research papers and innovative studies of knowledge.
A research degree prepares students with the skills and experience necessary for working and conducting research in academic, governmental, and business fields.
Below is a comprehensive list of all the research degrees available in the US.
List Of Research Degrees:
- Doctor of Arts (DA)
- Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
- Doctor of Canon Law (JCD)
- Doctor of Design (DDes)
- Doctor of Engineering or Engineering Science (DEng, DESc, DES)
- Doctor of Education (EdD)
- Doctor of Fine Arts (DFA.)
- Doctor of Hebrew Letters (DHL)
- Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD, SJD)
- Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
- Doctor of Music Education (DME)
- Doctor of Modern Languages (DML)
- Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc)
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
- Doctor of Public Health (DPH)
- Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD)
- Doctor of Science (DSc, ScD)
- Doctor of Theology (ThD)
Photo by ICSA from Pexels
Professional degrees, what is a professional degree.
A professional degree prepares students for a specific profession. Through earning a professional degree, students study the necessary information for their field, meet specific academic and licensure requirements for their desired profession, and prepare for state exams.
Below is a comprehensive list of all the professional degrees that can be earned in the US.
List Of Professional Degrees
- Doctor of Acupuncture (D.Ac., D.Acu.)
- Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (D.A.O.M.)
- Doctor of Anesthesia Practice (Dr.AP)
- Doctor of Applied Science (D.A.S.)
- Doctor of Architecture (D.Arch.)
- Doctor of Athletic Training (D.A.T.)
- Doctor of Audiology (Au.D)
- Doctor of Behavioral Health (D.B.H.)
- Doctor of Chemistry (D.Chem.)
- Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.)
- Doctor of Church Music (D.C.M.)
- Doctor of Clinical Nutrition (D.C.N.)
- Doctor of Clinical Science in Speech-Language Pathology (CScD)
- Doctor of Comparative Law (D.C.L.)
- Doctor of Civil Law (D.C.L.)
- Doctor of Computer Science (D.C.S.)
- Doctor of Criminal Justice (D.C.J.)
- Doctor of Criminology (D.Crim.)
- Doctor of Divinity (Divinitatis Doctor) (D.D.)
- Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.)
- Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.)
- Doctor of Environmental Science and Engineering (D.Env.)
- Doctor of Forestry (D.F.)
- Doctor of Geological Science (D.G.S.)
- Doctor of Health Administration (D.H.A.)
- Doctor of Health and Safety (D.H.S.)
- Doctor of Health Education (D.H.Ed)
- Doctor of Hebrew Literature/Letters (D.H.L.)
- Doctor of Health Science (D.H.Sc., D.H.S.)
- Doctor of Hebrew Studies (D.H.S.)
- Doctor of Humane Letters (D.Hum.Litt.)
- Doctor of Industrial Technology (D.I.T.)
- Doctor of Information Technology (D.I.T.)
- Juris Doctor (J.D.)
- Doctor of Law and Policy (L.P.D., D.L.P.)
- Doctor of Liberal Studies (D.L.S.)
- Doctor of Library Science (D.L.S.)
- Doctor of Management (D.M.)
- Doctor of Medical Humanities (D.M.H.)
- Doctor of Medical Physics (D.M.P)
- Doctor of Medical Science (D.M.Sc.)
- Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)
- Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.)
- Doctor of Missiology (D.Miss)
- Doctor of Music (D.M., D.Mus.)
- Doctor of Music Therapy (D.M.T.)
- Doctor of Naprapathic Medicine (D.N.)
- Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D., N.M.D.)
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.)
- Doctor of Occupational Therapy (O.T.D., D.O.T.)
- Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)
- Doctor of Organizational Leadership
- Doctor of Oriental Medicine (D.O.M., O.M.D.)
- Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)
- Doctor of Pastoral Counseling (D.PC)
- Doctor of Pastoral Music (D.P.M.)
- Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)
- Doctor of Physical Education (D.P.E.)
- Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)
- Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.)
- Doctor of Practical Theology (D.P.T., D.Th.P.)
- Doctor of Professional Studies (D.P.S.)
- Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D)
- Doctor of Public Administration (D.P.A.)
- Doctor of Recreation (D.Rec., D.R.)
- Doctor of Rehabilitation (Rh.D.)
- Doctor of Sacred Music (D.S.M.)
- Doctor of Science in Dentistry (D.Sc.D.)
- Doctor of Science and Hygiene (D.Sc.H.)
- Doctor of Science in Veterinary Medicine (D.Sc.V.M.)
- Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.)
- Doctor of Social Science (D.S.Sc.)
- Doctor of Social Work (D.S.W.)
- Doctor of Transformational Leadership (D.T.L.)
- Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.)
Earn A Degree Online
If you are interested in earning your doctorate degree in any desired subject, consider earning your bachelor’s or master’s degree online, so that you are one step closer to your goals.
Earning a degree online is a great way to study while working, raising a family, or just going at your own pace.
University of the People is a tuition-free university that allows students to earn their degree 100% online. We pride ourselves on offering affordable degree programs to our students, so that everyone has equal access to quality education.
We offer degrees in business administration , health science , computer science , and education , so if you’re looking to earn a doctorate degree, University of the People is the best place to start.
There are many fascinating and practical doctorate degrees to choose from. Whether you’re interested in research in education and language, or becoming a nurse or veterinarian, there is a degree for every field and interest.
For those who are determined to earn a doctorate degree, a great way to start is to earn your bachelor’s or master’s degree online, so you can be one step closer to your goals. We hope you find something to pique your interest in this comprehensive list of doctorate degrees.
- PhD Types - Understanding Different Doctoral Degrees
Types of PhD
When is a 'PhD' not a PhD? When it's a DPhil, DBA, EdD or other type of doctorate degree.
The traditional PhD (or 'Doctor of Philosophy') is the best-known advanced research qualification, but several other varieties of doctoral degree exist. Some of these are academic qualifications in specific subject areas. Others are professional doctorates with a slightly different format.
The way in which candidates study for a PhD is also becoming more varied, with the opportunity to research part time or even pursue a joint doctorate degree , awarded by more than one university.
But there's no need to be confused. This page explains and compares the options available to you.
Not sure where to start? Read our step by step guide to finding the right PhD .
Designed for experienced managers and business leaders, the DBA is a prestigious and highly-specialised professional doctoral degree.
Ideal for senior teachers and policy makers, an Education Doctorate combines advanced training with original research.
Joint PhD programmes involve collaboration between two (or more) different universities. So how does that work? Who can apply? And what are the advantages (and disadvantages) of researching in this way?
Integrated PhD programmes consist of a one-year Masters followed by three years of PhD research. Find out more about what it's like to study an integrated PhD, how to apply and the funding options available.
Thinking of applying for the Doctor of Engineering (EngD)? Our guide covers everything you need to know about the qualification, including costs, applications, programme content, and how it differs from a PhD.
The DBA and the PhD are both doctoral degrees that are equal in academic status – so how do you choose between the two? Our guide explains the differences.
Comparing PhD types
Wondering which type of doctorate degree is right for you? The following table offers a quick overview of the most common types of PhD and other doctorates:
Please note that this table doesn't include every type of doctorate. Many other subjects (and countries ) award their own specific qualifications, but we've covered some of the most popular here.
You can more about some of these degree types in our guide to different varieties of doctorate .
Understanding this table
The doctorates in the above table are divided into different types, as follows:
- Academic doctorates (such as the standard PhD) are usually awarded for original research and scholarship in traditional academic subjects. They can prepare a student for various careers, but their main focus is on broadening theoretical understanding of a subject, rather than improving professional practice.
- Professional doctorates are awarded for work that contributes directly to knowledge or practice in a specific vocational field. They still involve original research and analysis, but also incorporate more practical training and instruction. Candidates may require appropriate experience.
- Higher doctorates are usually awarded later in a person's career, as a means of recognising esteemed researchers or practitioners. Students do not normally enrol for these doctorates as traditional university degrees.
- Honorary doctorates are awarded to celebrate an individual's achievements. They do not require any specific track record of academic or professional work and can be granted at the discretion of a university. Students do not enrol for these doctorates.
As a prospective postgraduate student, you only really need to concern yourself with academic or professional research degrees.
We've included higher and honorary doctorates here in order to try and prevent them being confused with more 'conventional' PhDs (and to give you some inspiration for later in your career!).
DPhil vs PhD
Many people believe that the DPhil and PhD are different degrees. This is not true. ‘DPhil’ is an abbreviation of ‘Doctor of Philosophy’. Essentially, ‘DPhil’ and ‘PhD’ are two different ways of referring to the same doctoral degree.
‘DPhil’ is traditionally a British term and so only a few universities (most notably, the University of Oxford) still use it. Most universities around the world use the term ‘PhD’. While you might have to explain to a foreign employer what a DPhil is, you can be safe in the knowledge that both degrees are the same prestigious Doctor of Philosophy award.
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DOCTORATE DEGREE TYPES
A doctorate degree is the highest level of education one can pursue in their field. It doesn’t matter whether you attend college in person or pursue an online doctorate degree. Either way, this designation indicates that you have mastered a specific area of study. Graduates will have a competitive edge in this ambitious job market. And, of course, earning a doctoral degree can qualify you for some of the highest-paying roles in your field.
However, before committing to a doctoral program, knowing the different types of doctorate degrees is crucial. In this post, we will discuss a few of the many types of doctorate degrees and the average salary of each.
Table of Contents
The Different Types of Doctorate Degrees
There are two primary types of doctorate degrees . They include the Ph.D. and the Professional Doctorate. Both represent the highest achievement in academia and are equal in terms of prestige. As a result, those who hold either academic degree are sometimes referred to as “Doctor.” Next, we’ll briefly discuss the differences between these two advanced doctorate degrees.
The Ph.D.: An Academic Doctorate
The Ph.D. stands for Doctor of Philosophy. But it does not imply that the individual has advanced knowledge of philosophy. In this instance, the term comes from two Greek words: philein sophia. And it literally means lover of wisdom. So in this sense, philosophy applies to any area where an advanced level of understanding and knowledge is expressed.
The Ph.D. is a research degree. It is sometimes also called an academic doctorate or terminal degree. And it is conferred to graduates in many areas of study. There are many PhDs to choose from at universities and colleges worldwide. A few examples include:
- Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
- Doctor of Business Management (Ph.D.)
- Doctor of Public Health (DPH)
- Doctor of Arts (D.A.)
- Doctor of Theology (Th.D.)
Academic doctorate programs train graduates to apply different methods of discovery and evaluation. They spend a lot of time conducting research and apply what they have learned to solve problems in new ways. An academic doctorate generally requires a dissertation.
The Professional Doctorate
A professional doctorate may also be called an applied doctorate. Unlike an academic doctorate, this degree focuses less on academia and conducting research. Instead, it centers around applying knowledge within real-world scenarios. If you are trying to advance your career or move into a leadership position, you will likely pursue a professional doctorate. Among these, there are many different doctor degrees. Some common ones include:
- Doctor of Finance (DPH)
- Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)
- Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
- Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA)
- Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
In an applied doctorate program, students will look at problems within their field of study. And they will focus on real-world solutions to those problems. In their studies, they will touch upon the theory surrounding a topic. But they will also practice what they are learning. A professional doctorate may or may not require students to write a dissertation.
Related: Top 15 Online Doctorate Degrees in Healthcare Administration
Earning a Doctorate Online
Many people don’t pursue a doctorate because it does not fit into their daily lives. Adulthood comes with a multitude of responsibilities. Doctoral students tend to be older, which means they may already have families, children, spouses, or aging parents. Additionally, they typically have established careers. These factors can complicate the process of pursuing research degrees.
However, over the past decade, many prominent colleges now offer online degree programs. This includes undergraduate degree, master’s degree, and, yes, even online Ph.D. programs. These popular programs are in high demand because they offer flexible study options.
According to the National Science Foundation, the number of research doctorate degrees awarded in 2021 was 52,250. And women earned almost half of all professional doctorates. Additionally, the National Science Foundation reports that the number of professional doctorates in Engineering has increased the most in the past two decades.
In the past, doctoral students needed to plan their whole lives around their coursework. They may have even relocated to attend a college or university. Additionally, studying for an academic doctorate or research degree requires a lot of time and effort. For example, you may need to network with professionals at the school, conduct research, and teach in addition to attending classes. But these added responsibilities leave little time for family, a full-time job, or social activities.
Many of these issues can be solved with online degree programs. Now, students have the option to study remotely virtually anywhere in the world. So it’s easier than ever to work classes around your busy schedule and prior commitments.
Keep reading to discover some of the most popular doctorate degrees and average salaries. We’ll also show you some schools offering online graduate programs. Additionally, check out our list of some of the top accredited online doctorate programs .
Types of Doctorates and Potential Career Paths
This comprehensive list of doctorates shows some of the most popular doctorate programs online. It also accounts for those that can be most financially beneficial for candidates. All of the listed schools are fully accredited and have a positive reputation. Each category has at least one online doctoral program listed. In cases where multiple schools are shown, they are ordered from the lowest to the highest tuition.
Tuition is based on each school’s in-state graduate tuition rates for one academic year. Bear in mind that fees and non-resident tuition costs can differ.
You may also like: Top 20 Best Colleges With Online PhD Programs
Financial Assistance For Doctoral Students
Pursuing an advanced degree can be expensive. However, financial assistance is not just for undergraduates. If you truly desire to earn your Ph.D. online, don’t let finances stand in the way. There are plenty of options for students who need help funding their graduate studies. Generally, financial aid for doctoral students comes from a variety of sources. These sources may include:
- Teaching Assistantships
- Research Assistantships
- Student Loans
Most financial assistance is awarded by each specific school or department. So prospective Ph.D. candidates will want to research funding options for whichever programs they are most interested in.
Doctor of Law
Many people believe that having a law degree means you can only be a lawyer. However, one can have several other positions with a doctorate in law. That includes respected careers in academia, finance, government, politics, and other fields.
Doctorate degrees in law can be extremely profitable. Those with this degree typically earn between $167,988 – $202,585 annually. These potentially high earnings make it one of the most financially rewarding doctoral degrees degrees on our list.
Like most Ph.D. and doctorate degree programs now, you can complete and earn your doctorate in law online. However, the American Bar Association requires applicants to have a law degree from an accredited institution. This information is critical if one aims to practice law with an online doctoral degree.
A law degree from an accredited school allows graduates to practice law anywhere in the U.S. except California. The state of California holds its own Accredited Bar Program. If you obtain a doctorate degree certified by the California Bar but not the national one, you can only practice law in California.
The journey to a doctoral law degree is as personal and unique as the student. So be sure to conduct further research when looking for the perfect school. Below are some of the best colleges for earning a Doctor of Law online.
Purdue University Global (California only)
Los Angeles, California
Online Juris Doctor Degree
PG offers an online Juris Doctor Degree Program for those who want to practice law in California. The program is administered through the Concord Law School. A total of 92 credits are needed to earn the degree. The program takes about four years to complete for law students who devote 25 to 35 hours a week. There are three start dates each year. Some of the required courses for this doctorate degree include:
- Legal Analysis and Writing
- Electronic Legal Research
- Civil Procedure
- Criminal Procedure
- Real Property
- Criminal Law
- Professional Responsibility
- Corporations and Business Organizations
- Constitutional Law
PG offers some unique benefits with this online program. For example, they provide law students with exciting externship opportunities. And they have a competitive moot court program. Additionally, the school has a legal incubator for those who want to launch their own practice after graduation.
Law students collaborate with their instructors through PG’s intuitive online platform. And there are plenty of support services to ensure you succeed. Candidates can access online tech support, academic support, the law library, and much more.
Purdue University Global also offers a three-year Executive Juris Doctor (EJD) program.
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Online Ph.D. in Criminal Justice: Law and Public Policy Specialization
Walden University offers an online Ph.D. in Criminal Justice with a specialization in law and public policy. The program prepares candidates with a wide range of skills for roles in the field. And topics covered include homeland security, criminal justice theory, and more. Law students can choose from two tracks. The first is for those with a master’s degree in criminal justice. The second is for those with a master’s degree in an unrelated field. Some of the courses for this doctorate degree are:
- Fundamentals of Law and Public Policy
- Legal Research for Public Policy
- Contemporary Cases and Issues in the Courts
- History and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
- Policy and Analysis in Criminal Justice Systems
Students have eight years to complete the program. However, motivated law students may wish to finish sooner. Through Walden’s Fast Track program, you can take additional courses each term and graduate faster. In addition, students can transfer up to 38 credits from other accredited universities into the program.
A unique feature of this program is Waldens Doctoral Degree Coach™ . This interactive online program supports students on their academic journey. Each step of your education and research is broken into manageable steps. There are checklists and milestones to chart your progress. And every to-do list includes all the materials needed to complete the assignment.
Syracuse, New York
Syracuse University College of Law offers an excellent online interactive J.D. program. It was the first real-time ABA-approved online law degree program in the country. The program is designed for those who can’t relocate due to prior commitments. However, it is taught by the same professional faculty members as the residential J.D. program.
Courses are a mix of self-paced classes and live online sessions. During the live online sessions, students and professors interact in real-time. And students can see and hear each other and even work together in virtual break-out groups. Some of the courses in this doctoral degree program include:
- Civil Procedure
- Legal Applications
- Legal Communication & Research
- Property Law
- Criminal Law
- Administrative Law
- Federal Income Tax Law
All students are required to complete six residential courses during the program. These are condensed courses usually scheduled in August and January. The first four are week-long courses on the main campus in Syracuse. The final two courses last between three to five days. And they typically take place at another SU location.
Each candidate in the JD online program will have the opportunity to complete an externship. These are hands-on externships that allow you to apply your skills in a legal setting. Students will work closely with staff to identify a location appropriate for the practicum. In most cases, they can be conducted from your own location. Students also can participate in in-person seminars if they wish to travel.
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Doctor of Pharmacy
Being a Pharmacist requires more than just a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. You must also pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX). Plus, those pursuing these doctorate degrees must complete licensing requirements in their state. With a PharmD degree, you don’t need to limit yourself to the role of a pharmacist. Instead, you can pursue roles in academia, medical science, research, and other fields. There are also many specialized areas a pharmacist may choose to pursue. A few examples include:
- Community Pharmacist
- Clinical Pharmacist
- Hospital Pharmacist
- Compounding Pharmacist
- Drug Information Specialist Pharmacist
- Industry-Based Pharmacist
Individuals with doctorate degrees in pharmacy in the US earn between $85,000 and $216,000 annually. The projected growth in this field through 2031 is around two percent. But while this is slower than the average growth rate of most occupations, it is still relatively steady.
University of Colorado
Online Doctor of Pharmacy
The UC Anschutz Medical Campus offers an online PharmD program. This one is specifically for licensed pharmacists seeking advanced knowledge of practices. The program requires 60 to 90 credit hours for completion. It can be completed 100% online, and students can finish in as little as two years.
To be eligible, you must already have an undergraduate degree in the field. Some of the courses in this program include:
- Healthcare Informatics
- Drug Information Fundamentals & Portfolio
- Evidence-Based Pharmacy Medicine & Literature Evaluation
- Public Health
- Geriatrics, Neurology & Psychiatry
- Clinical Reasoning & Decision Making
- Innovation Entrepreneurship
- Integrative Health & Medicine
Clinical rotations are required with this program. However, students will work with an academic advisor to find opportunities near them. Of course, students can also come to Colorado for their rotations if they choose to do so.
A unique aspect of this program is that students can earn credit for past experience. There is an option of credit by challenge. It is available for those who have been working in the field within the six years prior to enrollment.
St. John Fisher University
Rochester, New York
Online PharmD Degree Program
SJF (formerly John Fisher College) offers an online PharmD program. It is provided through the Wegmans School of Pharmacy. Applicants must have 62 semester hours of pre-professional education to be considered. Candidates must complete 151 credits for this online program. And some of the classes include:
- Pharmacy Calculations
- Systems Pharmacology
- State Pharmacy Law
- Applied Pathophysiology and Therapeutics
- Population-Based Health Care
- Ethics in Pharmacy Practice
There are six campus immersions required to complete the degree. Additionally, candidates will complete 11 clinical rotations at pharmacy locations in their communities. There are also many opportunities locally and globally to work among underserved communities. All courses are taught by the same faculty members who teach the on-campus version of the program.
The program meets all the requirements for graduates to sit for the NAPLEX. And SJF has partnerships with many major health systems across the country. As a result, this represents unique placement opportunities for eligible candidates.
Duquesne University School of Pharmacys offers an excellent online Pharm.D. program. A unique feature of this program is that it benefits candidates almost immediately. DUQ students can choose the school’s Direct Entry option. This allows first-year students to automatically transition from the pre-professional to professional phase. This eliminates competition for spots in the professional phase. That way, students can focus on their academic progression.
This six-year program is rigorous and requires the completion of 209 credit hours. In addition, students can select from six optional concentrations. These include:
- Ambulatory Care
- Community Practice
- Entrepreneurial Pharmacy
- Geriatric Pharmacy
- Health Services & Outcomes Research
Those enrolled in the program automatically earn a BS in Pharmacy Foundations. The degree is earned simultaneously with no additional cost or time.
Accreditation: Council for Higher Education
Doctor of Physical Therapy
A Doctor of Physical Therapy, also known as DPT, helps graduates become Physical Therapists. But it’s also for those pursuing careers as Occupational Therapists, Audiologists, or Chiropractors.
A student who obtains this doctorate needs to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE). However, the courses they take in a DPT program will give them the knowledge to pass the exam.
These professionals earn between $63,000 and $87,000 annually. However, those with a doctorate degree may pursue leadership roles in the field. And this can lead to much higher annual earnings.
The ten-year growth projection for the PT profession is 17 percent. This is much higher than the average for all other occupations. With this much growth, doctorate degrees in Physical Therapy are an excellent choice for financial stability.
Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem North Carolina
Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy
WSSU offers an online Transitional DPT program. It is designed for practicing professionals who hold a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in PT. Students must complete 24 credit hours of coursework, which can be done entirely online. Candidates have up to three years to finish their professional degree. Some of the online courses include:
- Health Care: Global View Point
- Clinical Decision-Making in Physical Therapy
- Diagnostic Imaging
- Woman’s Health or Health and Wellness
- Differential Diagnosis
WSSU has one of the most affordable doctoral programs on our list. In addition, the curriculum can be customized to address each candidate’s specific professional goals.
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
UNC also offers a Transitional DPT program. It is designed for licensed professionals who want to gain advanced skills in the field. This 27-credit program is only offered part-time, and students can complete it within two years. There are three core components to the curriculum. They include Clinical Foundation, Clinical Practice, and Specialty Practice. Some of the courses include:
- Advanced Patient Management
- Topics in Health and Wellness
- Advanced Practice Issues
- Advanced Neuromuscular Intervention
- PT Education and Instructional Technology
- Evidence-Based Practice
- Child and Family Assessment and Intervention
All students are required to complete a Capstone project and comprehensive portfolio. In addition, candidates are provided with many opportunities for mentored teaching experiences in this program. This will help them to develop as educators in academic or clinical settings.
Northeastern University offers a terrific Transitional DPT online program. Students can take courses full or part-time and earn the degree in one to three years. There are four start dates a year, so it is an excellent option for students who need a flexible schedule. Some of the industry-aligned courses in the program include:
- Medical Screening and Nutrition
- Comprehensive Case Analysis
- Motor Control
- Research Methods and Statistical Analysis
All students take a Capstone course called Comprehensive Case Analysis. This course serves as a culmination of all the work they complete throughout the program. Each student will prepare a scholarly work or case report to fulfill the requirement.
This online doctorate is designed for physical therapists currently working in the field. And those who hold either a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in physical therapy are welcome to apply.
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
Related: The 25 Best Online Doctorates in Occupational Therapy
Doctorate in Accounting and Finance
Graduates with a Ph.D. in Accounting and Finance can work in a wide range of different fields and industries. This includes management, consulting, research, academia, healthcare, business, and more. But a doctorate prepares students for high-level leadership positions. For example, many CEOs and CFOs have a Ph.D. in accounting. And the average salary for chief financial offers is between $81,000 to $234,000 a year.
According to BLS, the financial management field is expected to grow by 17 percent through 2031. This is much higher than the average for most other occupations. Accountants and financial experts are needed in nearly every field. So those with these credentials can pick and choose among the industries they prefer to work in. Here are three colleges offering online doctoral degrees in this sector:
Doctor of Business Administration in Accounting degree
Liberty University offs an online DBA in Accounting program. Students can complete this 60-credit-hour program in three years, and all courses are 100 percent online. You can even transfer up to 50 percent of the credits needed to complete the degree. Some of the featured courses in this business administration program include:
- Tax Research and Jurisprudence
- Advanced Auditing
- Accounting Ethics
- Accounting for Decision Making
This program is designed for those interested in applying real-world business concepts in the field. It is also ACPSP accredited. And it is among only three percent of business schools worldwide to receive the designation. Additionally, the degree can lead to a career in teaching accounting and finance at higher institutions.
Online Doctor of Business Administration
Students at Walden University can pursue this excellent online DBA program. It is designed for experienced professionals who want to become leaders and influencers in their fields. The program covers a range of financial topics and offers specializations in the following areas:
- Healthcare Management
- Human Resource Management
- Information Systems Management
- International Business
- Project Management
Doctoral students at Walden have an immense toolbox of resources available to them. A unique aspect of this DBA is the school’s Doctoral Degree Coach™. System. This interactive online system walks students through each step of their academic journey. And it provides a way to keep track of all assignments and materials sequentially.
Walden students also have access to a whole online suite of student resources. They include tech help, career support, writing assistance, and much more.
See Also: 10 Best Online Doctorate in International Business
San Diego, California
Online DBA with Finance and Accounting Specializations
This 60-credit hour online doctorate program from NU is one of the most flexible doctoral programs on our list. Northcentral offers weekly start dates and fully asynchronous online courses. This means there are no scheduled classes or group assignments. And students can coordinate their studies around their existing obligations. Turn in your assignments as early as you want and stay well ahead, or take a little more time if you need it.
Another unique aspect of NU is that they boast a 100% doctoral faculty. As a result, all students are mentored by professionals in their field of study. Additionally, online students will have plenty of opportunities to interact with their instructors one-on-one.
The online DBA offers several specializations for students who want to focus on particular areas or industries. They include:
- Advanced Accounting
- Financial Management
- General Business
- Global Business Management
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
Doctorate in Biomedical Engineering
A doctorate in the biomedical engineering field opens up several positions that have high annual incomes. Engineering in itself is a profitable and prestigious field. And earning a doctorate in engineering only shows additional expertise in the industry.
According to Payscale, Biomedical Engineers earn up to $100,00 a year. However, leadership and management positions in this field can be worth significantly more.
There are very few Biomedical Engineering programs online. However, there is one online doctoral program to help candidates reach that goal:
University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Ph.D. program in Biomedical Engineering
UND offers an online Ph.D. program in Biomedical Engineering. This doctorate program is offered jointly through UND and North Dakota State University. Each student is associated with at least one of six Biomedical Research Groups.
Some of the courses in this doctorate program include:
- Advanced Electrical Engineering Problems
- Animal Physiology
- Electromagnetic Compatibility
- Biomedical Instrumentation
- Digital Image Processing
- Introduction to Biomaterials
Of course, this is just a sampling of the many engaging courses in this online doctorate program. Candidates must hold a BS from an ABET-accredited engineering program. However, those with a bachelor’s degree in other disciplines may be admitted on a case-by-case basis. A Minimum GPA of 3.0 or a 4.0 scale is required for this research degree.
Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
A Ph.D. in Psychology permits individuals to work in high-level roles in the field. A doctorate degree in psychology can open the door to several career paths, including (but not limited to):
- Couple and Family Psychologist
- Organizational Psychologist
- School Psychologist
- Forensic Psychologist
- Psychology Professor
Those with a Ph.D. in Psychology typically earn between $90,542 and $134,517 a year. And growth in this field is expected to increase by six percent over the next decade. This is about fast as the average for all other occupations. There are also various licenses and certifications one can pursue in psychology. Additionally, there are many specializations in the field. Working toward these can also boost your value in the workplace. And in turn, it can increase your annual salary. Unlike a psychology research degree, doctorate degrees focus on the more practical aspects of the field.
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
Walden University offers a general Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. In addition, they also provide several specialized doctoral degrees, such as:
- Forensic Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Industrial Organizational Psychology
However, the general Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology allows students to choose other focus areas not listed. And candidates can tailor parts of the curriculum to their professional goals.
Students have up to eight years to complete the doctorate program. And they will need to attend four 4-day residencies to fulfill the professional degree requirements. All candidates are also required to complete a dissertation and a doctoral writing assignment. Some of the courses include:
- Lifespan Development
- Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy
- Social Psychology
- Psychology and Social Change
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Online Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies
Regent University offers a Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies. The program is entirely online and requires a total of 51 credits for completion. It includes a common core in statistics, research, and psychometrics. Students will also focus on Christian leadership. All candidates will need to complete a dissertation and capstone project
Students can tailor this program with 11 unique concentrations to meet their own professional goals. Some of these include:
- Addictions Counseling
- Biblical Counseling
- Grief Counseling
- Human Services Counseling
- Life Coaching
- Marriage & Family Ministry
- Pastoral Counseling
- Trauma & Crisis Counseling
Regent uses Blackboard as its online learning management system. From there, students can access all their lectures, assignments, and exams. And they can participate in discussion forums and interact with instructors.
Online Psychology Ph.D. Degree
Northcentral University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology program that is fully online. Students in this professional degree program will focus on applied experiential learning. And the coursework will prepare students to excel in the field. Additionally, candidates can choose from many specializations, including:
- Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders
- Psychology of Gender and Sexual Fluidity
- General Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Social Policy and Behavioral Health Administration
- Trauma and Disaster Relief
- Counseling Psychology
The program requires the completion of 60 credits, and most students can graduate in about 46 months. A unique aspect of Northcentral’s online program is that the school offers start dates every Monday.
You may also like: Can I Earn A Doctorate Degree In Psychology Part-Time?
Doctorate in Education
Getting a Ph.D. in Education opens up several job opportunities that pay well over six figures. Many think that working in education means being a teacher, but there are other professions to pursue as well. Like most fields, earning a doctorate degree typically elevates your work status and salary. Here are a few examples of high-paying roles with a doctoral degree in education :
Director of Instructional Technology: $72,000-$122,000
School Superintendent: $88,000-$178,000
Assistant Professor: $56,000-$100,000
Acadrmic Dean: $67,000-$138,000
So, while there is an emphasis on teaching in this field, there is also room for other impressive careers. Those pursing doctorate degrees in the field have many options. They can choose a program that focuses on real-world practice. Or they can look into obtaining a research degree. Below are three accredited universities that offer online doctorate degrees in education.
University of Arizona Global Campus
Doctor of Philosophy in Education
UAGC offers a fully online Ph.D. in Education. The program provides students with the knowledge and skills to become leaders in the field. This research degee is geared toward candidates who plan to pursue academic careers. As such, much of the focus in this online program is on scholarship and research skills. Some of the courses in this doctorate degree program include:
- Learning & Cognition
- History of Education & Social Change
- Scholarly Argument
- Transformative Issues & Trends in Education
- Educational Leadership Theories & Strategies
- Diversity in Education
- Culture, Curriculum & Learning
- Governance & Politics of Education
- Integrating Technology
Students complete each course one at a time, lasting from six to nine weeks each. You can transfer up to 30 credits into the program. A doctoral dissertation and a capstone seminar are required to earn this professional degree.
UAGC offers online students a wide range of support services. Candidates have access to a doctoral mentoring plan and career development services. Additionally, all students have 24/7 tech support, a Library, and the UAGC mobile app. And everyone gets free access to Microsoft Office 365.
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Online Doctor of Education (EdD)
UIUC offers one of the best online doctor of education programs. This 64-credit-hour program requires two written exams and two oral exams. Candidates will also need to complete a Doctoral Dissertation. All students are assigned a faculty advisor to help them navigate through this professional degree program.
Courses consist of scheduled online video synchronous sessions. The sessions are required for students to interact with their peers and instructors. This synchronous format is ideal for remote students who prefer a more structured learning environment. Courses are approximately six to eight weeks long. Some of the topics covered in this research degree include:
- Curriculum & Instruction
- Educational Practice
- Educational Organization & Leadership
- Educational Policy Studies
- Educational Psychology
- Human Resource Education
- Special Education
The graduate college has a wide range of support services for remote students. For example, the University of Illinois library is one of the largest in the country. And it offers extensive research services. Other online resources at UIUC include:
- Workshops and Certificate Programs
- Leadership Education and Training
- A Technology Entrepreneur Center
- Writers Workshop
- Career Development Services
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Online Doctor of Education
Northeastern offers a flexible Doctor of Education program. This professional degree is designed for working professionals and learners from a variety of backgrounds. And it was selected as the Carnegie Project EdD Program of the Year for 2022-2023.
All of the courses for this research degree can be completed online. However, students will need to attend annual in-person two-day residencies at one of the NU campuses.
The program can be taken full or part-time. And most students can complete it within three to four years. Start dates are in the Fall and Winter. There are five unique concentrations to choose from within this doctorate degree:
- Higher Education Administration
- Innovative Teaching and Learning
- Transformative School Leadership
- Workplace Learning
- Integrative Studies
This professional degree program allows educators to remain at their workplaces. They can then use research and experiential learning opportunities in those environments. This means that candidates receive hands-on experience applying their new skills right away.
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
Looking to earn a master’s degree in education? Check out The 30 Best Online Masters in Education Programs .
Other Doctorate Types To Consider
The doctorate degrees listed in this article are just a few of the many different types of doctorate degrees pursue. As we discussed previously, there are many Ph.D. types. And you can earn a doctorate degree in nearly any field of study. Online doctorate degree programs are not as plentiful as bachelor’s degree and master’s degree programs. However, they are becoming increasingly popular. And we are seeing more online doctorate degree programs created every year. Before we close, here are a few other different doctorate degrees worth mentioning.
Doctor of Dental Surgery and Doctor of Dental Medicine
In dentistry, there are two doctorate degree programs to pursue. The first is a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). The second is the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). A Doctor of Dental Medicine and a Doctor of Dental Surgery are the same degrees. And students will cover the same curriculum in both types of Ph.D. programs. However, it is up to each school to determine how to title the degree program.
It takes about eight years to earn a Doctor of Dental Medicine or Doctor of Dental Surgery . The first four years are spent earning a bachelor’s degree. Students usually choose a bachelor’s degree in health sciences. The final four years of study are in pursuit of the DDS. Students can also pursue a master’s degree in dentistry.
This doctorate degree degree takes only a little less time than medical school. However, if you want to specialize in a particular area of dentistry, you will need to obtain additional training.
Those with this professional doctorate earn between $98,000 and $218,000 annually.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
You’ll need to attend school for about eight years to practice veterinary medicine. The first four years are spent earning a bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine or a related field. Generally students will pursue a bachelor’s degree in zoology or health sciences. Master’s degree programs in veterinary medicine are also available. The final four years are spent pursuing a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
In the US, there are many doctorate degree programs in veterinary medicine. And in some cases, you can complete a large portion of this doctoral degree online.
Those with these types of Ph.D.s earn between $68,000 and $128,000 annually.
Doctor of Nursing Practice
A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is also called a Doctor of Nursing Science. This professional degree represents the highest level of nursing education . Students in Ph.D. nursing science programs have advanced skills and knowledge in the field. And they are prepared for leadership roles wherever they may choose to practice.
You will need at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing to begin your pursuit of a DNP. Doctor of Nursing Science can take one to three years to complete. For example, if a student already has a master’s degree in nursing science, it can take less time for this type of Ph.D. There are also many MSN to DNP programs available. However, most programs require 33 to 43 credits. Additionally, students usually need at least 500 clinical practice hours to earn the doctoral degree.
Those with these professional doctorate degrees earn between $65,000 and $124,000 annually.
Doctor of Podiatric Medicine
A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) is also known as a podiatrist. A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine is qualified to diagnose and treat foot and ankle conditions. Podiatrists are medical professionals who qualify as physicians based on their rigorous training.
To earn a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, students must first earn a bachelor’s degree. Then, they can apply to a podiatric medical school. The course of study to become a DPM takes four years. During medical school, candidates will have basic instruction in medical sciences. And they will take all of the typical doctorate degree coursework other medical students do. That includes anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and more. Most medical students must also complete at least two years of residency training. After this, they can earn their Doctor of Podiatric Medicine.
Those with these professional doctorate degrees earn between $93,000 and $239,000 annually.
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic medicine doctors specialize in all-natural approaches to treating diseases and illnesses. The demand for naturopathic medicine specialists is high right now as people look for alternative ways to stay healthy. So this is an excellent doctorate degree to pursue.
There are several steps to earning your professional doctorate degree in naturopathic medicine. First, you need a bachelor’s degree in a related program. Most students focus on degrees like biology or chemistry. Then, you will need to attend a four-year naturopathic medical school. There are only a handful of such medical schools in the country.
During medical school, you will undergo the same training as those pursuing a medical degree . Then, depending on your focus area, you will typically complete a clinical residency that takes between two and four years. After this, you can apply to a graduate naturopathic medical school. This requires another four years of post-graduate study. Once you finish naturopathic medical school, you can take the licensing examination.
Those with this professional doctorate earn between $38,000 and $103,000 annually.
This concludes our article on the different types of doctoral degrees.
To explore different doctoral degrees further, check out How Are Doctorate Degrees Different From Each Other?
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What's the difference between a phd and a professional doctoral degree.
If you’re thinking about pursuing a doctoral degree, including an online doctoral degree , you might be considering a PhD vs. doctorate. Perhaps you’re wondering, “What is a PhD, exactly?” or “Is a doctorate a PhD?” You’re not alone in asking these questions. In many fields of study, you can choose between a PhD degree and a professional doctorate. For instance, you could earn a Doctor of Education (EdD) or a PhD in Education.
What does PhD stand for? A PhD is a Doctor of Philosophy. In answer to the question, “Is a PhD a doctor,” the answer is yes. Both a PhD and a professional doctorate like an EdD earn you the title of “doctor.” But there are differences between the types of doctoral degrees. Learn more about a PhD vs. a professional doctorate below.
Is a Professional Doctorate the Same as a PhD?
Professional doctorate and PhD degrees are considered terminal degrees, meaning when you earn either degree, you will have achieved the highest formal degree in the field. As such, they can significantly enhance your résumé and your career. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, doctoral degree holders earn about 20% more on average per week than those who have a master’s degree. 1
When choosing a doctorate vs. PhD, consider the focus of the degree. A PhD is an academic degree focused on original research, data analysis, and the evaluation of theory. A professional doctorate focuses on applying research to practical problems, formulating solutions to complex issues, and designing effective professional practices within your field.
Is a PhD Higher Than a Professional Doctorate?
No, a PhD is not a higher degree than a professional doctorate. If you’re wondering what’s better than a PhD, both PhDs and professional doctorates are the highest level of college education that can be earned. Both degrees are doctoral degrees.
Professional doctoral degree examples include the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) , Doctor of Education (EdD) , Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) , and Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) . Or you could earn a PhD in Management , PhD in Education , PhD in Nursing , or PhD in Public Health . All of these degrees are doctoral degrees, even though some are professional doctorates and some are PhDs.
Differences Between a Professional Doctorate and a PhD
When deciding between a PhD vs. a doctorate, it’s important to understand that while both are doctoral degrees, the educational goals and typical career paths for each type of degree differ.
When it comes time to choose, it’s good to know that both PhD degrees and professional doctorates have their strengths. Your decision should be based on what you want to study and how you want to use your degree. Explore the key differences between a professional doctorate and a PhD in the chart below.
Dissertation and Doctoral Study Requirements
While all colleges and universities establish their own policies on how you earn a degree, the methods by which you earn a PhD or a professional doctorate almost always differ. Though it can vary by degree program and university, PhD candidates usually complete a dissertation while many doctoral candidates complete a doctoral study.
A doctoral study requires you to identify a real-world problem within your field and research it thoroughly with the intent of uncovering new understandings that can eventually lead to new solutions. Completing the study takes multiple steps, which may include:
- Creating a proposal that describes the problem you want to solve, the design of your study, and the methodology you’ll use.
- Orally defending your proposal to the committee.
- Collecting data and writing findings.
- Orally defending your findings to the committee.
A PhD dissertation requires you to conduct research into an approved area of study within your discipline. While this can be in an area that has not yet been explored, it often complements existing knowledge by adding new or missing research. Completing the dissertation takes multiple steps, including:
- Drafting a dissertation prospectus and orally defending your proposal to a committee.
- Completing the research.
- Writing the research dissertation, which includes your methods, findings, literature review, and conclusions.
- Orally defending your completed dissertation to a committee.
What Do You Learn When Studying for a PhD vs. Doctorate?
A PhD is designed for college graduates who are interested in doing original and applied research that tests theory and adds to the existing knowledge in their particular field or discipline. A PhD program can help you learn how to:
- Analyze theories and concepts within your field.
- Evaluate the relevance of seminal, current, and emerging theories within your field.
- Assess identified gaps in the current research literature.
- Advance the body of knowledge in your field through original research.
- Communicate effectively to an academic audience and general stakeholders.
A professional doctorate is designed for working professionals who have practical experience in their field and want to increase their knowledge, advance their careers, and translate their work experience into a higher position of credibility, leadership, and influence. A professional doctorate program can help you learn how to:
- Evaluate the relevance of current and emerging theories and practices within your field.
- Formulate effective solutions to complex, real-world problems common to your field.
- Apply current research to practical problems in your field.
- Design rigorous research that expands the professional body of knowledge in your field.
Not all universities offer fellowship programs; however, many do. And while fellowships are often offered to PhD students conducting research, there are also programs designed for professional doctoral degree candidates.
How You Can Earn Your PhD or Professional Doctoral Degree
PhD degrees and professional doctorates have this in common: You can earn either through an online university. Why should you add online options to your list of universities to consider? Because online education provides a number of benefits you won’t enjoy at even an exceptional campus-based university.
Walden University is an accredited online university offering professional doctorates and PhD degree programs online . When you choose Walden, you won’t have to worry about moving to be close to campus. You won’t even have to drive to a campus. Instead, when you earn a degree online, you can complete the majority of your coursework from home. Plus, both online PhD programs and online professional doctorate programs often offer a flexible format that doesn’t require you to attend class at a specific time of day. With Walden’s online degree programs, you can arrange your learning schedule so that it works with your full-time job and family responsibilities.
Visit Walden’s online doctoral degree page to see the wide range of professional doctorate and PhD programs offered. Find out how Walden’s numerous support opportunities, from doctoral peer mentors to knowledgeable financial advisors, can help make your doctoral degree experience a success. For more details, explore Walden’s doctoral journey page . There, you’ll learn more about what your educational path could look like, what it takes to earn a doctorate, and how to fund your degree.
Still have questions? Simply complete a quick form online to request information . Whether you have questions about degree programs, admissions, financial aid, or any other details, a Walden Enrollment Specialist will respond with all of the information you need.
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The highest level of academic degree an educational institution can confer to a student is called a Doctorate. The degree is usually conferred as a “Ph.D.” or a Doctor of Philosophy, but this does not necessarily mean an expert on the discipline of Philosophy (unless it is a Ph.D. program in Philosophy). It means “doctor,” which implies the highest level of expertise on a particular subject matter.
The word “Philosophy” means the continued pursuit of knowledge. In academia, the conferment of a Ph.D. title affords the student who earned it the gravitas and authority to research further the discipline of their choice, which is essentially the objective of applying to a doctoral program.
A point of confusion among many is if doctorates are solely Ph.D. degrees. If so, what about other degrees that also confer the title “Doctor” to its graduates, like Medicine, Physical Therapy, Dentistry, or Law? These are also doctorates but are known as Applied or Professional Doctorates. At the same time, the Ph.D. doctorate is known as a Research or Academic doctorate.
Below are the salient differences between the two:
Many will also assume that a Ph.D. is confined to the Liberal Arts, while applied doctorates are concentrated in STEM and healthcare. This is false. An example is a doctoral program in Physics or Chemistry or Biomedical Engineering. All these three are under the STEM umbrella, but the doctorate title conferred for all three is the Doctor of Philosophy title because it concentrates on research.
Conversely, law graduates are conferred with the Juris Doctor title, or J.D., and not Ph.D., despite the field of study being under the liberal arts umbrella. This is because a J.D. program concentrates on applying doctoral law studies into real-life practice rather than research. Graduates of applied or professional doctorates are also qualified to do extensive research. However, this is not their focus.
Why Get a Doctorate Degree?
The most sensible response to this question is another question: Are you in it for the salary bump or the endless pursuit of knowledge?
Some doctorate degrees will impart significant marketability (role and industry versatility) and salary increase for the professional. Let’s discuss some examples from different disciplines.
First example: A Physical Therapist Assistant (P.T.A.) earns a median wage of $28K annually, according to the latest BLS data . An applied doctorate program in Physical Therapy, which is the obvious next step career-wise, will mean a four to five-fold increase in the median salary to $91K a year.
Second example: Post-secondary or college educators , all of whom have doctorates (otherwise, they can’t teach at this level), earn a median wage of $80K a year. This figure could go higher depending on the discipline being taught, with law, economics, engineering, science, and healthcare professors earning above the $90K mark a year. But a doctorate in Administration and Leadership (Doctor of Education, Ed.D.) allows professors to go beyond academia and hold administrative positions (provost, deanship, department chair, or university president) in universities and colleges. They could also branch out into government work, specifically in educational policy analysis and implementation, usually under government agencies like the Education Department. In terms of salary, an Ed.D. degree could also mean a median salary increase of about 10%.
On the other hand, other doctorate degrees, like applied and professional doctorates, are the only pathway towards a specific profession. Take physicians, dentists, optometrists, lawyers, audiologists, and pharmacists as some examples (all these professions and their corresponding doctorate degrees are included in the list below). You must pursue the corresponding doctorate program for your profession of choice. A bachelor’s degree alone is usually required upon application (as well as passing the corresponding entrance exam). A master’s degree, meanwhile, is not required (see table above).
Then some pursue doctorate degrees simply for the love of research and further studies, although a bachelor’s degree will suffice to gain entry-level employment. Some areas of study include English, Economics, Statistics, and even Computer Science (also included in the list below).
The financial rewards may be lucrative, but the cost of attendance could be just as costly, that you will end up, at best, breaking even, or worse, in debt. It is best to reflect on whether your passion for more information outweighs the cost of going back to school in these disciplines. We have included these degrees in the list to provide a balanced insight.
In summary, these tips will help you decide on whether or not you should apply to a doctorate program:
- If your current occupation is a skilled trade earned from an associate degree and you want to move your career upwards, then a doctorate should be a viable option (assuming you have completed your undergraduate studies with a bachelor’s degree or a bridging program).
- Suppose you have set your career sights on becoming a physician, lawyer, dentist, or any of these specialized medical professions like a pediatrician, a neurologist, a surgeon, a psychologist, and the like. In that case, you must prepare and apply for medical, dental, or law school after earning your bachelor’s degree.
- If you are into the endless and prestigious pursuit of knowledge and a master’s degree won’t suffice, and money is not a concern, consider applying to a doctorate program where all you will do is more research with a few courses here and there.
The 20 Most Popular Doctorate Degree Programs
The entry-level requirement for a Physical Therapist is a doctorate, or a D.P.T. Students can check for available accredited D.P.T. programs through the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) website. State licensure is also required to practice. Most P.T.s first earn a two-year degree in Physical Therapy Assistant (P.T.A.) to work and then complete their undergraduate studies, usually through a P.T.A. to P.T. Bridge program.
At the doctorate level, students will take advanced courses on biomechanics, physiology for physical therapists, functional anatomy, basic clinical didactics, musculoskeletal disorders, pharmacology, therapeutic exercise, and neuroscience. A typical D.P.T. program lasts for two to three years, culminating with a year-long (or even longer) clinical internship.
Possible Career Settings: hospitals, rehabilitation centers, recreation centers, community centers, private clinics, nursing homes, or academe as instructors or professors.
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $63K to $126K Annual median salary: $91K
BEST DOCTOR OF PHYSICAL THERAPY GRADUATE SCHOOLS
Educational Leadership and Administration (General)
An Educational Leadership and Administration doctoral degree is geared towards research, administrative and leadership roles in education. In an educational institution, some roles include principals, deans, provosts, or registrars. Graduates can work in either educational institutions, communities, social advocacies, or private organizations, holding mid-level administrative and leadership roles. Their work is usually focused on identifying workplace or societal challenges and spearheading and impacting changes based on their doctorate training.
The degree is usually conferred as a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) specializing in Leadership and Administration. Students in the program learn about organizational theory, human resource management, program implementation and evaluation, financial management, politics, law, and policy in the education sector, psychology, and behavioral science. A research project and seminars may be required to culminate to program.
Possible career settings: public or private schools of all levels, government offices (federal, state, or local), non-profit groups, social and community work, human resources, corporate recruitment, and corporate leadership.
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $56K to $199K Annual median salary: $97K
Best Doctor of Educational Leadership and Administration Graduate Schools
While a bachelor’s degree is a sufficient entry-level requirement for professional work, many chemists go into advanced studies, particularly doctoral studies. The doctoral status affords greater credibility for chemists authoring or contributing to research published in peer-reviewed journals and scientific literature. They can manage research teams as well and hold teaching positions, especially in higher academia.
Students at the doctoral level study higher level chemistry (and its sub-fields like physical, organic, inorganic, analytical, etc.), mathematics, computer science, data analysis, biology, spectroscopy, and many others. Most, if not all, the courses, will have laboratory components. A dissertation defense, usually about a new research topic and its experimental execution, is required to culminate the program.
Possible career settings: manufacturing sector (industrial, pharmaceutical, food, cosmetic, etc.), laboratories (product development and testing, theoretical testing, application testing, research, and development, etc.), academe (graduate level), government work (USDA, D.E.A., etc.) and funded research in universities or government agencies (e.g., NASA, J.P.L., U.S. Military, etc.).
Salary range according to data from the American Chemical Society: $77K to $120K Annual median salary: $100K
Best Doctor of Chemistry Graduate Schools
Clinical Psychology involves evidence-based counseling for various demographics and settings. It has a greater focus on clinical counseling and in-patient work rather than research and the academe. Its in-patient work focuses on psychopathology or the abnormalities in mental states and their behavioral manifestations in patients. The entry-level academic requirement is a Doctor in Psychology degree or a Psy.D. (in contrast with a Ph.D. in Psychology, see item number 6 below). Many clinical psychologists pursue a specialization (or multiple specializations). Some of the recognized specializations by the A.P.A. include Educational Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Neuropsychology, or Child and Adolescent Psychology, among many others.
A doctoral program in Clinical Psychology typically includes courses on Psychometry, Clinical Psychopathology, Psychotherapy, assessment techniques, intervention techniques, and statistics in preparation for research. Instead of a dissertation, a year-long (or longer) practical internship may require doctoral candidates to earn the degree.
Possible career settings: hospitals, treatment centers or clinics, rehabilitation centers or clinics, private practice, schools, research organizations, and community or social centers.
Salary range according to Payscale data : $53K $113K Annual median salary: $80K
Best Doctor of Clinical Psychology Graduate Schools
Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering
A doctoral degree in electrical, electronics, and communications engineering can open the doors not only for tenure positions in the academe or research. It can also allow graduates to work across various industries, gradually integrating and implementing complex network infrastructures, digital communications systems, and advanced circuitries to automate and streamline processes and technologies. Electrical and Communications Engineers with a Ph.D. can lend their lengthy industry experience and breadth of exposure in advanced technology research to various sectors that adapt to newer and faster ways of doing things.
Most universities offer a doctoral program in Electrical or Electronics Engineering with Network Communications or Telecommunications as one of the emphases. Other specializations include Optics, Computer Engineering, Electromagnetics, and many others. A typical EE-Communications Ph.D. program has courses on robotics, A.I., network and data infrastructure, signals, wireless systems, coding or programming, digital communications systems, and engineering-level troubleshooting, to name a few.
Possible career settings: biomedicine, manufacturing, industrial, finance, military and defense, communications, space technology, transportation, consumer electronics, and even mass media.
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $64K to $159K Annual median salary: $100K
A Ph.D. in Psychology (Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology) is geared towards a multifaceted career in the field. One can do research, teach in universities, and even hold clinical practice. There is, however, a greater emphasis on research work rather than patient work. This is in contrast to a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree, which focuses on clinical or patient work.
A typical curriculum in a Ph.D. program in Psychology consists of courses on research, statistics, teaching, psychology fundamentals like developmental, cognitive and social, professional issues, and many others. It also includes courses on clinical psychology and psychopathology. Compared to Psy.D. programs, which are generally shorter by a year, a Ph.D. in Psychology program usually lasts for two to three years. Some Ph.D. programs may only require either an internship, a practicum, or a dissertation for completion. Some may require a combination of all these for graduation.
Possible career settings: research, academe, specialized counseling, community and social work, consultancy, or industrial and organizational work (corporate).
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $46K to $137K Annual median salary: $82K
A Ph.D. in education would allow teachers at the secondary and below to teach at universities and colleges. Their specialization or focus will depend on their undergraduate and master’s degrees. With further experience and training, they could also hold administrative roles in their respective departments or colleges or get tenured. They could also carve a career in academic research.
Students enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Education take courses that focus on education delivery and instructional design. Courses like literacy assessment and evaluation, curriculum design, and delivery techniques are usually included in the curriculum. Topics on leadership, policy, and management are also included, although with less focus. A dissertation is required to earn the doctorate title.
Possible career settings: public or private universities and colleges, specialized occupational organizations or associations, and research.
Salary range according to B.L.S. Data : $40K to $179K Annual median salary: $80K
Best Doctor of Education Graduate Schools
Like chemists, physicists also pursue doctoral degrees to become better equipped in research and academia, even though a bachelor’s degree in Physics is the entry-level requirement for many related roles. Physicists pride themselves on having doctorates and being engaged in the continuous pursuit of new knowledge about the universe.
A typical curriculum in a Ph.D. program in Physics consists of advanced or physics-level mathematics, statistics, computer science or engineering, programming, quantum mechanics, dynamics, nanoscience, cosmology, particle physics, experimental or applied physics, astronomical physics, biophysics, computational models, theories in physics (e.g., Relativity Theory, String Theory, Loop Quantum Theory), and special topics in physics, to name a few. A dissertation is required for program completion.
Possible career settings: government research centers, academic research, funded research, academe, consultancy for industries like life sciences, pharmaceutical, space technology, mass media, and pop culture (e.g., sci-fi or futuristic movies or shows), and biomedicine, among others.
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $67K to $208K Annual median salary: $129K
Best Doctor of Physics Graduate Schools
English Language and Literature (General)
A doctorate in English offers several career options aside from academe and research. A career in public relations, communications, strategy, journalism, mass media (scriptwriting, film, editorials, etc.), advertising, publishing, editorship, or authorship are just some of the many pathways for professionals with this degree.
A typical curriculum in a Ph.D. program in English and Literature includes courses like linguistics, translation (foreign language courses may be required), literary analysis, professional studies, and graduate seminars in preparation for dissertation research and defense.
Possible career settings: academe, research, corporate, mass media, journalism, publishing, public relations, political campaigns, advertising, consultancy, or English curriculum design.
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $39K to $141K Annual median salary: $69K
Best Doctor of English Language and Literature Graduate Schools
Audiology / Audiologist and Hearing Sciences
Audiologists are specialized health professionals who diagnose and treat hearing problems. They treat patients of all ages, from pediatric to geriatric patients. They also administer hearing devices or implement patient programs to help rehabilitate or regain their impaired sense of hearing. The entry-level academic requirements to practice are a doctorate in Audiology (Au.D.) and a state license. Most Au.D. programs require four years of study for completion.
The usual courses included in an Au.D. program include vestibular anatomy and physiology, acoustic sciences, psychoacoustics, types of hearing devices, vestibular pathologies, biological aspects of sound, and laboratory courses, to name some. Most Au.D. programs require a combination of the capstone project(s), clinical exams, and a year-long externship for completion.
Possible career settings: hospitals, specialty clinics, physician’s offices, and adjunctive or rehabilitative treatment clinics (in combination with speech therapists, occupational and physical therapists).
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $56K to $128K Annual median salary: $81K
Best Doctor of Audiology Graduate Schools
A doctorate in Statistics gears students towards a career in research and post-secondary teaching. Statisticians under the Ph.D. program typically deep dive into applying statistical models, theory, and probability to a particular field. And this is where statistics integrates with other disciplines, like business, finance, medicine, epidemiology, data science, insurance, economics, sociology, psychology, and information science, among many others. In these industries, statisticians with a doctorate can hold senior roles.
A typical statistics doctoral program consists of courses on advanced mathematics, statistical models, Bayesian Statistics, regression, variances, data science and analysis, and many others. Students are also expected to learn about different statistical software programs and visual communication, which could help them with data visualization and presentation. A dissertation is required for the completion of the doctorate program.
Possible career settings: research, academia, and almost any industry that requires preliminary studies, polls, focus group discussions, experiments, data analyses, interpretation, visualization, and presentation.
The salary range according to Payscale data will depend on the role and the industry where the statistician is employed:
- Senior data scientists (I.T., marketing, advertising, sales, insurance, finance industries): $104K to $174K, annual median salary: $140K
- Senior biostatistician (life sciences, healthcare industries): $83K to $143K, annual median salary: $112K
- Senior statistician (social sciences, research, academe): $76K to $153K, annual median salary: $109K
Best Doctor of Statistics Graduate Schools
Biomedical engineers combine the disciplines of mechanics and medicine to create electronic and automated systems and devices that are essential in healthcare delivery. Devices like defibrillators, monitoring systems, pacemakers, limb prosthetics, organ implants, ultrasound machines, M.R.I., CT Scans, and all the software programs that come with it are just some of the upshots of this profession. The engineers design and create, but they also implement the technologies and maintain their performance within the patient’s body or bedside.
While a bachelor’s degree is the profession’s entry-level requirement, those with a Ph.D. in the discipline have greater advantages. Through constant research exposure, doctorates are more likely to employ advanced technologies in medical systems and devices. They could also lead R&D teams, and of course, teach at universities and colleges.
Some of the courses to be expected in a Ph.D. program in Biomedical Engineering include biomechanics, biomaterials, advanced mathematics, bioimaging concepts and methods, bio instrumentation, rehabilitation engineering, stem cell biology, tissue engineering, and biostatistics, to name some. Some programs may also include courses on robotics, machine learning, and A.I. and its application to healthcare and medicine.
Possible career settings: medical manufacturing, specialized research centers (government-funded or private), information technology (for medical software application and engineering), hospitals or clinics (for those with an M.D. degree as well), medical organizations and non-profits, rehabilitation centers, or community recreation centers, and academia.
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $56K to $149K Annual median salary: $92K
The course of study for becoming a physician (or a “doctor,” in layman speak) can usually last for a decade or even longer. A bachelor’s degree and passing the MCAT are requirements to enter medical school, leading to the conferment of a Doctor in Medicine (M.D.) degree. There is no requirement for a master’s degree before qualifying for med school, nor is there a specific undergraduate degree requirement – any B.S. or B.A. degree will do. But certain undergraduate degrees will prove advantageous going into medical schools, such as Biology, Pharmacy, Nursing, Public Health, Behavioral Science, Psychology, Chemistry, Health Informatics, Health Management, Emergency Medicine, Health Sciences, and many more.
Students in medical school are expected to gain a holistic understanding of the discipline, with the competency to apply these onto real patients. Under any M.D. program, students will take courses on anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, serology, anesthesiology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, and pharmacology.
Importantly, med schools extensively feature the main courses on the body’s various organ systems, such as cardiology, pulmonology, neurology, gastrointestinal system, reproductive systems, lymphatic system, dermatology, and immune system. They will also take didactic courses to train them on patient intake, history taking, different diagnostic aids and techniques, interpretation of results, and diagnosis and treatment plan formulation. Exams, clerkships, and internships are all required to complete the program.
After medical school and earning a state license, physicians then choose a specialization and enter residency programs, fellowship programs, or further training and education under their focus of choice. Examples include anesthesiology, neurology, surgery, family medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, urology, cardiology, pediatrics, geriatrics, psychiatry, pulmonology, and dermatology.
Possible career settings: hospitals (mainly), private practice, clinics, research, medical organizations (for research, advocacy, consultancy), medical journalism (journals and other peer-reviewed literature), inter-industry consultancy (e.g., consulting for I.T. companies developing medical software or devices), or the academe.
Despite the slow job projection growth , physicians will always be in demand, no matter what the statistics say. The current pandemic just proved that.
Medical specialty with highest and lowest annual median salary according to B.L.S. data : Anesthesiologists, at $271K and Pediatricians, at $184K Annual median salary (across all specialties): $208K
Best Doctor of Medicine Graduate Schools
Like medicine, dentistry is also a straight-to-doctorate program that will require completing an undergraduate degree before admission to dental school. Passing the Dental Admissions Test (D.A.T.) is also required. A master’s is not required for admission. The degree conferred is either Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.D.M.) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.).
The minimum total study time required to earn the degree is typically eight years (including the four-year study at the undergraduate level). This could be longer by two more years, at least, if post-doctoral studies such as orthodontics, endodontics, pediatric dentistry, oral-maxillofacial surgery, prosthodontics, or periodontics are taken as well.
A D.D.M. or D.D.S. program curriculum is usually composed of courses similar to a Doctor of Medicine curriculum, like anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pathology, infection control, and pharmacology. From the second year onwards, the courses become more dental science-concentrated, with more laboratory components. These courses include dental materials, dental anesthesiology, cariology, operative dentistry, and the various sub-specialties like prosthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, etcetera for holistic dental training. To complete the program, a combination of exams and clinical internship, and clerkship are required.
Possible career settings: private clinical practice, hospitals, academe, schools (school dentists), corporate (company dentists), research, manufacturing/marketing/sales/R&D (dental materials, dental devices like implants or orthodontic braces, dental technology products like intraoral scanners, dental CAD-CAM machines, and dental 3D printers, etc.), consultancy, dental journalism, dental informatics, dental entrepreneurship, community dentistry, and government work (either as a researcher, consultant, dentist or a combination of these).
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $79K to $208K Annual median salary: $164K
Best Doctor of Dentistry Graduate Schools
Pharmacists need to have a doctorate in pharmacy or Pharm.D., and a state license to practice. The Pharm.D. program typically lasts for four years and usually requires a capstone project and internship experiences to culminate the program. Any degree in the bachelor level is accepted into the program. A master’s degree is not a requirement.
A typical curriculum in the Doctor of Pharmacy program includes courses like biology, chemistry, physics, pharmaceutics, pharmacodynamics, nomenclature, cell biology, pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenetics, pharmacotherapeutics specific to organ systems, pharmacy management, hospital practice, industry practice, nuclear pharmacy, and many others.
A course on drug development may or may not be included in some programs. A pharmacist’s role is more focused on dispensing and monitoring patient prescriptions than manufacturing medicines. But a rudimentary knowledge in drug manufacturing could be useful, especially for pharmacists who would go into consultancy or industrial work in the pharmaceutical industry. For this particular role, additional studies on microbiology, statistics, advanced chemistry, genetics, biochemistry, microscopic anatomy, and physiology, among others, may be needed.
Despite the projected decline in job demand , pharmacists are still expected to rebound in the job market, especially during and after the pandemic, where a rise in immunizations and drug dispensations are expected. Pharmacists can also administer immunizations to patients as well.
Possible career settings: hospitals, pharmacies (located in groceries, convenience stores, or standalone pharmacies), community centers, research, government, specialty groups and organizations, pharmaceutical companies (with further studies), and academia.
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $85K to $164K Annual median salary: $128K
Aerospace engineers have specialized roles that allow them to design, create and implement aircraft and other space-bound machines like satellites, payloads, space stations, missiles, and other spacecraft. While a bachelor’s degree is generally accepted as an entry-level professional requirement, a doctorate is more appreciated in these circles. This is because of their extensive experience in research on advanced space science and technologies, which can be applied to the creation and testing of prototypes.
A doctoral program in Aerospace Engineering typically lasts for three years. The curriculum usually consists of courses on rocket propulsion, aerodynamics, fluid dynamics, thermo-fluid dynamics, aircraft/spacecraft essentials (design, control, materials, differences of manned and unmanned crafts, identification, etc., remediation), spacecraft operations, and many other related topics.
One of the more important objectives of space exploration and engineering is its application to other industries like the military, manufacturing, transportation, medicine, and consumer electronics. This is great for Aerospace Engineers as they can carve careers in other industries beyond space technology.
Possible career settings: Military/defense technologies, biomedicine technologies, transportation (aviation, nautical, and land), manufacturing (all industries), construction, product R&D, infrastructure and public works, research, and academia.
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $72K to $171K Annual median salary: $118K
Juris Doctor / Law
Lawyers undergo rigorous training once they start law school to earn a Juris Doctor program (J.D.). Such a program typically lasts for three years. However, diligent students who can withstand the pressure can complete the program in two years. Part-time students can earn the J.D. title in four years. Many lawyers say the first year of law school is the most rigorous .
Admission to law school requires a bachelor’s degree and passing marks in the LSAT. While any bachelor’s degree will do, an undergraduate degree in Political Science, Social Science, Public Administration, Governance, Economics, Public Policy, or International Affairs may prove advantageous going into law school. Paralegals who are associate degree holders must earn a bachelor’s degree before applying for law school.
Law students study the nitty-gritty of the law like the Constitution and specialized courses on law like criminal law, corporate law, environmental law, family law, labor law, property law, trial law, and international law. They also study the ins and outs of contracts, taxation, litigation, jury selection, and empirical analysis, among others.
Possible career settings: government (district attorney’s office, judgeship), all industries in the private sector (as legal counsel or in-house counsel for companies), private law firm practice, organizations (for-profit, non-profit, private), public office, legal clinics, and the academe. Some lawyers also edit and supervise law review articles written by law students in peer-reviewed law journals and literature.
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $61K to $208K Annual median salary: $126K
Optometry (O.D. Doctor of Optometry)
Optometrists are specialty doctors focused on diagnosing and treating eye problems. They are knowledgeable on the muscular, neurological, and vascular anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the eyes. They can also prescribe eye medications and adjuncts like eyeglasses, and contact lenses, when necessary. They do not, however, perform ophthalmic or eye surgeries (e.g., LASIK). That is an ophthalmologist’s job, a type of physician with residency training and fellowship to study ophthalmology.
The program of study for Optometrists is similar to that of Dentists – both employ a dedicated straight-to-doctorate program, which culminates in either a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) or Doctor of Dental Medicine or Surgery (D.D.M./D.D.S.) title. While physicians, on the other hand, after completing the M.D. program, still have to undergo specialty training under the focus of their choice. All disciplines will also require a state license to practice.
Optometrists usually study ocular anatomy, physiology, microbiology and pathology, examination and testing techniques, perception study, ocular pharmacology, business management, vision rehabilitation, and prescription and delivery/implementation of ocular or vision adjuncts (glasses, contact lenses).
Possible career settings: private practices (usually with dentists and other allied medical practices, or independent, solo practice), and health and integrative wellness practices.
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $60K to $195K Annual median salary: $118K
The field of economics is all about research, the employment of statistics in these studies, and its presentation to concerned parties. While many positions for economists in the industry will only require a bachelor’s degree, having a Ph.D. affords more gravitas to the professional holding the role. And those with a doctorate in economics are better equipped and more experienced to provide insight.
Any bachelor’s degree is usually accepted into an economics doctorate program. But those with an undergraduate degree in Economics, Statistics, Mathematics, Social Science, Political Science, Business Management, Business Administration, or Finance are at a better advantage as they transition into the research-heavy world of doctorate programs.
Depending on the university, a Ph.D. program in Economics will usually last anywhere from three to five years. It will also include courses on Micro and Macro Economic Theory, Advanced Econometrics, and Communications, which build the foundation for data visualization and presentation skills. A dissertation is required to complete the doctoral program.
Possible career settings: consultancy in various industries – from corporate to government, research organizations/think tanks/advocacy organizations, research, and academia.
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $59K to $198K Annual median salary: $108K
Computer Science / Information Science / Computer Engineering
Many I.T. professionals will weigh against a Ph.D. Many would say it is no longer necessary, and whatever you need to learn, you can learn on the job or through non-degree certificates. Personalities like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are the heroes of this argument. Other tech big names like Larry Page and Elon Musk did pursue doctoral degrees but later on left their programs to start their enterprises – Google and PayPal (which later on evolved into SpaceX), respectively.
When Musk was asked why he dropped out of his Ph.D. program at Stanford, it was because he could not just sit idly while internet companies were popping here and there, expanding their global footprints. In short, he wanted to be part of the tech-startup race.
So, what’s the lesson here for I.T. professionals dancing on the idea of a Ph.D.? Why should you stay, or why should you leave (or not even apply, in the first place)?
Apply and stay in the program if you are the I.T. professional who is more intrigued by research and the advancement of the field, without dealing with stakeholders, business plans, expansion plans, budgets, and all those back-office stuff. Musk was more interested in being a tech-entrepreneur, based on the I.T. skills and knowledge he already had even before his college years. If you can relate to him, then a Ph.D. in Computer Science, Engineering, or Information Systems is probably not for you. Bank on the skills and knowledge you already have, and you might be better off with your start-up.
As for the aspiring doctoral candidates in Computer Science (or Information Systems), be ready to take on advanced courses on algorithms, computer systems, network infrastructures, new and advanced programming languages, software development and engineering, machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, and their real-life applications (i.e., consumer products, consumer electronics, Internet-of-Things, etc.).
Some words of advice from professionals (thanks to a cursory scroll at forums like Stack Exchange in Quora): students pursuing a Ph.D. in C.S. will have a brighter future in research if they concentrate on software development and engineering rather than in programming. And again, only do a Ph.D. if you are interested in research, software development, machine learning, and A.I. (and other advanced I.T. fields), not in running a start-up. Instead, use your breadth of knowledge in programming languages as a tool in exploring the possibilities in software development and its applications.
Possible career settings: I.T. industry (tech giants like Google are continuously hiring I.T. professionals with a Ph.D., with close to 20% of its employees having doctorates ), the space tech industry, government (e.g., military, defense, cybersecurity, dedicated research centers), entrepreneurship (freelance, proprietary business or collaboration, start-up), and academia.
Salary range according to B.L.S. data : $72K to $194K Annual median salary: $126K
Dr. Jared Goff Chief Editor
Types of Doctorate Degrees
- January 12, 2023
There are many types of doctorate degrees available, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for before deciding. This article will discuss the different types of doctorate degrees and their optimal benefits.
We’ll also give you a list of the most common doctorate degrees and explain them. So read on to learn more about the different types of doctorate degrees and how they can benefit you!
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Note: There are many different doctorates available, and they all have their own unique functions, but we’ve mentioned some of the most popular ones here.
There are many doctorates covered in the table, which are divided into different types; let’s discuss them in detail:
There are a variety of types of academic doctorates, each with its own focus and requirements. These include the basic Ph.D., which is awarded for original research in traditional academic subjects, and more specialized doctoral degrees, such as the MD or DDS.
Academic Doctorates are higher education degrees, typically earned after a student has completed a bachelor’s degree and completed a graduate program in an academic field.
Academic Doctorates may be earned in any area of study, but are most commonly awarded in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and health professions. They are often considered to be the highest level of education attainable after a bachelor’s degree.
Regardless of the type of degree you pursue, an academic doctorate will help you develop a sharper theoretical understanding, broaden your knowledge base, and open many doors to pursuing a career in academia or research.
Professional doctorates awarded for work in a specific vocational field can involve original research and analysis, but also more practical instruction. Candidates may require appropriate experience to qualify.
A professional doctorate is a graduate degree equipping you with the knowledge and skills to practice as a doctor. It can be obtained in various disciplines, such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and pharmacy.
Professional doctorates are often sought-after by employers because they signify that you have completed a rigorous academic program and have reached a high level of expertise in your field.
They also offer opportunities for career growth, as you can move up in your profession by completing additional training or pursuing a specialization.
Professional Doctorates are a highly coveted credential, often required for many careers in the medical field. They are also an important part of the higher education system and can give you a major leg up in your career .
Higher doctorates are often awarded to esteemed researchers or practitioners later in their careers to recognize their distinguished work. Students normally do not enroll for these doctorates as traditional university degrees.
Higher Doctorates are doctorate degrees that take longer to complete than a Doctorate of Science or Doctorate of Medicine. They are typically conferred on academic professionals who have achieved distinguished research accomplishments in their field.
Higher Doctorates may also be conferred on other academic professionals, such as teachers, who have distinguished themselves by excellence in their field.
It is one of the highest honors that an individual can achieve in his or her field of study.
Honorary Doctorates are awarded to individuals who have demonstrated excellence in their academic or professional work. They can be granted at a university’s discretion and do not require any specific track record.
An honorary doctorate is an honorary degree conferred by a university, college, or other institution of higher education. These degrees are not considered equivalent to different degrees, such as a doctorate or a Ph.D.
An honorary doctorate is often given to distinguished individuals who have made significant contributions to the field in which the university is located or to society at large.
These degrees are awarded at the discretion of the awarding institution based on their evaluation process for conferring honorary doctorates.
- Students’ focus should be on finding the right degree program for them and ensuring they research which type of doctorate degree would best suit their career goals.
- Before committing to a doctorate degree, make sure you fully understand your options and what you want out of an educational experience.
- Higher doctorates can provide you with skills and expertise in a specific field, which may be useful for later in your career.
- They can also give you the bragging rights that come with having an illustrious academic degree for sure.
DPhil vs PhD
If you want to study for a doctoral degree, the two most common options are the DPhil or Ph.D. DPhil, is an abbreviation of ‘Doctor of Philosophy.
However, these terms are not different degrees – they’re simply different ways of referring to the same thing!
A DPhil is a prestigious Doctor of Philosophy award that is generally used by British universities (notably, the University of Oxford).
PhDs are equivalent internationally, but most universities around the world use the term ‘Ph.D’. Both degrees are highly respected and demonstrate your expertise in your field.
Types of Doctorate Degrees in Healthcare
There are several doctorate degrees that apply to the health professions. The most well-known is the M.D./D.O., which is a professional doctorate. Other doctorates include the clinical doctorate, which is for doctors who want to do research; and the research doctorate, which is for doctors who want to do scholarship in their field of study.
Types of doctoral degrees in education
If you are interested in pursuing a career as an administrator in education, it may be helpful to pursue a doctoral degree.
Doctoral degrees in educational administration, counselor education, and music education can provide insight into the workings of schools and help you develop strategies for improving learning environments.
- Counselor Education and Supervision Doctoral Degree
- Doctoral Degree in Curriculum and Instruction
- Doctoral Degree in Educational Administration
- Doctoral Degree in Pastoral Community Counseling
- Doctoral Degree Program in Education
- Doctoral Degree Program in Instructional Leadership
Types of medical doctor degrees
There are three types of doctorates that can be earned in the health professions: the professional doctorate, the clinical doctorate, and the research doctorate.
A professional doctorate is typically obtained by those who have completed a graduate degree in medical science or osteopathy.
A clinical doctorate is usually earned by those who have completed a doctoral program in medicine or homeopathy, or a research doctorate is awarded to researchers who have demonstrated work in scholarly.
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Professional doctoratesEdit ; Health Science, Doctor of Health Science, D.H.Sc. D.H.S. ; Law, Juris Doctor Doctor of Law Doctor of Jurisprudence, J.D. ; Law and
As we've mentioned before, there are two types of doctorate degrees: the academic degree (PhD) and the applied degree (Doctorate).
What Is A Doctorate Degree? ... There are four major types of degrees that you can earn in university. In order, they are: associate's degree, bachelor's degree
Types of PhD ; The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Degree – A Guide · Business & Management ; The Doctor of Education (EdD) Degree - A
There are two primary types of doctorate degrees. They include the Ph.D. and the Professional Doctorate. Both represent the highest achievement in academia and
Search for the best PhD programs in 2023 here. Save time and contact the universities directly here for your PhD Degree!
A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is one type of doctoral degree and is generally considered the most advanced degree available in any particular field.
Professional doctoral degree examples include the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and
But certain undergraduate degrees will prove advantageous going into medical schools, such as Biology, Pharmacy, Nursing, Public Health
There are three types of doctorates that can be earned in the health professions: the professional doctorate, the clinical doctorate, and the research doctorate