Advanced Degree Opens the Door to Opportunities in Many Fields
Are you willing to invest time and money into your education? A doctorate is the highest degree awarded by a college or university. You can earn a doctorate in almost any subject, from medicine to the arts. A doctorate typically requires at least four years of specialized study beyond the bachelor's degree, and opportunities exist to earn your degree on campus, online or through a combination of the two. If you are ready to make the commitment, you could be on your way to a better life for you and your family through more job options and higher pay.
Why Get a Doctorate?
A doctorate is essential for some careers. If you want to be a physician, dentist or veterinarian, for example, you need to complete a four-year program of study at a school offering specialized education in one of these fields. Clinical psychologists, college and university professors, top school administrators, advanced research scientists and audiologists are some of the other professionals who need a doctorate. The credential attests to your knowledge and expertise in the subject area. Although not always required, a doctorate can open the door to promotions and higher pay for jobs in education, government service, and business and industry.
How Long Does It Take?
The length of time necessary to earn a doctorate depends on the individual program and your commitment to it. Some doctoral programs, such as medical, dental and veterinary school, are available only as full-time options. In other areas of study, such as literature, philosophy, education and mathematics, to name just a few, you will likely have the option to attend classes on a part-time basis. Obviously, it will take longer to get your degree with a lighter course load. Most programs require four years of study; in some programs, you must dedicate your fifth year to writing your dissertation.
On Campus or Online?
Once you decide on your career field, you're in a better position to decide if you'll take classes on a physical campus or study virtually. Programs with laboratory sciences will require attendance on campus. Programs in education and clinical psychology, among others, usually require an internship or supervised practice. A credible online program can help you arrange these. In other fields of study, it may be possible to earn your doctorate exclusively through online coursework. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited. Plenty of scams promise a doctorate without your even having to attend a class. Would-be students pay for a degree without putting in the work, but the credential is worthless in the job market.
The application process is essentially the same for any accredited program to which you apply. You'll need the application form, transcripts from all previous post-secondary schools you attended, letters of recommendation, graduate admissions test scores and a personal essay. Specific requirements can vary, so be sure to check with a graduate school admissions advisor to guide you through the process.
Denise Dayton, M.Ed., M.S. teaches career readiness and workplace success, along with other business courses, at a small college in New England.