Online doctorate degrees are available in many fields, ranging from education to criminal justice, information technology to psychology and the health sciences. Some programs may require on-campus attendance while others may be available entirely online. The benefits to earning a Doctorate degree include:
- Minimum unemployment: On average, people with Doctorate degrees have the lowest level of unemployment, when unemployment is measured by educational attainment. The knowledge acquired in a Doctorate program, as well as the ways you learn to apply that knowledge, make these graduates some of the most sought-after in their industries.
- Higher potential salary: Doctorate degree holders make more per week, on average, than those with other types of degrees. Overall, those with a Doctorate degree make nearly $1,000 per week more than those with only a high school diploma. The College Board also reports that Doctorate degree holders had after-tax earnings that were 59 percent higher than those with bachelor's degrees in 2016, when considering full-time year-round employment.
- Time and concentration: A Doctorate program is not easy to complete — it can be long, complex and demanding. As such, anything that can be done to reduce your stress and maximize your ability to focus on your program can be essential to succeed. An online program minimizes your time spent commuting and allows you to review your lectures and notes at whatever location and time of day helps you be the most productive.
- Advancement opportunities: Out of literally millions of college students, the number that earns a Ph.D. is only a tiny fraction. Approximately 180,000 students received Doctorate degrees in the U.S. in 2014-15 according to Statista.com. Earning a Doctorate degree can give graduates the chance to distinguish themselves from others in a place of business or an academic setting.
Doctorate Degree Versus Master's Degree
Doctorate degrees are the highest-level degrees available and cover an assortment of degree types, such as a Ph.D. or a DNP, depending on the discipline. Fortunately, many Doctorate degree programs are available online, making this degree level more accessible than ever before.
Typically, Doctorate degrees:
- Take from two to seven years to complete
- Involve research, particularly in the case of a Doctor of Philosophy, or Ph.D.
- May require a dissertation, which is publishable research
- Are available through colleges, universities and online institutions
Reasons to Pursue a Doctorate Degree Program
Earning a Doctorate degree opens many doors that might otherwise be closed. Here are a few examples of the opportunities a Doctorate degree can make accessible.
- Job opportunities: Some of the most skillful careers available — particularly careers in medicine or science — are accessible only to those who have put in the time and effort to earn their Ph.D. If you are intent on joining the ranks of one of these celebrated fields, a doctorate may be the best — or only — way to realize your dream.
- Research and project opportunities: Many Ph.D. programs allow students the opportunity to carry out unique research in the form of case studies, long-term projects or collaborative work. After graduation, the holder of a Ph.D. is likely able to continue conducting research in their field if they so desire, especially if they choose to become a college professor.
- Teaching college courses: If you are interested in becoming a college professor, particularly one teaching graduate courses yourself, a Doctorate program can be an excellent springboard for the position. Ultimately, a college professor can become tenured, leading to more employment security and academic liberty.
Should I Earn a Doctorate Degree?
Deciding to earn a Doctorate degree is not a decision that should be taken lightly. While there are many benefits to this prestigious degree level, it can be a long and difficult road to attain it. Our article "Is a PhD Worth the Effort?" breaks down the pros and cons of Doctorate education, and our article "Handling PhD Stress: Challenges of an Online PhD" goes into more depth on the challenges that can arise for these dedicated students. Make sure you're fully committed to the idea of earning a Doctorate degree before you make your final decision.