Whether your passion is chemical engineering or special education, a doctoral degree in your chosen field is a crowning achievement. Getting a PhD or one of the myriad of doctoral degrees available is a rigorous process with big payoffs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that, on average, a person with a doctoral degree earns 30 percent more than someone with only a bachelor's degree. With Baby Boomers retiring from postsecondary teaching appointments and technology developing at an exponential rate, highly qualified professionals are needed in our universities and workforce.
Earning Your PhD
Part of the challenge is choosing a PhD degree program that is in line with your career goals. The differences between a professional doctorate such as a PsyD in Psychology and an academic doctorate such as a PhD in Psychology are marked--and these nuances are not exclusive to the field of psychology. Nearly every academic discipline has multiple doctoral degrees available, which is why your PhD research starts before you enroll in a doctorate degree program.
In addition to deciding between the DBA, EdD, PhD, PsyD, and other alphabetic variations, you'll also need to decide between an online degree program and a traditional campus-based doctoral degree. According to the Sloan Consortium, a non-profit organization that advocates online education and funds research, online enrollment doubled to 4 million students between 2002 and 2007. As more students embrace distance learning and more high-caliber online degree programs become available, university faculty and employer acceptance has increased. Additionally, more than one-third of public university faculty have taught an online course and more than half recommend them to students. Though in the past your career path may have required a more traditional campus-based doctorate, you now have online options as well.