The most common type of doctorate degree is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which can be earned in a wide variety of subject areas, and it is the highest academic degree awarded by universities in most countries around the world. There are also a number of doctorate degrees that are titled “Doctor of” the specific subject area that was studied. In general, PhD degrees are geared towards understanding the academic concepts that provide the theoretical groundwork for fields of study, while “Doctor of” degrees are generally geared towards the professional application of the academic theories.
Traditionally doctoral degrees are offered on campus, as degree candidates are expected to take part in research, teaching, and networking at their universities, however more and more universities are offering online doctoral options for working professionals who require schedule flexibility to complete their classwork. For some of the best online doctoral programs available, check out our list of the Top 20 Best Online Colleges with Doctoral Programs. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of doctorate degrees.
Doctor of Law
A Doctor of Law degree is one of the most common doctoral degrees in the United States, as it is a versatile degree with many top tier professional applications. Lawyers have earned their doctorate and passed the Bar exam, but law degrees are useful for other careers like in government or politics, in finance, or in academia. The most common doctoral degree in law is the Juris Doctor (J.D), though students can also earn their Doctoral of Juridical Science (S.J.D). The average starting salary of law students in their first job out of school is $135,000, making it one of the most lucrative higher education degrees available.
Doctor of Medicine
Doctors of Medicine (MDs) are another common type of doctoral degree, and are perhaps the most employable type of higher education degree available. Doctors in all fields of medicine are expected to have their MD. Physicians and Surgeons make an average of $208,000 per year, and positions in the field are expected to grow by 13% over the next decade. Earning a Doctor of Medicine is perhaps the safest route towards job stability among doctoral degrees.
Doctor of Pharmacy
Doctors of Pharmacy (PharmD) are another type of common doctoral degree that does more than qualify graduates to become pharmacists. Graduates can also become clinical research associates, professors, or medicinal scientists. Students who choose to become Pharmacists are expected to pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) in order to earn their professional certification. All of these fields have dynamic possibilities that can be highly beneficial to human health.
Doctor of Physical Therapy
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is designed to help their students become licensed Physical Therapists, though graduates can also become Occupational Therapists, as well as Audiologists or Chiropractors. Graduates who want to go on to become licensed Physical Therapists will have to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE), and their doctoral classes should go a long way to preparing them. Physical Therapists make an average of $86,850 per year, and with the job outlook expected to grow by 28% over the next 10 years, the Doctor of Phyiscal Therapy degree is a great bet for students looking to earn their doctoral degree.