Doctorate degrees are the highest level of education a person can obtain to receive a degree. Further education is always possible, but there are no additional degree programs available beyond the doctorate level. Doctorate degrees are considered prestigious, and open up doors for employment opportunities not obtainable by any other means.
There are three basic types of doctorate degrees. A research doctorate is typically a Ph.D., and is based on intensive research in a particular field of study. A professional doctorate is a doctorate degree obtained for a specific profession, such as a doctor of medicine or juris doctor, who practices law. Finally, an honorary doctorate degree is awarded by a university, at the university’s discretion, to an individual worthy of special recognition in a field.
A doctorate degree represents highly specialized knowledge in an academic area. Earning a doctorate degree is a special recognition, and signifies the individual’s expertise, determination and specialized skills. Holders of doctorate degrees are qualified to hold special positions not available to others, such as doctors, university professors or researchers.
Obtaining a doctorate degree can take as few as 3 or up to 10 years. Research doctoral candidates are expected to undertake significant original research, and earning the degree is culminated by the presentation of this research, known as a dissertation, to a group of experienced academic professionals in the field of study. This process can take years beyond the initial 2 to 3 years of classroom instruction. The total time spent in academic learning can vary depending on the area of study and the degree obtained, and can be up to 16 years when undergraduate study is included.
Obtaining a doctorate degree can provide numerous career benefits. It is impossible to obtain some positions without holding a doctorate degree, such as a psychologist or veterinarian. Holding a doctorate degree provides you with a level of credibility in your field. Some scientific journals and industry publications will be more likely to publish your work if you hold a doctorate level degree.