Command Respect as an Expert in Your Field With A Doctorate Degree

In our society, there are few titles that hold the same prestige as Doctor. When you earn a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Professional Doctorate, you have reached the highest echelons of academic achievement. Also, you have accomplished something that is truly remarkable: the difficulty of earning this degree is directly proportionate to the respect it receives. This makes pursuing a doctorate a massive undertaking, and not a decision to be made lightly.

The PhD is what most people are familiar with when it comes to doctorates. This degree is designed specifically toward academic work, and signifies that a person is qualified to add to the collective knowledge of her or his field. Most often, those working toward a PhD plan to become advisors, researchers, or professors, though they are not limited to these roles. A Professional Doctorate is geared more toward use in private-sector roles, and is therefore focused more on practical knowledge, rather than academic theory.

The distinction between the two types of doctorates is most easily seen in the capstone project that validates a graduate’s education. A PhD candidate is expected to create a potential solution to a real-world problem based on the knowledge they’ve gained in their studies. This solution is written out in the form of a dissertation, which is usually no less than five chapters long. The purpose of the dissertation is to prove the PhD candidate’s aptitude at applying what they’ve learned in a theoretical context, not necessarily the ability of their proposed solution to actually solve the problem being addressed. 

Professional doctorate students, by contrast, use the knowledge they’ve gained in their studies and apply that information to an existing problem. The results of their efforts become their doctoral capstone project, and the success of their solution impacts their grade. It’s important to recognize that this is not necessarily an either/ or choice. Depending on the problem being studied or the field in which the student is working, he or she may meet the requirements for both types of degrees. 

When making the choice to pursue any type of doctorate, there are many factors to consider. One of the most important is the time frame you have available. It will take most doctoral candidates anywhere from 90 to 120 credit hours to earn their degrees. This varies depending on the requirements of individual programs, of course, and also depends on the degree level a doctoral candidate has previously achieved. Someone who has already earned a master’s degree will likely need to spend less time on her or his doctorate than a person with a bachelor’s. Also, the nature of pursuing a doctorate makes most programs very inflexible. There are few online options, and while it’s possible to hold down a job while pursuing a degree part-time, this is a very demanding and time-consuming path to take.

Earning a doctoral degree is a remarkable – some might even say heroic – achievement. With a high level of commitment and passion, you could be one of the elite few who decides what is and is not a fact in your area of expertise.


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Colorado Technical University


Since 1965 Colorado Technical University has been proud to educate career focused students to advance their education and help achieve their goals. CTU’s commitment to provide innovative, real-world...

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)


Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing...