If you identify as a lifelong learner and are considering long-term graduate programs, then you have probably looked into a Ph.D. program. But did you know a Ph.D. is not the only academic way to have a Dr. in front of your name?
Both Ph.D. and practitioner doctoral degree programs can qualify you to compete for new opportunities in your area of interest such as a university teaching role or a research position at a think tank. These degree programs will help set you apart as a knowledgeable, well-versed professional in your field. While both programs have many similar benefits, it is critical to understand what is unique about each before enrolling.
When choosing between a practitioner doctoral degree program or a Ph.D. program, consider the type of professional opportunities that might appeal to you after graduation. Ph.D. students tend to go on to academia but are also qualified for research associate, copywriter and curriculum designer opportunities, among many others. On the other hand, practitioner doctoral degrees hone in on the big-picture skills professionals need to achieve great heights in their industries.
All About Practitioner Doctoral Degrees
Practitioner doctoral degrees offer students graduate-level credentials in their career field of interest. These programs can empower students to bring their skills to companies and nonprofit organizations looking for individuals with advanced knowledge. For those who are open to spending more time with their studies after earning a Bachelor’s degree but still envision themselves in a traditional professional setting, a practitioner doctoral degree is worth exploring.
Regardless of which practitioner doctoral degree program you choose, you will find that each focuses more on career expertise than Ph.D. programs. Suppose you are interested in a business management career and want to educate yourself on organizational leadership, problem solving and innovation strategies. In that case, a Doctor of Business Administration would prepares you for a broad set of professional business opportunities that you may not have known about before your degree program.
Because practitioner doctoral degrees have more alignment with hands-on skills than Ph.D. programs, a practitioner doctoral degree is an excellent option for professionals who already have a significant background in their career. Hinrich Eylers, vice provost at University of Phoenix, affirmed that “practitioner degrees prepare students for leadership roles in general in the area of their programs.”
Ph.D. Programs 101
Although Ph.D. stands for Doctor of Philosophy, most programs have very little to do with the study of philosophy. Instead, Ph.D. programs teach students to bring their wisdom and expertise into their communities. A significant aspect of sharing the wisdom from a Ph.D. program after they graduate involves academia. For this reason, Ph.D. students historically go on to work in formal education settings either as professors, administrators or research specialists.
Per the U.S. News & World Report, prospective doctoral students should also consider the fundamental difference in each program’s educational outcomes. Ph.D. programs encourage students to “discover new knowledge within their academic discipline.” For this reason, Ph.D. degrees usually require students to complete a dissertation before graduation. A dissertation entails a long-form essay, close to a small book’s length, on a subject pertinent to the student’s Ph.D. program. Students are encouraged to select a unique area within their program’s subject that they are especially passionate about exploring. A dissertation can take anywhere from two to four years to complete, and you can expect to refine your research, analysis, time management and writing skills along the way.
About University of Phoenix
In 1976, Dr. John Sperling started University of Phoenix to provide adults with more options to achieve higher learning. This educator and entrepreneur understood the economy on a deeper level and quickly recognized that it favored those with the advanced training and skills achieved at a university. To make education more accessible to anyone who wants to learn, University of Phoenix became one of the first to offer degree programs exclusively online. Their expertise in providing flexible online learning opportunities empowers adult learners to return to the classroom despite pre-existing commitments at work and home.
Today, University of Phoenix maintains its commitment to making higher education more accessible by offering over 100 online degree programs in areas such as business, healthcare, cybersecurity, technology, education and nursing. Each online program prepares students for over 300 professional occupations. The University also offers certificate programs for professional development online or in-person at select locations.