Depending on the subject, a doctorate usually takes a minimum of three years to earn, and can either be started after earning a Master’s degree, or often times directly after a Bachelor’s degree. With some of these programs, you can actually be awarded a Master’s degree while working for your Doctorate. There are many different types of doctorate degrees. Most, however, fall under one of two general categories:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D): This is a research-based qualification that can take five or more years to earn. Ph.D’s are often required for careers in higher education. While it is possible to earn your Ph.D through a distance education program, the higher education community has been much slower to accept online degrees than most. However, many other industries that require Ph.D’s are more accepting.
  • Professional Doctorates (Psy.D., J.D., etc.): These are practical degrees that prepare learners for careers in their field. Unlike the Ph.D, they provide little graduate research training. Professional doctorates are given to pharmacists, veterinarians, lawyers, radiologists, podiatrists, chiropractors, psychologists, and many others.