Education is the single biggest factor in quality of life in 21st century society. Not only can an advanced education provide occupational opportunities that would have never been attainable otherwise, but it also provides access to an increased standard of living and salary that is often reserved only for those who advance their educational aspirations.
With roughly 40% of college-aged Americans now obtaining a four-year degree, the value of the bachelor’s degree itself is increasingly shrinking in value. To truly benefit from the maximum financial and educational opportunity afforded, pursuing a doctorate degree is highly recommended. But which doctorates provide the most benefit in terms of earning potential and rewarding occupational experiences?
Let’s examine 5 doctoral degrees that individuals should consider if they are planning on returning to school to advance their career opportunities.
For Business – Doctor of Business Administration
Given that business degrees are the most popular post-secondary educational path in the United States, it should not be surprising that a business entry would be on this list. For those who have pursued such a career in the form of a bachelor’s degree, the logical next step would be a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree.
Often recognized as the most prestigious and highest academic achievement in the business world in terms of educational attainment, those with DBAs can enter virtually any business-related field with ease. While a master’s degree in business administration can open doors into the upper echelons of Fortune 500 companies, a DBA provides the same benefit – plus it gives individuals the ability to become tenured university business professors and researchers.
Some of the most common jobs held by those with DBAs include economists, professors, management analysts, executives and administrators. Ultimately, there are few doctoral degrees that provide such a leap in potential career path and income than moving from a standard business degree to a DBA.
For Nursing – Doctor of Nursing Practice
One of the most popular career fields in healthcare, nursing is a rapidly growing profession with meaningful salaries and relative job security. Many who enter this field can begin working and earning above-average incomes in as little as two years, but those who are willing to go the extra mile can do so much work. For these individuals, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is essential to long-term career advancement.
Those who wish to become experienced leaders in the field of nursing can enroll in traditional or online DNP leadership programs, making it possible to earn this doctoral degree in just one to two years. Most DNP degrees are designed for those who have already obtained their master’s degree, which is why many online DNP leadership programs are great choices for those seeking this degree. Given the ample existing experience these nursing graduates possess, completing these online DNP programs from the privacy of your own home is easily done.
The variety of specialty online leadership DNP programs is substantial, but most focus on nursing graduates with a desire to move into leadership or executive positions at hospitals and private healthcare facilities.
For Teaching – Doctor of Education
Anybody in the education field who wants to maximize their job security and earning potential absolutely has to consider a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) as their final educational goal. This degree unlocks a variety of educational opportunities that don’t exist for everyday teachers, including the ability to conduct formal academic research for universities, administer large-scale private and public educational organizations, and teach in prestigious capacities at top-tier universities.
While a Ph.D technically is the better choice for those pursuing a career in research, the Ed.D on balance offers more versatility in terms of employment opportunities and the nature of the doctorate being directly relevant to the career itself.
With a Doctor of Education degree, the average employee can expect to earn anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 more per year than with a typical undergraduate education-based degree. As such, going back to school for your Ed.D is a financially smart move for those still early in their careers.
For Civic Service – Doctor of Public Administration
Some people have a natural calling to help others. There are many ways in which to do this, but a select number decide to enter the world of civic service. Whether this be at the local level or in a more prominent governmental body, civic servants ensure day-to-day processes we take for granted are developed, deployed, and maintained properly. This is where those with a passion for public administration come into the picture.
Public administration graduates generally can benefit from pursuing a DPA in a number of ways. First and foremost, the relative exclusivity of the degree itself means that many entities – both public and private – are in desperate need of people with the advanced skills that a DPA provides. Additionally, a DPA opens the doors for long-term substantial salary increases, with DPA graduates earning well over $10,000 per year more than those with other public administration degrees.
Some of the most common professions for those with a DPA include city managers, budget analysts, policy analysts and governmental planners.
For Tech Careers – Doctor of Computer Science
One of the fastest-growing job sectors currently, computer science graduates have ample opportunity for large salaries and job security in the workforce. Virtually every industry and job sector requires those with an understanding of various forms of computer science, whether it be networking, hardware, software or everything in between. However, some decide to advance their careers even more and move into more robust, academic applications: this is where a Doctor of Computer Science (D.C.Sc.) is highly useful.
An individual with a D.C.Sc. focuses predominantly on high-level research in the field of computer science. Rather than working directly with computer equipment in a day-to-day practical science, these doctoral graduates focus on developing new and exciting advancements in fields such as artificial intelligence, linguistics and advanced chemistry (click here to learn more about specific areas of study within D.C.Sc. programs). As such, the research that these graduates contribute to often change the world in major ways.
This degree isn’t for everyone, but those committed to combining advanced research with groundbreaking technologies and who have a background in computer science can find immense job security (and an opportunity to change the world) through this degree program.
There are dozens of doctoral degrees available to those who have a passion for learning and career advancement, but most aren’t relevant to your existing area of study. Nevertheless, there are opportunities for every career field: among the most popular career fields mentioned above, our choices are some of the best options for individuals who are never ready to settle for less.
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