According to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau, higher education translates into increased earning potential. Job candidates with doctorates and other advanced degrees often have more employment opportunities, earn more money and have more chances to advance up the career ladder. Earning a doctoral degree, however, requires a significant investment of time and energy, with most traditional PhD programs being at least 3 to 5 years long and PhD programs online lasting about the same amount of time. Fortunately, with the recent democratization of the education sector, it is now possible to earn a doctorate degree online. Many of these programs are designed explicitly to cater to the needs of working students and enable you to work part, or full-time, even as you work towards the PhD.
Some doctorate online programs do not have accreditation. Schools seek accreditation on a voluntary basis, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect it. Accreditation implies that the school has submitted to a review of its faculty and courses, and it demonstrates that it provides an adequate standard of educational quality. If you choose an unaccredited school, you can’t be sure you will receive a quality education. In addition, some employers might not consider a degree earned from an unaccredited school as legitimate.
Enrolling in an online doctorate program doesn’t necessarily mean all of your classes will take place over the Internet. Some doctorate online programs provide the majority of courses via the Internet but require you to attend a class or two on campus. Often, mandatory on-campus courses are particularly rigorous, and you might benefit from in-person interaction with peers and more personal attention from the instructor while taking them. Additionally, some programs might require you to participate in on-campus internships, committees and research groups.
A person who hasn’t taken an online course might assume that internet learning is a by-word for self-learning with little to no personal interaction with the instructor. However, even a doctorate online program that offers all of its classes on the Internet will usually involve interaction and personal help when needed. They tend to be almost as rigorous as traditional programs.
For example, many programs provide message boards and chat sessions through which you can ask your professor questions and post comments. In fact, some professors require regular message board interaction as part of a course. In addition, most professors will provide multiple ways of reaching them when you need help, such as through email, via instant messaging and by phone. Some online doctorate programs even arrange question-and-answer sessions for students.
Tuition and Educational Expenses
The cost of earning a doctoral degree can be a major concern. Programs vary widely in cost, with unaccredited programs often charging the lowest tuition and fees. Many programs offer financing for tuition and related costs, allowing you to pay in installments. You can also seek grants and scholarships and apply for student loans to meet educational costs. However, only accredited programs are eligible for federal student loans. Likewise, many grant and scholarship programs require enrollment in an accredited doctorate program.
Time for Completion
A Traditional doctorate program typically stretches anywhere from three to five years, depending on the student’s initiative and prior education. Likewise, online programs require an equally significant investment of time and energy. You can find part- and full-time programs, and your time to completion depends on your choice. Typically, students earn doctoral degrees in about five or six years.
An online doctorate program can help you advance in your career, without interfering with your job or other responsibilities. Online doctoral degree programs offer majors in a wide range of fields, from business and health administration to social work and psychology.