A doctorate is an academic or professional degree of the highest level and qualifies one to teach in a specific field. In fact, the title is derived from the Latin licensed to teach. The prerequisite to earning this title is a master's degree and it often takes a minimum of three years to complete depending on the class load and school.
Typically, there are two types of doctoral degrees: research doctorates and professional doctorates. The former is awarded to those who have submitted peer-viewed academic research of a publishable standard. A doctor of philosophy for example, would have the designation Ph.D.
Other research-oriented designations include doctor of education (EdD) and doctor of psychology (PsyD). Professional doctorates, on the other hand, focus on professional licensure, such as medicine (MD) and law (JD).
While doctorate degrees are required in many of the positions and fields where you will find their graduates, earning one is also a sound financial decision. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, those with a doctorate earn on average $37,265 more each year than those with just a bachelor's degree.
These days, many programs are available online or as a combination of online and on-campus coursework.