Individuals seeking to expand their knowledge may enroll in doctoral programs online or in a traditional classroom environment. Obtaining a doctoral degree will provide individuals with the necessary skills to research, teach, or advance in an executive position.
Depending on the focus of the doctoral program, the opportunities are endless. Salaries for doctoral graduates are also typically more than a Master’s degree graduate or Bachelor’s degree graduate. Most doctoral graduates will earn over $100,000 per year in their given profession.
A Master’s degree is required to enter most doctoral programs. Students should also possess a strong academic record and solid recommendations from professors or professionals. Individuals entering an Executive Doctoral program must also have a certain degree of professional work experience prior to entering a program of study. Professors prefer students that have some practical frame of reference for the discussions and principles taught in lectures.
Students may study nearly any course of study to obtain a doctoral degree. Some of the most popular doctoral programs include the following:
- Medical Doctor
- Business Administration
- Public Health
The doctoral curriculum will depend largely upon the area of study. A mathematics doctoral program, for instance, will focus on mathematical models and theory. Alternatively, a doctoral program in Business Administration or Leadership will focus on developing skills that may be applied in an executive position within a corporation or small business. Despite the program, doctoral candidates must learn critical thinking skills, strategy skills, research principles, and strong communications skills.
Doctoral programs may take anywhere from 3 years to 10 years to complete. Doctoral candidates must complete a dissertation and defend the dissertation. The defense of the dissertation will include faculty of varying experience that must approve the dissertation prior to awarding the student a doctorate in their field of study.
Doctoral candidates must demonstrate their ability to lead within their chosen field. Candidates who intend to teach in their chosen field must demonstrate effective teaching skills through a Teaching Assistant position and through other teaching experiences. These opportunities are integrated into doctoral or PhD programs.
Example of Doctoral Curriculum
Individuals enrolled in an Executive Doctoral program may include the following:
- Research Methodology
- Global Marketing Strategy
- Organizational Leadership Training
- Management Leadership
- Data Analysis
- Research Design
- Advanced Business Theory
- Dissertation Seminar
Online Schools Offering Doctoral Programs
Doctoral programs are challenging to obtain in any environment. Whether online or in a traditional setting, the student must be self-motivated and self-directed. In an online environment, the challenge becomes greater, because students will not have exposure to their peers in a physical setting. The program is more flexible because students are allowed to work around their schedule. Furthermore, all textbooks and lectures will be offered online. Some online programs are hybrids. These courses offer physical classes in addition to online studies.
Students must have updated computer equipment and a fast Internet connection in order to complete their classes online. Students in online studies will not have other students to collaborate with in order to complete their studies. Therefore, individuals must be organized and self-directed to find information that may easily be found by consulting another peer.
Students must also verify that the online PhD program is offered by an accredited school. Many students in the past have signed up for a degree program online, only to find that no employer will recognize the program because of its lack of accreditation. These students lost precious time and money as a result.
Technology for online curriculum is improving. Collaboration tools and interactive tools are available to create an atmosphere that encourages interaction among peers. Some of the schools offering online PhD programs include the following:
- Pennsylvania State University: www.worldcampus.psu.edu
- Utah State University: www.usu.edu
- Texas Tech University: www.ttu.edu
- Lehigh University: www.lehigh.edu
- Southern Illinois University: www.siu.edu
- University of North Dakota: www.und.edu
Each of these programs are accredited and recognized nationally. Some of the programs are even recognized internationally. Some other leading online PhD programs, according to the U.S. News and World Report, include the following:
- Boston University’s Doctoral in Occupational Therapy: www.bu.edu
- Capella University’s PhD in Organization and Management & PhD Informational Technology: learning.capella.edu
- Walden University’s PhD in Management: www.waldenu.edu
- A.T. Still University’s Doctor of Health Sciences: www.atsu.edu
- Benedictine University’s Doctor of Education and Organizational Change: www.ben.edu
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Executive Doctorate in Health Leadership: sph.unc.edu
- Syracuse University’s Doctorate of Professional Studies: ischool.syr.edu
Offline Doctoral Programs
Stanford University possesses doctoral degrees in many different disciplines. One of their more popular disciplines includes a PhD in Bioengineering through their school of Medicine and Engineering. See www.stanford.edu for more information.
The University of Pennsylvania offers PhD programs in the Annenberg School for Communication, Dental Medicine, Design, Education, Engineering and Applied Science, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Social Policy and Practice, Wharton School of Business and Veterinary. See www.upenn.edu for more information.
The University of Chicago is offering several PhD programs for students to enroll in. The university offers PhD programs in Ethics, Business, Humanities, Social Sciences, Medicine, Economics, Art History and more. See www.uchicago.edu for more information.
George Washington University offers an Executive Leadership Doctoral Program in Human and Organizational Learning. See gsehd.gwu.edu for more information.
Georgia State University’s Executive Doctorate in Business. See robinson.gsu.edu for more information.
Job Employment Opportunities
Employment Opportunities for PhD graduates are as vast as the number of PhD programs available. The most common profession that doctoral graduates assume is Academic Professor. Professors are currently in demand due to the number retiring. Once professors gain tenure at a particular college or university, it is highly unlikely that any professor will lose his or her job, except in instances of gross misconduct. This is comforting to those who experienced the effects of the economic recession. Professionals do not enjoy wondering whether or not their job will be safe or not in a recession.
Furthermore, doctoral graduates had the lowest unemployment rate of all graduates. Doctoral graduates also tend to earn almost $1,000 more per week than their Bachelor’s Degree counterparts. This number surges to almost $1,500 more than an individual with a high school diploma.
Tenure protects professors during this time period. Obtaining tenure is difficult. Universities need to verify the professor’s commitment to the standards and values of the academic institution, as well as the credibility and consistency of relevant research.
PhD graduates may also become professional researchers at an academic institution or in a corporation. Most academic professors are required to perform a certain number of hours of research in order to remain relevant in the field.
Professors are also required to write publications regarding their research. Whether in an academic environment or in a professional environment, doctoral graduates are considered to be leaders in their industry. PhD candidates command higher salaries in professional industries because they develop leading edge technology, theories, or methodologies that propel the industry forward.
Successful Executive PhD graduates’ main goal is to obtain a promotion within an organization or corporation where their skills may be applied daily. Roles that Executive PhD graduates typically obtain are as follows: Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Finance, Vice President of Marketing, Professional Consultant, and Financial Analyst.
These individuals have highly stressful but monetarily rewarding jobs. The organizations may be small, of 30 to 100 employees, or large with several thousands of employees. The range of responsibilities and the number of direct reporting employees vary depending upon the size of the organization. These individuals must remain calm and focused on the task at hand.
Executives must possess a vision for the organization they are leading and a drive to motivate individuals to implement the vision. Executive PhD graduates focus more upon the application of the principles learned rather than the theoretical.
High-level or C-level executive positions are difficult to obtain. Individuals pursuing this path must make strategic moves in their careers in order to prepare for these types of positions. An advanced degree will improve their resume or curriculum vitae. However, job experience is equally as important.
Salaries of PhD and Doctoral Graduates
Salaries differ based upon the area in which the PhD applicant is employed. While most PhD graduates are paid over $100,000 per year, some PhD graduates are paid more to perform C-level jobs or jobs with more liability or responsibility.
Executive PhD Salaries
Nearly 300,000 individuals are employed as executives. Executive PhD graduates boast a median average salary of $167,280. This salary varies based upon the region of the country, as well as the profession. An individual living in San Jose, CA; Santa Clara, CA; Sunnyvale, CA; New York, NY; White Plains, NY; Bridgeport, CT; Stamford, CT; Norwalk, CT; or Durham, NC may expect a median salary between $217,080 and $210,380 each year. Delaware executives boast a median average salary of $201,460.
PhD Researcherís Salaries
Research scientists have varying salaries depending upon the employing company and the experience attained over the years. The average median salary is $85,000 per year. Some scientists may expect lower or higher salaries depending upon the role on the research assignment. A principal research scientist may earn more for his or her responsibilities than an Assistant.
Individuals seeking to negotiate salaries with their employers should also research the salaries of other graduates from the research scientistís alma mater, as well as salaries of other employees in similar positions. This information will provide the potential employee with leverage for negotiating a higher salary.
PhD Professors’ Salaries
A professor’s median average salary varies depending upon the level the professor has achieved. For instance, a post-secondary professor may expect an average salary of approximately $93,000 annually. However, a professor who has only attained Associate’s status may expect $70,000 per year. Professors who graduate from top schools such as Dartmouth may expect an average median salary of $134,000 per year.
Professors often earn more from the publications of their books, as well as speaking engagements. Supplemental income often comes from a variety of sources. This may significantly boost the professorís salary as time progresses.
Growth Opportunities for PhD Graduates
Growth opportunities vary depending upon the discipline of study. Currently, individuals obtaining a PhD in Software Engineering, Nursing, or Health Care may expect excellent growth from 2008 to 2018. Moderate but steady growth is expected for Educational Doctoral programs. Executives are also expecting a number of retirees. Executive doctoral graduates may expect moderate, but steady growth in the field.
In general, PhD candidates should examine the growth rate of the program before entering the field. Entering a field with little demand may mean that the person will be less likely to obtain a position in their desired field. Research the discipline before enrollment to avoid wasting income on a degree not in demand.
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