What does it take to earn a PhD?

If you are pursuing a career in chemistry or some other science, you may wish to consider pursuing a doctorate degree instead of just a bachelor's or master's degree. There are several very good reasons you may wish to consider obtaining a doctorate after you complete your master's degree program.

Increase in Career Opportunities

One of the most important reasons for pursuing a doctorate degree is to increase your career opportunities. Some career choices have certain requirements a person must meet even for consideration. For instance, teaching college level courses requires a minimum of 18 hours of graduate studies in the same field in which you wish to teach, but those who hold a PhD are not bound by those restrictions.

Higher Degrees Offer Prestige

When you have a doctorate degree in either a science or academic field, those around you feel you deserve a higher level of respect than those with lesser degrees. Of course, some people may disagree with this analogy, especially for those without work experience, but time and experience will show them those who possess a doctorate degree are true experts in their fields.

Advanced Degrees Command More Money

One of the most compelling reasons for obtaining an advanced degree is more money. The more education you have the more money you will be able to earn in many cases. Of course, this will depend on the state of the economy since many employers are looking to save money and may not have the funds available to pay the high salaries many graduates with doctorate degrees feel they deserve. You should not go into the science field just for the money because you may suffer disappointment.

Obtaining a Doctorate is Cost Effective

Those who pursue master’s degrees will have to pay for their educations since most grants do not cover advanced degrees. However, those who choose to pursue doctorate degrees can often find research internships and assistantships and tuition reimbursement offers to finance their degrees. In addition it may be unnecessary to obtain a master's degree before pursuing a doctorate which can also save considerable sums of money. This requirement may differ among colleges, but in most cases a Bachelor's degree will get you admitted to a doctorate program without a problem.

Planning Your Time to Get a Doctorate Degree

While the time it takes to obtain a doctorate degree varies by school and the actual degree, the average time frame is three to five years. Medical degrees usually take more time because those students also have residency and internship requirements. Another factor that will affect the length of time it takes to obtain a doctorate is whether the student already has a master's degree. All medical degrees require four years to complete and usually include the first stages of licensing within the course's syllabus while doctors who wish to pursue private practice may complete the coursework in three years but usually require five.
It's important for students to remember that most doctorate programs have expiration dates. Unlike undergraduate programs, most doctorate programs require students to complete the requirements within seven to ten years in order to avoid the expiration and ultimate failure. You want to keep this in mind before you begin your program and make sure you have the time to meet the requirements before you begin.

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