Can I Get a Doctorate Online?

If you have always wanted to earn an advanced degree but couldn’t leave your city, you might want to look at earning an online doctorate degree.

These programs follow all the same steps that you would follow in a traditional program, but you can do much of your work online. It’s important that you learn more about potential scams and how to avoid those scams before you enroll in an online program to complete a higher degree like a doctorate degree.

What is a Doctorate Degree?

There are four main types of college degrees: an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate. Also known as a doctoral degree, a doctorate is a terminal degree, which means it is the highest level of degree that you can earn. Though you learn general knowledge at the lower level, you have the opportunity to focus your education while in graduate school and focus it down even further as you work on your doctorate degree.

Infographic: The Evolution of the College Degree

Most programs require some type of hands on education and experience as well. If you work on a doctorate degree in counseling, you can expect to spend several years actually working with patients.

How Long Does it Take?

The amount of time it takes for you to earn your doctorate degree often depends on the program that you choose. It generally takes an average of eight years for you to finish your program. Some of that time comes from the classes you take, but you can also expect to do some fieldwork and write your dissertation. A dissertation is similar to thesis but takes longer and involves more research. Colleges expect you to use your own experiences from working in the field when writing your dissertation. An online school may limit how much time you have between enrolling and finishing your work.

Online Degree Programs

If you think that you can earn an online doctorate degree without ever leaving your house, you need to look at what these programs entail. Online schools want you to gain more experience in your area, which usually requires that you do some fieldwork. While you can complete your courses and do some research online, the school will also expect that you do research and conduct work in the field. Depending on your major and field of study, you might spend time working in a community health center, a local elementary school or a computer animation center.

Avoiding Scam Schools

Though the U.S. Department of Education cracked down on common scams, which led to multiple colleges shutting down, there are some scam schools still operating. Devon Haynie of U.S. News and World Report warns students about enrolling in schools that do not provide clear information regarding accreditation, colleges that promise students can complete their degrees faster than others and those that offer a lack of online support for new students. A good online school will help students enroll in classes, get financial aid and find out more about the accreditation process.

Earning a doctoral degree online lets you take classes from a great college or university as you work in your field and complete all the steps to get your degree. While you can earn an online doctorate degree, it’s important that you choose a reputable school that requires you do both coursework and get experience in your field.