Health and Medical Doctorate Programs
With the advances in medicine and medical technology, Doctoral Degrees in Health and Medicine might help keep you abreast of current research and prepare you to practice your profession at its highest level. The complexities in the healthcare industry means that the skills necessary to work in it have also become more sophisticated. From audiologists, to pharmacists and advanced practice nurses, many professionals are encouraged to earn a PhD or Doctorate degree in their field, especially as their duties expand.
Doctoral Degrees in Health and Medicine: Essentials
Doctoral Degrees in Health and Medicine are available in a wide variety of programs, as healthcare is one of the fastest growing fields today. Some are doctor of philosophy (PhD) programs; these emphasize academic research. Others are clinical doctoral programs in various health fields. These focus on the skills and knowledge students need to excel in their profession (e.g. Doctor of Chiropractic D.C.)
From Undergrad to Graduate Student in Health and Medicine Fields
Not all Doctoral Degrees in Health and Medicine are created equal: Two paths commonly lead to a clinical doctoral degree: one for practicing professionals who may already have a master's degree, and another track for students just getting started in the field.
Someone coming out of college wanting a doctor of physical therapy degree, for instance, might enter the three-year program with any undergraduate major as long as he or she has completed some prerequisites. Also, there are some medical schools that offer combined undergraduate and medical school programs that take around 6 to 7 years to complete.
In some instances, you really do need your undergrad degree to be in your chosen field. For instance, in the nursing profession, prospective students wanting to enter a doctor of nursing practice program as a recent graduate need a
bachelor's in nursing and an RN license. Pharmacy students must complete at least two years of targeted undergraduate coursework before beginning a four-year clinical doctoral program.
Some Pharm.D. schools admit high school graduates into a 6-year program.
Take-away? Look ahead and research the academic tracks necessary to practice your chosen career. If you are an undergraduate, your doctorate degree may seem far ahead, but you can still lay the foundation for it by taking appropriate courses ahead of time.
Which Fields in Health and Medicine Require Doctorate Degrees?
Doctoral Degrees in Health and Medicine are most widely used in the medical specialties and patient-centered fields or wherever advanced scientific research is used and conducted. Let’s take a look at a few examples:
Communication Science & Disorders Graduate Programs: Audiology: doctoral degree in audiology (Au.D.).
Medical Specialties Graduate Programs:
- Chiropractic: Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.)
- Dentist: The degrees awarded are the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM), and Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD)
- Medicine/Medical Doctors & Surgeons (plus internship, residency Medical Doctor (M.D.)
- Podiatry: Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM)
- Veterinarian: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.)
- Osteopathy: Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
- Optometry: Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)
Nursing: APRN roles now require a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Ph.D
Physical & Occupational Therapy Graduate Programs:
Pharmacology Graduate Programs: Pharmacists: Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D)
Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs:
- Biochemist/Biophysicist: PhD in Toxicology, Genetics, Bioinformatics
- Medical Scientist: PhD in Biology or life science and or M.D.
Healthcare Administration Graduate Programs: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)-Health Care Administration, Doctor or Healthcare Administration (DHA) depending on the role/setting
Weighing Your Options: On-Campus or Online Study
Not all Doctoral Degrees in Health and Medicine are available online, however distance-learning is becoming mainstream as educational technology advances. Essentially, online healthcare degrees appeal to the working professional. If they are delivered 100% online, it gives you the ability to study from wherever you are. If the delivery is partially online (hybrid) there are onsite requirements which means you benefit from the convenience of online study plus the social learning environment of the campus. Naturally, attending graduate school means that you benefit from hands-on learning in real-time, and access to the school’s facilities (think libraries and laboratories!). Best to evaluate your needs against the curriculum and format to make sure you align. In the end, you earn a “PhD” or “Doctor of”, the program format does not usually show in your transcript.
Accreditation for Programs and Institutions
According to the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accreditation is a way to assess and ensure the quality of programs and institutions. Institutional accreditation focuses on things like standards in administration, resources, faculty and facilities. Specialized (programmatic) accreditation examines specific schools or programs within an educational institution.
There are different accrediting bodies for the various professions; The Council on Chiropractic Education accredited 15 Doctor of Chiropractic programs on 18 campuses in 2014. There were 130 Doctor of Pharmacy programs fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
Since accreditation often goes hand in hand with licensing and many of the areas in healthcare and medicine are highly regulated and have differing licensing requirements by state, check within your field to see what is necessary in terms of accreditation, licenses, certifications and registrations.
Putting It Together: Finding a Medical Doctorate or Healthcare Degree
GrradSchools.com helps you navigate the spectrum of Doctoral Degrees in Health and Medicine by providing some really useful search tools. Here are some useful steps to get you closer to pinpointing the best option for your education.
Look through the subject selection. These are just categories, so for instance, Medical Specialties hosts:
- Alternative medicine
- Dental Medicine
- Medicine and Premed programs
- Physician Assistant
Once you have found the subject for your doctoral degree, choose your program format. If you select ‘campus’ you might want to select doctoral degree programs in your field by location; use the city, state or country tabs.
For some professions, pursuing a clinical doctorate degree is a requirement for practicing their profession. For others pursuing a research doctorate is a way to be able to potentially share their knowledge via teaching or researching. Whether you are looking for a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine, PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences, or a Doctor of management-Healthcare Management Leadership (Executive Format), the possibilities in the field of Health and Medicine abound.
Sacred Heart University
The online Post-Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice program offered by Sacred Heart University infuses practice-focused doctoral education with innovation and practical clinical research and scholarship.
- Fairfield, CT
The Catholic University of America
Discover Tomorrow’s Health Care Solutions Today Nursing needs researchers who can effectively produce, analyze and implement findings promoting better patient care and outcomes. The online Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing at The...
Utica College's Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (tDPT) offers practicing licensed Physical Therapists the post-professional degree they need to advance their careers in a convenient and accelerated online format.
A.T. Still University of Health Sciences
A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) transitional doctor of physical therapy is a custom degree program configured around the unique needs of each practicing professional, offering maximum flexibility and a full team of support. Offered through ATSU&...
Healthcare management is rapidly evolving to incorporate clinical advances and deliver the latest healthcare benefits to our communities. In the Healthcare Management specialization, you will explore many aspects of the healthcare industry, including th...
The Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology program in Mental Health Policy and Practice at Northcentral University will help you develop a deeper understanding of mental health through an evidence-based practice approach.
Grand Canyon University
The Post Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership, within the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, prepares nurse leaders to design and implement evidence-based strategies for practice that impro...
Indiana Wesleyan University
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a terminal degree designed to prepare nurses at an advanced level of nursing science.
University of the Rockies
As a seasoned nurse practitioner, you do far more than care for the sick. You elevate the practice of patient-centered care and help transform the way healthcare is delivered. Now it’s time to gain the doctoral-level credentials that support th...
Colorado Technical University
CTU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) was developed using the AACN Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. The program starts every 13 weeks. Learn more.
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Greenwood Village, CO
Liberty University Online
As the landscape of advanced practice nursing changes, Liberty University is poised to help you take advantage of new opportunities with its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. Nurses in this program learn to translate evidence-based research i...
Kaplan University's Master of Science in Nursing—DNP Path allows you to study online and earn the credentials to pursue career advancement in administrative or advanced practice roles.
- Madison, NJMadison, NJ
Fairleigh Dickinson University
The Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Pharmacy is one of only two degree-granting pharmacy schools in New Jersey, and is the first in the state to be associated with a private university.
- Teaneck, NJ
- Berrien Springs, MIBerrien Springs, MI
The DNP is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice and offers an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs.
The Chatham University DNP program prepares nurses to practice as leaders in the promotion and use of evidence-based practice in healthcare delivery systems. DNP graduates have skill sets and competencies to function in clinical and executive leadership r...
- Portland, MEPortland, ME
University of New England
The faculty of the Physical Therapy program value students with diverse educational backgrounds and life experiences. Individuals with a bachelor's degree, in any major, from a regionally accredited institution are encouraged to apply for admission...
- Portland, ME
- West Hartford, CTWest Hartford, CT
University of Hartford
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program is an entry-level professional physical therapy program.
- San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
California Institute of Integral Studies
The DAOM program is designed for licensed acupuncturists looking to focus on integrative medicine, deepen their TCM knowledge and skills, and specialize in TCM Pain Management or TCM Women's Health...
- San Francisco, CA
- Fort Lauderdale, FLFort Lauderdale, FL
Nova Southeastern University
Au.D. - Doctor of Audiology
Nova Southeastern University Department of Audiology is dedicated to the education of future Doctors of Audiology.
- Baltimore, MDBaltimore, MD
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is the largest and oldest graduate school of public health. Founded in 1916 as part of the Johns Hopkins University, the School has served as the model for public health schools, creatin...
- Portland, ORPortland, OR
University of Western States
p>The UWS DC program is a rigorous 12 academic-quarter, first-professional doctorate program, which focuses on legitimate, mainstream evidence in the exploration of evaluation and care of patients and their needs...