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.
Simmons College’s Nursing@Simmons program offers licensed Registered Nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) the opportunity to earn their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) online.
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.
RNs with a BSN, earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree online and pursue certification in an advanced nursing specialty area with Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies.
New York University
Earn your Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) in as few as two years with NYU’s online program, OT@NYU. Master’s degree and GRE required – waiver available. Apply today!...
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...
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...
Nova Southeastern University
In our D.N.P. program, you'll identify healthcare problems and turn complex research into real-world programs that better the field. If you don't have an M.S.N., but have a related master's degree, you only need to complete one bridge course.
- Fort Lauderdale, FL
- West Hartford, CTWest Hartford, CT
University of Hartford
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program is an entry-level professional physical therapy program.
Purdue University Global
Purdue Global’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is designed to prepare advanced practice nurses to thrive in today’s rapidly changing health care environment. With the shrinking number of primary care providers, the nursing shortage, and the increasing...
University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
The dynamics of today's fast-paced, complex healthcare system requires nursing leaders with the knowledge and expertise to improve the delivery of patient care and positively influence patient outcomes.
- Portland, MEPortland, ME
University of New England
The University of New England’s College of Pharmacy participates in the Centralized Application Service for Pharmacy (PharmCAS)...
Would you like to lead the effort to advance public health practices in community-based settings? Walden University’s Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program can help you become a leader in your field. One of the shortest and most affordable pro...
- 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...
University of the Rockies
- 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.
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...
- 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...
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...
- Kirkland, WAKirkland, WA
Integrative medicine represents a new level of intellectual breadth and personal depth in healthcare.
- Colorado Springs, COColorado Springs, CO
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
- Boston, MABoston, MA
Students who come to the Tufts Public Health program have a vision: they want to make the world a better place. Recent graduates who have decided to pursue a public health career; health professionals wanting to become experts in their field; clinicians...
- Royal Palm Beach, FLRoyal Palm Beach, FL
South University’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy is an innovative graduate curriculum that builds the profession’s capacity to empower the advanced clinical-scholar.
- Savannah, GA
- Columbia, SC