Exploring an educational future that includes working on a terminal degree is clearly an exciting proposition. However, delving into the world of doctorate degrees comes with a plethora of questions and concerns. What types of degrees do schools offer? Which one is right for me? Is there a way to maximize my compensation after graduation?
To help you answer these questions – and ensure that you have all the tools you need to forge a path to success –let’s spend a moment breaking down each major classification of a doctorate degree, as well as which of these offerings can lead to the highest paying careers.
The Highest Paying Doctorate Degrees
So, now that you’re up to speed with each type of degree, it’s time to break down these advanced learning opportunities by earnings potential. All of the following information comes from workplace research and career outlook projections conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.)
#1 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Earning your Ph.D. qualifies you to work as a research scientist or full-time professor in your chosen field. Research scientists often top out on the pay scale at the $121,325 mark, while tenured professors can earn up to $180,611 during the course of a year.
#2 Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
Holders of a DBA most often end up serving as leading executives and financial officers, as well as managers for government-based departments. Staying on the private side of the equation can lead to annual compensation that reaches $235,220. If you focus on leading a government or municipal agency, you can expect to earn $108,810 over this same time span.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to DBA Programs here.
#3 Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
The PsyD path traditionally leads practicing professionals to end up as either clinical and counseling psychologists. Clinical psychologists earn around $98,264, while counselors receive an annual salary of $102,500 on average for their services.
Not sure if a PsyD is the right option for you? Check out our guide to Online PsyD Programs here.
#4 Doctor of Education (EdD)
Most EdD applicants end up taking on positions as school principals and eventually work their way up to regional and district superintendent careers. As a principal, your annual salary should sit somewhere between the $117,596 and $119,460 mark. The advanced leadership positions that come after this entry point often top out at $148,431 per year.
#5 Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
If you’ve acquired your DSW degree, you can expect to work as an in-house social work or executive directive of a social improvement program. The former lays claim to an average annual salary of $70,000, while the later clinical leadership role can scale up to the $83,900 mark.
#6 Doctor of Public Health (DPH)
The DPH path gives you the potential to start your career as a public health policy analyst making $66,647 a year. Once you have your foot in the door, having this degree on your resume can help you rise up the managerial ladder and earn $155,130 as a medical and health services manager or on-site public health coordinator.
Types of Doctorate Degrees
There’s no better place to start this discussion than by peering into the particulars of each major doctorate degree subtype. Specifically, your options on this front include earning a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Social Work (DSW), or Doctor of Public Health (DPH) degree.
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) – Traditionally reserved for those who want to remain in the world of academia, Ph.D. degrees focus on maximizing your ability to impart this advanced knowledge to incoming students. Outside of teaching, Ph.D. candidates also focus on pushing the limits of research and theoretical study within their chosen fields.
- Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) – The DBA experience is all about turning your terminal research in the areas of finance, marketing, accounting, and other related fields into applicable real-world skills. DBA graduates traditionally work in the corporate sector as executive officers and other ranking members of various managerial teams.
- Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) – PsyD students aim to provide clinical services within a wide range of settings, including group, familial, medical, scholastic, and even corporate environments. Earning this degree gives you the power to serve as a practicing clinician or specialized counselor.
- Doctor of Education (EdD) – Capturing an EdD degree is the first step toward a leadership role within the corporate and administrative side of the education field. Working as a principal, district supervisor, or even regional superintendent all fit into the professional path of this degree.
- Doctor of Social Work (DSW) – If you’re interested in educating others on the best practices and leading theories of modern social work and community interaction, then a DSW program could be your best option. Holders of this degree research and educate others in the social work field via hands-on training in the classroom and the office, as well as provide answers and guidance in unique or exceptional social issue cases.
- Doctor of Public Health (DPH) – Like most of the other degrees in this review, earning a DPH is all about the desire to lead others in a chosen workplace environment. In this case, that means maintaining residency as an administrator or public health coordinator at a hospital or a similar clinical setting.
Campus or Online: Which One Is Right for You?
It’s no big secret that whichever doctorate route you choose, you’ll be rewarded for your hard work and research via ample compensation. However, you can make this process a little easier on yourself by focusing on a path – either online or on-campus – that suits your unique needs and daily requirements.
While the appeal of the traditional college experience is the major selling point for the on-campus approach, working on your degree from home is a flexible alternative that shapes and molds itself to your current personal and professional schedule by allowing you to work on your research and coursework at your own pace. Adding in that these doctorate programs often waive Graduate Record Examination (GRE) minimum scores based on your GPA, as well as reduce or completely remove residency requirements, is further proof that this approach is at least worth your consideration as you plan out your academic future.
The Next Step
Now that you understand your career prospects and doctorate opportunities, it’s time to lay out the blueprint for a successful – and lucrative – future. Outside of conducting research on each of the areas that interest you, feel free to use the search tool below to find accredited universities that offer online doctoral programs in your chosen field. When paired up with the rest of what you’ve learned here, there’s nothing that can stop you from finding the right school – and program of study – to fit your personal and professional goals moving forward.