At the doctorate level, you are very interested in enhancing your career. The additional knowledge and dedication will impress your employer and allow you to become more marketable and competitive in the job market. Although a doctorate program may take three to five years to complete, your degree will afford you a lucrative living in the nursing field. Also, at this point in your career, you probably have a specific career goal in mind, as you should. Your decision on a specialization will dictate what sort of degree you will want to pursue. This will allow you an in-depth knowledge of a specific subject matter.
Ordinarily, students choose between two different types of doctorate degrees; Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). A PhD in Nursing degree allows the student to choose a specialization in certain Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) capacities.
You may also be interested in knowing that as a Registered Nurse who already has earned their online Bachelor’s of Science Nursing degree (BSN) may have an option of obtaining your Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree directly. Some schools award both a Master’s of Science Nursing (MSN) degree, in addition to, the DNP, therefore, providing you with the shortest path to earning your DNP. However, not all schools will offer this option and these programs are reserved for highly qualified students with strict prerequisites so you should research this possibility in great lengths if you are interested and think you may meet the requirements.
A Doctor of Nursing (DNP) program focuses on the preparation of actual advanced nursing practices. If you plan to spend your career in a clinical setting working and caring for patients, then a DNP degree is probably the best degree for you. You may also be interested in working as a manager or executive within the healthcare industry. If so, the DNP degree is the preferred degree for leadership related careers. However, some DNP graduates do advance on to become nursing educators or researchers, as well. A DNP may use their degree in areas of research relating to practice within a clinical setting compared to the PhD who conducts independent research in the medical field.
A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing degree prepares students for the role of a nursing scientist and particularly, the skills necessary to do research. Research topics may include the improvement of system care, the distribution and integration of new discoveries in healthcare and the study of patient issues or achievements. If you remain in public nursing, you may choose to select a concentration of study, such as a Nurse Practitioner or a Pediatric Acute and Primary Care Specialist. A PhD degree includes coursework in theory, research methodology and statistics. The program also requires a dissertation on nursing science.
Depending on your preference, you may choose to obtain a doctorate degree in a traditional college or university or perhaps through an online program. Due to the advanced level of education that this program requires, generally the classes are not very large and sometimes non-existent in your local area. Online schools offering doctorate degrees in nursing are ideal, although some on-campus or internship work may be required. As always, verify that your program of choice is from an accredited online school.
Coursework related to the online doctorate program may vary for each specialization, however, most programs include basic classes on research methods, leadership skills, evidence-based practices, statistics analysis, history and philosophy of nursing science and data analysis.
The requirements for becoming a Nurse Educator vary according to each institution and the nursing level that you will be teaching. Those holding master’s degrees can generally teach at the adjunct or instructor level, however, more permanent faculty members such as professors are expected to hold a doctorate degree.
Whatever your career goal may be, while earning your online doctorate degree in nursing, rest assured that your higher education will be admired and will benefit you in so many ways. While researching a possible career in nursing, check out our Top Online Nursing Degree Programs.