Terminal Degree – Everything you need to know

Most of us have heard the phrase “Terminal degree,” and we keep pondering what it is and how it affects us.

The phrase is widely used in the United States than in other countries. It varies between these countries and the academic disciplines in which the word is used.

Most people usually think that a PhD is the highest degree when climbing the academic ladder; However, it is not always true. In different fields, someone with a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree can be seen to have bagged a terminal degree.

What is a Terminal Degree?

A terminal degree is a word used to describe the highest degree gotten in different academic disciplines.

It is a requirement that aids in making a candidate become eligible or qualified for promotion to the highest position in the industry where they work. The degree comes in various forms which depend on the academic program.

kinds of Terminal degrees:

In the United States, all the doctorate degrees can be terminal degrees, but not all the terminal degrees are doctorate degrees. Some of them are master’s degree too. There are different types of terminal degrees for various academic disciplines. They include:

  1. Terminal doctorate degrees
  2.  Professional degrees
  3.  Terminal Master’s Degrees and
  4. Habilitation degrees

Terminal doctorate degrees:

There are many kinds of doctorate degrees, they include:

Doctor of philosophy (PhD)

A doctorate is the most common terminal degree obtained and covers a majority of academic programs. These are some academic disciplines that lead to a PhD:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Education
  • Engineering (civil, mechanical, electrical, communications etc.)
  • English
  • Physical therapy
  • Physics
  • Psychology

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Although some schools award a doctorate in education, some also award a PhD in education, but in just special programs. They include:

  • Adult education
  • Counseling
  • Curriculum
  • Educational (administration, psychology, technology)
  • Education (policy, supervision)
  • Higher education
  • Human resource development
  • Language/linguistics
  • Leadership
  • Technology
  • Teaching

Doctor of Arts (DA)

A doctoral program in arts is a terminal degree that allows students to pay more attention to the deeper aspects of their discipline so they can teach the subject very well while a PhD student is allowed to do more of research work and also apply their experience.

Here are some fields that have their terminal degrees in Doctor of Arts.

  • English
  • History and
  • Mathematics

Doctor of Engineering (EngD, Dr. Eng, DEng.)

Some programs pay more attention to the students applying their research than on the research itself. Having a degree, doctor of engineering can be identical to having a PhD in engineering.

Professional Degrees:

These are essential requirements obtained before penetrating into a particular level of expertise. There are three stages of academic progression here, but we are focusing on terminal professional degrees. These professional degrees include:

  • Doctor of Medicine (MD)
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) also Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD)
  • Juris Doctor (JD)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Educational Specialist (EdS)
  • Chiropractic Therapy (DC)
  • Veterinary Medicine (DVM)

Terminal master’s degrees:

Some academic disciplines do not have a doctorate program. In this particular scenario, having a master’s degree is what is required to lecture at a university. These are some programs offered under the terminal master’s degree.

  • Master of social work (MSW)
  • Master of fine arts (MFA)
  • Master of library information systems (MLIS)
  • Master of architecture (MArch)

Habilitation Degree:

Although the most common terminal degree is a PhD in the US. However, we have a habilitation degree which is higher than a PhD.

 Why you need a terminal degree?

  • This is a requirement for students who want executive positions in their chosen area of ​​discipline.
  • The level of education provided at this level prepares you for leadership positions within your field of study. You would contribute immensely to your community by writing global journals or running different impactful seminars. Your students will be able to learn from your skills and expertise.
  • Having a terminal degree makes you qualified for most high positions within your chosen field. It also gives you the opportunity to have a flexible career.
  • Determining the value or worth of knowledge and skills gained when earning your terminal degree is impossible.

Can you Earn a Terminal Degree Online?

 People wonder if they can earn a terminal degree online and the answer to that is YES, but this depends on the field of discipline. Studying at an online college would even save you lots of money.

Obtaining a terminal degree would make it possible for you to bring your dream career into reality.

Read this: What is the Easiest Degree to get Online

Final tips:

Earning a terminal degree will expose you to higher positions and opportunities. These positions are made for people who are unique in studies and in leadership skills.

Some of these skills come from educational directions and other external sources of learning that sets human development first before academic development.

On the other hand, these terminal degrees when gotten rarely lead to advanced studies. Also, obtaining a terminal degree will require more years of learning, internship experience, and research work.

Awesome one, I hope this article helped.

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Obiorah Esther
Obiorah Esther
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