Doctorate - Practice By Country - United States - Professional Degrees

Professional Degrees

In the United States, numerous fields of study have professional doctorates, such as medicine/osteopathic medicine, public health, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, psychology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, health science, advanced practice registered nurse, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, law, education, teaching, and many others that usually require such degrees for licensure. Some of these degrees are also termed "first professional degrees," since they are also the first degree in their field.

Professional doctorates were developed in the United States in the 19th century during a movement to improve the training of professionals by raising the requirements for entry and completion of the degree necessary to enter the profession. These first professional degrees were created to help strengthen professional training programs. The first professional doctorate to be offered in the United States was the M.D. in 1767 by Columbia University which was nearly one hundred years before the first Ph.D. was awarded in the U.S. in 1861. The Juris Doctor (J.D.) was subsequently established by Harvard University for the same reasons that the M.D. was established. A Doctor of Pharmacy is awarded as the Terminal/Professional degree in Pharmacy replacing BS in Pharmacy. It is the only Professional Pharmacy Degree awarded in the US and the Pharmacy School needs accreditation of American Council on Pharmacy Education (ACPE). Pharmacy programs vary in length between 4–6 years depending if a matriculating student has earned a BS/BA or not.

Recently there has been a trend for introducing professional doctorates in other fields as well, including the Doctor of Audiology in 2007. Advanced Practice Registered Nurses are expected to completely transition to the Doctor of Nursing Practice by 2015 and physical therapy to the Doctor of Physical Therapy by 2020.

Profession Professional doctorate in the United States First awarded
Allopathic Physician Medicinae Doctor and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) 1767
Osteopathic Physician Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) 1892
Chiropractor Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.)
Dentist Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S) and Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.)
Occupational Therapy Doctor of Occupational Therapy (O.T.D.)
Social Work Doctor of Social Work (D.S.W.)
Physical Therapy Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T)
Podiatrist Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.)
Pharmacist Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)
Government Doctor of Public Administration (D.P.A.)
Veterinarian Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) and Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris (V.M.D.)
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Doctor of Nursing Practice or Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNP or DNAP) 2005
Optometrist Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)
Audiologist Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) 1996
Lawyer Juris Doctor or Doctor of Law or Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) 1870
Physician Assistant Doctor of Science Physician Assistant (DScPA)
Health Science Doctor of Health Science (D.H.Sc.)
Public Health Doctor of Public Health (Dr.PH.)
Minister/Clergy Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.), Doctor of Practical Theology (D.P.T. or D.Th.P.) or Doctor of Biblical Studies (D.B.S)
Psychologist Doctor of Psychology Given in School and Clinical Psychology programs(Ph.D. or Psy.D.)
College Teaching Doctor of Arts (D.Arts/D.A.)
Music Doctor of Musical Arts (D.Mus.A/D.M.A.)
Management Doctor of Management (D.Mgt.)

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