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To explain the difference between a PhD and a doctorate diploma in the simplest of terms, the former is an academic degree while the latter is a professional degree. In other words, individuals seeking to earn a PhD desire a career in the teaching or research profession. For example, most tenured professors at colleges and universities hold a PhD. The abbreviation PhD denotes a Doctor of Philosophy degree, which is the highest academic degree an individual may earn. This degree may be earned in a number of various subjects or fields of study. Typically, individuals that desire to enter a teaching or research profession are not required to pursue further certifications.
A doctorate diploma that will be used outside of academia is considered a professional doctoral degree. These degrees include things such as Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Public Health, Doctor of Dental Surgery, and Doctor of Law. Individuals in these fields of study are often required to earn additional certifications. For example, if an individual with a Doctor of Medicine degree wishes to specialize in oncology, dermatology, obstetrics, or sports medicine, they may be required to obtain certifications in these areas. Furthermore, if an individual with a Doctor of Law degree wishes to specialize in disability law, environmental law, or entertainment and sports law, they may be required to earn certifications in these specific areas as well.
Whether or not an individual pursues a doctorate diploma or a PhD will be determined by their ultimate career goals. Those individuals that desire to teach in a college or university setting will want to pursue a PhD. Researchers also need to pursue a PhD. They may choose to earn a PhD in subjects such as math, English, computer science and political science. Individuals that wish to obtain a professional career as a dentist, doctor, lawyer, or chiropractor will need to pursue a doctorate degree. These degrees include things such as D.D.S, M.D., J.D., and D.C. respectively.