As a licensed health professional — occupational therapist, physical therapist, and other licensed health professional — who is interested in advanced training, you may be ready to pursue doctoral-level education that prepares you to become a leader in clinical research, academia, and clinical practice related to your field. Educational programs at this level develop your advanced practice reasoning skills, engage you in the scholarship of practice, and extend your knowledge and skills in the concentrated area of your practice. Emphasis in particular topics, such as geriatrics, pediatrics, and health professions education, as well as interdisciplinary opportunities and individualized plans of study, may distinguish programs at specific universities.
With your resulting experience, you will be able to make valuable contributions to society, healthcare, and your profession through advocacy, education, and scholarship in a wide range of community, institutional, and non-traditional practice settings. In addition, you are prepared to develop and implement solutions to the health issues of our society and to teach in academic and clinical settings.
Your post-professional doctoral-level education provides a strong foundation of content in the scholarship of health professional practice and emphasizes scientific thinking, complex clinical decision-making and all aspects in the scholarship of practice. You will have the opportunity to validate clinical practice through scientific investigation, the intergration of research results from diverse fields and the application of research. You will also learn to analyze and influence public policy related to health care services and write articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects opportunities in health care and education will grow nearly 19 percent through 2016, adding as many as 5.5 million jobs, which is more than any other segment of the economy. Positions for postsecondary educators alone are expected to increase by nearly 23 percent. Driven by longer life expectancies and the need for health care and social assistance to serve an aging population, rising student enrollments at all levels create strong demand for your professional expertise.
If you are ready for an intellectual challenge, enjoy developing advanced practice skills, want to strengthen your profession through leadership, are excited about developing and implementing novel solutions to the health issues of our society, relish teaching and sharing your knowledge and skills, improving your professional credentials with graduate-level education in health sciences may be the right path for you.
Sources: US Bureau of Labor Occupational Outlook Quarterly; http://ExploreHealthCareers.org