5 ways a doctoral degree may strengthen your career

December 11, 2023

Reading time: 3–4 minutes

There’s a lot to think about when considering a doctoral journey – which program, which field, in which area would you like to gain expertise? But the ultimate question might be, will earning a doctoral degree help you reach your potential?

Curtis Brant, PhD, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness at Capella University and Bruce Chapman, PhD, Academic Research Director for the School of Business Technology, and Health Care Administration, share five benefits a doctoral degree may provide.


1. Helps you develop advanced problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills can be developed throughout a doctoral program, from coursework through the final project.

According to Brant, “with the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, human problem-solving skills can be useful when they’re applied in situations like the understanding of how to solve complex problems.”

2. Develops skills that apply to your goals

“A doctoral degree is a great way to upskill and re-energize yourself mid-career,” says Chapman, “to hone and demonstrate important skills, such as mental agility, flexibility, adaptability, critical thinking, communication, data analysis, initiative and enthusiasm.”

He went on: “The research skills you develop in a doctoral degree program are uniquely forward-looking. This focus on finding better-than-best-practice solutions creates a commanding competitive advantage in any business.”

“For instance, someone with a Doctor of Information Technology (DIT) degree may explore different avenues for putting their training to work,” notes Chapman. “So many different paths can be associated with the credential.”

Like the DIT, the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a professional doctorate. Earning a DBA may appeal to people with a strong interest in business. “The DBA gives students the foundation of the practical side of business,” Brant adds.

3. Offers applicable knowledge in both academic and nonacademic settings

Academia is just one pathway for people who hold doctoral degrees in our time.

According to Brant, “individuals who have doctoral training and possess the knowledge and ability to solve real-world problems can support efforts in business, industry, nonprofit and government.”

What's it like to be a doctoral student? 

Learn more about the experience, explore each step of the journey, and read stories from students who have successfully earned their doctorate. 

Explore the doctoral journey

4. Supports ongoing development of critical communication skills

“It’s not just the training in complex problem solving, research and analysis that sets up doctoral graduates for success. It’s the ability to communicate in a way that is clear, concise and relevant that is a differentiator gained in the doctoral degree program,” says Brant.

A second part of communication involves learning to communicate with teams and how to take feedback. Doctoral students quickly realize that they will get feedback – lots of it – on their projects.

Learning not to take criticism personally and making use of it to improve their projects are skills that can help individuals grow and advance toward their goals.

5. Potential to increase credibility and opportunity

Less tangible is the possibility of increasing credibility and opportunity. A doctoral degree is a significant undertaking that can be seen as representative of commitment and perseverance.

“Uniquely human traits – like persistence, determination and emotional intelligence – can help graduates find their path to success in the workplace,” says Brant. “The process of getting your doctorate will help you develop and practice these skills.”

There are many factors to think about when considering getting a doctoral degree. The intense focus on a particular field of study, the dedication and perseverance in completing high-level research projects and the ability to follow lines of inquiry to their solution – all are characteristics of a doctoral degree program that can lead to a person realizing their potential.


Capella University offers select PhDs and many professional doctorate degree programs in business, information technology, education, nursing, health sciences, psychology, counseling, social work and human services. Learn more about Capella’s doctoral degree programs.

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