Professional degrees are generally defined as qualifications that have a primary focus on a particular specialisation or area. These degrees are geared towards preparing students for professional careers in a given field, such as law or education. The aim is to get you up to speed with some of the more common tasks and activities you will have to take on in the course of your work.
Difference Between an Academic Degree and a Professional Degree
The main difference between the two types of qualifications is that an academic degree will focus more on theory and research than a professional degree does. In most cases an academic degree will not stress the need to find a real world or practical application of knowledge in a particular field. This does not however mean that you can simply define an academic degree as a generalist pursuit, as many focus on a dedicated subject or field of enquiry. This is especially true if you move to an advanced level of study such as a master’s degree or PhD. An academic degree will usually require you to refine your writing, research and independent thinking.
Professional Degrees and a Master’s or PhD Qualifications
Professional degrees aim to get you ready to enter the world of work with the requisite knowledge and skills. A master’s or PhD postgraduate qualification places more focus on research and academic study. There are some master’s degrees that do count or stand as professional qualifications, as they can be endorsed by industry standard and accreditation bodies or organisations. This is particularly true of fields like engineering, architecture, town planning and medicine.
How Long do Professional Degrees Usually Take?
For most professional degrees you will spend a minimum of four years qualifying. This may vary depending on the field and if you wish to specialise further in the field, in medicine. If you’re required to undertake further study for a master’s degree, this can add another two years onto your qualification. As with all decisions related to your future and academic journey it’s always a good thing to take some time to evaluate your options. It’s certainly worthwhile speaking to professionals in a field/s you may be interested in.