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PhD Professional Affiliations and Licensure Online

Apart from checking the accreditation of an educational institution that offers online degree programs, it is also best to find out if their programs are approved by professional organizations in that particular field of study. A doctoral degree, for instance, is a huge credential by itself but a professional affiliation is an added advantage for career advancement. A professional affiliation is referred to as membership in organizations of colleagues or experts in a chosen field. For example, a doctor, lawyer, professor or nurse can be affiliated with several organizations.

Meanwhile, there are doctorates that call for licensure before those who have completed the degrees can actually practice the profession. For instance, a doctorate in psychology (PsyD) holder cannot just engage in counseling if he or she lacks a professional license. Hence, it is a necessity for graduate students wanting to pursue a doctoral degree to ensure that the program they will be enrolling in is recognized by a licensing agency before making a commitment and paying the school fee.

Licensure is the acquisition of a license to work in a certain profession. Many professions required a government license to make sure that the public will not be deceived by incompetent practitioners. Some professions that need licensure include doctors, nurses, lawyers, psychologists and public accountants. In order to secure a license, training or passing an exam is normally required. Once licensed, people sometimes add an acronym to their name such as John Williams, PsyD or CPA.

Meanwhile, professional associations are organized to improve a certain profession, protect the interest of the public and professionals. They normally implement standards of training and ethics in their profession. Many of these associations do professional certification to signify that an individual has qualifications in the field of study. This is the reason why sometimes membership in professional associations is tantamount to earning a certification, although not all the time.
Professional organizations also have legal functions. In countries where the legal system involves a jury, the government may identify self-governing professional associations of peers in certain fields. This is because in a legal system that gives defendants the right to a jury by their peers, the general public may not be totally knowledgeable in a certain field of practice to serve in the jury. An average person, for instance, may not be able to determine if a civil engineer took extreme care to make sure that a building or bridge would stand earthquakes.

The standards, statutes and requirements of licensure and certification are usually set by the local, state, national, professional affiliations and province boards. These standards and requisites may differ in various states across the U.S. Students taking doctorate degrees should be responsible for ensuring that their program fulfills all requirements needed for professional licensure and certification. They should also take it upon themselves to make sure that they comply with the requirements of the local, state, national, professional associations and province boards. Some of these requisites include a residency upon admission to a PhD program and completion of specific number of hours of academic year in residence during the course of the study.

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