First Professional Degree

A professional degree prepares the holder for a particular profession by emphasizing competency skills along with theory and analysis. These professions are typically licensed or otherwise regulated by a governmental or government-approved body. Areas such as nursing, clinical laboratory science, architecture, law, landscape architecture, qualified marine architect, public policy, medicine, osteopathic medicine, veterinary medicine, chiropractic, engineering, dentistry, psychology, accounting, podiatry, audiology, speech-language pathology, physical therapy, optometry, radiography, pharmacy, social work, or education, among others, often require such degrees for licensing. Professional degrees, often taken as a candidate's second degree after an undergraduate degree in an academic subject, are especially important in the United States. In the United States, many professional degrees are combined with graduate degrees, and some students undertake professional studies after graduate studies (master/doctorate). In some other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the study of vocational subjects at undergraduate level, and post-graduate qualifications outside the academic degree structure, also play a large role in professional training.