Credential Creep

Professional doctorates, which take less time than the Ph.D., are spreading fast  — as are concerns about their uneven quality

When Brenda M. Coppard was studying occupational therapy in the late 1980s, a bachelor's degree was the standard ticket to enter the profession. By the 1990s, a master's degree was expected. Today a doctorate is becoming the norm.

Ms. Coppard is one of those who has pushed for more advanced degrees. In 1999 the associate professor of