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When deciding to achieve a doctoral-level degree in education, one is most often interested in becoming a future leader in the education system. They can be interested in improving their skills for their current position in leadership, but also looking to improve their attractiveness for prospective positions that may come available to them in the future.
The degrees most often sought after for education professionals are the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or the Doctor of Education (EdD). The PhD is primarily best suited for those interested in scholarly careers, philosophy and research, while the EdD tends to be more appropriate for those pursuing leadership positions in educational institutions.
Why Earn an Education Doctorate
Most doctoral candidates know that earning your doctorate in education can learn to higher-paying work in the education profession. Earning your doctorate in this field also has other substantial benefits:
- You can have a major impact on the educational industry. Many doctoral degree holders hold upper level administrative positions in secondary and postsecondary educational institutions. This provides you with the opportunity to be a leader in the field of education in many fields.
- You may qualify for top level roles. A rigorous education doctorate will put you in place to possibly earn a position as a professor, superintendent or principal.
- Grow your network. When you take doctoral level courses, you will meet many other professionals who are there to improve their knowledge and skills. Your fellow students can be part of a very valuable personal network, and serve as support system throughout the program.
- Demonstrate highest level of skills. Professionals who have earned their doctorate in education have proven that they have excelled in highly demanding coursework, and have honed their writing, research and analysis skills.
Featured Online Doctorates in Education
The following featured partner schools offer this program online with no GRE requirement:
Suggested Online Education Doctorate
The following are examples of some of the best doctoral level degree programs offering education studies. The listing includes the name of the degree, the name of the university, and specific information about that school and program:
- Doctor of Philosophy in Education: Capella University offers many PhD degrees in the education field to satisfy most prospective students’ interests. The specialization includes most of the standard offerings, plus a few that are less common: K-12 studies, postsecondary and adult education, nursing education, training and performance improvement, and special education leadership.
- Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership: This program at University of New England focuses on what they call “transformative leadership.” These skills are designed to work together to improve each educator’s ability to apply the classroom concepts to bringing about real change in their own educational environments. This program takes three years to complete, and is completely online.
- Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Design for Online Learning: Designed to instruct current educators on the specific elements of online learning, this doctoral program at Capella University provides skills very currently in demand. All fields are expanding their learning functions to online learning formats, and this degree qualifies a graduate to bring a unique skill set to the field of online education. There are 120 credits needed for graduation, and there are a wide variety of courses available to choose from. The ability to design and implement online learning systems will come with this degree.
- Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership: The degree program at Grand Canyon University gives the students several options for the environment within academia that they aspire to improve their skills in organizational leadership. Organizational development, behavioral health, K-12 leadership, and special education are all offered. One area that this curriculum differs from most others is that their dissertation begins from the very start of the program. Instead of saving the dissertation to the end of all coursework, the Grand Canyon University designs their studies so that the student is able to be thinking of their subject through all of the core and concentration courses, and can be developing and questioning the theories as they relate to that topic.
- Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership: Using the skills of the current educators that enter the degree program and developing them into the educational leaders of the future is the main drive behind the program offered at Keiser University Graduate School. This online format degree requires 60 semester credit hours, and aims to equip their graduates with the tools to encourage their interests in bringing about real changes to the educational system.
- Doctor of Education: Northcentral University provides an entirely online doctoral degree in education. They offer 13 specializations that will make it possible for most students to find the one that matches their personal aspirations in the field of education. Communication skills is a prime factor that there is substantial focus applied to. The culmination of the program rests on successful completion and defense of a dissertation, which incorporates the research study techniques developed through the degree program and the student’s area of interest.
- Doctor of Education in Leadership: The Catholic tradition plays a role in the design of the degree offered at Creighton University. The online degree uses those fundamental beliefs to form the basis for the development of the leadership skills of the students. Their coursework is taught by faculty from all fields in the school, providing an cross-discipline perspective that is unique to this program. The degree requires 60 semester hours of coursework and requires two on-campus visits, one at the start and one at the end.
- Doctor of Education: NOVA Southeastern University and their Fischler School of Education offers a wide variety of specializations for their doctoral degree in education. They combine seminars of the core subject matter with the focus on their concentration which is developed through coursework as well as the research, writing, and defending of their dissertation. The online nature of the program increases the international diversity of the program, providing significant advantage to the students of the program. These viewpoints shared during class time will improve each student’s global perspective.
- Doctor of Education: Liberty University provides an online degree program that requires 60 credit hours and includes some on-campus time related to your final dissertation. Two concentration choices are available, and each student must choose one of them: Educational Leadership or Curriculum and Instruction. Skills that are taught aim to combine a Christian perspective on forming the leaders for the education system of tomorrow.
- Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies: Preparing the future leaders of higher education is the goal of University of Nebraska. Their program touches on the many demands placed on educational leaders, especially considering social and monetary factors, in leadership dynamics. This program requires a minimum of 90 credit hours, including the time needed to complete a dissertation.
- Doctor of Education: The doctoral program at Northeastern University is focused on providing educators the skills to combine research techniques and practices in order to make changes in their own education system. Their programs include leadership in various types of educational environments, including Jewish education, and organizational leadership. Program includes a thesis project to demonstrate application of these skills to a current topic relevant to academia.
Popular Career Paths for Education Doctorates
The doctoral degrees offered in the education field cover a wide range of topics in nearly every concentration, so it is no surprise that there are a similarly vast number of careers available to those people that graduate with these degrees. Some of those career options include:
- School Superintendent
- University President
- Educational Researchers
- Curriculum Design
- Dean of College Department
- Academic Policy Developer
- Educational Activist
- Government Educational Policy Advisor
Below are more details about career options for professionals who earn their doctorate in education:
The most common career path for a doctorate in education holder is to become an elementary, middle or high school principal. A principal is responsible for managing all school operations, including the maintenance of the building, maintaining educational standards and managing all daily school activities.
Principals are responsible for coordinating the curricula for the school, providing supervision and performance reviews for teachers and all other staff, and generally providing a safe and productive educational space for students.
Principals with a doctorate in education also establish and maintain academic standards and goals for the school, and ensure that teachers have the equipment and educational resources they need to do their jobs. Principals in a public school district also handle the implementation of standards and programs that are established by the school district or state.
The precise duties for each principal will vary depending on how large the school and district are. In the biggest schools and districts, principals often have large numbers of staff and resources to assist them in achieving the goals of the school.
Job demand for principals across the country will increase by 6% by 2024. This is an average growth rate, but some areas of the country could see more rapid growth. This will depend upon the population growth for the given city or state. The median wage for principals is $90,400, and the top 10% usually with doctorates earn more than $130,000 per year.
Postsecondary Education Administrator
These highly educated professionals work in colleges and universities. They are responsible for the management of student services, academics, and research done by faculty. The duties of this administrator can vary by college; some professionals might be in charge of a certain area of the school, such as admissions, office of the registrar or student affairs.
Administrators who work in admissions must decide which students may attend the program. They will usually decide how many students can be admitted each term, and will administer the review of college applications to determine who is best qualified for admission.
If you work as a registrar, you will be responsible for maintaining both student and course records. Common duties for these administrators are:
- Scheduling and registering students for classes
- Scheduling space and time for students
- Ensuring that students are meeting graduation requirements
- Planning of commencement ceremonies
- Readying transcripts and diplomas for students
You can have differing duties throughout the course of the school year as a registrar.
The job outlook for postsecondary education administrators is good, with 9% increase in demand expected by 2024, which is faster than average. There is more demand today for students to attend college to develop skills for future employment. The median salary for all postsecondary education administrators is $88,500.
Another common career path for doctorate in education holders is to become a postsecondary teacher, such as a college professor. These highly educated workers teach students in associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral programs a wide variety of academic subjects. They also are responsible in some cases for conducting research and publishing scholarly papers.
The duties of postsecondary teachers can vary a great deal depending upon the college or university. In a larger university, you could spend much of your time teaching, doing research and experiments, and applying for grants to fund research.
In a smaller setting, a postsecondary teacher could spend more of their time teaching classes and working with students in a guidance capacity. They could spend some time on research, but usually there is more time devoted to teaching.
Employment for postsecondary teachers is going to be strong in the coming years. A growth rate of 13% is expected by 2024, as more students are attending college to improve their work and professional skills. The median salary is $72,400, although this can vary widely depending upon the subject.
Overall, professionals with a doctorate in education can enjoy a substantial salary. For example, the national average salary for an Educational Policy Advisor at $136,000 or a University President at $126,000.
Some of them earn salaries in the $80,000-90,000 range, as the University Dean at $81,000 and the Curriculum Designer at $86,000. These national average salaries were obtained from CareerBuilder.com.
- Middle and High School Principals. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm#tab-2
- Postsecondary Education Administrators. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/postsecondary-education-administrators.htm#tab-2
- Postsecondary Teachers – Pay. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-6