Should I Earn an Online Doctorate in Education?
Earning an online doctorate in education opens career doors in multiple ways. For instance, some professions require a doctorate, such as postsecondary teaching positions. Additionally, candidates develop skills through coursework and practice that are relevant to fields outside of education. These skills include research strategies and ethical leadership, abilities that businesses, community organizations, and government facilities prioritize.
Obtaining a doctor of education online gives candidates familiarity with educational technology, which prepares graduates for distance teaching positions. Specifically, online students gain experience with discussion boards, virtual presentations, and electronic assignments along with platforms such as Moodle and Blackboard. These experiences are invaluable when teaching virtual courses.
Education doctorates also offer specializations that train degree seekers for specific careers. Concentrations include community college leadership, special education, elementary education, adult learning, and literacy education. These focuses allow learners to personalize degrees for specific careers.
Doctorates, on average, also increase lifetime income. In the education field candidates with a doctorate earn 24% more than master's grads. These doctorates can increase salaries and employment opportunities in education and external fields, while allowing learners to specialize for career goals.
What Can I Do with an Online Doctorate in Education?
Candidates who earn an affordable online doctorate in education can work as postsecondary teachers at colleges and universities. In these positions, graduates teach education majors basic skills and concepts of the field, and may also perform new field research for publications. Other careers in higher education include college deans and department directors.
Candidates can earn positions in K-12 education as curriculum directors, superintendents, educational consultants, and principals. Learners can also impact K-12 education by advocating for policy changes and advising educational software companies.
Thanks to the research, leadership, and analytical skills gained through an online doctorate in education, graduates are able to find work outside education, too, as graduates are equipped to work for private companies and government organizations in positions that require in-depth research. In particular, candidates can work as fundraisers, intelligence analysts, market research analysts, and social services directors.
Elementary, Middle, or High School Principal
Median Annual Salary: $94,390
Principals guide educators on curriculum and teaching strategies. Candidates enforce school rules and communicate student needs with parents. Other responsibilities include upkeeping budgets, choosing security measures, and building course schedules. These tasks relate to concepts covered in doctorate programs.
Median Annual Salary: $63,750
Instructional coordinators review curriculum for effectiveness and make changes accordingly. Candidates also advise on textbooks and train school personnel on new techniques. Coordinators can focus on one discipline, a specific age group, or children with special needs. Doctorate programs provide concentrations related to these focuses.
Postsecondary Education Administrator
Median Annual Salary: $92,360
These administrators work in admission, registration, and student affairs. Responsibilities may include recruiting students, making admission choices, organizing graduations, and offering guidance on campus housing. Some administrator positions, such as college deans, require a Ph.D.
Median Annual Salary: $76,000
Postsecondary educators teach multiple classes within their discipline and guide students on course selection. These teachers create lesson plans and provide feedback on assignments. These positions often require a doctorate.
Median Annual Salary: $116,252
Superintendents choose principals and tend to budgets for school districts. These workers also decide if schools should replace or reprimand school personnel. Candidates advise on policies and objectives. Doctorates prepare for these positions by exploring curriculum, leadership, and policy in the field.
Education Doctoral Program Overview
Programs can offer unique concentrations while grounding information in research, policy, and leadership strategies that are necessary for field careers. Students typically complete a capstone project or dissertation for these advanced programs. Furthermore, each program offers its own admission process and program outcomes. The following sections provide an overview of common program traits.
Types of Doctoral Degrees in Education
Candidates interested in education degrees can enter Ph.D. or Ed.D. programs online. Both degrees address curricula, legality, assessment, and policy, but with different objectives.
A Ph.D. emphasizes research and often culminates in a dissertation based on innovative research. Program classes address curriculum and methodology for careers that include postsecondary educators, researchers, and advisers. Candidates who want to teach or conduct research that influences educational administration should consider a Ph.D. The research skills gained in Ph.D. programs can also lead to research-heavy positions in other fields, such as sociology.
An Ed.D. prioritizes practice over research and includes coursework in ethics, leadership, and management. These degrees prepare graduates for administrative positions in school districts, such as instructional coordinators. Graduates can use current research to structure and improve educational experiences, rather than developing new research. Current teachers who want to advance into leadership positions in K-12 education make ideal candidates.
Application Requirements and Admission Criteria
Admission requirements for online education doctoral programs vary among schools. In general candidates must submit an application and a fee up to $100. Departments also require a master's, with some schools insisting on disciplines related to education. Institutions also insist on a minimum GPA greater than 3.0 . In addition to official transcripts, universities may also require resumes, standardized test scores, proof of teaching credentials, and years of related experience.
Online doctoral programs in education typically require three recommendation letters from employers, professors, community leaders, and colleagues. Departments may specify topics for these letters, including personal strengths and academic potential.
Students may need to submit statements of purpose, letters of intent, writing samples, or essay responses. These documents showcase applicants' writing skills and express professional goals, field philosophies, education knowledge, and relevant experience. Additional requirements may include in-person or online interviews and criminal background checks.
Each online doctorate in education structures curriculum differently. However, departments frequently divide courses into sections that typically comprise 16-21 credits in core classes that address leadership, ethics, research, policy, and educational trends. Departments often also include dissertation categories where learners complete 9-21 credits on literature reviews, data collection, research methods, and dissertation proposal.
Coursework varies based on concentrations. Online Ed.D. programs, for instance, offer focuses related to grade levels, such as elementary or secondary education. Specializations also address curriculum and instruction, leadership, and policy. Students can invest 9-20 credits on concentration-related topics, such as age-centered teaching strategies, educational management, and financial concerns in higher education. Curriculum may include categories like research methodology, leadership, and institutional analysis.
While curriculum differs among programs, common courses for a doctorate in education online include the following options.
Foundations of Educational Research
Candidates may explore common research strategies in these courses, and also learn to apply research to improve educational practice.
Group Dynamics and Conflict
Coursework explains conflict resolution techniques, along with related theories. Learners may also address how factors like culture impact group interactions and conflict strategies.
Innovations in Social Studies
Students may learn methods for teaching social studies using publications, case studies, and research. These courses can focus on specific age groups. Similar classes are possible for teaching other disciplines, such as math and English.
Ethical Leadership in Education
Candidates learn to analyze situations to determine ethical solutions to problems. Coursework may address culture and personal beliefs, along with strategies for fostering encouraging environments.
These courses explore curriculum and teaching strategies, and also prepare learners to assess student progress. Classes can focus on age groups, such as instructional leadership in K-12 settings.
Online doctoral programs in education explore concepts such as policy, leadership, and curriculum. These topics provide candidates from other disciplines with foundational field information. Programs also prepare professionals to make policy, procedure, and curriculum choices through administrative positions.
Earning a doctor of education online equips candidates with research skills for leadership positions. Students learn theories and methodologies of research to analyze students needs, curriculum, policies, trends, and regulations when determining the best paths for schools. Programs may explore business concepts for financial and organizational concerns of school administration. Departments also groom learners' communication and writing skills.
Concentrations, such as higher education leadership and middle school education, impact program outcomes. For instance, a curriculum and instruction focus prepares students to make curriculum choices for any grade level, while an elementary education concentration focuses on how to teach young children.
Best Ph.D. Programs in Education
Accreditation for Online Education Doctorate Programs
Accreditation agencies review schools, departments, and programs to determine which options hold academic value. In turn, these agencies should hold approval from higher authorities, such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Candidates should only consider schools that hold accreditation as federal aid only extends to students at accredited schools. Additionally, employers may not accept degrees from unaccredited schools or programs. Students pursuing an online doctorate in education can also look for accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.