Doctorate in Educational Technology Online

Degree Options & Potential Careers

Earning a doctoral degree in educational technology online prepares learners for engaging and lucrative careers throughout corporate, government, nonprofit, and education sectors. Additionally, an online program provides students a convenient and flexible way to earn their degree while also maintaining professional or personal responsibilities.

This page highlights what students learn in educational technology doctoral programs and the career opportunities they can pursue after graduation. We also outline application requirements and admission criteria, sample curriculum, potential program outcomes, information about accreditation, and professional organizations related to educational technology.

Should I Earn an Online Doctorate in Educational Technology?

A doctorate in educational technology online offers learners the same rigorous curriculum as their on-campus counterparts. Students receive instruction from the same expert instructors, and complete much of the same coursework requirements. Graduates also earn the same degree as those who study on campus.

Online learners use advanced technology to engage with professors and peers throughout their curriculum. Each program features its own online learning platform that provides tools and resources like web conferencing software, live chats, and discussion forums.

Pursuing an online degree can often prove a more affordable option for degree-seekers. At many colleges and universities, online learners may receive in-state tuition rates, even if they live out-of-state. These students can also save on traditional on-campus expenses, such as parking, transportation, room and board, and meals.

Most students who pursue their doctoral degree possess several years of work experience. An online program can give students the flexibility and convenience they need to continue their careers while they earn their degree. For instance, many online programs deliver coursework asynchronously, allowing students to complete their coursework from any location and during a time that works best for them. Students may need to participate in synchronous activities during their online program, but they still enjoy much higher levels of flexibility than learners attending an on-campus program.

What Can I Do With an Online Doctorate in Educational Technology?

Graduates of a doctorate in educational technology online program are prepared for a variety of career opportunities. A doctorate is considered a terminal degree in the field, and degree-holders are considered experts in their discipline, making them excellent candidates for a range of careers. Students analyze the technology needs in education and develop intervention plans to improve the quality of education across K-12 schools, community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and technical schools.

Students also learn to communicate their ideas effectively through written, digital, and oral formats. These skills prepare graduates for leadership roles in management and training in the business field, in which professionals train employees to integrate technology into their work.

At the core of the educational technology doctoral program, learners focus on the collaboration between technology and education. Graduates often pursue career opportunities that allow them to develop online programs for learners, creating various online tools to help advance students' education. These professionals explore ways to develop lesson plans, exams, and other program components.

Additionally, many graduates of a doctoral degree in educational technology pursue careers in curriculum design. These professionals determine what course topics to incorporate for students and consider ways to include technology in the courses.

Educational technology professionals analyze learning and education needs to incorporate innovative changes that allow learners to make the most of their programs. Career options include curriculum specialists, instructional designers, training managers, instructional technology specialists, and learning specialists. Graduates can also consider roles in higher education, working as professors and researchers.

Curriculum Specialist

Responsible for developing and improving scoring guides, curricula, and tests, curriculum specialists respond to test feedback and answers to questions. These specialists deliver educational content and courses to cater specifically to the unique needs of students. They also provide review materials for groups and committees, and work closely with advisory committees.

Instructional Designer

Instructional designers create instructional materials, including customer training courses to help support their company's products. These designers create materials to help users from all backgrounds better understand products. Instructional designers work with external and internal partners to identify a specific design focus.

Training Manager

In charge of coaching and supporting staff members through supervision issues and operational changes, training managers create training materials like manuals and educational materials. These managers lead training programs and orientations, with a particular focus on personnel development. Training managers review performance management for employees and supervisors.

Instructional Technology Specialist

Instructional technology specialists help learners use computer technology. These specialists conduct instructional technology activities, and teach and train staff members and students about various technology concepts. Instructional technology specialists provide online and face-to-face training programs for students and faculty members.

Learning Specialist

In charge of developing new online courses and converting pre-existing courses into online opportunities, learning specialists develop syllabus materials and final examinations. These specialists coordinate online learning opportunities and create databases to track users, technical problems, and feedback. Learning specialists research software, content creation, and interactive media options.

Educational Technology Ph.D. Program Overview

The section below reviews the various components of an educational technology doctoral program, including application requirements, admission criteria, sample curriculum, course descriptions, and program outcomes.

Application Requirements and Admission Criteria

Admissions criteria and application requirements vary depending on the college and university. However, most programs require doctoral applicants to hold a master's degree from an accredited college or university. Applicants also submit their official transcripts with a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0-3.5 and an admissions application.

Some programs require applicants to submit an admissions essay or a personal statement that outlines why they want to enroll in the doctoral program, including the goals that this degree can help them accomplish. Doctoral applicants might also be required to submit letters of recommendation, a professional resume, and an admissions interview.


While the exact curriculum of a doctorate in educational technology varies by program, most feature similar course requirements. Since doctoral programs build upon the advanced topics covered in a master's program, students complete advanced, research-based coursework in the discipline.

Once learners complete their coursework requirements, they begin a doctoral writing assessment that prepares them for their dissertation. A dissertation requires students to conduct original research that explores new concepts in a particular area, and captures their research and findings in a lengthy, detailed essay. Students work with a faculty member to ensure they produce a polished final piece.

Depending on the college or university, learners might experience different course lengths and program completion times. Online opportunities may include asynchronous or synchronous formats; synchronous components require learners to be online at a specific time, while asynchronous elements allow degree-seekers to complete their work from any location during any time.

Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis

This course explores multivariate data analysis as it applies to advanced statistical concepts.

Designing Instruction for eLearning

Students in this course design effective learning experiences across digital platforms and review mobile technologies, academic integrity, and collaborative learning.

Leading Change

Degree-seekers explore topics in leading change through an organizational setting and various social change issues.

Innovations and the Diffusion of Learning Technologies

Learners explore social change caused by technological innovations and review resistance strategies.

Creating Digital Media

Students learn to effectively use digital media across learning environments and design and create interactive and digital media.

Research Theory, Design, and Methods

During the research theory, design, and methods course, degree-seekers develop create and analyze research, and review data collection methods.

Trends and Issues in Educational Technology

This course explores the evolution of technological trends, and reviews the impact they have on society and learning.

Leading the Future of Education

Students examine how to become successful leaders of change, and develop networking, research, and critical-thinking abilities.

Program Outcomes

An educational technology doctoral program prepares learners for a variety of leadership positions across community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, K-12 schools, and virtual schools. Degree-seekers explore the core competencies in the field, such as instructional design, methods of educational research, and quantitative methods in educational technology. Throughout their curriculum, learners complete a variety of advanced course topics, a practicum component, and a dissertation.

Dissertations require students to conduct in-depth research on a specific topic, and reveal their findings through a final, written essay. Additionally, degree-seekers learn to integrate technology into instruction to enrich a student's educational experiences. Students explore a variety of different technologies, and learn to use each type during curriculum and instruction. Students also expand their ability to communicate effectively, grow their analytical skills, and determine the best ways to teach their own students after graduation.

Accreditation for Online Educational Technology Doctorate Programs

As you search for the right doctorate in educational technology online program, ensure your college or university is accredited. Most institutions hold regional or national accreditation. Regionally accredited institutions highlight easily transferable credits widely accepted across higher learning institutions. Although these institutions often feature higher tuition rates than nationally accredited colleges and universities, they enjoy inclusion in most tuition reimbursement plans.

While regionally accredited institutions tend to focus more on liberal arts-based coursework, nationally accredited colleges and universities highlight technical and career-focused curricula. Credits at these institutions are often difficult to transfer. While they may highlight lower tuition rates, learners may be excluded from most tuition reimbursement plans.

Educational Technology Professional Organizations

Graduates who earn their doctorate in educational technology online can pursue a variety of opportunities across professional organizations, associations, and societies. Joining a professional organization can help individuals network with employers to find potential job opportunities. Additionally, professionals can learn more about the field from connecting with other educational technology professionals.

Visit each organization's website to learn more about the opportunities offered to members, including volunteering, networking, meetings, and seminars.

International Society for Technology in Education

  • A nonprofit organization dedicated to serving educators interested in using technology in education, the International Society for Technology in Education serves more than 100,000 members around the world, and provides them with a variety of support services.

Association for Educational Communications and Technology

  • The AECT is a professional and academic association that promotes the use of technology in education. The organization explores the best practices in instructional technology, offers students scholarships, and sponsors an academic conference each year.

International Society for Performance Improvement

  • The International Society for Performance Improvement is a nonprofit association dedicated to promoting performance improvement in professionals. The society improves societal, organizational, and individual accomplishments in the field.

International Technology and Engineering Educators Association

  • Devoted to improving technology education and engineering by using innovation, design, technology, and engineering experiences at the K-12 school levels. The organization represents more than 35,000 technology educators around the world.

Consortium for School Networking

  • A member-based association that promotes awareness of emerging technologies, the Consortium for School Networking is also an advocacy group that cultivates partnerships across the education field.