Doctorate in Education Programs
If you are a licensed teacher, you can advance your career by earning a Doctorate of Education degree.
If you’re passionate about the education field and want to be on the forefront of education research, reform, curriculum and instructional design, administration, or technology, then earning a doctorate in education is a great fit for you. On this page we cover acceptance requirements and curriculum for doctorate in education programs, as well as career information for graduates of doctoral programs in education.
At the bottom of this page is a list of accredited doctorate-level (EdD, PhD) education programs from schools across the U.S. There’s an impressive array of specializations available in these advanced programs, and they can serve as a springboard into a number of exciting, challenging careers within the education field.
What Can I Do With a Doctor of Education Degree?
The Doctor of Education, or Ed.D., is designed to prepare scholars and leaders in teaching, policy construction and professional practice. Ed.D. graduates have the knowledge and advanced research skills to make a positive impact on the quality of educational programs. There are several career options for those who have achieved an Ed.D., including roles as members of university faculty, policymakers, researchers and educational leaders in public and private areas of learning.
Earning your Ed.D. can boost your career to the top of the education field. Our goal is to make it simple for you to connect with schools and request information. Use our free directory and resources to find campus-based and online Ed.D. programs. Only once you have specifics on the Doctor of Education programs across the U.S. can you make the best decision.
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What Ed.D. Specialties are Available?
There are two types of doctorate in education degrees. The one you choose depends upon your career goals. A Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) focuses on the practical applications of educational research. This degree is appropriate for individuals who wish to work as school superintendents, curriculum directors, educational policy makers or researchers.
A Doctor of Philosophy in Education (Ph.D.) is theory-based and stresses research that expands the existing body of knowledge in the field. This degree is appropriate for individuals who seek careers as university professors, teacher educators or educational theorists.
Colleges and universities offer doctorate in education programs online and in traditional campus settings no matter which degree option you choose.
Individuals pursuing a doctorate degree in education may choose from any number of specializations including:
- Educational Administration and Leadership
- Information Technology
- Adult Education
- Early Childhood Education
- Educational Psychology
- Special Education
- Higher Education/Community College Leadership
- Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
- Instructional Design
What are the Doctor of Education Program Requirements?
Most doctorate in education programs have similar acceptance and gr aduation requirements, regardless of the type of degree or specialty.
Entrance Requirements for Education Doctoral Degrees
Although some programs require students to have a master’s degree in education or its equivalent before enrolling in a doctorate program, it is also possible to go straight from a bachelor’s degree into an Ed.D. or PhD program at some schools.
The majority of programs also require:
- Qualifying scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
- Letters of recommendation
- A sample of the applicant’s professional writing, such as a master’s thesis
- A minimum G.P.A. of around 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
- Non-native English speakers need to take and pass the TOEFL or IELTS exams
Program structure and coursework vary depending upon the institution and the chosen specialty. However, most doctoral programs require 60 or more units of study.
According to a 2017 U.S. News report, full-time doctorate students can typically complete their graduate degree in three years if they already have a master’s degree. If you don’t already have a master’s degree, it will likely take you 4+ years to complete your doctorate.
Most programs require coursework focused on administrative leadership and may discuss topics like the policies and laws concerning educational institutions today.
Graduation usually requires passing all required and elective courses and completing a dissertation. Once the dissertation is completed, the doctoral candidate must defend his or her research in an oral examination in front of a panel of academic advisors.
Online programs in education also require you to complete a dissertation begin graduation, with researching and writing the dissertation incorporated into your curriculum toward the end of your doctorate in education program. Online students still need to present their dissertation to a committee.
Online Doctorate in Education Programs
If your professional goals extend beyond the classroom, and you eventually want a position in school or district leadership, then an online doctorate in education program might be a good fit for you. Most schools that offer Ed.D. programs online have a curriculum that follows a traditional format but is accessible through distance learning.
All the best online Ed.D. programs should help you earn your doctorate in education while preparing you for a career in leadership, organizational training and education or curriculum design.
The chief benefit of online Ed.D. degrees is the convenience they afford. Some programs require short residencies in addition to the online work, while others offer degrees that can be completed entirely offsite. In either case, you’ll have more freedom to learn at your own pace and around your own schedule while pursuing an online education doctorate degree.
One drawback to earning an education degree online is that they give students less face time with instructors. It’s important to know your learning style. If you’re a self-starter who thrives on your own, then an online degree program might be right for you. However, if the in-class discussion is important to your learning, a more traditional doctorate program might be a better fit.
An online doctorate program is a big commitment. Online Ed.D. programs can take several years to complete. It’s important to thoroughly research any online doctorate degree program you’re considering. Online programs haven’t been around as long as most brick-and-mortar universities, and many are still establishing their reputations. Make sure the program you select is accredited. Check with people you trust, such as administrators in your district, and ask if they think the programs you’re considering will help you reach your professional goals. If you eventually want to be a superintendent or school principal, check around online to see if the programs you’re considering have alumni in those roles. If a program hasn’t launched people on career paths that you hope to one day follow, then it might not be right for you.
About Ed.D. Courses
Your program may consist of rigorous research training that provides graduates with high-level skills and knowledge to impact education and influence academic excellence. Your program of study will dictate core courses in addition to general classes that provide perspectives for solving complex educational problems. The following courses may be included in an Ed.D. program of study:
- Educational Leadership is an introduction to defining objectives for the current trends and issues that impact education today in your area of concentration. The focus is on defining purposes of education and providing problem-solving strategies. Students also discuss philosophy, self-assessment of their individual values and their goals, commitments and values.
- Advanced Leadership in Educational Systems provides students with an overview of the concepts and requirements needed to successfully manage and develop education programs for systems, populations or communities.
- Advanced Research and Learning Theories are applied to organizational theory as it applies to school systems or governmental agencies.
- Curriculum and Instructional Reform includes the design of educational materials that consider theories of cognition, learning, assessment and professional development for school systems that include diverse populations and multicultural influences.
Benefits of Earning Your Doctorate in Education
There are numerous benefits to earning your doctorate in education. Just a few of these benefits include:
- You can advance to the top of your field
- Your salary my increase
- You will gain greater perspective about education topics
- You can have a direct impact on education policy and reform
- You can help create innovative education solutions using new technologies
Paying for Your Ed.D. or PhD in Education Degree
Students who wish to pursue a doctorate in education must be committed to a lengthy and costly course of study, even if they plan to earn their Ed.D. degree online. According to the U.S. News & World Report rankings in 2017, most doctoral programs in the nation cost around $50,000. This figure is much higher than it used to be, as evidenced when compared to the U.S. Department of Education’s education statistic information from 2012, which researched and projected doctoral programs to cost around $36,000.
The good news is there are plenty of scholarship, grant, and loan options available to you. Here is a brief list of some of your options:
- Many schools take care of all or part of your tuition in exchange for your research or teaching assistance.
- You can obtain federal loans through FAFSA.
- In the education space there is an abundance of private scholarships offered by individuals, professional organizations, and other institutions. One such example is the ISI Henry Salvatori Fellowship, which awards $10,000 to graduate students aiming to teach at the college level.
- Some schools offer their own scholarships, such as the TEDS PhD Program Scholarship, which selects three theological, education, or intercultural studies PhD students per year to award $23,000 each for their studies.
Be sure to do your own research as well, as there are plenty of scholarships and grant options out there.
Career Options for Ed.D Graduates
As a Doctor of Education scholar and educational leader, you can have limitless lucrative opportunities to assist in the organization, management and positive influences of complex systems in educational settings. Tenure tracks for faculty members in universities and school systems will be available to Ed.D. graduates. For those who specialize in health and psychology, mental health and hospital facilities or organizations require facility policies, system reform and management of educational curriculum.
Other areas of career options include the following:
- Adult Education Specialist in public and private schools or corporations
- Professor of Special Education in universities and school systems
- Research and Education Program Director in public, private and nonprofit sectors
- Director of Online Learning Programs for the design of curriculum and programs
- Education Counseling and Academic Advisor for students, faculty or school systems
- Professor of Health and Physical Education in hospitals, school systems or organizations
- Director of Educational Programs for corporations, universities or nonprofit organizations
Salary and Job Growth for Careers with an Education Doctorate Degree
You already know there are myriad careers you can enter with a doctorate in education. But how much will you earn once you graduate and enter the work force? Here is a list of some common careers for Ed.D. and Ph.D. graduates, and the average salaries and job growth for each of these careers:
- Education Administration: average salary $92,360 per year; job growth 10% (much faster than average) between 2016-2026
- Instructional Coordinator: average salary $63,750; job growth 11% (much faster than average) between 2016-2026
- Training and Development Manager: average salary $108,250; job growth 10% (faster than average) between 2016-2026
- Academic Advisor: average salary $55,419; job growth 13% (faster than average) between 2016-2026
- Postsecondary Instructor/Professor: average salary $76,000 per year; job growth 15% (much faster than average) between 2016-2026
New Challenges for Doctor of Education Graduates
As an education leader and scholar in your field, you can have access to excellent positions that reflect your high level of knowledge and expertise. As an Ed.D. graduate, you will create the future of education and help construct in the future development of education.
The International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education’s article on current issues today delves into new trends and issues in education for faculty, such as how do teachers cater for diversity in a socially acceptable manner. For those who are ready for the challenges of preparing educators as the agent of change, many opportunities will be available for graduates that are prepared with a doctorate in education.