A doctorate (Ph.D.) in education prepares you with the knowledge and skills to get promoted to a leadership position in an educational setting, such as in a school district or university. You’ll learn a combination of educational theory, how to supervise others, and how to make learning more effective for teachers and students.
The education industry is constantly changing. Many schools today face a wide array of issues, such as new school laws, safety, bullying, diversity, students dropping out, and an evolving school curriculum. Your doctorate in education gives you the opportunity to apply that knowledge as you try to address these issues, among many others, to help students succeed.
Nowadays, a doctorate in education can be obtained either face-to-face at a traditional university or online.
What Are The Benefits?
A doctorate in education can provide several benefits, including:
- Top leadership opportunities: Many who pursue a doctorate degree in education go on to get top school administrative positions, such as college presidents, superintendents, department chairs, deans and school principals, among others. Those in these positions are given the power to hire and supervise staff, set school-wide goals and objectives, manage budgets, and make decisions that have a large impact on the school or department where they work.
- A higher salary: You’ll have the potential for a higher annual income with a doctorate degree. In 2016, the median annual wage for postsecondary school administrators was $90,760, with the lowest 10 percent earning $51,690 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $179,250. In higher education (colleges, universities, etc.), the median annual wage was $93,270. In addition, those with a doctorate degree in education earn an average of 24 percent more in income in their lifetime ($2.8 million) compared to those with a master’s degree in education ($2.6 million).
- Expertise in a specialized field: What you choose to specialize in, such as K-12 leadership or sports and athletic management, will help you gain advanced knowledge in that field. This knowledge gives you the skills you need to improve processes and implement new policies as well as recommend solutions to complex problems to drive your school or department forward.
- Your professional network will expand: You’ll get opportunities to partner with and serve alongside other well-respected community and national leaders and influencers—such as CEOs and other business executives, city and state political leaders, authors, television personalities, professional athletes, and possibly even celebrities—in different capacities.
What Types of Jobs Can You Get with a Doctorate in Education Degree?
A doctorate in education degree will prepare you to serve one, or possibly even several, of the following leadership positions in your career:
- College president
- College Provost
- Dean of students
- Department chair
- Chief executive officer (CEO)
- Vice president or other senior executive
- Athletic director
- Education lobbyist
- College professor
- School principal
- Human resource director
- Corporate trainer
- Educational consultant
- Nonprofit director
- Teacher trainer
- Curriculum coordinator or specialist
What Can You Specialize In?
You can specialize in a wide variety of areas, including:
- Educational leadership
- K-12 leadership
- Early childhood education
- Special education leadership
- Human resource development
- Math and science education
- Sports and athletic management
- Higher education leadership
- Reading and literacy
- Curriculum and instruction
- Adult education
- Organizational change
- Applied linguistics
- Educational policy
- Athletic administration
- Global & international education
- Educational technology
- Urban education
A doctorate in education program can offer different specializations at one school compared to another. Check with the college you’re interested in to see which ones are offered.
What Types of Formats are Available to Obtain a Ph.D. in Education?
Many universities offer one or more different formats in which you can get your doctorate degree, including:
- Face-to-Face: This is a traditional-style program where you attend classes on-campus. Many are conveniently offered on weekends to allow professionals to keep their day job. Examples of weekend programs include Southern Methodist University, Aurora University, and Azusa Pacific University.
- Online: This is a more flexible option where you take all your classes and turn in your assignments entirely online. You’ll get to complete classes at your own pace, and work from anywhere as long as you have Internet connection. Examples of programs include Drexel University, Concordia University, and Vanderbilt University.
- Hybrid: This option is a combination of both in-person and online classes. Examples of programs include University of Mississippi, Northeastern University Seattle, and Tarleton State University.
To be admitted into a doctorate in education program, you must:
- Have a bachelor’s and master’s degree from an accredited university
- A minimum GPA of 3.0
- Experience in teaching and/or other leadership
- An updated resume
- Letters of recommendation
- A personal statement
Some programs may require you to take the GRE exam, provide a list of references, complete a departmental interview, and submit writing samples.
Other Program Details
- Typically, a doctorate in education takes about three to four years to complete
- Total credit hours to complete the program may vary by school, though most range between 50 to 90
- Prior to graduation, you’ll be required to complete a dissertation on a significant education-related problem or policy faced in schools today, and how you would resolve it
Is a Ph.D. in Education Right for You?
If you’re an education professional and would like to advance your career to greater heights, then a doctorate in education is right for you. With a wide variety of specialties available, you can choose the concentration you are most passionate about.
You should also consider which format is best for you. Decide whether you want to enroll in a program with classes offered face-to-face or if you prefer to take classes online.
Either way, a Ph.D. in education will prepare you with the tools you need to be an effective administrative leader in a school or department. This is your opportunity drive innovative and positive changes in education to help students succeed now and in the future.
Education PhD Degree Programs
Southern New Hampshire University
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