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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) | Context - Context
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) In Context

The Doctor of Education is an advanced-level interdisciplinary degree that many students from science, humanities, arts, and technology backgrounds choose to help them pursue a career in education. It is often used to pursue administrative, academic, or research positions in private- or public-sector educational organizations, such as K-12 teaching, teacher training, chief academic officer, education lobbyist, curriculum specialist, and more.

A background in education is not always necessary to pursue a Doctor of Education degree, and candidates can have a master’s degree in a range of disciplines.

The degree seeks to equip you with the theory, knowledge, framework, and understanding needed to become an effective leader in education. It can help you deepen your understanding of contemporary issues and processes in education to develop educational research skills and promote contribution toward professional knowledge and practices.

What can you learn by completing a Doctor of Education degree online?

An online Doctor of Education degree combines a variety of learning processes. While each program varies, upon completion, graduates will have gotten the opportunity to participate in a diverse educational dialogue. This may include developing a piece of unique independent research through their dissertation, applying evidence-based practices, and publishing findings.

Ed.D. programs commonly feature a foundation of core topics accompanied by specialized courses to provide students with knowledge vital to the education profession. Some typical core courses candidates can expect to find studying for a Doctor of Education degree include topics such as the following:

  • Disciplinary approaches to education: Using concepts, theories, and approaches from history, anthropology, sociology, and economics to identify problems in the field.
  • Science and learning: Surveying empirical and theoretical research which focuses on recent studies of attention, memory, language, and social development to gain an overview of brain structure, development, and how this affects learning.
  • Contemporary approaches to education problems: The critical investigation of contemporary issues in education, using improvement science as a framework for understanding and intervening in problems.
  • Multicultural education: A study of how cultural and linguistic diversity are shaping an increasingly globalized world, and how to create and enhance multicultural competencies.
  • Research methods and systematic inquiry: Combining mixed research methods to conceptualize and identify improvements to education processes.
  • Power, politics, and policy in education: A study of how the concepts, principles, and dynamics of democracy influence education; how government entities have molded public education over the years; and how federal laws and mandates influence academic organizations.
  • Leadership within educational organizations: Examining contemporary practices in education and how they relate to leadership strategies, models, and theories, with a focus on group dynamics, effective individual organization, and the complexities of human behavior.
  • Technology and creative learning: An exploration of how the computer age revolutionized education, and how modern technology can support creative learning.
  • Evaluation of education policy: Understanding how to identify problems, and to research and develop cost-effective, ethical solutions.
Who might pursue the Doctor of Education degree?

Students who complete a Doctor of Education degree tend to seek senior roles in academia, specifically in schools and colleges encompassing roles in research, administration and management, teaching, and motivational leadership. They may also find employment in government organizations or private companies in all manner of fields. This doctorate typically attracts:

  • Students from STEM, arts, philosophy, and education and training backgrounds
  • Teachers looking to move into program development and accreditation

While some choose a Doctor of Education degree program to further their career path into educational administration, prior study in an educational-based discipline is not always a prerequisite. In fact, only 24.8% of Ed.D. graduates studied a bachelor’s in a similar subject, while 86.8% studied a master’s in the same field. [1] While there is no defined academic path into this field, candidates are usually required to have a master’s degree, a record of strong academic performance and some professional practice, though this is not always a requirement.

Why consider an online Doctor of Education degree?

If you intend to pursue a career as a school principal, university dean, superintendent, teacher, professor, academic officer, education researcher, teacher training consultant, accreditor, education lobbyist, or examination board executive, a Doctor of Education degree could be beneficial.

An online Doctor of Education degree can provide the opportunity to hone your knowledge and experience as well as fine-tune your practical and theoretical skill in specific areas of educational policy and processes through independent research. As a result, you will be well prepared to make the transition into a senior-level career in the education sector.

Students who have identified their career goals within the education field should consider a Doctor of Education program in which the coursework and course objectives align to their career ambitions.

Utilizing advances in modern technology, online Doctor of Education programs now allow students to replay seminars or lectures at their convenience. For students who are maintaining full-time employment while pursuing this degree or have a family, this can be an important consideration.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Career Advancement
Students generally must complete a master’s degree before beginning a Doctor of Education degree, and many programs will accept students from political, sociological, or philosophical studies backgrounds. Because a doctorate introduces complex theoretical concepts, the outcomes tend to align with students aiming for senior-level positions in organizations or careers in government, politics, education, or academic research.
Doctor of Education degree core practice areas

Graduates of Doctor of Education degree programs can be found in high-level, high-achieving occupations all over the world in a variety of executive roles in government organizations and academic institutions.

The majority of people who earn an Ed.D. degree go into education-related roles. They may become advisors, teachers, college professors, administrators, principals, superintendents, and more: Depending on the previous credentials graduates have earned, the Ed.D. can open a door to nearly any position at all levels of education.

Those with a technology background are in demand for academic administration positions. [2] Likewise, those with a history of political study often opt to become accreditors, curriculum overseers, and coordinators. The positions open to those with a Doctor of Education degree are relatively wide, as the skill sets developed during the course of study will be transferable to many different industries.

Career outcomes after achieving a Doctor of Education degree

Completion of a Doctor of Education degree can lead to positions in occupations such as:

  • Professor — lecturing, mentoring, and advising students studying education-related subjects
  • Curriculum coordinator — devising core curriculum content and deciding whether subject matter is pertinent, relevant, and functional.
  • School administrator — being responsible for the general management responsibilities and rules of an educational institution.
  • Education superintendent — at the helm of a school district, the superintendent is charged with putting into action the school board’s goals by making choices regarding educational programs, budgeting, resources, and staffing.
  • Academic researcher — a constantly evolving position involving data analysis and sociological study.
  • NGO lobbyist — a position as an expert lobbying to one or more government departments on behalf of a third party.

Because such positions require critical thinking, the ability to research, reason, and demonstrate leadership skills, having only a few years of work experience is not always a barrier in terms of entering the workplace at a senior level.

Career outlooks in education

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment within the education sector will grow in excess of 8% between 2014 and 2024 — the equivalent of 697,600 new jobs in the space of ten years. Industry growth is influenced by school enrollment figures, government spending commitments, and institutional budgeting. [3] According to Payscale, the wage range for those with a doctorate in education is $45,969-$116,434. [4] This is compared to those holding a master’s in education, where the salary ranges from $35,399 to $78,706. [5]

Career options for Doctor of Education degree holders

There are numerous attractive career choices for Ed.D. holders. Most positions which favor the degree are intellectually stimulating and provide a platform to work either as part of an academic institution, a school district, or government organization.

Popular employers of Doctor of Education degree graduates include school districts, universities, and colleges. [6] Moreover, Ed.D. graduates and those from related tracks find work as school policymakers, leaders in K-12 schools, teachers, professors, superintendents, education administrators, as well as in government and not-for-profit roles.

Doctor of Education degree holders are generally well-positioned to find work at a senior level where they will be able to use their knowledge and experience to devise, implement, and oversee curriculums, make school district budgeting decisions, and determine how education is delivered.

The job marketplace within the education sector can be competitive, and holding a doctorate can help secure opportunities for top-tier positions, including the highest levels in the following jobs: [7]

  • University dean: Overseeing college operations, including budgeting, resource management, and faculty appointments, the usual path to becoming a dean requires becoming a department head first. Deans are well-placed to become university presidents.
  • Provost: Reporting to the president, the university provost handles responsibilities such as allocation and management of resources in line with the institution’s goals. The job of the provost is to meet with faculty, department heads, deans, and administrative staff to nurture academic quality.
  • University professor: Teaching students and conducting academic research on behalf of the school and presenting research at conferences alongside fellow academics.
  • School administrator: Creating schoolwide policies, making important budgeting decisions, and analyzing school performance data.
  • Education superintendent: Overseeing groups of school administrators, ensuring performance targets are being met and guidelines are adhered to.
The benefits of a Doctor of Education degree

A doctorate in education can help with career development in the following respects:

Improved salary

If your goal is to become a professor or a high-level administrator, the Doctor of Education can help you qualify for these positions and earn a good salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for a postsecondary teacher in 2016 was more than $75,000 per year, [9] and administrators at colleges and universities averaged about $90,000. [10] School superintendents can earn well over $100,000, depending on the location and the local standard of living. [8] Jobs in academic institutions such as leadership and strategic planning positions command an average salary of $90,788 and $96,627 respectively. [11]

Wider employment opportunities

Doctor of Education graduates possess highly transferable skills which can be applied across a variety of industries. They generally show good leadership skills and ability to take the initiative, which are qualities most employers look for in executive-level staff.

Personal and professional development

Achieving a Doctor of Education degree can broaden your knowledge and experience, as well as open up wider networking circles and job opportunities. With the confidence to authoritatively speak, provide evidence, and conduct research, Ed.D. holders notice an improvement in personal satisfaction in earning the highest level of education in their field.

What Doctor of Education degree skills do employers value?

Employers seeking Doctor of Education graduates typically hope for them to demonstrate a broad skill set encompassing the following:
Data analysis: The ability to transform and process unedited data into usable, understandable information and publishing reports and analytical documents to present findings concisely.

Communication and linguistics: Students will develop, share, and convey ideas among peers, faculty, and wider networks, along with an ability to think critically and approach all subjects from an impartial viewpoint.

Leadership: Able to be honest combined with a conscientious, creative, and methodical approach to work, with the ability to communicate, delegate, and commit with confidence.

Knowledge of the education system: Understanding the needs of core users, identifying key areas of need, and being able to fulfill these needs.

The Doctor of Education degree is typically composed of around 50-60 credits, depending on the institution, and graduates must take some mandatory core courses but may also have the freedom to choose elective courses or pursue a specialization.

For example, one student intending to enter the world of academic research might choose electives which involve analysis and reporting, whereas another student intending on becoming a superintendent may choose to focus on finance or curriculum development specializations.

Does an Ed.D. provide a good return on investment?

There is no data available which compares the salaries of those completing master’s degrees generally with those completing an Ed.D. However, when comparing the average salaries of those who hold a master’s in education and those with a Doctor of Education degree, the salary increase is on average 30% higher at the lower end and 48% higher at the upper end of earnings. [12] [13] This indicates that the degree offers an excellent return on investment. Doctor of Education degree holders can also expect to be fast-tracked, meaning salary increases are likely to come sooner in comparison to graduates who do not possess a doctorate.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Curriculum
A Doctor of Education degree program typically helps professionals and academics expand their skills and research knowledge to address education problems in a number of different settings. They seek to prepare individuals to create, support, and implement positive changes in academia.
Typical core courses

During your Ed.D., you can expect to study the following types of courses (based on a survey of programs):

  • Education research, philosophy, and practice:
    A meticulous and rigorous study of public policy, professional practice, the contribution of knowledge, and how education shapes the world around us.
  • Education policy in theory and practice:
    A look at how the principles of education and laws govern the education system, permeating all levels from kindergarten to college.
  • Education management:
    Understanding the leadership skills required to effectively lead in a management or senior administration role in an education setting.
  • Language, culture, and education:
    Recognizing the impact of globalization and understanding how cultural, societal, and sociological differences affect approaches to education.
  • International education:
    Understanding the logistics of teaching abroad, such as teaching English as a foreign language.
  • Pedagogy:
    Understanding the fundamental practices and methodology of teaching.
Final projects, additional courses, and specializations

Doctor of Education degree programs generally require students to develop a thesis or dissertation as a culmination of their work. This thesis should be supervised and supported by a member of faculty and will draw upon a combination of modular study and individual work, interests, and research. The candidate may also have to present the thesis to a panel of faculty and provide an oral defense of their work, though this is not the case at all institutions.

Your thesis or dissertation provides you with a platform to display the knowledge and critical thinking capabilities you have developed as part of your education. Thesis subject matter can be flexible, but you should choose a topic related to education that has a strong amount of literature and previous research on which to build your case. Think of it as your chance to address an issue in education that you care deeply about.

Most institutions will have faculty members help mentor and guide students toward developing a compelling, acceptable thesis for submission. The philosophical nature of the Doctor of Education degree makes a thesis a fundamental aspect of all Ed.D. programs due to the way it allows students to express authoritative knowledge and independent research.

Does a Doctor of Education degree require an internship or residency?

A residency is a common feature of many Doctor of Education degree programs, both online and on campus. However, it is not strictly required to complete a Doctor of Education degree, and there are some programs that do not offer a residency. Nevertheless, the value of gaining work experience is not to be underestimated.

Residency placements provide students a firsthand look at how the education sector is shaped and insight into the roles different individuals play.

Some institutions offering a Doctor of Education degree do not require students to complete a residency; however, it is a common feature of many programs. Since second-year studies are generally devoted to research, an internship may be beneficial in terms of providing a platform from which to conduct analysis. Please see the section on internships for more information.

How are internships arranged?

Both public schools and private organizations within the education sector usually advertise available residencies externally and internally. If you intend on undertaking a more specialized research role as part of your internship, it might be worthwhile consulting a professor or researcher who might be interested in overseeing or advising you throughout your placement. Direct contact to arrange an internship often yields better results and a more rewarding, challenging experience than simply choosing an available internship. [14]

Ways to specialize a Doctor of Education degree
Given the ever-changing education sector and the constant drive for innovation and modernization of education at all levels, the ways to specialize in doctoral research when studying these sorts of programs are wide and far-reaching in terms of what you can achieve, how you can achieve it and where, depending on the program you choose. Comparing a range of programs available, examples of specialization within a Doctor of Education degree include:

Curriculum instruction and assessment/teaching and learning

Understanding how to influence, improve, and effect positive changes to education via sustained research into and developing expertise in teaching practices and curriculum. The skills learned in this specialization help students design and modify assessment and curriculum practices using a systematic approach.

Childhood education

The ability to critically and impartially peer review the latest research to gain an understanding of the complex cultural, familial, societal, and developmental influences that can affect children’s development and learning. Coursework typically encompasses family dynamics, child development, leadership and advocacy, and professionalism in an education context.

Adult learning

Learning, analyzing, and evaluating the trends and practices used in higher education and adult learning. This will likely encompass curriculum planning, teaching methods, and new educational technology. The specialization will look at the unique obstacles to adult learning and how to use and apply new tools and approaches for effective learning.

Special education

Increasing numbers of children are requiring special education and intervention, and this dictates that there is an increasing demand for a new wave of educators specializing in this field, which allows students to explore new research into the ethical practices, program development, policy implementation, and increasing the effectiveness of special education for children.

Innovation in learning and instruction

Preparing students to help turn creative processes and ideas into innovative new learning experiences by using engaging teaching practices and methods of assessment. This specialization helps students to develop teaching solutions within the principles of brain-based learning outcomes, as well as looking at how the integration of technology into teaching can create mutual understanding across all cultures and sociological backgrounds, including collaborating with stakeholders to develop technology-based education systems.

Organizational research, evaluation, and assessment

Helping to foster and create a culture of ongoing improvement for individuals, programs, and institutions. This specialization emphasizes theories, perspectives, and trends in assessments, while also focusing on evaluation as a positive means of enforcing change. Students will be expected to engage in hands-on research, assessment, and evaluation of complicated organizational arrangements via analysis, data gathering, and preparation for problem-solving purposes.

Literacy evaluation and assessment

A research-based specialization designed for those who want to gain an expertise in literacy, reading, curriculum creation, program evaluation, and professional development. The purpose is to develop the skills required to create literacy-based research projects and to critique previous research to improve reading and writing outcomes across the education system.

Higher education management, policy, and leadership

Understanding how institutions continuously evolve to meet the demands of diverse clientele and stakeholders. Within this specialization, students can explore the policies, systems, and politics of the higher education system to gain an insight into how effective leadership and management skills are applied to improve strategies and facilitate more positive societal changes and outcomes.

Educational technology

A specialization requiring innovative individuals to lead the adoption of information technology approaches to problem-solving within an educational context, collaborating digitally with software development experts to create software with real-world applications and solutions to theoretical issues.

Choosing a doctoral specialization

Your career goals and research interests should inform your choices when it comes to selecting your electives or specializations. This includes any previous coursework you completed at the bachelor’s or master’s level.

Choosing the right Doctor of Education program
Each Doctor of Education program differs slightly. Some may focus on developing skill sets needed to thrive within a public school, college, or other educational institution, whether in a teaching, research or administrative capacity, while others may be geared towards governmental organization or a government-affiliated group, or even aimed at helping graduates to kick start a career within the framework of a private-sector NGO.ambitions. Your personal and professional preferences should inform your decision on which program to apply to. Common factors many students assess include program cost, program length, the reputation of the institution delivering the program, and potential employment outcomes. Before committing to a decision, give careful consideration to the following:


Researching individual curriculum options will allow you to choose the Doctor of Education degree program that suits your requirements. By choosing a program which aligns with your career goals, you stand a better chance of achieving employment in your desired field.


Many employers favor a degree from a program with regional accreditation. An accredited program has its curriculum, teaching, and quality of research regularly monitored to ensure it upholds key standards, and some employers may be looking for graduates from an accredited program as an easy way to check that candidates possess a particular level of knowledge and skill.


When choosing a program, you may wish to take into account the standard of faculty. If you are looking to specialize in a particular area, it may be beneficial to work with a professor who has already conducted research in that field or is held in high esteem. Not only will they be able to provide invaluable guidance and tutelage, they may also be able to open doors when it comes to networking and postgraduate opportunities. You can find information on faculty through school websites or by contacting the school.

Reputation and rank

Compare and contrast prospective schools, and ascertain whether your prospective program has a good reputation among potential employers, similar academic institutions, and the wider education industry.

Program delivery options

If you require flexibility in your studies, an online program might be best suited to your needs. Other students may opt for a combination of on-campus and online study, known as hybrid programs. Each student’s circumstances are unique, so find the best solution for you.

Program length

You will need to consider the length of any prospective program. At some institutions, a Doctor of Education degree can take a minimum of three years or longer to complete. Certain accelerated fast-track programs may be available to help students reduce the overall period of study.


To ensure you have sufficient resources available to complete a Doctor of Education degree, you should work within your budget in terms of both program costs and day-to-day expenses. Pay attention to additional fees and tuition costs.

Research notable alumni

If a program or school has any prestigious graduates, you should find out how their Doctor of Education degree helped them achieve their goals. A lot of schools and institutions will post testimonials from graduates, which should give you an idea of any potential career outcomes, such as accomplishments or notable employers.

Mentoring capabilities

Mentoring can be an important part of devising a dissertation or final project, so find out if academic support networks and mentoring opportunities are suitable to your requirements.

Learning outcomes for the Doctor of Education degree

Because a Doctor of Education degree covers the gamut of academia, some might say it provides arguably the best opportunity for students to learn how organizations and institutions across the private and public sector operate on national and global levels.

Graduates emerge with skills, insight, and knowledge which are instantly applicable to the workplace across research, teaching, and leadership roles within education. Both key and specialist skills developed during the course of study for a Doctor of Education degree equip graduates with the tools they can use to progress within a career in academia at all levels.

While each Doctor of Education program has different specific learning outcomes, they tend to focus their efforts on helping graduates develop a diverse understanding of teaching and education from practical, administrative, and research-oriented positions.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Program Length

The length of an online master’s degree program can depend on a number of variables, perhaps the most prominent of which is the pace at which you choose to study. You can finish a typical master’s degree program in about two to three years if you choose to study full-time, although some accelerated programs may be able to help you finish more quickly.

Online master’s degree programs tend to offer flexibility suitable for students who choose to study part-time. This option will likely extend your time to completion, but it can allow you to study while fulfilling your familial, social, and professional obligations.

You can find more information on this topic at our program length overview page.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Admissions Requirements

While each program will set its admission requirements based on its own criteria, many requirements are universal across all programs. No matter where you apply, you can expect to provide items like transcripts from previous degrees or coursework; standardized test scores; a personal statement or essay; letters of recommendation; and an overview of relevant work experience.

In certain cases, some of these requirements may be waived.

For more information about admissions, please visit our admissions requirements page.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Alternative Degrees/Fields of Study

If you are unsure whether a Doctor of Education degree program is for you, certain other programs can overlap in terms of structure and content, including a Ph.D. in Education.

While there are many similarities, the fundamental differences between an Ed.D. and a Ph.D. lie in their curriculum and expected job outcomes. A Doctor of Education degree is largely favored by students who want to enter into academic administration, policy-making roles, and senior leadership positions in education. [15]

A Ph.D. in Education is better suited for students who don’t wish to pursue management or leadership positions but would rather remain in a teaching or classroom-based role, such as a professor or academic researcher. In essence, Ph.D. students are more study-oriented rather than involved in the practical day-to-day decision-making and management required in academic institutions, which is the focus of Ed.D. graduates.

However, there are other fields of study under the umbrella program of Doctor of Education which may also suit. Tracks such as the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, Ed.D. in Educational Administration, Ed.D. in Curriculum and Learning, Ed.D. in Organizational Change, and Ed.D. in Educational Policy all gear students toward a more hands-on role in academic institutions or government offices whereby they can effect change in particular areas of expertise. A more general doctorate in education, however, allows students to pick courses to study from across several areas as diverse as budgeting, curriculum, ethics, and leadership.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Relevant Industry Associations

Professional organizations in education can help Doctor of Education students stay up-to-date in their skills and knowledge of teaching; provide networking opportunities; and give professionals the chance to influence policy. There are dozens of national organizations related to education, so there are sure to be some relevant to your career trajectory and interests in the field. Some prominent associations include:

  • The Association of American Educators [18]
  • The National Education Association [19]
  • The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education [20]
  • The School Superintendents Association [21]
  • The American Educational Research Association [24]
  • The Children’s Defense Fund [25]
  • The National Association of Elementary School Principals [26]
  • The National Association of Secondary School Principals [27]
  • The National School Board Association [28]
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Accreditation

Regional accreditation is the most prestigious type of accreditation that an online or traditional college or university can receive. It is granted only after careful consideration by private, not-for-profit organizations tasked with evaluating educational quality.

Regional accreditation is particularly important if you anticipate that you might want to transfer credits from one online degree program to another or use those credits to pursue another degree. Most regionally accredited schools will only accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning.

You can learn more on this topic at our regional accreditation page.

Primary accreditation bodies for Doctor of Education degree programs

There are many national and international accreditation bodies which exist to promote excellence, create standards, and promote the study of education.

The primary accreditation body for the doctorate in education is the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), which is now consolidated into the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). [16] [17]

History of the Doctor of Education Degree

Some of the first U.S. universities to grant doctoral degrees were in disciplines such as science, medicine, and law in the late 19th century. It wasn’t until 1910-20 that vocational educational doctorate degrees were offered. In 1921, Harvard University became the first college to offer the Doctor of Education degree. Stanford University and Berkeley University followed, offering their programs later in the same decade. Subsequently, the Teachers College began providing the Doctor of Education degree in 1934. The degrees proved so successful with students that they were only outstripped by those with a doctoral degree in chemistry. For many institutions branching out into offering doctoral degrees, the Ed.D. was usually their first offering. [22]

In 1954, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) was established as a not-for-profit independent body to accredit educational degrees, including the Ed.D. By 1997, the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) had also been founded. In 2013, NCATE and TEAC were absorbed into Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). [23] Today, the doctorate in education is offered by online and on-campus institutions across the U.S. and throughout the world.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Tuition and Fees

There are a number of factors that can greatly affect how much your education will cost. These include whether you attend a public or private institution; whether you attend as an in-state or out-of-state student; and whether you qualify for financial aid like grants or scholarships.

For a more detailed breakdown of tuition, fees, and other financial issues, please visit our tuition and fees page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A doctorate in education seeks to prepare students for leadership and administrative roles in public and private sector education. These programs give students advanced-level theory and practice in education, leadership, curriculum development, and contemporary issues in the educational system. Graduates of Ed.D. programs can be prepared to take on leadership roles in educational institutions. [29]

Whether you will need to complete the GRE prior to applying for a program will largely depend on what school you have chosen. There are many programs that do not require a GRE. Check the admissions requirements for your school before applying.

There are no prerequisite courses required, though most students enrolling in Ed.D. programs have prior classroom experience and hold a teaching certification.

Asynchronous coursework can be completed on your own time — a big plus for many online graduate students who may be working around a busy work schedule or home life. Synchronous coursework has to be completed within a set timeframe. This is typically done for group projects, seminars, presentations, and other learning initiatives that require multiple attendees.

The elements of asynchronous and synchronous learning in your online program depend on the professor and the course. Once you enroll, reach out to teachers for specifics, but remember that the curriculum may be divided into these two subsets.

Yes. Many institutions offer Doctorate of Education degrees online.

Online and on-campus degrees typically look identical. Most institutions do not indicate on the degree that it was earned online.

Yes, schools typically follow the same curriculum for their online programs as they do for their campus-based programs.

Students who are interested in earning a Doctor of Education degree should look for programs that combine both theoretical and practical elements into their coursework. Unlike Ph.D. programs, Ed.D. programs are professional programs designed to prepare students to work in the field of education. [30]

There are a wide variety of specializations offered, and students wishing to pursue an Ed.D. should check with the program in which they want to enroll to ensure the specializations offered align with their career goals. Here are some popular specializations:

  • Special education
  • Educational leadership
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Educational technology
  • Higher education
  • Early childhood education

No, attaining management/senior positions is not guaranteed through the completion of a master’s degree. These positions often require many years of experience and a significant level of career achievement. However, an advanced degree can help you develop the necessary knowledge and skills required for these positions and also prove your dedication to the field.

Gaining a higher-level degree in education can open doors for those already working in the field. If you are seeking a leadership position or wish to become more respected, an Ed.D. can help get you there. In addition, those who hold doctorates earn on average significantly more than their counterparts with a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. [31] The education field is growing slightly more quickly than the average for all industries, projected to grow at 8%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. [32]

Generally there are supplementary costs apart from tuition. For example, the tuition does not usually include the cost of books or additional fees. These additional costs will vary from program to program.

Yes. The largest provider of student financial aid in the nation is the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office. It supplies college-level or career school students with loans, grants, and work-study funds. You can apply for federal financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

There are numerous other scholarships available, but you will need to research which opportunities you’re qualified to pursue. Many states, associations, websites, and businesses award scholarships based on specific criteria. Be sure to do your research and apply for any scholarships for which you qualify. [33]

The primary accreditation body for the doctorate in education is the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), which is now consolidated into the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). [35] [36]

Accreditations are a strong indication of quality, but are also required for students who plan to apply for federal financial aid. Accreditation ensures that your degree is recognized by employers, professional associations, and other accredited institutions of higher education.

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) applies only to distance education programs in the United States that cross state lines. This agreement is made between member states and establishes comparable postsecondary national standards for distance education courses.

Not every state is a SARA member. Through SARA, member states only have to receive authorization in their home state. Without SARA, non-member states would have to receive authorization in their home state and the state of each of their online students.[34]

Every school has a department or team responsible for online education. This department will be able to answer questions regarding compliance for your home state. Additionally, you can locate the school through SARA (if it is a SARA institution) to confirm compliance.