Doctorate in education program guide

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Introduction to education

The doctorate degree in education is a professional qualification that concentrates on the field of education. It is one of the highest degrees that specialists in education can achieve. With a doctorate degree in education, you can undertake roles in academia, administration, research, or clinical study.

Anybody with a passion for education and experience in the field would be well-suited to this doctoral degree. It will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to solve problems with schooling, helping you to build a better future for young learners and society overall. Few professions are more rewarding than education. Your work is integral to shaping the lives of students, creating a lasting impact. It doesn’t matter whether your job is hands-on or happens behind the scenes.

If you are seeking a doctoral degree, then you have likely already attained a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education. A doctorate degree in education is certainly helpful for people who want to progress further up the career ladder. It can help you to secure jobs in highly specialized areas or acquire a more senior position, such as becoming a leader of education. Have we managed to pique your interest? Then keep reading for more information, or check out our list of the best online doctorate degrees in education.


Are you now considering a doctorate degree in education? Like any other doctoral degree, there are several prerequisites that you must satisfy to successfully apply. Although requirements that universities ask for tend to vary from school to school, program to program, there are some common elements.

Firstly, applicants need to have a minimum GPA score of 3.0 from an accredited university or college in both undergraduate and master’s programs. These figures can fluctuate, depending on the school you are applying to. Your master’s degree must be in a field relevant to education, such as a master’s in education, to ensure you have the background knowledge needed to understand the material of a doctoral degree in education. Make sure to have your academic transcripts ready for submission. Another admission formality that schools might ask for is a GRE score that is less than 5 years old.

In addition to having the correct qualifications, most universities will ask for experience in a professional role that is related to education. Practical experience is essential because it means you will have a deeper understanding of the inner workings of education, and be well-equipped for the doctorate. In addition, it can make you a more empathetic leader should you secure a senior educator’s position after completing the degree.

Applicants are also expected to submit a personal statement and letters of recommendation from individuals who are familiar with their experience in education. Universities typically ask for at least one of these people to have been the applicant’s former supervisor. You can also expect to have a personal interview with the program’s faculty. All these checks are performed to ensure that the candidate is the right kind of character for the degree, and their claims are legitimate.

Most universities with a doctorate program in education have a springtime deadline for applications. They begin the screening process in the late spring and early summer, then notify successful candidates in midsummer. The program typically begins in the fall. We reiterate that these dates can vary depending on the university, so make sure to double-check. Candidates also should be aware that application fees are usually required. These can cost anywhere between $50 USD and $100.


When applying for a doctorate degree in education, it is worth considering whether you want the program to be online, offline, or a hybrid format. All 3 options are available to those who want to study this doctoral. Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages to help you make your decision.

Online degrees are highly convenient for people who have a busy lifestyle or other commitments. Time and money are saved by not having to commute to lectures. Some of the lessons are pre-recorded, granting the student more flexibility with their doctorate. If you are already in an educational position and enjoy your job, then you might be able to juggle both at the same time by completing the degree online. However, virtual courses do require more studying and force you to become an independent learner.

On campus

Offline degrees offer the traditional learning experience to students. They are highly structured, having scheduled lesson times and distinct deadlines for everything. If you are somebody who struggles to self-motivate or follow a routine, then an offline course would be better suited to you. Moreover, you can receive immediate feedback from your peers and lecturers. Nothing beats the connections you form this way. However, offline learning is not especially practical for people with other commitments and can be more expensive when considering travel costs.


Hybrid degrees are the best of both worlds. They combine online and offline learning. People who need the structure of offline courses but like the flexibility of online degrees will most benefit. You might also be able to save yourself money on commuting. Even students who are not particularly adept with technology can participate in a hybrid degree. Considering you will be completing a doctorate degree in education, experiencing these 2 types of learning yourself could be beneficial.


Accreditation is essential for anybody wanting to undertake a doctorate degree in education. If an organization or individual is accredited, this means they have been officially recognized as being qualified to perform a certain activity. You must be fully accredited to enter the field of education because a large amount of responsibility will be on your shoulders.

To become a fully accredited professional in education, you will need to complete your doctorate degree with an accredited university. The main benefit of learning with a certified university is that you will be legitimately qualified to work anywhere. The course will have equipped you with the proper skills and knowledge to practice. Most employers do not accept candidates without an accredited degree because they have no way of guaranteeing that the person can practice to an acceptable standard.

It is relatively easy to tell whether your chosen university has been accredited or not. The school should clearly state on their official website what their certifications are and from which accrediting bodies. Some bodies can be specific to certain states. There are a few accrediting bodies that candidates can be on the lookout for, though. These include the Higher Learning Commission, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, and the National Council of Accreditation for Teacher Education. Look at the U.S. Department of Education’s website for more information or to verify the legitimacy of a university’s credentials.


It can take anywhere between 3 and 5 years to complete a doctorate degree in education when working as a full-time student. For part-time students, it usually takes 5 to 8 years. The timescale all depends on the intensity of the program. Most doctoral programs in education require students to earn 60 credits but, once again, this can differ between universities.

The coursework that students must complete will change depending on their concentration. Some of the most common learning objectives that doctorate degrees in education feature include:

  • applying theory to problem-solving in education
  • identifying and eliminating issues in education policies
  • using technology for teaching
  • research methods
  • learning about administration and leadership roles

As we mentioned before, most schools will ask for prior experience in education before allowing applicants to join their program. In fact, the majority of students completing a doctorate degree in education alongside a job in an educational organization.  Thus, many of these programs do not involve any additional placements or internships.

Program concentrations

There are several different concentrations for doctorate degrees in education. This is great news for candidates who already have a clear idea of where they would like to go with their careers. Each university has its own distinct program, so even courses with the same concentration can differ. As such, you should thoroughly inspect the curriculum before deciding on a school, so you can find the right modules for you.

Some of the most common concentrations for a doctoral in education include the following:

  • Ed.D. in Educational Leadership
  • Ed.D. in Educational Technology
  • Ed.D. in Educational Administration
  • EdD. in Organizational Change and Leadership

These concentrations can ensure you are prepared to take on roles in your specific areas of interest. For example, if you manage to earn an Ed.D. in organizational change and leadership, you could acquire work in elementary schools, high schools, or colleges. You could become a principal, superintendent, or dean.

Certificate opportunities

If you want to advance your career in education, then there are 2 certifications that can help you do so. The first is a doctorate degree in education (Ed.D.), which has been the main subject of this article. The second is a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in education. An Ed.D. is more about equipping you with vocational skills for working as a professional. A Ph.D., however, is designed for people who want to dedicate their lives to research and take several more years to complete. They drive change by contributing information, whereas those with an Ed.D. are at the frontline of education.

Costs of the degree

Doctorate degrees in education usually require around 60 credits, and universities charge per credit earned in most cases. How much the school will charge per credit depends is their prerogative. Usually, tuition costs remain in the $350 – $775 range, though some universities can charge up to $1500. On average, students are expected to pay between $15,000 and $55,000 for this doctoral. However, online degrees can sometimes be cheaper. This is especially true when you consider the reduced costs of commuting.

Financial aid

The initial figures for a doctorate degree in education can be daunting. Fortunately, there is financial aid available for students. For example, some universities offer scholarships or tuition discounts to certain applicants who meet the right criteria. Perhaps the most useful resource for people seeking help is the website for Federal Student Aid. This is an office of the U.S. Department of Education. It makes acquiring financial aid simple, easy, and accessible to everyone.

Licensing or certification

Before you can begin a doctorate degree in education, you will need some experience in the profession, as we mentioned before. As such, most postgraduates who undertake this program already have a teaching license or credential. These can expire after 5 years, so must be renewed before you can obtain work after your doctoral. However, this might not be essential if you are entering a job outside of teaching.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that your license or qualification might not be valid if you move to another state. This is because different states have different standards. However, if the state has an interstate agreement, then your license and qualifications may still be valid as long as your credentials satisfy their requirements.

Career options

The career options that come with a doctorate degree in education are impressive. Anybody who wants to advance into more specialized professions or senior positions will massively benefit from obtaining this qualification. Let’s discuss the most popular jobs that people with an Ed.D. pursue.

Becoming a college president is an appealing option for postgraduates. Ideally, you would have a concentration in educational leadership to secure this position. The average earnings of a college president is $272,200 per annum. Becoming the principal of an elementary, middle, or high school is also common among those with an Ed.D. Their salaries are roughly $96,000 per year.

Leadership roles aren’t the only jobs available to Ed.D. graduates. You can also become anything from a community college administrator and education policy specialist to an education coordinator and education technology specialist. The average salary of those with an Ed.D. is $79,200. Of course, this can fluctuate depending on the job you secure.

Continuing education

Beyond earning an Ed.D., you can also obtain a Ph.D. in education. This is the highest credential that a person can obtain in this professional field. It involves becoming a master of a specialized subject pertaining to education. If you are somebody who prefers academic research to professional work, then a Ph.D. would be well-suited to you. Essentially, people with this qualification write the papers that people with an Ed.D. read to improve the education system. Professionals with a Ph.D. also earn $85,100 on average, which is slightly more than those with an Ed.D.

National Education Association (NEA)

The NEA is the largest labor union in the U.S. This organization represents public school teachers and workers, faculty staff at colleges or universities, retired educators, and college students that are preparing to become teachers. The NEA website has loads of resources that are incredibly helpful to professionals who want to better the world of education.

American Council on Education (ACE)

The ACE is a non-profit higher education association in the United States. The organization’s mission is to “shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice.” It is the major coordinating body of North American colleges and universities.

Association of American Educators (AAE)

The AAE is the largest non-union professional educators’ organization. It has a modern approach to education advocacy and teacher representation. The association has several resources for professionals and even offers scholarships and grant schemes.