Online Doctorate Degrees in Education
A Doctorate Degree in Education (Ed.D.) equips a graduate with skills and scholarly knowledge relating to the practice of education. When compared to a Doctorate in Philosophy in Education (Ph.D.), there are only slight differences between the two degrees and at various schools, the lines between the two might be quite blurred. Some institutions offer only an Ed.D., others a Ph.D. At schools offering both, Ed.D. curriculum may be project-based, and Ph.D. programs may be research-based. A doctorate in education can also focus on a specific area of education such as a special education doctorate degree and a educational leadership doctorate degree. Education Degree Specialist programs (Ed.S.) are terminal post-master’s degree programs but they do not result in a doctorate degree. An Education Specialist degree is intended to prepare teachers at undergraduate colleges (e.g. junior colleges and small public and private colleges).1
Benefits of a Doctorate Degree in Education
A doctorate degree program can help an individual to advance their research, critical thinking, and leadership skills while also gaining increased knowledge in the education field. Doctorate programs prepare individuals to solve challenging problems in today’s education system. A doctorate degree can increase opportunities for positions in school leadership and open the door for a career in academia.
Ideal Qualities of a PhD in Education Candidate
The ideal candidates for a PhD in education have a love of both learning and teaching. They understand the ongoing learning experience that is life, and have a clear desire to share their knowledge with younger minds. An organized, self-disciplined mindset, as well as a high aptitude for converting theory into practical applications, would be invaluable to an individual aiming towards a doctorate degree in education.
Admission Requirements for a Doctorate of Education Program
Specific requirements for admission may vary and can include a master’s degree, letters of recommendation, an entrance essay, qualifying scores on the GRE test, qualifying college GPA, and an in-person interview. Candidates must demonstrate a high level of academic and professional performance as many schools are highly selective.
Coursework for a Doctorate of Education Degree Program
Typical courses for a doctoral degree in education focus on advanced courses in education. Doctorate programs culminate with the candidate selecting a final thesis project that can involve conducting a research study.
Examples of courses in a doctor of education degree program include:
- Learning Theory and the Educational Process
- Educational Philosophy
- Curriculum Theory
- Principles of Educational Administration
- Organizational Theory & Higher Education
- Comparative Higher Education
- Education Policy and Politics
- Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
- Statistics for Educational Research
- Internship in Higher Education
- Dissertation Research
Employment Opportunities For a Doctor of Education
Upon completion of Ed.D. programs, graduates can find employment at higher education institutions, as either a professor or lecturer of education and are more seriously considered for tenure than instructors without a doctorate. Many individuals who have earned a doctoral of education work in a leadership role in school administration in positions like school superintendent, principal, or curriculum coordinators. Graduates can also find positions in the corporate side of the education sector.
Online Doctorate in Education Programs
The availability of online courses is of great benefit to those seeking a doctoral degree in education. The flexibility provided by online coursework is invaluable to busy students, especially those who wish to maintain a job as they work toward their advanced degree.
Doctorate Degrees and Programs for Teaching
Frequently Asked Questions about Earning a Doctorate in Teaching
Question: How do teachers get tenure?
Answer: Tenure requirements vary by state and by district. Some states have laws governing tenure, while others do not. In most districts tenure is granted after a probationary period of three years. To get tenure after that period your performance must be deemed satisfactory. Tenure is typically awarded by the district’s school board.
Question: What states need teachers?
Answer: States that are especially short of certified teachers include Texas, Utah, Florida, Arizona, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, Kansas, and Georgia. Some of these have statewide shortages, while others need more teachers in specific locations.
1. The University of Alabama: http://services.graduate.ua.edu/academics/eds.html