The best online EdD programs offer students the chance to make a real impact on their fields. Consider earning an advanced degree if you already work in education administration, leadership, or student affairs. However, there are several considerations to think about before taking the plunge.
Prepares You for Leadership
A Doctor of Education program at UIUC College of Education builds your leadership and strategic thinking skills to lead in your school or district. Whether you want to work as a school principal, superintendent, or administrator, an online EdD program will help you advance your career with the tools you need to succeed. In addition to building your education leadership skills, you will also build your knowledge of education policy and research methods as you complete your coursework. Many programs will ask you to choose a specialization, which allows you to tailor your course of study to your career goals. For example, if you plan to work in urban education, you can focus on curriculum and instruction, educational technology, or community college leadership. There are online Ph.D. in education programs that also prepare you for a leadership role outside of academia, with concentrations such as organizational leadership or learning and organization change. These programs will teach you how to apply the theory learned in class to real-world issues in organizations such as nonprofits, corporations, or government agencies. You will be able to lead mission-driven teams and enact positive changes in organizations that deal with complex problems and multiple stakeholders. They will also teach you how to evaluate and measure progress to make improvements that impact people.
Prepares You for Advancement
A doctorate in education is an advanced degree that prepares you for leadership roles at all levels of pre-K through postsecondary education. Educators can take on positions as school or district administrators, academic counselors, and college administrator roles, including department deans and presidents, as well as research and development directors and consultants. Many online EdD programs will allow you to select an area of concentration that aligns with your career goals. For example, if you intend to work in a large urban school district, you can choose a concentration in educational leadership. You can also focus your studies on curriculum and instruction, learning and organizational change, or educational policy and administration. Most online EdD programs will include fieldwork and internship requirements to help you gain practical experience working with students in a classroom. However, some programs, such as the low-residency online EdD program, may not require an internship, instead incorporating small amounts of fieldwork into regular coursework. A doctorate in education teaches you how to interpret and advance existing research through critical analysis. It also teaches you how to identify and implement strategies for making real-world changes in education, a discipline that can impact people’s lives in many ways. Depending on your specialization and career goals, you can leverage this problem-solving expertise to bring positive change to any industry that needs educated professionals.
Prepares You for a Career Outside Academia
While earning an EdD degree can significantly enhance your teaching and leadership skills, this doctoral degree is ideal for careers outside academia. Organizations across all industries need leaders who can use advanced theories of learning, policy development, and implication to create programs that empower educators and produce positive change in their organizations. For example, a doctorate in education can lead to careers at the school system level, where administrators can use their skills to address academic issues such as low student performance and budget limitations. These professionals often have an administrative role, such as dean or provost, and may be tasked with resolving these issues and ensuring teachers adhere to curriculum standards. A doctorate in education can also help you find positions at the nonprofit sector or government agency level. These roles allow you to push the research boundaries while using your expertise to influence local, state, and federal policy. Whether or not to pursue an online doctorate in education versus a Ph.D. primarily comes down to personal preference and career goals. An online program can be a good option for established professionals because it provides more flexibility than traditional degrees, which typically require students to attend on-campus classes and follow rigid semester schedules. Many online schools also offer the option to satisfy fieldwork or internship requirements through an on-site externship at a local site.
Prepares You for Research
An online EdD program may allow you to specialize in your interest. For example, if you want to become an administrator, you might choose a degree concentration focusing on education leadership. This concentration enables you to advance into school superintendent, principal, educational policymaker, and leader roles. You could also earn a degree focusing on curriculum and instruction, allowing you to work as a teacher or a curriculum specialist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook for these positions is intense. A Ph.D. is a better option if you want to conduct research in the field of education. A PhD prepares you to interpret existing theory on a subject and advance it through critical analysis. You can work in research for academia or corporate organizations. If you’re interested in a job that requires a doctoral degree, it’s essential to do your research before choosing a university and a specific program. You should ensure the university is regionally accredited and has a good reputation. Then, you can feel confident that other universities and employers will recognize your degree. The most reputable schools include their accreditation information in the school profile on our website. In addition, if you’re interested in graduate assistantships, you should check with each university to see if they offer them.