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A doctorate of education is the terminal degree in the education field. It is usually earned by an educational professional who wants to work either in educational administration or as a professor in a college or university.
Doctorate of education students can specialize in a variety of educational concentrations. Among them are educational psychology, curriculum development, teacher education, educational leadership and education policy. Most doctorate of education programs require the student to complete a dissertation.
A doctorate of education program most often will dive deeply into complex social issues that surround education, including how culture and economics affect students. Doctoral students learn how to solve deep seated problems in education at many levels – from the classroom to the school district and sometimes at the university level. Most doctorate of education program feature practicums, internships and college level teaching opportunities.
With a doctorate of education, you can work in the following positions:
- Postsecondary education administrator: Working at the university level, you would oversee academics, faculty research, student research and other areas. Job duties vary based upon the size of the university and which area you are working in, such as admissions, registrar or student affairs. Some education administrators may also work in student activities, housing and residential issues or multicultural affairs.
- Postsecondary teacher: Provide instructions to students at the college level in your area of expertise. Many teachers at the college level also may spend significant time on research and publishing scholarly works. Professors in universities are organized into various departments where they specialize in certain subjects, including history, math or English. Some instructors may teach more than one subject. Many teachers at this level today may spend most of their time either teaching or working with students rather than doing scholarly research.
- Principal: Principals for elementary, middle and high schools are responsible for managing all school operations. They must ensure that the building is in good working condition, and also coordinate curricula, oversee teachers and all other staff. They generally provide the most productive learning environment possible for students. Principals set the academic goals for the school or district and must ensure that teachers have the resources they need to meet educational targets.
Why Earn a Doctorate of Education?
If you aspire to be a leader in the field of education, you may want to consider earning your doctorate of education. A doctorate of education or EdD is the most common degree for professionals who want to work in administration either at the primary, secondary or postsecondary level.
This degree is well known to provide educators with the skills so they can strategically manage and lead complicated and diverse educational facilities and organizations, including budgeting, teacher management and operations. Those three items are what often make or break an educational institution, and professionals with this doctoral degree are able to hone skills in these critical areas.
Many doctoral programs allow you to customize your program so that you can fit your education to your career goals. Northeastern University, for example, offers a doctorate of education program where you can focus on higher education administration, organizational leadership, or curriculum, teaching, learning and leadership.
Also, many experts report that one of the major benefits of going to postgraduate school is that you can really grow your personal network. People who have more than a decade of experience in a given field are a very valuable resource, and they could help you to advance your career.
The admission requirements for most doctoral programs are rigorous. For example, NortheasternUniversity requires you to have these qualifications for their Doctorate of Education:
- Three years of related experience
- Faculty recommendation from your last graduate program
- Two professional recommendations
- Professional resume that includes your research and teaching experience
- Admission statement about educational challenges in the world today
- Admission statement about how your previous work and education has prepared you for a doctoral program
- 3.0 GPA
Curriculum and Courses
A strong possibility to consider for your doctorate of education program is at the University of Florida. It offers a fully online Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction that is designed for the current, full time educator. You will be working within a community of practice where you will be able to tackle the problems of your school or institution while you are learning theory and research to improve and inform your teaching.
This program has been designed to prepare practicing educational professionals to draw on new educational research and theories, and also the expertise of professors and colleagues at the University of Florida to address challenges in your current work environment.
Required courses include:
- Foundations of Research in Curriculum and Instruction
- Perspectives in Curriculum, Teaching, and Teacher Education
- Professional Development for Teacher Learning
- Teacher Leadership for School Change
- Education and American Culture
- Critical Pedagogy
- Teaching Learning and Socialization in Poverty Schools
- Issues in School Reform
- Teaching Learning, and Reframing Classroom Assessment
- Critical Leadership for Equity
- Issues in Teacher Education: Designing Practitioner Research
- Issues in Teacher Education: Conducting Practitioner Research
- Advanced Research / Qualifying Exams
- Dissertation/Capstone Research
This is a cohort program; students begin the program together every other year. Online sessions for each class are eight or 16 weeks long and there are on campus intensives required each summer. You should be able to complete this doctoral program in four years.
Career Outcomes and Job Titles
Your job title and career path will vary; if you are working in primary or secondary education, your job titles can differ from working at the university level. However, these are some common job titles that recent graduates report:
- Adjunct faculty
- Dean of distance education initiatives
- Dean of diversity affairs
- Dean of student affairs
- Director of academic advising
- Director of admissions
- Full-time faculty
- Student services director
- Vice president for enrollment
- Vice president for student affairs
- Curriculum director
- Director of school improvement
- District assessment coordinator
- Program director
Job and Salary Outlook
- Postsecondary Education Administrator — Employment for these professionals will increase by 9% by 2024. This is faster than average than when compared to other professions across the country. Generally, there will be growth in enrollments in many colleges and universities, so there will be more need for education administrators who are able to manage and oversee the various vital operations of universities. The median income in this field is $88,500.
- Principal — Employment will rise by 6%, which is about average when compared to other fields. Overall enrollment in elementary, middle and high schools is going to rise in the next decade, and some areas will need new schools to handle the influx of students. Note however that job demand depends heavily upon local budgets and whether or not enrollment is rising in a given school district. The median salary for principals is $90,400.
- Postsecondary Teacher — Employment will increase by a healthy 13% by 2024; this is faster than average when compared to other jobs. It should be noted that much of the increase in growth will be from more part time instructors being hired. This is becoming more common as universities need more instructors but need to control costs. As more students are attending universities so that they can get good jobs, many subject areas will need more teachers to educate them. The median salary is $72,000 per year, but depends heavily upon subject area and whether you work full or part time.
Scholarships and Grants
- American Association of University Women: Many scholarships available for women in various doctoral programs.
- McKnight Doctoral Fellowships: Available in the state of Florida in various disciplines, including education.
- National Education Association: The largest education association in the US.
- National Association for the Education of Young Children: Dedicated to improving educational opportunities for our youth.