If you have an interest in making a significant impact as an administrative leader in higher education, governmental or corporate training, or K-12 education, a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree may be an excellent fit to support your career objectives. An Ed.D. degree differs from a Doctor of Philosophy in Education degree, which tends to prepare candidates for careers in various research realms.
Choosing to earn a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree prepares candidates for leadership positions that –
- Shape current and future school policies
- Create goals/objectives of the organization or institution
- Influence hiring decisions for education faculty and staff
- Impact current curricula and school budgets
But note, earning a degree from one of the best online doctoral programs in educational leadership does not include teacher training with instructional techniques or pedagogy coursework. Instead, experience teachers choose to earn a Doctor of Education degree to explore the many leadership roles at various levels of education – elementary, middle & high school, universities, and adult/corporate events.
Most doctoral degree candidates in education aspire to become a principal, administrator, or superintendent of a school or curriculum designer for nonprofits, online education, or corporate training. Most Doctor of Education degree programs require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree but prefer program candidates with a master’s degree in a related field. But note, some of the best online doctoral programs in educational leadership do not even require the submission of a GMAT or GRE scores, opting for a writing assessment instead.
Vanderbilt UniversityNashville, TN
Vanderbilt University Peabody College offers a Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Learning in Organizations (Ed.D.) that can be completed entirely online. Vanderbilt University’s best online doctoral programs in educational leadership are designed for professionals who hold a minimum of 3 years of relevant leadership and have a serious interest in affecting positive change. Degree candidates are required to finish a minimum of 54 credit units (with a transfer of 30 eligible credits) in about 3 to 4 years. Feature classes for Vanderbilt University’s Ed.D. degree program cover the competency areas of data and analytics, learning and design, and leadership and organizational development, among others.
Vanderbilt University was founded as a private school in the 1870s, named to honor the original donor – Cornelius Vanderbilt. The student enrollment at the space-grant school nears 14,000 on its Nashville campus and online. The 300+ acre campus is located a mile or so from Nashville downtown.
University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA
The University of Southern California Rossier School of Education offers a Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership online degree program that is designed to be completed online by working learners and professionals who seek to improve organizations and academic environments from the inside out. Students enrolled in Southern Cal’s best online doctoral programs in educational leadership graduate prepared to affect change in positive ways for students and educators.
The University of Southern California was established in the 1880s and is ranked among California’s oldest research schools that operate privately. USC is a space and sea-grant school with a student enrollment that exceeds 49,100 students each year from its Los Angeles campus or online. The university is recognized to be the largest employer of all private institutions in the greater Los Angeles area – with an estimated economic impact that exceeds $8 billion.
Baylor UniversityWaco, TX
Baylor University offers a cross-functional Doctorate in Higher Education in Learning and Organizational Change degree program that is among the most innovative and best online doctoral programs in educational leadership in the Lone Star State. Graduates of Baylor University’s doctoral program in education find rewarding careers in the fields of private or nonprofit companies, government agencies, community outreach programs, and a variety of academic institutions of learning, among others. Applicants to the program do not need to submit a GRE score and have up to three years to complete the doctoral degree.
Baylor University was established in 1845 before Lone Star State entered the Union. Baylor is recognized to be the oldest school in continuous operation in the Lone Star State. The student enrollment for Baylor’s campus and online students exceeds 20,460 students each year. The 1,000-acre campus in Waco is situated along the Brazos River midway between Austin and Dallas.
Fordham UniversityBronx, NY
Fordham University offers a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy degree program that prepares degree candidates to help leaders and other educators create solutions to K-12 education challenges. Fordham University’s Ed.D. program is ranked among the Empires State’s most innovative and best online doctoral programs in educational leadership. Fordham University is a member of the CPED – the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. The required 50 credit units are typically completed in 36 months, but only one start is offered in August.
Fordham University is a Roman Catholic institution of higher education that was founded as a college in the 1840s, in the Bronx, north of Manhattan. Fordham is the oldest Jesuit school in the northeastern section of the United States and the 3rd oldest of any school in the Empire State. The multiple campuses in Westchester, the Bronx, and Manhattan serve more than 15,250 students each year.
Bradley UniversityPeoria, IL
Bradley University offers a Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership online degree program that is designed to focus on the educational challenges and objectives of higher education – a unique focus for one of the best online doctoral programs in educational leadership available. This doctoral degree from Bradley University emphasizes leadership strategies and practical solutions using existing and emerging technologies in ethical applications. Faculty are involved in cutting-edge research and educational change.
Bradley University is a private school that was founded in the 1890s. Bradley University’s urban campus in Peoria and online platform serve more than 5,250 postgraduate and undergraduate students each year. The school is organized into five colleges and schools offering programs in education, health, communication, innovation, arts/sciences, business, and engineering, among others. Bradley University offers more than 125 academic and certificate programs from its five colleges/schools.
University of DaytonDayton, OH
The University of Dayton offers a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership for Organizations degree program that requires degree candidates to complete 60-semester units to graduate. The University of Dayton’s best online doctoral programs in educational leadership can be completed in only three years. Graduates of the University of Dayton are prepared for rewarding careers in the fields of academia, nonprofit, government entities, or health care organizations, to name a few. The curriculum for the University of Dayton’s doctoral degree includes critical reflection for decision making, building community, learning through inquiry and research, and the promotion of social justice and diversity.
The University of Dayton, established by the Marianists, is a private institution of higher education in Dayton, Ohio. This space-grant school’s campus along the Great Miami River is home to more than 8,150 students each year. UD is home to the first degree established in Human Rights.
Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham CampusMadison, NJ
Fairleigh Dickinson University offers a Higher Education Leadership (Ed.D) degree program from an institution of higher education that is ranked among the leading school in the northern region, according to US News and World Report. These FDU best online doctoral programs in educational leadership offer multiple start dates throughout the year. The 45 credit units are delivered in 8-week classes – all available online. Students enrolled in this doctoral program in education can complete the program in as few as 26 months. The total number of courses to complete the degree is 16, although FDU does allow for transfer credits if eligible.
Fairleigh Dickinson University was established in the early-1940s. In addition to the main Florham Park Campus, Fairleigh Dickinson University maintains campuses in Madison and Hackensack, NJ, plus international campuses in Canada and the United Kingdom. With more than 10,500 students, Fairleigh Dickinson University is recognized to be the largest private school in the Garden State.
Maryville University of Saint LouisSaint Louis, MO
Maryville University offers a Higher Education Leadership Ed.D. degree program that is recognized to be one of Missouri’s best online doctoral programs in educational leadership. All the required coursework for Maryville University can be completed online – even the residency requirement can be attended virtually. Students graduate from Maryville University’s doctorate program in higher education leadership in as few as 32 months if studying full-time. Maryville University is recognized for its tremendous value by Money Magazine, Forbes, and Kiplinger’s.
Maryville University is a private institution of higher learning that was established in the 1870s by the Society of the Sacred Heart as an all-women’s school for underprivileged youth. The school became a junior college in the 1920s and, two years later, a four-year school. Maryville University is organized into six schools or colleges offering programs in arts, education, nursing, business, health, and online/adult education.
George Fox UniversityNewberg, OR
George Fox University offers a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) degree program that is AAQEP accredited and available online except for a residency for one week in Portland per year. Students enrolled in George Fox University’s best online doctoral programs in educational leadership must complete 56 credit units over 3 years. This doctoral program in educational leadership offers an administration concentration or instructional design and development to complete this program. Students complete this program in cohort models, which allows for networking and the creation of professional relationships with colleagues.
George Fox University was chartered in the 1890s by the Quakers but now operates with an affiliation to the Christian charge. The university maintains multiple campuses in Newberg, Portland, Redmond, and Salem that serve more than 3,899 students each year. George Fox University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities.
University of KentuckyLexington, KY
The University of Kentucky offers Kentucky’s best online doctoral programs in educational leadership with its Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) degree. This Doctor of Education degree from the University of Kentucky is available entirely online and designed for working professionals interested in furthering their careers in academia and education. UK’s doctoral program in education leadership requires 42 credit units to meet the university’s graduation criteria.
Founded in the mid-1860s as a mechanical and agricultural institution of higher education, the University of Kentucky now operates as the state’s flagship school that is also a land and space-grant school. More than 30,260 postgraduate and undergraduate students attend classes each year. The University of Kentucky is organized into sixteen colleges plus a graduate school, with an endowment that is approximately $1.4 billion.
Why Should I Get an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership?
Educational leaders are among the professionals who help set academic standards that ultimately shape each student’s future.
Students interested in an Ed.D. in Education Leadership degree are looking to complete a practitioner-type of degree. The best online doctoral programs in educational leadership provide an educational professional with an academic path that hones the skills needed to effect positive academic and environmental change in schools or other training facilities.
An online doctorate in educational leadership is a smart, viable path for education professionals who have professional career goals to make a tangible difference in someone’s life.
Career Opportunities for Ed.D. in Educational Leadership Degree Holders
Earning a degree from one of the best online doctoral programs in educational leadership available in the marketplace opens a variety of career paths, as follows –
A Chief Learning Officer
A Chief Learning Officer is an educational professional who is responsible for the management of a corporate learning environment. They are tasked with strategy development and meeting the goals of the business. The average yearly salary for a Chief learning Officer, according to Payscale.com, is $156,410.
A Chief Academic Officer
An educational professional who works as a chief academic officer is tasked with the responsibility of managing the operational & administrative functions of an educational or training program or institution. According to Payscale.com, the average base salary for a Chief Academic Officer is $138,417 per year.
A Training & Development Manager
Managers involved in Training and Development are responsible for ensuring employees remain optimally productive through the application of assessment, training, and reward programs. According to the BLS, the median 2020 yearly salary for training and development managers was $115,640, with an anticipated growth of 11%, faster than all combined US occupations.
A Social & Community Service Manager
A community service manager is responsible for the planning, coordination, and supervision of a community outreach or social service program. The statisticians at BLS note that the median 2020 annual wage for social and community service managers was $69,600.
A Survey Researcher
Survey researchers are responsible for the design of research surveys and the analysis of the results. Survey researchers work in government-sponsored agencies, colleges/universities, and nonprofits, among others. The 2020 Occupational Outlook Handbook notes that the median annual salary for survey researchers was $59,870.
An Education Administrator
Educational professionals who work as administrators manage school operations at various school levels – from preschool to postsecondary education. Payscale.com reveals that the average annual salary for an education administrator at the child care/preschool level was $45,821.
Is an Ed.D. Degree Worth It?
A Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) degree is worth the time, effort, and expense if you seek to make positive changes in the training and education sectors. At some point in the mid-career range of educational professionals, they will be faced with an important decision – should they earn a doctorate degree in education.
Professionals in the educational realm who choose to earn a degree from one of the marketplace’s best online doctoral programs in educational leadership tend to pursue a more hands-on managerial and leadership role in education in these sectors –
- K-12 Education
- Postsecondary Education
- Nonprofit Organizations
- Business Sectors
- Governmental Agencies, to name a few.
And while earning a degree offered by one of the best online doctoral programs in educational leadership will help hone and grow one’s professional skills, it will also likely impact your yearly salary in a positive and significant way.
The reality is that most educational administrative, senior, or leadership positions require candidates to hold a doctoral degree in education. This is the primary reason why many professionals choose to earn their Ed.D. degree – on-campus or online. Earning an Ed.D. degree is a great way to further your career and to meet career goals and objectives for in-demand educational leadership positions.
Mid-level educational professionals who wish to advance their career, raise their salary, and affect change will find that earning a Doctorate in Education is well worth it. But note, that this degree demands a commitment of time and money, which is why the decision to enroll in one of the best online doctoral programs in educational leadership should be well-thought-out and thoroughly researched.
What Will I Learn When Completing an Educational Leadership Doctorate Program?
Although it depends on the school and program, most credits required for an Ed.D. program typically range between 40 and 75.
Doctoral programs for educational professionals are generally developed to be finished three to five years of study. However, it is noted that many doctoral degree candidates may take longer than the average time to complete due to time constraints and other life commitments of candidates.
A doctorate in education degree program includes a variety of topics and independent study/research projects. Coursework typically covers topics that include –
- Organizational Development
- Analyzing Evidence-based Decision-Making
- Quantitative/Qualitative Data Collection/analysis
In addition to administrative and managerial coursework, a doctorate degree in education leadership also helps candidates explore the best ways to –
- Communicate with parents, teachers & students effectively
- Serve diverse populations within an educational community
- Evaluate a school’s and faculty’s performance
- Allocate resources to meet budgetary requirements and constraints
- Monitor external educational trends
- Assess their own strengths & weaknesses
- Understand the cost of the education
- Learn to make well-informed decisions
- Explore the theories of leadership and the ways to motivate students and staff
- Integrate cutting-edge technologies and techniques within an education environment.
Because of this specific training, degree candidates who successfully complete an educational leadership program are well-prepared for leadership roles and administrative positions in many academic, training, and learning environments.