What is an Ed.D.?

View all blog posts under Articles | View all blog posts under Education Resources

woman on school campus

Leadership in education requires a specific mix of skills and competencies. From elementary schools to universities and colleges of all sizes, institutions search for knowledgeable, experienced individuals who understand present realities and future directions of various educational systems. When schools hire their next administrators and superintendents, educators with a postgraduate degree, such as a doctorate in education, likely will be sought for their proven their dedication to the academic field.

Taking on a leadership role in education requires a different skill set when compared to teaching. Professionals who already have a master’s degree and are serious about focusing on this career path can enroll in an online doctor of education program to deepen their knowledge of the foundational concepts and up-to-date nuances of school leadership. By selecting a track within the Ed.D. program, these individuals can focus on the challenges and competencies that point toward their ideal career outcomes.

What is a doctor of education degree?

A doctor of education degree is for those who already have master’s degrees in related subjects and have experience in a variety of school leadership roles. The courses in this program teach professionals how to solve the challenges facing educational workplaces today and to increase accountability implementation in schools and universities.

Online Ed.D. degree programs are designed for individuals working full time, with flexible coursework fitting into the daily schedules of people actively providing leadership to schools. Work is more practical than theoretical, and graduates can gain knowledge of not just the concepts behind cutting-edge administrative techniques but also how to put those ideas into practice.

Types of doctorate degrees in education

Enrollees in an Ed.D. program select one of two tracks in the program: Pk-12 school leadership or higher education leadership, depending on their experience and career goals. These two paths reflect best practices and conditions facing their respective levels of education, enabling professionals to demonstrate that they have focused on a particular branch of the academic world.

Doctor of education admission requirements

The online Ed.D. program is for individuals who are actively engaged in educational leadership. Candidates must have a master’s degree and a grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a four-point scale. Applicants also need to present a resume and three letters of recommendation from supervisors who have seen their leadership style up close. Individuals must also offer a personal essay on why they want to earn an Ed.D. and submit a portfolio of relevant school leadership experience.

Applying for the PK-12 supervisor concentration requires some extra elements. For instance, prospective students need at least two years’ experience as the administrator of a public or private school, a chief school business officer or a director of special education. Candidates for this concentration must also be licensed principals.

Doctor of education curriculum

Earning an online Ed.D. from Bradley University requires students to complete four core classes, a slate of specialized courses for the chosen track and five action research project courses. Students also participate in two internships. The core subjects cover important elements of contemporary educational leadership, from ethics and policy formation to technology use, data analysis and accountability. Track-specific courses give a closer look at concepts such as finance and supervision, with a specialized lens to suit applicants’ interests and focus.

The practical doctoral research requirement includes action research courses designed to lead students through the completion of focused analysis on a topic of their choice, with the project culminating in a seminar. This hands-on learning material, combined with the internship, can ensure that every graduate of the Ed.D. program has gained ground-level insights in the educational leadership area that inspires them most.

man on college campusWhat is the salary outlook for doctor of education jobs?

Due to its specialized focus and nature, an Ed.D. degree is a credential for individuals who have specific career paths and outcomes in mind. Namely, professionals interested in long-term futures in administration may find such a degree can prove their commitment to building necessary knowledge and experience.

As for the practical outcomes of Ed.D. jobs, PayScale noted that the average salary for holders of these degrees is $78,000. The actual earnings will depend on how far that individual ascends in the school administration hierarchy. For example, executive directors with Ed.D. degrees earn an average of $93,000 a year. When administrators become superintendents, their average salary rises to $122,561.

Executive directors and superintendents are just a few of the roles Ed.D. holders can seek. PayScale also listed deans and professors as possible destinations for individuals who complete Ed.D. programs. The practical experience accumulated during Ed.D. coursework can serve grads well in these positions across the world of academia.

Should you apply for an Ed.D. degree?

After learning the benefits of a doctorate degree in education, prospective applicants must ask themselves whether they can envision a future career in administration. Individuals ready to discover the leadership side of academia and learn practical lessons on a flexible schedule can thrive as Ed.D. candidates.

Find out more about Bradley University’s Ed.D. program.


PayScale – Doctor of Education (EdD) Degree