Best Online Doctorate in Education Administration Programs 2024

A doctorate in educational administration can open doors to the highest academic administrative roles. Find the right online program for you.
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Updated on May 24, 2024
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An online doctorate in education administration can prepare you for the highest leadership positions in education.

If you want to make a difference in education, maybe a doctorate in education (Ed.D.) or a doctorate in philosophy (Ph.D.) in education administration are good fits for you. Read on to learn what jobs you can get with these degrees, the classes you'll take, and what to expect.

Featured Online Doctorate in Educational Administration Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

2024 Online Doctorate in Education Administration Programs

We use trusted sources like Peterson's Data and the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such.

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Best Online Doctorate in Education Administration Programs 2024

Andrews University

  • Berrien Springs, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Andrews's 60-credit doctorate in educational administration features a focus on globalization, with required study abroad trips and an internship that promotes cross-cultural experiences.

Learners study online and at the main campus in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Doctoral candidates take 5-7 years to complete the program. Graduation requirements include 28 credits in research methods, academic writing, and applied statistical methods. All students must submit a dissertation and an article for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

The curriculum prepares graduates for national and international careers in university administration, research, teaching, and policy leadership. A 480-hour internship also asks students to apply educational theory in the field.

Applicants need a master's degree from an accredited college, a minimum 3.30 GPA, three professional recommendations, a resume, and a statement of purpose. Andrews accepts applications for the Ed.D. program in the fall, summer, and spring.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$29,808
Out-of-state
$29,808
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$27,936
Out-of-state
$27,936
Retention Rate
85%
Acceptance Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
3,162
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
Best Online Doctorate in Education Administration Programs 2024

Arkansas State University

  • Jonesboro, AR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A-State's online doctorate in educational administration, led by former superintendents and principals, prepares master's degree-holders for leadership roles in academia in about 40 months.

The 60-credit program suits professionals working in education who need a flexible online format. Students complete nine pre-doctoral credits, 24 leadership credits, and 27 leadership and dissertation credits.

Courses include advanced organizational theory and inquiry, education policy and the law, politics of education, and schooling in a pluralistic society. Students complete a dissertation that begins in the fifth semester. The dissertation defense takes place online.

A-State offers three start dates. The admissions department selects students based on their published work, academic background, research papers, and career goals. Applicants must hold a master's degree from an accredited college and a current teaching license.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,232
Out-of-state
$10,800
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$4,986
Out-of-state
$9,972
Retention Rate
79%
Acceptance Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
13,106
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
75% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
Best Online Doctorate in Education Administration Programs 2024

Belhaven University

  • Jackson, MS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Belhaven's doctorate in educational administration helps leaders in education to take their careers to the next level. The curriculum prepares graduates for positions at elementary and secondary schools.

Students complete 60 credits, including a 12-credit dissertation. Courses take place entirely online, except for three residencies at Belhaven's main campus in Jackson, Mississippi.

In the program's first phase, students complete 33 credits online. The second phase includes dissertation preparation and an orientation with a residency requirement. The third phase focuses on statistics and research design. Ed.D. candidates in the last phase complete two residencies that focus on researching, writing, and defending their dissertations.

Belhaven seeks applicants with a specialized degree in education, a minimum 3.0 GPA, a current teaching license, and three years of teaching experience. Prospective students must also submit an essay on a current educational issue, three letters of recommendation, and GMAT or GRE scores.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$26,650
Out-of-state
$26,650
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,350
Out-of-state
$10,350
Retention Rate
68%
Acceptance Rate
50%
Students Enrolled
4,999
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
83% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Best Online Doctorate in Education Administration Programs 2024

Central Michigan University

  • Mount Pleasant, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Founded in 1892 as a school for teachers, CMU now offers a 63-credit online doctorate in educational administration that prepares working professionals to solve current issues in education. The program offers concentrations in K-12 leadership, K-12 curriculum, and higher education leadership.

Ed.D. candidates study in a cohort that meets live every Saturday online and twice in person during the summer semester. Program requirements include 15 core credits in ethical leadership, organizational culture and change, organizational theory, and a doctoral seminar.

Degree-seekers also complete a 45-hour internship. Graduates can take the Michigan school superintendent assessment and pursue state licensure.

CMU accepts up to 24 transfer credits from students who hold an Ed.S. degree. Applicants must have a master's degree and three years of professional experience. The program begins every fall.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$12,296
Out-of-state
$22,881
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,223
Out-of-state
$18,909
Retention Rate
80%
Acceptance Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
17,311
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
42% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
Best Online Doctorate in Education Administration Programs 2024

City University of Seattle

  • Seattle, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

CityU offers a doctorate in educational administration with concentrations in higher education and organizational leadership. Students can also create a specialized study option.

Degree-seekers develop their skills in culturally and ethically responsive leadership, strategic thinking, and qualitative and quantitative research skills. The 90-credit program takes place completely online, with optional residencies in Seattle or San Diego. The program's three residencies, which students complete either on campus or online, focus on research and writing the dissertation.

Ed.D. candidates pursuing a specialized concentration often focus on strategic innovation and decision-making, adult education and online learning, global leadership, or entrepreneurship.

Applicants need a master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,658
Out-of-state
$13,658
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,812
Out-of-state
$11,812
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,052
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
83% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Best Online Doctorate in Education Administration Programs 2024

Clark Atlanta University

  • Atlanta, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

CAU offers an online doctorate in educational administration that students can complete in two years. The 60-credit Ed.D. features asynchronous and synchronous coursework. Online learners complete on-campus summer residencies and an internship.

The curriculum focuses on strategic planning for systemic reform, instructional leadership, economics of educational equity, community educational leadership, and qualitative and quantitative research. Graduates can become principals and superintendents.

The program's seven-week semesters allow students to complete the Ed.D. degree more quickly and save money on tuition.

Prospective students can apply on a rolling basis. Applicants must have a master's degree, a teaching certificate, and experience working in education, with a preference for higher education. They must also submit a writing sample and complete an interview.

New cohorts begin every fall. Incoming students must take the Georgia Ethics for Educational Leadership Assessment.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$18,990
Out-of-state
$18,990
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,814
Out-of-state
$14,814
Retention Rate
63%
Acceptance Rate
59%
Students Enrolled
3,776
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Best Online Doctorate in Education Administration Programs 2024

Concordia University-Irvine

  • Irvine, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Founded in 1976 on Lutheran principles, CUI now offers an online doctorate in educational administration that allows working professionals to graduate in 33-36 months.

The 45-credit Ed.D. program offers tracks in educational administration, organizational change, and special education. Eight-week terms allow degree-seekers to complete their Ed.D. in three years. Students can take courses completely online through asynchronous and synchronous formats or through a blended program with on-campus courses.

The program also includes travel experiences to Washington, D.C., and China. These trips promote a better understanding of diverse educational settings and how policy, law, and practice intersect.

Applicants need a master's degree in education or a related field with a minimum 3.5 GPA. Prospective students must submit a resume, three letters of recommendation, a statement of intent, and a seven-page writing sample.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$37,250
Out-of-state
$37,250
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,121
Out-of-state
$8,121
Retention Rate
68%
Acceptance Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
4,071
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Best Online Doctorate in Education Administration Programs 2024

Drexel University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Drexel, which has offered higher education since 1914, allows part-time students to earn an Ed.D. in 3-5 years. The program features no residency requirements and a fully online dissertation process.

Drexel's online doctorate in educational administration offers 10 concentrations: athletic administration, creativity and innovation, educational administration, educational policy, global and international education, higher education, human resource development, learning technologies, nursing education, and special education leadership.

Students can take one course every term and complete their Ed.D. in five years. The program requires 60.5-61.5 credits, which degree-seekers complete over four 10-week quarters. The core curriculum covers educational leadership, creative strategies, educational research, and program evaluation.

Graduates can launch careers as superintendents, principals, higher education administrators, and community program organizers. Drexel also offers hybrid programs with in-person courses at the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., campuses.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$53,868
Out-of-state
$53,868
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$36,234
Out-of-state
$36,234
Retention Rate
88%
Acceptance Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
23,589
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
89% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Best Online Doctorate in Education Administration Programs 2024

East Tennessee State University

  • Johnson City, TN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

ETSU, established in 1911 as the East Tennessee State Normal School, now offers a doctorate in educational administration that focuses on professional development. Graduates gain skills in leadership, theories of administration, educational statistics, and research.

The cohort-based program requires students to take at least six credits in the fall, spring, and summer semesters for a total of 66-78 credits. The program requires 18 core credits, 15 concentration credits, 15 electives, 12-24 dissertation credits, and six cognate credits. Degree-seekers also complete an internship as a part of the dissertation process.

To complete their dissertation, students work with a committee during the entire process, including the topic proposal, research, and writing portions.

Applicants can apply with a bachelor's degree or a master's degree. Incoming students who hold an Ed.S. only need to complete 42-52 credits to earn an Ed.D.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,340
Out-of-state
$25,487
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,640
Out-of-state
$23,760
Retention Rate
78%
Acceptance Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
13,713
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Best Online Doctorate in Education Administration Programs 2024

Edgewood College

  • Madison, WI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

EC offers an online doctorate in educational administration that students can complete in 3-4 years. Learners may attend optional on-campus residencies in downtown Madison, Wisconsin.

Degree-seekers begin their studies in the fall and complete 54 credits by taking two courses every semester. Courses take place completely online in asynchronous and synchronous formats.

Students take a course in doctoral writing and research in their first semester. Subsequent courses teach learners about inclusive leadership, law, and organizational development. The dissertation process culminates in a defense, during which students meet with committee members to create a slideshow that presents their research and argument.

The program offers students the chance to work with leaders from the Wisconsin Technical College system and other institutions, nonprofits, and agencies.

EC requires incoming students to hold a master's degree from an accredited school with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Additional requirements include a letter of intent, a resume, and two letters of recommendation.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$31,700
Out-of-state
$31,700
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$18,576
Out-of-state
$18,576
Retention Rate
78%
Acceptance Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
2,007
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

How We Rank Schools

To create this ranking, BestColleges sourced the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard. We then ranked each school according to the top variables college students selected in our College Choice and Admissions Survey. To learn more, check out our full rankings methodology or read the summary below.

To qualify for our rankings lists, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution. Each eligible school was then ranked based on a formula measuring:

  • Affordability (30%)
  • Student outcomes (30%)
  • Reputation (20%)
  • Diversity and social mobility (20%)

In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

Ed.D. and Ph.D. in Education Administration: What Is the Difference?

Before you begin applying to doctoral programs, it's important to understand the different kinds of degree programs available for education administration. Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs can prepare you for different careers and can take different amounts of time to earn.

An Ed.D. in education administration focuses on practical skills for administrators who want to go into non-teaching roles (although Ed.D.-holders may also become teachers). These programs typically require students to earn 60 credits and take about 2-3 years to complete.

A Ph.D. program is usually more intense and takes longer to complete. In this kind of program, you are expected to research and complete a dissertation at the end of your program. Graduates with Ph.D.s often become professors and/or researchers full time. These degree programs typically require students to complete 90 credit hours and take 3-5 years to finish.

What Can I Do With a Doctorate in Education Administration?

A doctorate in education administration can open doors for high-paying leadership positions such as principal or superintendent, which typically require a master's degree. However, just because your degree is in education doesn't mean you're limited to teaching or school leadership roles.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), roles for social and community service managers are supposed to grow more quickly than others in the education field during the next decade. These professionals supervise educational nonprofits, social services organizations, and other public well-being organizations, including those that work with schools and communities to improve education access.

If salary is the most important consideration for you when searching for a job, consider the field of human resources. Human resources managers earned a median annual salary of $136,350 in May 2023, per the BLS. Pursuing a doctorate in education administration can teach you useful skills relevant to human resources — you'll graduate with the insight needed to recruit and hire educators and administrators.

Graduates with doctorates in education administration can lead to high-paying, fast-growing jobs, whether in education or in related fields. Check out some roles you can pursue with this degree in the chart below.

Possible Careers With a Doctorate in Education Administration
Job Median Annual Salary (2023) Job Outlook (2022-2032)
Survey Researcher $60,960 -4%
Education Writer $73,690 4%
Educational Consultant $74,620 2%
Social and Community Service Manager $77,030 9%
Professor $84,830 8%
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal $103,460 1%
Education Policy Analyst $132,350 7%
Dean or Provost, Chief Academic Officer, University Registrar $102,610 4%
School Superintendent, College/University Presidents $103,850 3%
Training and Development Manager $125,040 6%
Human Resources Manager $136,350 5%
Source: BLS

Is a Doctorate in Education Administration Worth It?

Whether a doctorate in education administration is worth your time and money depends on your career goals. Education administration roles can pay anywhere from $60,000-$136,000 per year, so your return on investment varies based on the positions you're interested in. Plus, to qualify for positions like academic dean or college president, you need years of experience in addition to the years it takes to earn your doctorate.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a doctorate can be costly and timely — the average cost of a Ph.D. is over $40,000 per year. However, you may be able to find financial support through grants, stipends, and fellowships to bring costs down.

Professional Associations in Education Administration

Support doesn't end when you graduate from your program. Education administration professionals can join professional organizations for a yearly fee to gain a network of peers, resources, and access to conferences.

  • American Association of School Administrators: If you're a new or veteran superintendent, the AASA could be a good association for career development, community, and representation. The AASA provides members with legal support, federal representation, discounts on professional learning and conferences, exclusive resources, networking, and leadership opportunities.
  • Association of Deans and Directors of University Colleges and Undergraduate Studies: This association enhances deans' and directors' skills and creates a nationwide community. Members can attend an annual conference and enjoy discounts, a peer network, and exclusive publications and resources.
  • American Educational Research Association: This research association is for professionals dedicated to education research to improve higher education and the public good. Members have the opportunity for discounted insurance, including liability insurance, networking opportunities, journals, and professional development courses, workshops, and conferences.
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals: NAASP membership is for principals, assistant principals, and secondary school administrators. For $270 a year, you can access professional liability insurance, career development, recognition, and exclusive research-based, peer-tested resources.
  • Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education: Members can get discounted or free registration for events, courses, and certification applications. You can also nominate and be recognized for NASPA awards.

Professional Certifications in Education Administration

If you want to set yourself apart from other education administrators, you can pursue certifications to showcase your skills and qualifications.

Below, find three certifications in some of the most common industries for professionals with doctorates in education administration.

AASA National Superintendent Certification Program

This in-person cohort-based certification program is for any superintendent with seven or fewer years of experience who wants to refresh their skills and "re-energize."

The certification program offers superintendents one-on-one mentoring and connections with other superintendents. It costs $6,000 for AASA members and $6,500 for non-members.

The Society for Human Resources Management SHRM-CP & SHRM-SCP

The SHRM-CP is for entry-level professionals in operational roles, while the SHRM-SCP is for professionals with at least three years of experience in strategic-level HR or HR-related fields. SHRM says that professionals with this certification reported earning 14-15% higher salaries than non-certified peers.

SHRM offers the certification test entirely online or in person. The society recommends that participants study for at least 3-4 months for the exam. The standard fee for SHRM members is $410, while the standard fee for non-members is $510.

American Institute of Certified Educational Planners Certification

The CEP certification requires a master's degree in an educational field, substantial relevant experience in academic planning, and a list of at least 30 campuses you visited in the last five years. The test costs $300, and you must pay an additional $150 each year to keep your certification valid. CEPs must also apply for recertification every five years.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Education Administration Profession

Which one is better: an Ed.D or a Ph.D?

It depends on your goals. Ph.D. graduates typically stay in academia and teach higher education courses while conducting research. An Ed.D. prepares you for more administrative roles within educational administration, such as superintendent, principal, or curriculum designer.

There is no "best degree" for a school administrator, however, you may find an Ed.D. more relevant than a Ph.D. The Ed.D. program may help you gain valuable practical knowledge related to managing schools and school districts, designing curricula, and directing educational programs.

It depends on the career you choose, your interests, and your skill set. If you become a school administrator, college president, superintendent, or organization director, you'll be responsible for leading your organization or school and making decisions that impact faculty, students, and staff.

The minimum degree requirement for teaching is a bachelor's degree. Even with a doctorate, your state may require you to complete student teaching or supervised teaching hours to earn your license to teach in public school. If you want to teach at the higher education level, you generally need a master's or doctorate.


Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed May 14, 2024.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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