Doctorate in Educational Administration Program Guide

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By Marni Davimes

Published on May 28, 2021

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Teaching careers are noble and rewarding professions. In addition, some teachers choose to advance their career and their education after a few solid years of leading a classroom. If you are an educator seeking advancement, an online doctorate in educational administration can provide a direct route to some of the highest-level roles in the field.

By earning your doctorate in educational administration, you learn to solve problems and create policies that make schools run smoothly. These professionals mentor teachers, create curricula, analyze finances, and create budgets. They serve as leaders for the rest of the faculty and set school standards.

If you aspire to positions like school principal, superintendent, or college provost, earning a doctorate in educational administration can help you get there. Learn what else the degree entails and find out what awaits you on the other side of graduation.

Should I Get a Doctorate in Educational Administration?

Students gain the skills needed to tackle structural issues and implement policies within educational institutions.

Deciding to pursue a doctorate in educational administration is a big commitment and a big investment. Students gain the skills needed to tackle structural issues and implement policies within educational institutions.

Because these programs take 3-4 years to complete, working students must factor in their commitment to their current job and whether it makes sense to enroll full or part time. Often, an online doctorate in educational administration offers working professionals the flexibility they need to earn an advanced degree while working full time.

Because the degree prepares students for lucrative roles like principal, superintendent, and chief academic officer, graduates can quickly see a return on their original tuition investment.

What Can I Expect from a Doctorate in Educational Administration?

Requiring 3-4 years to complete, an online doctorate in educational administration prepares experienced teachers for leadership positions within schools and districts. Students can pursue either a Ph.D. or an Ed.D. A Ph.D. is best for aspiring researchers and academics, whereas an Ed.D. suits future school leaders.

Coursework helps students build valuable knowledge in areas, such as student and faculty development, ethics, management, and financial and budget affairs. Graduates learn to think critically and view issues through a culturally informed social framework.

The flexibility of an online doctorate in educational administration also means that teachers who are currently working full time can still advance their careers without having to take time off from their profession.

Concentrations

Higher Education

Designed for learners interested in becoming college administrators, this concentration focuses on postsecondary leadership and administration. Covered topics often include diversity, student affairs, institution management, law, and finance.

Instructional Design

Perfect for students passionate about creating accessible learning systems, this concentration teaches learners to develop strategic curricula and analyze their effectiveness. Students may also gain specialized experience working with the newest learning technology and educational systems.

Special Education

This concentration teaches the key skills needed to design curricula for students with disabilities. Students learn the leadership skills necessary to effectively work with fellow faculty members and administrators to identify barriers to quality education and create strategies to remove them.

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How to Choose a Doctorate in Educational Administration

When choosing an online doctoral program in educational administration, students must consider a few important variables. Research whether your chosen program offers the specific concentration that interests you most. Decide early on if you want to enroll in an in-person or online program.

Students who choose to attend classes on campus must consider the physical location of their college. While some students do not have any location restrictions, others must stay close to home. In-state versus out-of-state tuition should also play a role in this decision.

Finally, all students must take into account the estimated cost of their program. This consideration should include location, format, whether a school is public or private, and whether you can obtain scholarships or other funding.

Programmatic Accreditation for Doctorate in Educational Administration Programs

Choosing a school with proper accreditation is among the most important factors in your decision. Prospective educational administration students should try to apply to schools that hold programmatic accreditation. Programmatic accreditation ensures that a program meets rigorous, industry-wide academic standards.

For doctoral programs in educational administration, the major accrediting agency is the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP). When you enroll in a CAEP-accredited program, you can rest assured that the curriculum is solid and that your credits can transfer to other CAEP-accredited programs.

How to Get Into a Doctoral Program in Educational Administration

Although each program maintains unique admission requirements, there are several common prerequisites. Prospective students must hold a master's degree with an adequate GPA. Most schools prefer applicants with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Students may need to submit GRE scores, personal essays, and letters of recommendation. Most programs ask applicants to include their professional resumes with their applications to demonstrate relevant professional experience.

What Can I Do With a Doctorate in Educational Administration?

A doctorate in educational administration prepares graduates for high-level administration and management positions in the field. Professionals with this degree can work as school principals, postsecondary teachers, and administrators.

Most upper-level positions in K-12 education require a master's degree. Professionals with a doctorate hold an advantage when competing for jobs. College administrator and leadership roles often require a doctoral degree in an education-related subject.

The interpersonal, organization, critical thinking, and leadership skills gained in an educational administration program can apply to various careers. Below are several career paths that graduates can pursue.

Popular Career Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With a Doctorate in Educational Administration?

As an advanced degree requiring years of study and experience, a doctorate in educational administration tends to pay off in terms of salary potential. For instance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school principals make a median annual salary of $98,490. According to PayScale, school superintendents earn an average annual salary of $119,950.

Keep in mind that salary potential depends on experience, location, and individual employer.

Certifications and Licenses a Doctorate in Educational Administration Prepares You For

Principal Licensure

Earning your state principal licensure indicates that you have the skills and knowledge needed to confront a variety of challenges facing schools. Licensure requirements vary by state, and licensure is not always required; however, this credential demonstrates that you meet a certain quality standard.

School Superintendent Certification

The AASA National Superintendent Certification Program is intended for superintendents just beginning their careers. The program offers a curriculum focused on turning superintendents into the school leaders that our children deserve and developing effective board-superintendent relationships.

Board Certification in Special Education

This certification from the National Association of Special Education Teachers demonstrates quality and competency in special education. Reserved for master's degree-holders, this board certification demonstrates the highest skill level in this field.

Education Administrator License

Each state maintains its own specific requirements for education administrator licensure, but generally, candidates must have a master's degree along with successful completion of a teacher preparation program. Some states may also require that students complete a program in educational leadership.

National Board Certification

For professionals with over three years of teaching experience, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards offers board certification. Employers may be more likely to hire candidates with board certification.

Frequently Asked Questions About Doctoral Programs in Educational Administration

What is educational administration?

Educational administrators are leaders at schools and colleges. Job titles include program administrator, principal, department head, dean, superintendent, and chief academic officer.

How much does it cost to get a doctorate in educational administration?

A standard Ed.D. program comprising 60-66 credits costs $20,000-$55,000. However, total out-of-pocket costs depend on factors, such as whether students receive scholarships and if they enroll online or on campus.

How long does it take to get a doctorate in educational administration?

Most students take 3-4 years to earn a doctorate in educational administration. Exact program length depends on course requirements and whether students enroll full or part time.

What can a doctorate in educational administration do for your career?

Practicing teachers who earn a doctorate in educational administration can advance to principal, provost, and administrative positions.

What's the difference between a doctorate in educational administration and a doctorate in education?

A doctorate in education (Ed.D.) and a doctorate in educational administration both prepare graduates for high-level leadership positions within educational institutions. A doctorate in educational administration focuses more on goal-setting, evaluation, and feedback structures, while a doctorate in education prepares graduates for careers in research and academia at the collegiate level.

Feeling first-day-of-college jitters? Learn what to expect and how to prepare for the first day of class. Check out this list of the top 10 online colleges in the Pacific Southwest to find out which one is best for you. Students can make college life easier by bringing 10 documents that are essential for study, work, and other aspects of student life.

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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