Earning a Ph.D. or Ed.D. in educational leadership can lead to exciting and lucrative careers. Students interested in pursuing a doctorate in education leadership can explore our guide to find helpful information regarding common coursework, concentrations, and admission requirements for this degree. We also provide details on typical career paths that degree-holders pursue upon graduation, along with relevant salary data. Lastly, we offer answers to frequently asked questions about pursuing this type of degree.

Professionals with doctorates in educational leadership often seek out administrative or leadership roles in educational institutions. Graduates often pursue careers as chief academic officers and chief learning officers. Additionally, doctoral degree-holders can secure employment as college or university professors, special education directors, social and community service managers, and training and development managers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), education administrators who work at colleges and universities made a median income of $94,340 in 2018. In some cases, competitive job applicants need a doctorate for consideration.

Accredited Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Programs

School Program Location
Andrews University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Berrien Springs, MI
Appalachian State University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Boone, NC
Belhaven University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Jackson, MS
Central Michigan University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Mount Pleasant, MI
City University of Seattle Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Seattle, WA
Clark Atlanta University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Atlanta, GA
College of Saint Elizabeth Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Morristown, NJ
College of Saint Mary Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Omaha, NE
Concordia University - Chicago Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership River Forest, IL
Concordia University - Irvine Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Irvine, CA
Concordia University - Saint Paul Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Saint Paul, MN
Drexel University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Philadelphia, PA
East Carolina University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Greenville, NC
East Tennessee State University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Johnson City, TN
Edgewood College Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Madison, WI
Endicott College Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Beverly, MA
Evangel University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Springfield, MO
Florida State University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Tallahassee, FL
George Fox University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Newberg, OR
Gwynedd Mercy University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Gwynedd Valley, PA
Indiana State University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Terre Haute, IN
Lamar University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Beaumont, TX
Liberty University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Lynchburg, VA
Minnesota State University Moorhead Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Moorhead, MN
Monmouth University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership West Long Branch, NJ
Morehead State University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Morehead, KY
National Louis University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Chicago, IL
New Mexico State University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Las Cruces, NM
Northern Kentucky University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Highland Heights, KY
Northwest Nazarene University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Nampa, ID
Nova Southeastern University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Fort Lauderdale, FL
Regent University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Virginia Beach, VA
Rowan University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Glassboro, NJ
Saint Peter's University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Jersey City, NJ
Samford University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Birmingham, AL
Southwest Baptist University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Bolivar, MO
Southwestern College Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Winfield, KS
Tennessee State University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Nashville, TN
Texas Tech University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Lubbock, TX
Union University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Jackson, TN
University of Arkansas Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Fayetteville, AR
University of Bridgeport Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Bridgeport, CT
University of Florida Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Gainesville, FL
University of Kentucky Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Lexington, KY
University of Massachusetts - Lowell Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Lowell, MA
University of Missouri Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Columbia, MO
University of Nebraska - Lincoln Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Lincoln, NE
University of North Carolina Wilmington Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Wilmington, NC
University of North Carolina at Greensboro Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Greensboro, NC
University of North Dakota Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Grand Forks, ND
University of Northern Colorado Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Greeley, CO
University of Southern California Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Los Angeles, CA
University of St Thomas Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Saint Paul, MN
University of the Cumberlands Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Williamsburg, KY
Valdosta State University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Valdosta, GA
Wilkes University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Wilkes-Barre, PA
William Carey University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Hattiesburg, MS
William Woods University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership Fulton, MO
Wilmington University Ed.D./Ph.D in Educational Leadership New Castle, DE

Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program Overview

Students pursuing a doctorate in education explore topics such as diversity and equity in educational organizations, leadership and management skills, educational systems and governance, education funding, and community engagement. Enrollees may dedicate a significant amount of study to a specialization, such as a concentration in P-12 school leadership, postsecondary administration, or athletic administration.

Online doctoral programs in educational leadership teach participants the leadership and management skills needed to lead school districts, staff members, and boards of directors. This type of credential serves as the terminal degree in the field.

Common Doctorate in Educational Leadership Degree Courses

Learning Theories and Research

Students explore case studies and recent research focusing on classroom management, teaching skills, program assessment, diversity, and student motivation. These classes typically include discussions of students' personal experiences working in the field. Faculty may require distance learners to participate in group projects to examine leadership techniques, educational learning theories, and teaching strategies.

Teaching Theories and Educational Leadership Practices

This class covers the latest organizational leadership theories and evidence-based practices. Participants learn how to develop professional relationships as leaders of educational organizations. Enrollees explore the community aspects of schooling, innovative instructional methods, and how professionals deal with changes in the education system.

Public Relations for Educational Leaders

Students observe common practices used to develop advantageous relationships with contacts outside of the educational institution. Distance learners explore crisis management, implementing an institution's philosophy, meeting an institution's goals, theories of public relations and outreach, and promotional strategies.

Law and Education

Learners examine education laws and the related cultural and social changes associated with judicial rulings. Coursework pays special attention to how new legal precedents can affect education systems. Upon completion of this class, students should understand social policy and legal philosophy as they relate to educational institutions. Participants also learn to develop leadership strategies in response to potential legal issues faced by educational administrators.

Resource Allocation in Educational Leadership

Professionals with doctorates in educational leadership must be able to handle the financial aspects of their jobs. This class prepares students for resource allocation duties that many professionals in the field manage on a daily basis, such as locating external funding, grant writing, and creating school budgets.

Related Doctorate in Educational Leadership Degree Concentrations

Literacy and Reading

This concentration teaches enrollees to follow industry standards and guidelines for reading instruction. Remote students learn to identify common reading comprehension issues that their classrooms may encounter. This concentration prepares degree-seekers for careers in public and private educational institutions, including leadership and management positions that focus on reading programs at secondary schools or adult education programs.

Curriculum and Instruction

Students pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership may be able to focus on curriculum and instruction, which caters to students at all levels by shaping curricula to support different types of instructional and learning styles. These professionals also receive training about how to serve diverse student populations as school administrators inside school systems.

Digital Transformation

This concentration helps students develop a skill set in line with today's changing technological climate. Using the latest tools in the field, pupils in this specialization learn the essential skills needed to improve instructional effectiveness by studying education theories, recent research and case studies, and proven best practices.

Athletic Administration

Doctoral students with a concentration in athletic administration learn to manage athletic departments in K-12 institutions, colleges, and universities. Enrollees focus on growing and developing athletic programs, securing external funding, and exploring the legal and ethical frameworks of the field.

Special Education Leadership

These degree-seekers prepare for managerial and supervisory roles in special education. Graduates can become directors of special education programs at educational institutions, colleges, and universities, working to help improve educational environments for at-risk students or learners with disabilities.

Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Admission Requirements

  • Letters of Recommendation

    Students pursuing an online doctorate in educational leadership usually need to submit letters of recommendation with their applications. Individuals should obtain letters from previous teachers or academic advisors who can speak to their likelihood of success in a doctoral program. When asking for letters, candidates should give recommendation writers ample lead time before an application due date.

  • Graduate Record Exam

    Many doctoral programs require prospective students to submit their GRE scores. This standardized test allows admissions departments to evaluate a student's academic strengths from an additional perspective. Some colleges and universities only require students to submit GRE scores if their cumulative GPA is below a certain threshold.

  • Academic Writing Sample

    Academic-level research makes up a significant part of coursework, and admissions committees value students who already possess these essential skills.

  • Master's Degree

    While some programs may award students a master's degree en route to a doctoral degree, most schools expect candidates to already possess a master's degree in a related field.

  • Statement of Purpose/Personal Statement

    This written document allows applicants to outline why they wish to attend a particular program and obtain a doctorate in educational leadership. This document also lets students describe any relevant work experience they have in the field and outline their career aspirations.


Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Career Paths

Professionals with doctorates in educational leadership can obtain some of the top jobs in the education field. Degree-holders can earn administrative or leadership roles in virtually any type of educational institution.

Depending on the type and location of their job, doctoral degree-holders may need to obtain a state teacher's license. However, many students who come from an education-focused or teaching background already possess a teacher's license by the time they enter doctoral programs.

Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Students pursuing online doctorates in educational leadership can expect to spend three years in the program. Learners who enroll part time may spend 2-3 additional years completing their degrees. Alternatively, students in online programs with self-paced or asynchronous learning formats may be able to finish in less than three years.

What is the difference between a Ph.D. and an Ed.D.?

A Ph.D. best serves individuals who wish to pursue research-focused or teaching positions upon graduation. Ph.D. programs develop professionals who contribute writing, research, and/or instruction that advances the field of education. Alternatively, an Ed.D. trains students to become administrators and leaders of educational institutions, preparing them for more hands-on work with students and staff.

How much does a doctor of education make?

According to BLS data, postsecondary education administrators earned a median income of $94,340 in 2018. Professionals in similar roles, such as postsecondary teachers and training and development managers, earned median incomes of $78,470 and $111,340 in 2018, respectively.

What can I do with a doctorate in educational leadership?

After earning an online doctorate in educational leadership, individuals can pursue lucrative careers at educational institutions and research facilities. Degree-holders typically move on to work as chief academic officers, training and development managers, education administrators, social and community service managers, postsecondary teachers, and lead researchers.

Is an Ed.D. worth it?

Earning an Ed.D. is worth the time and energy for students who wish to pursue some of the top jobs in education. The doctorate is the highest degree one can earn in the field and helps professionals stand out in the job market. This degree is especially useful for professionals who wish to improve school policies, work with teachers, create progressive educational goals for institutions, and improve school curricula.

Discover Similar Degree Programs

Looking for something else? Explore these other online degrees.