Educational administrators oversee a school's daily activities, help coordinate the curricula, and manage teachers and other school staff. Many students who pursue a Ph.D. in educational administration go on to careers as principals, district leaders, or educators. They handle the politics of running a school, including meeting with superintendents, legislators, and community members to request funding for school programs. Depending on the size of school, other duties may include hiring school personnel, analyzing data, and handling teacher development. Principals at larger schools usually have staff members who handle these responsibilities.

A Ph.D. in educational administration will prepare you to work in education. Many doctoral programs in educational leadership prepare students for educator positions and to perform research at the collegiate level. Programs cover topics in academic affairs, student development, financial affairs, faculty development, management, legislation, and ethics. Graduates enter the workforce fluent in examining the organizational, political, social, managerial, interpersonal, and technical dimensions of schools. It's common for students to enroll in an online program, as most are adult learners already employed in education. Programs require five years of teaching experience on average, and a master's degree. It's common for programs to have a leadership aspect since common careers include director of student services, director of instructional technology, principal, and other director positions. Based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduates can expect to make over $80,000 a year.

Choosing a Program

DO I NEED PREVIOUS WORK EXPERIENCE TO GET IN?

Yes, most Ph.D. programs in educational administration are meant for current teachers and educators in leadership positions. Most programs require at least five years of teaching experience. Many work experience requirements are met when students complete their master's program.

HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT ONLINE PROGRAM FOR ME?

Pay attention to the length of a program, the specializations offered, and any on-campus requirements. If you're interested in obtaining a K-12 certification or a focus in Christian ministry, then make sure they are offered before applying. Some programs require on-campus residencies or intensives, which can make earning a Ph.D. difficult for adult learners. You should also know where you want to end up in the long-term. Students who aspire for leadership positions, like dean of academia, will need to accrue experience as a college professor first.

CAN I WORK WHILE I COMPLETE MY ONLINE MASTER'S IN EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION?

Yes, and since many students are already established in a career, most programs will try and work around your schedule. Online programs provide the most flexibility and are the most popular option for students who wish to continue working while in their program. Most degrees require students to earn around 90 credits at a full-time pace, which takes over three-years. Part-time educational administration degrees are also offered, but they are rare.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES TO EARNING MY Ph.D. ONLINE?

Given how extensive doctorate programs are, the biggest advantage to earning your Ph.D. online is the flexibility. Many educational administration online degrees are asynchronous, allowing students to study and complete coursework at their leisure. Distance learners are also generally able to complete their internship requirements close to where they live, instead of having to commute to their school's physical campus.

Accredited Online Doctorate in Educational Administration Programs

School Location
Abilene Christian University Abilene, TX
Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI
Appalachian State University Boone, NC
Arkansas State University-Main Campus Jonesboro, AR
Ball State University Muncie, IN
Brandman University Irvine, CA
Carson-Newman University Jefferson City, TN
Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
City University of Seattle Seattle, WA
Clark Atlanta University Atlanta, GA
Clemson University Clemson, SC
College of Saint Mary Omaha, NE
Concordia University-Chicago River Forest, IL
Concordia University-Irvine Irvine, CA
Creighton University Omaha, NE
Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
East Carolina University Greenville, NC
East Tennessee State University Johnson City, TN
Edgewood College Madison, WI
Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
Gwynedd Mercy University Gwynedd Valley, PA
Hampton University Hampton, VA
Indiana State University Terre Haute, IN
Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
Lamar University Beaumont, TX
Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
Lipscomb University Nashville, TN
Morehead State University Morehead, KY
New Mexico State University-Main Campus Las Cruces, NM
Northwest Nazarene University Nampa, ID
Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
Southwest Baptist University Bolivar, MO
Southwestern College Winfield, KS
St. Thomas University Miami Gardens, FL
Texas A & M University-Commerce Commerce, TX
Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
Union University Jackson, TN
University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR
University of Florida Gainesville, FL
University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell, MA
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE
University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington, NC
University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus Norman, OK
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
Valdosta State University Valdosta, GA
William Carey University Hattiesburg, MS
William Woods University Fulton, MO
Wilmington University New Castle, DE

What Else Can I Expect from an Online Doctorate in Educational Administration Program?

Timeline 4 to 5 years
Credit Hours About 33 credit per year
Concentrations School Leadership, District Leadership, Student Affairs, Curriculum and Instruction, Organizational Leadership, Assessment and Policy Studies in Education
Accreditation Higher Learning Commission, State Board of School Administrators, State Department of Education, Educational Leadership Constituent Council
Additional Considerations Residencies are often required. Students must hold a master's degree in a related field. Many positions require in-state licensure, which includes an exam and post-degree training.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Educational Administration Graduates

Employment opportunities are strong for those in educational administration. Enrollments continue to rise as a postsecondary education becomes a standard for every worker. This increase in enrollments means that colleges and universities have more students and therefore a greater need for administrators to serve those students.

Compensation is also improved by attaining a Ph.D. in educational administration. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an administrator was roughly $88,000. However, it is important to note that most educational administrator roles are found in colleges and universities, where the median wage for the same roles is actually closer to $91,000.

Occupation Projected Job Growth (2014-24) Change in Number of Jobs (2014-24)
Elementary, Middle and High School Principals 6% +14,000
Instructional Coordinators 7% +10,500
High School Teachers 6% +55,900
Postsecondary Teachers 13% +177,000
Postsecondary Education Administrators 9% +15,200

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Educational administration degree holders have strong job prospects going forward: The Bls projects that the economy will add 270,000 positions in the field between 2014 and 2024. Most careers in the industry are keeping pace with, or exceeding, the national average growth rate of 7%.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20 Years+)
Elementary School Principal $72,315 $77,515 $82,411 $89,000
High School Principal $78,201 $81,361 $86,673 $92,455
Curriculum Developer $50,894 $60,444 $69,292 $78,619
Head Teacher $39,068 $43,156 $49,026 $55,331
Special Education Teacher (Secondary) $42,174 $48,584 $52,045 $62,261

Source: PayScale

The average career growth rate for the above careers is 37%. Curriculum developers experience the highest career growth with a 54.5% increase, but make the third lowest salary between the five positions. Special education teachers experience a growth rate of 47.6% and head teachers 41.6%.

Postsecondary Administrator: This is a catch-all term used for teachers, faculty members, and other personnel at the college and university level. These administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty at their institutions. Common positions include deans, registrars, student administrators, admissions officers, and faculty researchers.

Postsecondary Teacher/college professor: With a Ph.D. in educational administration, graduates have the credentials to work as professors in colleges, universities, and community colleges, as well as at technical and trade schools. Additionally, many professors conduct research at their institution.

K-12 Principal: K-12 principals are responsible for managing all school operations at elementary, middle, or high schools. They supervise all daily happenings and are sometimes have assistant principals who assist with school administration. Duties include management, budgeting and finance, discipline, teacher evaluation, and curriculum approval.

Instructional Coordinator: Instructional coordinators are responsible for developing, evaluating, and implementing standardized curricula at all grade levels. They work with teachers to ensure students are learning the material and assess the effectiveness of the curriculum. Instructional coordinators are often required to have state licensure.

Occupation Median Annual Salary
Elementary, Middle and High School Principals $90,410
Postsecondary Administrators $88,580
Instructional Coordinators $62,270
Postsecondary Teachers $72,470

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

It's important for students and professionals to make professional connections and to learn about different approaches to education. Professional organizations provide this, as well as a wealth of resources and knowledge about different career paths. Below are three established education organizations that host networking events and provide online training, job boards, and other services.

  • The National Educational Association: The NEA is the nation's largest professional employee organization with the goal of ensuring that public schools provide all students with a quality education. This is accomplished by advocating for education professionals and by providing a variety of resources and grants on their website.
  • The Association of American Educators: The AAE is a non-union professional organization for professional educators that is focused on student achievement above all else. This nonprofit provides benefits and services, like liability insurance and scholarships, for education professionals. This gives teachers peace-of-mind so that they can focus on educating students.
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals: NASSP provides school leaders in 35 different countries with networking opportunities, continuing education programs, and the chance to become advocates in their chosen area of expertise. The organization recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Financing Your Online Doctorate in Educational Administration Program

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.