Online Doctorate in Educational Administration Programs of 2021

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August 24, 2021

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Educators seeking to advance their careers may benefit from earning an online doctorate in educational administration. Professionals with this degree may go on to work as school principals, superintendents, provosts, and professors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects many of the positions in this field to grow as fast as or faster than average between 2019 and 2029.

If you're interested in pursuing your online doctorate in educational administration, read on to learn about different types of doctoral programs, admission requirements, coursework, and careers for graduates.

2021 Accredited Online Doctorate in Educational Administration Programs

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Andrews University View School Profile Berrien Springs, MI

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.

Arkansas State University View School Profile Jonesboro, AR

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.

Belhaven University View School Profile Jackson, MS

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.

Central Michigan University View School Profile Mount Pleasant, MI

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.

City University of Seattle View School Profile Seattle, WA

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.

Clark Atlanta University View School Profile Atlanta, GA

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.

Concordia University Irvine View School Profile Irvine, CA

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.

Drexel University View School Profile Philadelphia, PA

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.

East Tennessee State University View School Profile Johnson City, TN

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.

Edgewood College View School Profile Madison, WI

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.

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

Many doctorate in educational administration programs require prospective students to have experience as educators before applying. Education professionals with demonstrated leadership skills and a commitment to social justice may excel in these programs. Online doctoral programs often offer greater flexibility than on-campus programs, which may appeal to working educators and administrators.

Online doctorate in educational administration programs usually require 60-90 credits of coursework. The number of credits required depends partly on whether students previously earned their master's degrees.

Many doctorate in educational administration programs require prospective students to have experience as educators before applying.

Most educational administration doctoral programs award graduates either a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) or a doctor of education (Ed.D.). An Ed.D. program may prepare students for senior positions in educational administration. Some Ph.D. programs in educational administration may also prepare students for administrative careers. However, Ph.D. programs traditionally emphasize research over practical training. Many graduates of Ph.D. programs pursue careers as academics.

Students who earn their Ph.D. in educational administration are usually required to write a research-based dissertation. In contrast, Ed.D. programs often ask students to complete a practicum or a dissertation of practice. Practica and dissertations of practice focus on identifying and applying solutions to real-world problems in educational administration.

Most programs aim to prepare students for education careers in K-12 administration, postsecondary school administration, and postsecondary teaching and research. Some programs also offer concentrations, such as adult education, reading and literacy, and instructional design for online learning.

Admission Requirements for Online Doctorate in Educational Administration Programs

While graduate admission requirements vary by school, many doctoral programs in educational administration require a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, a writing sample, and a resume or curriculum vitae. Some programs require GRE scores, while others do not. Also, many doctorate in educational administration programs require applicants to hold master's degrees and have several years of work experience in education.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Doctorate in Educational Administration Program?

Leading Adult Learners

In this course, students can learn how to develop curricula and implement assessment measures for adult learners. Coursework may include readings on adult learning and student-centered approaches to education.

Educational Ethics

Students consider the ethical dimensions of teaching and learning in this course. They study moral and ethical reasoning and can apply what they learn in school-based case studies.

Historical Foundations of Education

This class reviews and critically assesses the history of education. The course adopts a multidisciplinary approach, drawing from social science, cultural studies, gender studies, and other academic fields.

Instructional and Curriculum Leadership

Learners study the fundamental tasks of instructional leadership, such as curriculum development, professional development, and action research. Students also review and assess classroom observation methods.

Leading in Urban, Rural, and Suburban Settings

This course investigates the similarities and differences among schools in urban, rural, and suburban settings. Through readings, research, and onsite visits, degree-seekers can learn how to lead effectively at schools in each of these settings.

What Can I Do With an Online Doctorate in Educational Administration Degree?

Some graduates of online doctorate in educational administration programs become postsecondary school administrators or professors. Others may pursue careers as school principals, superintendents, and instructional coordinators.

The BLS projects that jobs for postsecondary education administrators will grow 4% between 2019 and 2029, which is on par with the average projected job growth rate across all professions. The BLS also projects that jobs for postsecondary teachers will increase by 9% during the same period. However, the rate of job growth for tenure-track positions varies by discipline.

The BLS projects 6% job growth for instructional coordinators between 2019 and 2029. The number of positions in this field may increase as states and school districts increasingly emphasize collecting and assessing student success data. Also, the BLS projects that the number of elementary, middle, and high school principal positions will grow 4% between 2019 and 2029.

See where an online doctorate in educational administration may take you. Learn more about educational leadership careers.

Postsecondary Education Administrators

Postsecondary education administrators work in higher education. These professionals include provosts, deans, registrars, and student affairs administrators. Responsibilities vary by role but may include scheduling courses, approving faculty appointments, and advising students.

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

Elementary, middle, and high school principals supervise primary and secondary school operations, evaluate teachers, and manage school budgets.

School Superintendents

School superintendents are the lead administrators within a school district. They work with principals, teachers, parents, and local school boards to set policies, manage budgets, and establish performance benchmarks.

Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers lead courses at colleges and universities. They also conduct research and publish articles in their disciplines. Many of these positions require a Ph.D.

Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators maintain teaching standards and manage school curricula. They also develop, implement, and assess teaching materials. Instructional coordinators work in elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges, professional school programs, and government agencies.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Doctorate in Educational Administration Programs

Is a doctorate in educational administration worth it? true

A doctorate in educational administration may not be necessary for certain positions, such as school principal or instructional coordinator. However, the degree may make you a more competitive applicant for these and other administrative roles. A doctorate is usually required to become a dean, provost, or professor at a college or university.

Is it hard to get into a doctoral program in educational administration? true

Doctoral programs in educational administration are competitive. Many require students to hold master's degrees and have several years of work experience in education. Although gaining admission can be a challenge, earning the degree may advance your career, making it worth the effort.

Are educational administrators in high demand? true

The projected demand for the educational administration field varies by profession. For example, the BLS projects postsecondary education administrators and elementary, middle, and high school principals to grow 4% from 2019-2029, which matches the average projected growth for jobs in the U.S. Alternatively, instructional coordinator (6%) and postsecondary teacher (9%) positions are projected to grow faster than average over that time period.

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

The tuition costs for a doctorate in educational administration program vary depending on a student's school and the length of their program. However, according to data reported by the National Center for Education Statistics, the average graduate tuition and fees for the 2018-19 academic year was about $12,170 at public institutions and $25,930 at private institutions. Some Ph.D. programs offer funding and assistantships to offset tuition costs, although Ed.D. programs rarely provide full funding.

What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with a doctorate in educational administration?

According to the BLS, postsecondary teachers earn a median annual salary of $80,790 as of May 2020. Elementary, middle, and high school principals make a median income of $98,490 per year, while postsecondary education administrators earn $97,500 annually, according to May 2020 reports from BLS.

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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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