Online Ph.D. in Education Administration

October 12, 2021

Online Ph.D. in Education Administration

AffordableCollegesOnline.org 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.

Are you ready to find your fit?

Online Ph.d. in Education Administration Rankings, Salaries & Courses

A Ph.D. in education administration can help teachers and administrators reach higher positions within their schools and districts. The degree prepares students to handle academic affairs and student development, along with the financial, legislative, and ethical intricacies of complex school systems.

Graduates of online doctoral programs in higher education administration often pursue positions such as department chair or school dean, while others secure professorships in education or school administration. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary education administrators earn a median annual salary of $92,360.

Reasons to Pursue an Online Ph.D. in Education Administration

The main differences between a master's and a Ph.D. in education administration involve the administrative level the degree qualifies graduates to enter and the amount of leadership responsibilities graduates can hold. Master's degree holders can pursue entry- or mid-level administrative positions at colleges and universities. Professionals with a master's can work in the finance department or in student curriculum counseling.

A Ph.D. trains students to become a school dean or president, a department chair, or a professor of education administration. The level of responsibility these positions involve requires leadership and communication skills and an understanding of administrative bodies. Deans and presidents often hire new faculty, arbitrate disputes between students and professors, and conduct analyses of workflow and student success. Students who plan to teach or research school systems as a professor of education administration need a Ph.D.

AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org 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.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

What Can I Do With an Online Doctorate in Education Administration?

Professionals with an online Ph.D. in higher education administration can pursue a variety of careers. Ph.D. holders often become university deans or chief academic officers who oversee schools and departments. Graduates may also address issues in a school's infrastructure through directorships in school development, admissions, student affairs, or continuing education. For example, a director of student admissions gauges how many students a school can accept based on revenue numbers, capacity, and degree specializations.

Department professorships in education and administration allow Ph.D. holders to help train future deans, directors, and administrators. A doctorate in education administration also qualifies holders to impact their local community as a K-12 school principal, superintendent, or educational legislator.

Career Subfields Within Education Administration

JUNIOR COLLEGES:State, local, and privateCOLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES, AND PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS:State, local, and private
Source: BLS

Common Career Paths and Salaries

Professionals with an online Ph.D. in higher education administration can pursue a variety of career opportunities in administration and education. The list below includes common career paths for graduates, the key responsibilities of each profession, and current salary expectations.

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

Median Annual Salary: $94,390

These administrators oversee K-12 schools to ensure they meet state and national standards. Principals manage staff, advise teachers, and discipline students.

Academic Dean

Median Annual Salary: $90,315

Deans work with faculty and staff at colleges and universities. Academic deans hire new faculty, oversee budgets and enrollment, and review academic standards.

Curriculum Director

Median Annual Salary: $72,931

Curriculum directors adjust curricula based on enrollment data and student success rates. These directors ensure that schools meet state standards.

Postsecondary Education Administrator

Median annual salary: $92,360

Administrators in admissions, student affairs, or the registrar's office make key decisions regarding student life and school admissions. These professionals develop administrative policies, participate in faculty employment, and manage budgets.

College or University President

Median annual salary: $104,700

The president of a college or university oversees financial and budgetary decisions, consults with executives and staff, appoints department heads, and makes administrative decisions for the postsecondary institution.

Salary Progression

Salaries vary depending on the professional's location and educational qualifications. Average entry-level salaries in the field range from about $60,000 for a curriculum developer to $90,000 for an academic dean.

Large, public institutions generally offer higher salaries than small colleges or universities because of increased performance pressures and public obligations. High-level administrators, such as presidents, deans, and principals, typically earn the highest salaries. While private schools are not legally bound to divulge salary information, all public schools report salaries annually.

Education Administration Ph.D. Program Requirements and Outcomes

Though application requirements vary by school, most online doctoral programs in higher education administration require transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Many programs require applicants to have at least five years of documented professional experience in education or administration. Most Ph.D. programs include 60-90 credits, which full-time students typically complete in 4-6 years.

Most schools offer the degree in a hybrid or fully online format to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. Other than in-person application interviews, few programs require on-campus components. Coursework emphasizes research abilities, communication and teaching skills, and policy and budget analysis. Doctoral programs culminate in a dissertation, where candidates demonstrate their independent research and critical analysis skills.

Common Courses

Other Requirements

Internship
Students earning a Ph.D. in higher education administration online must typically complete an internship. Internships generally comprise 100-150 hours supervised by an administrative professional. Interns showcase their leadership skills and work with students, professors, and staff in a public or private institution.

Qualifying Exams
After completing coursework and an internship, Ph.D. candidates sit for qualifying exams. The length, number, and type of exams vary by school, but most exams require detailed written responses and an oral defense before a committee of professors.

Dissertation Research and Composition
The successful completion of exams qualifies candidates to conduct independent research for a dissertation. Learners should choose a dissertation topic relevant to their career goals. For example, individuals who plan to work in school finance may explore statistical case studies of department costs.

Dissertation Defense
A committee of professors and administrative professionals reviews and accepts dissertations. After submitting written work and research, candidates orally defend their findings. Professors inform candidates of any issues with their work and mandate changes. Ph.D. candidates must make satisfactory changes prior to graduation.

Skills and Competencies

Students earning a doctorate in education administration gain skills relevant to their future careers. Learners typically gain the skills and competencies below during administration training and independent research.

Education Administration Licensure

Professionals need different types of licensure depending on their professional level and the type of school at which they work. Most colleges and universities require administrators to hold a Ph.D. from an accredited school. Accreditation demonstrates the value of a candidate's education, including foundational training.

Similarly, a degree from an accredited institution is more important than licensure for postsecondary administrators. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is the primary accrediting body for educational programs. Students should look for programs with CAEP accreditation and should ensure any prospective school holds national or regional accreditation.

Administrative and teaching positions in K-12 schools require certification or licensure; these requirements vary by state. The Education Commission of the States provides a review of licensure requirements by state. Students should research schools in the area in which they plan to teach to understand certification and licensure requirements.

Education Administration Professional Organizations

Students and professionals in education administration benefit from professional connections. Members of professional organizations can meet others in the field and build professional networks. Many of these associations offer educational opportunities, annual conferences, and publications.

Members stay updated on the latest issues in education, including legislative proposals, student advocacy, and shifting demographic needs. Members may have opportunities to present research or advocate for their community at annual meetings. Many professional organizations provide career resources, such as job boards.

Below are some well-known national associations for educational administrators and professors. Students should also research local organizations.

Related articles that may interest you

AffordableCollegesOnline.org 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.

Do this for you

Explore your possibilities- find schools with programs you’re interested in and clear a path for your future.