Online Ph.D. In Education

Educators must stay on the cutting edge of policy reform and research-based instructional strategies designed to give their students the best opportunity for a bright future.

February 22, 2022 , Modified on June 9, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Ph.D. In Education 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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An online Ph.D. in education may suit students who enjoy classroom teaching or prefer the field's administrative aspects. Educators help students develop their potential and learning style through cooperative learning, teamwork, projects, and individual work. Educational administrators provide direction and day-to-day management of educational institutions, including preschools and colleges. A doctoral education degree meets qualifications for both roles.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, postsecondary education administrators and postsecondary teachers both earn higher than average salaries. The BLS projects 8% and 12% respective growth for these jobs during 2020-2030.

Our guide provides a ranking of the top online Ph.D. in education degrees to help prospective students choose the best fit for their career goals.

Ph.D. in Education Frequently Asked Questions

true Q. Is a Ph.D. in education worth it?

Yes, though it depends on students' career trajectories and preferences. Mid-career education professionals wanting to advance their salary may consider pursuing a Ph.D. in education.

true Q. What can you do with a Ph.D. in education?

An online Ph.D. in education satisfies the educational requirements for high-paying senior educational leadership positions. Graduates pursue careers as educational administrators, superintendents, and researchers. They can also work as college professors.

true Q. How long does it take to get a Ph.D. in education?

Ph.D. students pursuing an education degree full time spend about three years to earn a degree. The program involves two years of classes as well as research and a dissertation. However, program length can vary by school and students' enrollment status.

true Q. What is the difference between a Ph.D. and a doctorate?

"Doctorate" refers to an umbrella term for a degree or rank. A Ph.D. falls under the doctorate category. 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.

Why Get a Degree in Education?

Students can apply education theory and put it into practice with a Ph.D. in education. Learning these practices gives students credibility, upward mobility, and the technical expertise needed to specialize in the field.

A Ph.D. in education offers students the potential for high earnings. The highest-paid postsecondary education administrators earn almost $200,000 annually. However, salary depends on career choice and the type of educational institution where graduates choose to work.

Ph.D. students who opt for an online education degree can benefit from lower costs, classroom flexibility, and access to faculty. Students and faculty communicate through email, instant messaging, and video chat.

How Much Does an Education Degree Cost?

Online education degrees often cost less than on-campus programs. However, an online Ph.D. in education varies in cost. Tuition, books, online registration, and other fees might cost several thousands of dollars per year.

Tuition makes up the largest percentage of the cost of getting an online education degree. Learners should compare costs among online schools before committing to one institution. Online degree-seekers save on transportation expenses, school supplies, and housing.

Prospective students may want to research other opportunities to reduce debt. Many schools support doctoral students through tuition waivers and stipends.

Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.

How Much Do Education Graduates Make?

According to the BLS, postsecondary education administrators earn annual median salaries of $97,500. Postsecondary teachers earn a median salary of $80,560 annually.

An online Ph.D. in education, a terminal degree, offers the highest level of education in the field. However, learners may need to tap into continuing education and certifications to advance their careers and salary.

Specific specializations within a Ph.D. program may offer more lucrative opportunities. A Ph.D. in education with a specialization in education policy can lead to a role as a public policy analyst. Specializations include counseling education, curriculum studies, and educational linguistics.

Courses in Education

Learners typically complete about two years of coursework. They also complete research projects, exams, and a dissertation. Some programs may require an individualized research practicum, research assistantship, or a faculty research project.

Degree-seekers gain research and analytical skills. They can align their studies with their research interests and professional goals through specializations. Options include curriculum and instruction, educational psychology, and leadership.

Not all programs offer every course. The three listed below represent a sample curriculum.

Certifications and Licensure for Education

The following certifications and licensures enable students to become education leaders. Each credential features various requirements, including licensure exams. Students should learn their state's specific requirements.

Educational Testing Service (ETS) provides state assessments for superintendent licensure. These tests reflect the most current research on professional judgment and a set of standards for school leaders. The Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) and the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL) set the standards. ETS also offers the school leader licensure assessment to help states assess school leaders. The ISLLC and the PSEL also set the assessment factors for these tests. The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) offers current superintendents a curriculum and professional learning opportunity ending with a capstone project. The capstone challenges current superintendents to analyze an existing district issue requiring intervention. The program connects superintendents to professional networks, helping them focus on key issues within their districts.

Scholarships for Education

Students pursuing a Ph.D. in education qualify for various scholarships from companies and professional organizations. Learners can also apply for institutional grants and scholarships.

Scholarships for Education
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

AASA Educational Administration Scholarship

$2,500 The chair of the school of education can recommend currently enrolled students. Applicants must write three separate statements about superintendency as a career and submit a recommendation letter and two endorsement letters. Students must become a member of the AASA if awarded this scholarship.

Applegate-Jackson-Parks Future Teacher Scholarship

$1,000 Graduate or undergraduate education majors at U.S. institutions may apply. Applicants submit transcripts and an essay about the problems of compulsory unionism in education.

National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program

$27,500 Doctoral students at U.S. institutions demonstrating research experience and future potential in educational research may apply. An applicant's proposed project must involve an education research project. Fellows may not accept employment other than as described in the application. Group applications do not qualify.

Online Ph.D. in Education 2022

  • Allen College

    Waterloo, IA



  • Ball State University

    Muncie, IN



    Prospective doctorate students atBall State Universitycan earn aPhD in educational studieswith 2 specialization options: educational technology or cultural and educational policy studies. The program incorporates both online and in-person courses and takes roughly 4 years to complete. The 91-credit program includes 12 research-based credits leading to a final dissertation. To offset the cost of higher education, graduate students can apply to an assistantship program. Ball State also offers atuition discountfor midwest natives.

  • Brandman University

    Irvine, CA



  • Central Michigan University

    Mount Pleasant, MI



    Prospective doctoral students at Central Michigan University can finish their EdD in educational leadership degree through a hybrid format. Students in the program take courses online and also in-person at CMU's Saginaw Center. The program offers 4 specialization paths and requires 63 credits for graduation. Of those credits, 12 are dedicated to dissertation research and between 3 and 9 credits are reserved for practicum experience. Students who have already earned a specialist in education degree are eligible to apply 27 credits towards their Ed.D. degree.

  • City University of Seattle

    Seattle, WA



  • Clarkson College

    Omaha, NE



  • Columbus State University

    Columbus, GA



  • East Carolina University

    Greenville, NC



  • East Tennessee State University

    Johnson City, TN



  • Gratz College

    Melrose Park, PA



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