2021 Best Online Doctorate in Educational & Instructional Technology

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If you have a knack for using technology and a passion for education, getting a doctorate in educational technology online could help you advance in this professional niche.

Doctorate in Educational & Instructional Technology

Innovations in technology are creating new career offerings within education. They can impact instructional delivery, teacher professional development, and even IT solutions for both schools and school districts.

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If you love teaching, educational theory, or fast-paced technology innovation, it might be time to consider pursuing a doctorate in educational technology online.

Doctorate in Educational Technology Online Programs

Doctorate in Educational Technology Online Programs

This kind of degree program is especially suitable for professionals with a background in education, technology, or both. A doctorate in ed tech can help you develop advanced expertise and proficiency in educational technology tools, methods, and applications.

A professional doctorate or PhD in Education with a concentration in Educational Technology can cover a range of existing and emerging ed-tech tools, platforms, and design principles. You may learn concepts applicable to helping lead or support schools and teachers.

Careers related to educational technology can include:

  • Instructional coordinators
  • Training and development specialists and managers
  • K-12 principals
  • Postsecondary teachers
  • Postsecondary education administrators

In this type of program, you’ll likely learn computer software and IT system fundamentals. You can also learn some critical concepts and methods related to educational psychology, learning theory, and instructional design and coordination.

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These skills are highly applicable to a variety of positions that lead or advise other educational, IT, or software industry professionals. For example, some professionals in the field help school leaders and classroom educators implement education technology tools and instructional strategies.

Others may support IT departments in educational settings, working in software installation, training, and operation roles. Those with ed tech training can also help design and coordinate instructional models that incorporate education technologies. They can also act as instructional coaches in large school settings or provide e-learning consulting or management services.

Holding a doctorate can also qualify you for advanced roles in research and academia. Postsecondary teachers, for instance, are often required to hold a doctoral degree.

Educational Technology Careers & Salaries

Educational Technology Careers & Salaries

Depending on your own interests and the areas of concentration you pursue as a doctoral student, a degree in educational technology could lead to a range of career pathways.

Some professionals with educational technology expertise help colleges, universities, or larger school systems assess and improve their instructional technology plans and resources.

Others use their skills to advise or train educators seeking to adopt educational technologies. Managers or administrative specialists might help school organizations oversee specialized IT systems used in school settings.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a number of careers related to the specialized expertise of educational technology offer higher than average salaries.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Chief Executives $185,950
Training and Development Managers $115,640
General and Operations Managers $103,650
K-12 Principals $98,490
Postsecondary Education Administrators $97,500
Postsecondary Teachers $80,790
Instructional Coordinators, Government $76,780
Instructional Coordinators, Elementary and Secondary Schools $70,270
Instructional Coordinators, Educational Support Services $67,240
Instructional Coordinators, Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $62,950

The blending of technological and educational knowledge, skills, and best practices could be applicable to a number of unique roles that utilize both education and technology.

Graduates might also pursue jobs helping education technology firms design, test, improve, or sell education technology products. Those who earn a Ph.D., rather than a professional doctorate, tend to pursue work in research or academia.

EdD in Educational Technology Curriculum

EdD in Educational Technology Curriculum

Educational technology is a field that allows you to pursue interesting pathways related to both technology, instructional design, and educational leadership. Curriculums will vary by program and areas of concentration, but here are some example courses:

  • Child and Adolescent Learning Theory: You’ll learn about the psychology of learning, emotional intelligence, and different learning styles.
  • Adult Learning Theory: You’ll learn about psychological motivators and barriers to learning in adult-learning settings, and you’ll explore instructional methods and designs that can accelerate learning and retention processes.
  • Curriculum Standards and Instructional Design: This course covers K-12 common core curriculum standards with strategies for using defined learning objectives to guide instructional planning and design.
  • Instructional Technology Best Practices: You’ll learn about widely-used and emerging instructional technology tools and platforms within a framework of best practices in the field.
  • E-Learning Technology: This course is an introduction to key features and applications of different E-learning technology tools and designs.
  • Formative Assessment: This course examines key formative assessment principles and strategies, exploring this critical instructional component as it relates to educational technology design and data management.
  • Data-Driven and Responsive Learning Designs: This courses focuses on how educational technology tools can help individualize the learning experience and target instructional planning.
  • Educational Technology Management and Research: You’ll learn methods for efficiently evaluating organizations’ educational technology assets and needs in addition to resources and methods for identifying and assessing best solutions.
  • Educational Management Technologies: This course studies IT tools and methods for streamlining a range of internal and client-facing administrative and management functions in school settings.
  • Data Security, Compliance, and Risk Management: This course helps aspiring ed-tech managers understand key issues related to compliance, IT, and database security tools and protocols.

If you want to advance your expertise in the ed-tech niche, an online doctorate in educational technology could help you take your knowledge and skill set to the next level.

How to Choose an Online Doctorate in Educational Technology Program

Online Doctorate in Educational Technology Program

Here are some factors to consider when choosing an online doctoral program in educational technology:

  • Entrance requirements, tuition, and fees
  • Program length
  • Dissertation or related capstone requirements
  • Supervised fieldwork or internship requirements
  • Accreditation status of the school

Depending on your prior learning and professional experiences, you’ll typically want to consider how your learning objectives line up with the courses and areas of concentration offered by various programs.

Admissions Requirements

Doctorate in Educational Technology admissions

Requirement for admissions will differ by school and program. In general, admissions officers are looking for evidence that you have the proper experience, skills, and motivation to pursue doctoral studies. Here are some common requirements:

  • GRE or GMAT scores (only some schools require them)
  • Bachelors or masters degree
  • Minimum GPA requirement (typically 3.0 or 3.5)
  • Relevant professional experience
  • Statement of purpose

Most programs seek candidates with either a strong background in education or technology. Some programs may require a background in both areas.

Accreditation

Doctorate in Educational Technology accreditation

When comparing schools and programs, it’s strategic to stick with regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation signifies that a school’s educational services and offerings meet more rigorous professional and academic standards.

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Accreditation can also impact your eligibility to transfer course credits, if needed, and it might impact your eligibility for some forms of financial aid. To find accredited schools, you can visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Doctorate in Educational Technology financial aid

If you qualify, financial aid may help you move through your doctoral program without worrying so much about the year-to-year costs.

Financial aid can often involve offers made up of various components, such as federal or state student grants or loans, school scholarships, or other need-based or merit-based scholarships. Some workplaces even offer employer-based tuition assistance programs.

If you’re planning to seek out any form of need-based aid, filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can help you determine your eligibility.

Educational Technology Professional Organizations

Educational Technology Professional Organizations

If you’re pursuing a doctorate, you may want to consider joining a professional organization:

Membership in a professional organization can help you keep up with trends in your field and may offer professional development and networking opportunities.

What Can I Do with a Doctorate in Educational Technology Degree?

Doctorate in Educational Technology Degree

Professionals with a PhD or EdD in Educational Technology can work in a number of roles, depending on their experience and certifications.

They may work in educational administration or leadership roles. Others act as training supervisors or instructional coaches or coordinators. They can also help design or test educational software. Careers related to this specialized field include instructional coordinator, education administrator, and training and development manager.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these careers are projected to have average or above-average job growth over the next ten years. A number of senior roles in the education sector can require prior teaching experience.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctoral Degree in Educational Technology Online?

Doctoral Degree in Educational Technology Online

A doctoral program will generally take 3 to 5 years to complete, depending on the program, credit hours required, and any capstone requirements.

Time to completion can also vary based on how long it takes you to complete a dissertation requirement. Programs with no dissertation requirement may be completed in less time, maybe even as little as 3 years with full-time study.

What Jobs Are Available for EdD in Educational Technology?

With the right career experience and qualifications, a doctorate in educational technology can open the door to a number of opportunities.

Some professionals in the field enter human resource management, working as training development specialists or managers. Others pursue careers as postsecondary education administrators, instructional coordinators or coaches, and education technology sales engineers.

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Many factors can impact job availability, requirements, and salaries, though, such as a job’s sector or geographic location.

What’s the Difference Between an EdD vs. PhD in Educational Technology?

An EdD (Doctor of Education) is a professional doctorate, and a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) is the most advanced academic degree you can obtain.

EdD in Educational Technology PhD in Educational Technology
  • More practice-based
  • More likely to offer a work-related capstone project requirement
  • Intended for professionals pursuing job advancement in their current field
  • More academic- and research-based
  • Typically requires more intensive research and a dissertation requirement
  • More suitable for those interested in pursuing jobs in research and academia

EdD programs tend to stress more practical job skills, while a PhD program is more likely to have a stronger academic, theoretical, and research emphasis.

What’s the Difference Between an EdD in Instructional Technology vs. Educational Technology?

EdD in Instructional Technology vs. Educational Technology

People who study educational technology are typically more oriented to supporting instructional and IT goals in academic settings, such as school districts or postsecondary schools.

People who study instructional technology focus primarily on technology tools and software design principles for specific instructional applications across different public and private sectors.

Educational Technology Degree Instructional Technology Degree
  • Focuses primarily on the use of technology in school settings
  • Applicable to those working with academic teaching methods, curriculum standards, and assessment principles
  • Focuses primarily on specific technology design principles and features for a wide range of instructional technologies
  • Often applicable to professionals working in non-academic settings as workforce training specialists

Instructional technology can be used for all kinds of on-the-job training and HR-related compliance applications. Some professionals apply their skills to school settings as well.

What’s the Difference Between a PhD in Instructional Design vs. Instructional Technology Degree?

Here are some differences between these two concentrations:

Instructional Technology Instructional Design
  • Involves the study of instructional design principles and their incorporation into instructional software applications
  • Focuses on designing and managing software tools to improve or automate instructional processes
  • Involves the study of curriculum design methods aligned with evidence-based pedagogy and learning theory
  • Focuses on designing curriculum sequences and lesson strategies for effective learning outcomes

Instructional technology professionals use their skills to integrate effective instructional methods into software designs for automating instructional tasks. Those in instructional design may help guide the design of technology tools used for schools or other instructional purposes.

Is a Doctoral Degree in Educational Technology Worth It?

Doctoral Degree in Educational Technology

Yes, a doctoral degree in educational technology is worth it for many students. Schools today are primarily driven by well-determined academic learning objectives, just as they have been for decades. At the same time, new technology innovations are transforming school classrooms and IT systems.

Getting an online doctorate in education with a focus in educational technology could be a strategic way to gain expertise in this fast-changing school landscape. Careers related to this field include K-12 principal, school administrator, instructional coordinator, and training and development manager.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 5% job growth for education, training, and library positions over the next ten years, which is faster than the average growth for all occupations.

Universities Offering Online Doctorate in Educational and Instructional Technology Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Boise State University

Boise State University campus

Boise State University offers an online Doctor of Education in Educational Technology program. To graduate, students must complete 66 credit hours. To be eligible for the program, applicants must submit official transcripts from all colleges attended, a resume, a writing sample, GRE scores, and 3 letters of recommendation.

Boise State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Concordia University – Chicago

Concordia University Chicago campus

Concordia University—Chicago offers a Doctorate in Education Leadership with a specialization in Educational Technology.

The program, which can be completed online, requires students to complete 61 credit hours. Applicants must have master’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and 2 years of professional experience and must submit GRE or Miller Analogies scores and 3 letters of recommendation.

Concordia University Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Duquesne University

Duquesne University campus

Duquesne University offers a Doctor of Education in Educational Technology. Students must complete 54 credit hours in 3 years to graduate.

The program can be completed online, but first-years must attend an on-campus, 2-day orientation. Applicants must have a master’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and must submit 3 letters of recommendation and evidence of digital literacy.

Duquesne University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University offers a PhD in Education with an emphasis in Instructional Design and Technology. The program requires 60 credit hours to graduate and can typically be completed in 3 years. Each online class is 8 weeks long. Applicants must have a master’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University campus

Old Dominion University offers an online program for a Doctor of Philosophy in Education with an emphasis in Instructional Design and Technology. The program requires 60 credit hours, including a dissertation, to graduate. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a master’s degree and must submit GRE test scores.

Old Dominion University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Regent University

Regent University campus

Regent University offers a PhD in Education with an emphasis in Educational Technology and Online Learning.

The program can be completed online and requires 67 credits to graduate. Those interested in the program must submit a graduate-level academic paper and unofficial college transcripts. An admissions interview may be required for some applicants.

Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Towson University

Towson University campus

Towson University offers a Doctorate in Education with an emphasis in Instructional Technology. The program requires students to complete a minimum of 63 credits and can typically be completed in 5 years. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher from their undergraduate work and a GPA of 3.4 from any graduate work.

Towson University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Florida

University of Florida campus

The University of Florida offers an online program for a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Educational Technology.

The program requires the completion of 90 credit hours beyond students’ bachelor’s degrees to graduate and can typically be completed in 3 years. Applicants must have a master’s degree and must submit GRE test scores and letters of recommendation.

The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of West Florida

University of West Florida campus

The University of West Florida offers a Doctor of Education in Instructional Design and Technology.

To graduate, students are required to obtain 54 credit hours, including 18 hours dedicated to a dissertation. The program can typically be completed in 3 years. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and must submit GRE or MAT scores and 3 professional references.

The University of West Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Walden University

Walden University campus

Walden University offers a Doctor of Education in Educational Technology. To graduate, students must complete 79 quarter credits, a residency, and a doctoral writing assessment.

Students may take up to 8 years to complete all requirements. Applicants must have 3 years of professional or academic experience in the field and a GPA of 3.0 or higher from a post-baccalaureate degree.

Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Doctorate in Educational Technology Online

Doctorate in Educational Technology Online

If you have a passion for education, getting a doctorate in educational technology online from an accredited school could be a strategic way to impact or implement learning innovations. Schools need professionals with the ability to understand, support, and lead the adoption and integration of new instructional technology.

Whether it’s for an online masters in educational technology or for an online doctorate, online learning options can allow you to finish the bulk of your coursework according to your own schedule. Many accredited education degree online programs also offer different curriculum concentrations and designs in this exciting field.

Why not start comparing programs today?

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Keith Nickolaus
WRITTEN BY
Keith Nickolaus
Keith has a Ph.D. and a M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California - Berkeley and a B.A. in Literature from the University of California - Santa Cruz. A retired educator, Keith lives in Berkeley and researches and writes about trends in education leadership, innovation, and policy.