Taking the next step and committing to a leadership role in the world of education is an exciting – and nerve-wracking – decision.
From signing up for an extensive workload of classes, to potentially altering the course of your professional future, this life event has plenty of far-reaching implications.
With this in mind, here’s an in-depth look at everything you need to know about earning your Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Educational Leadership degree.
PhD in Educational Leadership Concentrations
Like most other graduate studies, the average PhD in Educational Leadership program allows you to customize your learning experience via concentrations. Some of the most common specializations that refine and focus your learning experience are listed below.
Online PhD in Education Leadership Programs:
- PhD in Education: Organizational Leadership
- PhD in Education: Adult Education Leadership
- PhD in Education: Community College Leadership
- PhD in Education: Instructional Leadership
- PhD in Education: K-12 Education Leadership
- PhD in Education: Leadership, Policy and Change in Education
- PhD in Education: Leadership in Higher Education
Online EdD in Educational Leadership Programs:
- EdD – Educational Leadership
- EdD – Organizational Leadership: Behavioral Health
- EdD – Organizational Leadership: Higher Education Leadership
- EdD – Organizational Leadership: K-12 Leadership
- EdD – Organizational Leadership: Organizational Development
- EdD – Organizational Leadership: Special Education
Each available tract at your target university provides you with the ability to fit your education into a highly valuable niche, thereby ensuring that you stand out among other job applicants who chose to travel down a more generic learning path.
Differences Between a PhD and an EdD in Educational Leadership
As far as the difference between earning a PhD and a Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership, it’s all about your motivations after you walk across the big stage on graduation day. PhD students generally seek tenure as professors at university-level institutions, while members of the EdD side of the equation enter the professional field via administrative and managerial opportunities.
Salaries are not guaranteed and depend heavily on academic performance, work experience, location, and other factors. That being said, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), both variations of this post-graduate community stand to garner more than adequate compensation. PhD graduates often start off as professors, eventually moving into the role of dean of students and other leadership positions, earning up to $107,000 annually. EdD students usually end up serving as high school principals, district superintendents, and other high ranking administrators, earning between $97,486 and $114,750 in the same time span.
How Do You Get a PhD in Educational Leadership?
In terms of earning a PhD in Educational leadership, you can either stick to the standard on-campus experience, or opt for the conveniences offered by technology and make use of the numerous online programs found in the digital world. Naturally, this decision comes down to a matter of preference, but for many working professionals the allure of a flexible schedule that shapes and molds itself to your other responsibilities stands as the deciding factor in favor of the online path.
PhD in Educational Leadership Curriculum
Before you sign up for classes, it’s a good idea to acclimate yourself with the curriculum that comes with this program of study. Specifically, you can expect to encounter coursework in the following areas:
- Adult Development
- Applying Cognitive Science to Learning and Teaching
- Thinking Strategically about Education Reform
- Behavioral Science and Interpersonal Relationship Development
Most PhD programs require a dissertation, but some universities offer online EdD programs without a dissertation. This is especially helpful for students who want to earn their doctorate degree in education in less time.
This sampling, while far from comprehensive, should give you a good idea of what to expect once classes – either online or in-person – start up this coming semester.
Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership Admission Requirements
As far as gaining acceptance into a PhD program of this nature, you can expect a fairly stringent set of requirements. Most schools require a personal statement of intent and the completion of a master’s degree program to even be considered for a spot in the upcoming cohort.
Outside of this baseline, you’ll also need an acceptable score on the Graduate Recommendation Exam (GRE) that takes into account your GPA from the aforementioned completed master’s program. Finally, a fair number of universities also require up to three recommendations from professional sources or members of the academic community as part of the admissions process.
PhD in Educational Leadership Career Outlook and Salary Information
The career outlook for those graduating with a PhD in Educational Leadership is definitely one of the brighter fields in today’s economy. As the experts at the BLS explain, the projected job growth for this sector stands at a healthy 13 percent over the next several years.
Aside from an increase in available jobs, PhD graduates also have access to a plethora of well-paying career opportunities. Instructional coordinators make about $64,040 annually, while school superintendents and heads of collegiate departments tally in at $137,580 during the same timeframe.
What Is a PhD in Educational Leadership?
To start the discussion off right, let’s talk about exactly what goes into this program of study. Essentially, earning the right to join the rest of the graduates from an Educational leadership PhD cohort requires the completion of 60 graduate-level credit hours. Field work, internships, and other practical training often serve as part of this credit hour requirement.
Those who plan on researching and teaching others about the latest trends and developments in educational leadership are the most likely individuals to pursue this degree. Like other PhD programs, demonstrating expertise in this field serves as the stepping stone toward a career in academia.
Is a PhD in Educational Leadership Worth It?
There’s no denying that acquiring a PhD in Educational Leadership can be a lucrative career move. However, this is far from the only deciding factor you should consider as you weigh the pros and cons of this life changing decision. Are you looking for a new academic challenge? Is adding a PhD to your resume required to rise up the professional ladder in your chosen field? Will your current employer offer financial aid and assistance as you take on this extra workload?
Answering these questions now and determining the truth worth of a PhD in Educational Leadership can ensure that you make a choice that both enriches and enhances your personal and professional prospects now and in the future.