Online Doctorate in Education

By Nikita Nath

Updated March 21, 2024

Nikita Nath

Nikita is a psychologist working primarily with children using a child rights-based approach. She also writes content for various websites and blogs on diverse topics, focusing primarily on academia. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, and discovering different coffee-making techniques.


Bachelors in English, Journalism, and Psychology; Masters in psychology with clinical specialization

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

  • 2 years of experience working as a content writer with various start-ups
  • 1 year of experience working as a child psychologist with Insight
  • Working on various projects of inclusion for neurodivergent children
  • 2+ years of experience teaching psychology online

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Education is an integral part of modern civilization. It adds to the overall growth and development of a person’s character. Over time, the importance of education and the demand for educators have both increased dramatically in the United States.

The online doctorate in education program is meant for educators who wish to pursue careers in education research, administration, and teaching at the postsecondary level, among other things. Some believe that students who pursue a doctorate in education (EdD) are better prepared for careers as principals or superintendents at the K-12 level. In contrast, others believe that students who pursue a Ph.D. in education are better prepared for scholarly research, writing, policymaking, and leadership in higher education. Ph.D. programs in online education provide students with the intense study they seek while also giving them the flexibility they require to handle their other responsibilities.


This comprehensive guide covers all facets of online Ed.D. programs and Ph.D. in education programs. It looks into the top online institutions and universities for Ph.D. education degrees, certifications, careers, courses, timelines, and accreditation and answers a few frequently asked questions.

Best Online Doctorate in
Education Programs

When applying for a Ph.D. degree in education, choosing the most appropriate online program aligned with students’ goals and interests is critical. Selecting a doctoral program that offers a variety of educational specializations is essential, as are some of the most crucial aspects of colleges, such as the quality and experience of the faculty, the institution’s reputation, affordability, student services, research faculties, mentors, and guide for Ph.D. students, the infrastructure, and accreditation, among other things. These factors and others were taken into consideration by numerous FBD teams of experienced professionals when researching some of the best Ph.D. in education programs available in the United States. Here are the best Doctorate in Education programs: *

The Johns Hopkins University is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur, and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. Today, the university is ranked among the most prestigious academic institutions in the world. The university’s mission is to educate its students and cultivate their capacity for lifelong learning, foster independent and original research, and bring the benefits of discovery to the world. The tuition and graduation rate are as below:
Univ Address Tuition Grad Rate
Johns Hopkins University 3400 N Charles St, Baltimore, Maryland 21218 $57,010 94%

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to expect from the Online
PhD in Education?

The required credits of a Ph.D. in education program can be allocated among the following areas:

  • Foundational & Educational Courses
  • Elective Courses & Content ​Concentration
  • Research Courses & Research Core
  • Dissertation Research & Preparation

Some examples of courses in a Ph.D. in education include but are not limited to:

  • Inequities in Student Outcomes
  • Ethical Issues in International Education
  • Doctoral Seminar in Curriculum Research
  • International Education Concepts & Theories
  • Statistical Analysis in Education: Regression
  • Foundations of Teaching & Learning
  • Educational Systems and Policies
  • Teachers & Teacher Education
  • Educational Policy Analysis
  • Introduction to Research Design and Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Comparative Education
  • Schools as Social Institutions
  • Advanced Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Curriculum Theory
  • Introduction to Qualitative Analysis
  • Critical Social Theories
  • Equity & Diversity in Higher Education
  • Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Educational Research
  • Politics of Urban Education
  • Professional Seminar in Administration
  • Design Research in Education
  • Dissertation Proposal Seminar
  • Introduction to Research Apprenticeship
  • Cognition and Instruction in Classrooms
  • Culture, Society, and Education in International Contexts
  • Transforming Learning Environments

A Ph.D. in education program can be broken down into six tasks or sections, comprising of:

1. Coursework

Students must complete mandatory courses, along with one or two electives based on their chosen concentration.

2. Focus

Students must concentrate their emphasis and isolate their research interests in education.

3. Comprehensive Examination

Students must take comprehensive exams and pass them to form a dissertation committee (those who pass these exams can start working on their dissertation).

4. Dissertation Research

Students must undertake dissertation research, and a proposal should be written. In most programs, education Ph.D. applicants are required to defend their proposal in front of a panel. Research and writing should move forward when the proposal has been approved.

5. Dissertation Submission

Students must draft, edit, and revise their thesis or dissertation. Various back-and-forth sessions with peer reviewers, editors, and one’s advisor may be required. Once satisfactorily completed, the student must submit the dissertation for perusal.

6. Dissertation Defense

Students must defend their thesis. Publication can begin if the defense is successful and the doctorate is eventually awarded.

Doctor of Education (EdD) Vs
PhD in Education

When opting for a doctoral education program, students often wonder if they should pursue a Ph.D. or Ed.D.

Ph.D. in Education

The research-based Ph.D. in education emphasizes advancing knowledge and scholarship in the discipline. Students may be required to present in conferences and other educational gatherings as part of their programs, highlighting the dissertation and academic publication process. Teaching assistantships and research assistantships are also available in Ph.D. programs, which prepare students to teach at the college level. Many Ph.D. holders in education go on to become college professors, although they can also work in school administration or other related fields.

Ed.D. – Doctor of Education

The Doctor of Education or Ed.D. entails courses and research that can be applied immediately to a classroom, school, or district setting, making this doctoral degree ‘practical’. This more ‘hands-on’ leadership degree focuses on adopting current research and cutting-edge approaches and establishing new strategies for their day-to-day use rather than focusing on original research and development. Dissertation is required in some Ed.D. programs, whereas capstone projects like designing a new curriculum or constructing new software tools to boost high school student productivity are allowed in others.

Here is a quick look at both the degrees and their dissimilarities that can help students make an informed choice:

ParticularPh.D. in EducationEd.D.
Required DegreeAlthough some programs may admit bachelor’s degree holders, a master’s degree is preferred.A master’s degree and at least 3+ years of experience in the field.
CapstoneDissertationDissertation or direct application project
Credits70 to 9060 to 70
DurationAbout 4 to 6 YearsAbout 3 to 5 Years
Typical Couse Structure and ScheduleFoundationalFoundational
~30 to 35 hours~32 to 36 hours
~10 to 15 hours~8 to 12 hours
ResearchLeadership Communication
~15 to 20 hours~2 to 4 hours
DissertationField Experience
~15 to 20 hours~8 to 12 hours
~4 to 6 hours

Areas of Specialization for Online
Doctorate in Education

Specializations are designed to help individuals differentiate themselves and their expertise. They provide students with the insights and strategies they require to impact the field of education and make a difference beyond the classroom. Choosing a specialization is the best way to align a Ph.D. in education with one’s passions and goals. Here are some specializations students can find in online Ph.D. in education programs:

Ph.D. in Educational Psychology

Educational Psychology covers a wide range of issues, including psychological foundations of learning, cognitive methods for learning in children and adults, developing learning environments, brain research, teacher education, faculty roles, and professional development in a variety of settings. Students of this specialization usually take research courses that will prepare them to apply and produce the most relevant and up-to-date theories and research to improve their own and others’ academic and behavioral success.

Ph.D. in Special Education Online

Special Education trains special education administrators and teachers to advance in research, practice, and policy in the field of special education. This research-based Ph.D. will prepare students for a career in academia more explicitly. Students will gain advanced theoretical and analytical skills, as well as a thorough understanding of the special education field.

Online Doctorate in Advanced Educational Leadership

The Advanced Educational Leadership specialization prepares students for a future in academia through research. Students interested in advancing their careers as educational leaders will learn about strategic planning, program assessment, and successful ways for achieving institutional change while obtaining the information and skills they will need to be good leaders.

Online Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction

The Curriculum and Instruction specialization enables practicing educators to study and make improvements in their classrooms or schools. The program is based on sound theory and contemporary research, allowing students to make a substantial impact in the field of education. Students frequently bring problems from their own classrooms and apply what they have learned in the curriculum to fix them.

Online Doctorate in Adult Education

This specialization is heavily research-based and prepares students for leadership roles in adult education. Students learn to investigate teaching and learning theories and approaches that will better prepare them to provide results-oriented programs to adult populations.

Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership & Management

This specialization is ideal for those who want to make a difference in a college setting as a provost or dean. General administration, student affairs, financing/budgeting, higher education systems, research methodologies, law, and community building, are some topics that create in-depth expertise to lead in a college context. Students will be prepared to teach or hold positions of considerable administrative leadership after completing this specialization.

A few examples of other specializations in Ph.D. in education programs include:

  • Learning, Instruction, and Innovation
  • Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, and Evaluation
  • Educational Policy, Leadership, and Management
  • Reading, Literacy, Assessment, and Evaluation
  • Educational Technology and Design
  • Organizational Research, Assessment, and Evaluation

Why should I do Online Doctorate
in Education?

Why get a Ph.D. in education? The advantages of obtaining a Ph.D. in Education are diverse and varied. A Ph.D. is the highest level of education research education, which means that completing this doctorate will place an individual among the most highly educated people in their profession.

The Ph.D. in education program is intended for education professionals who want to make a positive contribution to and develop the practice of education. With this doctoral degree, graduates will be well-positioned to contribute to the advancement of the discipline from scientific, theoretical, and technological perspectives. Having a Ph.D. degree in education can be a crucial aspect of one’s résumé, as it demonstrates to potential employers that one has the education and abilities necessary to perform at a high level. Whether a person intends to work in early childhood education, K–12 education, or higher education, completing a Ph.D. in education can provide them an advantage when applying for jobs.

According to PayScale, a master’s degree in education earns an average of $60,000 per year across the country, while a Ph.D. in education earns $89,000 per year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs such as Postsecondary Education Administrators will grow 8% between 2020 and 2030.

Should I get a Ph.D. in education? With a chance to impact lives and earn well, yes, a Ph.D. in education is worth it. Besides, the skills one acquires from this program can be used throughout one’s life and professional, in various settings and circumstances. For example, upon completing a Ph.D. in education online, graduates will have the ability to:

  • bring together content and information that is rooted in a particular educational discipline;
  • understand and apply statistical and financial methods of inquiry and metrics for goal setting and performance measurement;
  • incorporate an emphasis on global diversity and multiculturalism into the process of solving educational difficulties;
  • examine the role that education plays in furthering social justice and bringing about beneficial social change;
  • analyze and match research approaches to questions and hypotheses that address issues in the field of education;
  • analyze, interpret, and share higher education expertise to inform education research and practice;
  • form and sustain professional contacts to construct networks and achieve accord;
  • study and analyze higher education topics using ideas, theories, concepts, techniques, and reasons from education and allied disciplines of investigation;
  • inform and educate a variety of audiences linked to the profession by presenting ideas orally and in writing in scholarly formats; and
  • critically analyze topics about schooling.

How to get into an Online Doctorate
Program in Education?

A few basic documents must be submitted to be considered for admission to an online Ph.D. program in education. The mainstays are largely the same across programs despite some differences and variations. Here is a quick look at Ph.D. in education requirements:

  • Application for Admission
  • Application Fee
  • Official Academic Transcripts
  • A minimum of an Undergraduate Degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in education. (A Master’s Degree is usually preferred)
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) of above 3.0 in prior academic programs
  • A Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 in graduate-level studies
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores (required by some schools)
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose
  • Professional Resume or Curriculum Vitae 
  • At least 3 to 5 Letters of Recommendation
  • Research-heavy Writing Sample or Essay/s

Application to a Ph.D. in education program may require participating in a group discussion and/or facing an interview before an admissions panel.

How long does it take to get
PhD in Education?

How long does it take to get an Ed.D.? A Doctorate in Education or Ed.D. typically takes three to five years to complete, while it may take as long as four or six years for some students. How long does it take to get Ph.D. in education? The Ph.D. in education typically requires four to six years to complete, with some students requiring five to seven years. However, the length of a doctorate program will be determined mainly by the student’s individual circumstances and whether they pick a traditional or online format. Fortunately, authorized online doctoral programs are becoming increasingly popular, and these programs are especially well suited for students who need to work while attending school.

Generally, coursework in a Ph.D. in education will take around two years to finish on average. Students should plan on spending the third year conducting in-depth research and writing their dissertation to complete their programs in good time.

A few other factors that can influence the duration of a Ph.D. in education are part-time or full-time enrollment, transfer credits, comprehensive examinations, and the topic of dissertation or thesis.

Accreditation for Online Doctorate
in Education

Accreditation assures students and employers that schools and programs meet and surpass strict and expected standards for learning outcomes, curriculum, student services, transparency, financial management, and other factors. Institutional and programmatic accreditation are the two basic types of accreditations. Institutional accreditation is given to a whole school, whereas programmatic certification is given to individual programs within a school. College and program accreditation is essential since it provides credibility to institutions and because employers typically accept degrees from accredited online schools for education.

Any of the six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) can accredit a university that offers an online Ph.D. in education degree. The six regional accrediting bodies are as follows:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Students can visit the official U.S Department of Education website or CHEA website to check a school’s accreditation status or whether the college they are applying to offers accredited online Ph.D. programs in education.

Academic programs can only be accredited by their subject areas’ standards and best practices through programmatic accreditation, as opposed to regional institutional accreditation. Programmatic accreditation signifies that the academic program follows rigorous standards across all aspects. The following are some of the accrediting bodies that accredit education programs, including the Ph.D. in education:

Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

The Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) promotes justice and excellence in educator preparation by ensuring quality and supporting continual progress in educator preparation. In order to assure transparency, accountability, fiscal efficiency, and high-quality service and assistance, the CAEP conducts frequent examinations and improvements of internal regulations, processes, and procedures.

Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP)

The Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) offers accreditation and quality assurance for formative support and educational assistance for all kinds of educator preparation programs. The AAQEP supports and acknowledges high-quality educator training that enhances educators’ ability to equally serve all students, schools, and communities.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) was founded to assist schools in producing, retaining, and recognizing great teachers while supporting continuous improvement in education. The NBPTS accredits educational programs and confers the most prominent and well-respected teaching qualifications available on the market.

More information on accreditation is available in the Accreditation Guide.

Low Residency Online Doctorate
in Education Programs

Students in online Ed.D. or Ph.D. programs are frequently required to attend in-person residencies, which can last anywhere from one or two days to a week and include orientations, seminars, and other instructional activities. Many schools and universities around the country, on the other hand, offer Ed.D. and Ph.D. in education programs that do not need students to visit campus at any time during their study. Working doctoral students who cannot take time off for residencies or students who cannot travel to campus for other reasons may benefit from these totally online programs. Here are a few examples of low residency doctoral programs education:

Molloy College

The Molloy College offers an Ed.D. program in the low-residency online program track. This track follows the same philosophy, curriculum, and program completion requirements as the blended on-campus program track. The program mainly requires a one-week residency during the summer before the first academic year.

Lesley University

Lesley University has a 45-credit Ph.D. in Educational Studies (individually designed program) with low residency. The program includes 2 on-campus summer residencies of 5-9 days each, with remote coursework between residencies. The university also offers two other programs with varying low residency requirements – the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and the Ph.D. in Human Development and Learning.

Seattle Pacific University (SPU)

The Seattle Pacific University (SPU) offers a Ph.D. in Education low residency (distance education + some on-campus) program, usually requiring a two-week on-campus residency held each summer.

Online Doctorate in Education with
no GRE Programs

Test scores are being phased out of a rising number of advanced degree-level online programs. Schools are looking for students who already have years of experience in their industries, which an entrance exam cannot measure. Many online Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs currently do not need the submission of a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score and instead focus on prior degrees, work experience, completed courses, and Grade Point Average (GPA).

Ed.D. without GRE programs are best for educators who have a lot of expertise and/or who do not do or have not done well in entrance exams. Those who will most likely stand out in other aspects of the application process can confidently apply to online Ed.D. no GRE required programs. Here are a few examples of universities that offer a doctorate in education with no GRE programs:

Capella University

The Capella University School of Public Service and Education offers a Ph.D. in Education with 3 specializations that do not require the GRE score for enrollment.

Gonzaga University

The Gonzaga University School of Education has a 2-year mostly online Doctor of Educational Leadership program that does not require the GRE score to enter the program.

Concordia University, Saint Paul

The Concordia University, Saint Paul, offers an online 64-credit, 3-year, Doctorate in Education (Ed. D.) program with no GRE requirement.

Fully Funded Online Doctorate
in Education Programs

Several universities provide fully funded Ed.D. programs online. Private foundations and for-profit research organizations have also contributed money on occasion. But to qualify for a fully or partially funded online doctorate in education program, a student’s eligibility could be contingent on meeting extra admissions or program requirements. The following are some examples of universities that provide fully-funded doctoral programs in education:

University/College Description
Harvard UniversityHarvard University offers a Ph.D. in education and assures full financial support to students that includes tuition, health fees, and basic living expenses. Funding is for a minimum of 5 years, based on a tiered tuition structure that reduces tuition over time as students progress through their degree programs.
University of PennsylvaniaThe University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education (PennGSE), offers Ph.D. students full financing through the Dean’s Fellowship and Research Apprenticeship. Tuition and expenses, health insurance, and a living stipend are included in the funding. All new Ph.D. students are given a fellowship and research apprenticeship package that covers four years of study and requires them to remain enrolled full-time. For students who choose to continue their research and teaching apprenticeship during the summer months, additional funding is offered on a case-by-case basis.
University of MichiganThe University of Michigan School of Education has several doctoral programs in education. Tuition, health and dental insurance for students and their families, and a stipend for living expenses are covered for accepted students. Additional funding is available for conference travel, research projects, and writing through each program. Maintaining high academic standing is a requirement for all funding packages.
New York UniversityNew York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, offers over 20 Ph.D. in education programs that are fully funded for students without an alternate funding source. The basic full-time Ph.D. funding package includes an annual stipend, tuition remission for required course work, and student health insurance through the fifth year.
Indiana University – Ph.D. in Special Education
Michigan State University – Ph.D. in Mathematics Education
University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education – Ph.D. in Education, Culture, and Society

No Dissertation Programs for
Doctorate in Education

To receive their doctorate, the majority of online Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs require students to complete a dissertation. Those who do not want to write a standard research-based thesis, however, have the option of enrolling in an Ed.D. degree online no dissertation. Several programs now allow students to design and implement a capstone project or dissertation-in-practice that is more action-oriented. While these projects also include a significant amount of research and writing, they differ from standard dissertations in that they focus on providing immediate solutions to real problems in education or organizational leadership rather than developing field theory.

Here are a few online doctoral programs in education without dissertation:

Cornerstone University

Cornerstone University offers a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership culminates in a capstone project that students have up to seven years to complete (including the time it takes to complete the courses in the program).

University of Virginia

The University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development has a Doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction Program. Completion requires successful passage of a written capstone and oral defense.

University of Miami

The University of Miami, School of Learning and Human Development, has an Ed.D. program in Applied Learning Sciences that does not require a dissertation. Students are expected to complete a ‘culminating project’ that reflects three areas – Learning, Design, and Assessment.

Accelerated Online Doctorate
in Education Programs

Full-time students of a Ph.D. in education program should expect to finish both their coursework and their dissertation in about four to six years. Accelerated programs with a two-year curriculum may be available for students who want to graduate quickly. Students who will not be working full-time while in school or have little responsibilities outside of their job and school could choose this option. Likewise, students on a tight timeline, whether financially or professionally, may also want to consider this alternative. Listed below are a couple of examples of colleges that offer accelerated and fast track doctorate in education programs:

Seattle Pacific University (SPU)

The Seattle Pacific University (SPU) offers a low residency online Ph.D. in Education program that can be completed within 36 to 48 months.

Gwynedd Mercy University (GMercyU)

The Gwynedd Mercy University (GMercyU) has online and accelerated executive Ed.D. programs in several specializations that take as few as two years and eight months to complete.

Spalding University

The Spalding University offers an online Ed.D. Leadership program that is flexibly designed for working professionals and can be completed in 2 years. Courses are delivered one at a Time, and each term is 8 weeks long. Students complete 10 courses in 10 terms.

How to Pay for Online Doctorate
in Education Programs?

What is the cost of a doctorate in education and the cost of Ph.D. in education? A wide range of factors influences the cost of tuition, including the school, the degree or program, the level of academic performance, and other prerequisites. In the same way, the fee structures of each college and program are unique. To enroll in their programs, almost every university will charge fees and tuition rates that can go into the tens of thousands of dollars. Prospective students who believe that the overall costs of acquiring a Ph.D. in education are prohibitively expensive might consider financial aid from a variety of sources. The following are some possible sources of funding for an online Ph.D. degree in education:


Scholarships are awards of money given to promising college students. They are given out based on a student’s ability to succeed academically. Merit-based scholarships are those in which a student must first achieve certain criteria to be considered for an award. Specific test scores, grade point average, and leadership responsibilities are examples. Many sources may fund scholarships, including individuals, private organizations, community groups, philanthropic organizations, businesses, and the university to which one is applying.


Doctoral students who are still in the process of completing their doctoral degrees may be eligible for Ph.D. Fellowships (also known as Predoctoral Fellowships). Several Ph.D. fellowships require students to complete a future assignment or use the money for a specific purpose in exchange for the money they receive. Some universities have fellowships to keep or attract the best and brightest students. Fellowships are available from a variety of sources, including government bodies, academic institutions, and even for-profit businesses.


Grants may be available to students who can demonstrate a real need for financial support. In addition to the federal and state governments, students are awarded grants from private donors, community groups, non-profit organizations, and business corporations. Grants can be used to cover not only tuition, but also other educational expenses, including transportation, boarding, and textbooks. Though it is not mandatory to pay back grants, a few require the recipient to stay in school or keep an acceptable GPA.


The federally supported work-study program offers students part-time jobs to make money while still in school. Using this service, students can save money while still attending school. Students can apply for work-study positions through their FAFSA at colleges, universities, and other educational institutions.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships allow students to get financial aid by working on campus for 15 to 20 hours per week and getting paid for it each month. Both teaching and research assistantships allow students to work side by side with academic professionals on various projects. Students on teaching assistantships assist with lesson planning, creating educational materials for students, and a variety of other tasks, while students on research assistantships assist with lab work and research.

Student Loans

A college education can be paid for with student loans, which can be obtained from the federal or private sectors. Unlike scholarships and grants, loans must be repaid. Additionally, loan interest must be paid along with the principle amount during or after the loan’s term. It will take longer to pay off student loans if the borrower defaults on or delays making payments, increasing debt and financial burden.

FAFSA or Free Application For Student Aid is a federal financial aid application that all current and prospective college students must complete to check their eligibility for aid and receive the best financial aid package possible. The FAFSA Student Aid provides detailed information.

Read our in-depth What is Financial Aid and How to Pay for College guides.

Employer Sponsorship

Employers sometimes permit their employees to pursue further education while they are on the clock and offer to fund their Ph.D. programs as well. However, it is imperative that prospective doctoral students learn about the terms and conditions under which their company is willing to provide them financial support. Among the many criteria for sponsorship, a long-term employment commitment to the company is usually sought by the employer.

Free Online Doctorate in
Education Programs

Students must therefore avoid websites that claim to offer free online Ph.D. in education degrees since they may be deceptive. And although free courses will not lead to acquiring a Ph.D. degree in education, they can be a fantastic opportunity to master new skills and broaden one’s educational horizons. The following sites provide free courses for students who want to earn a Ph.D. degree in education:

Course Description Offered by
Education and topics related to EducationCoursera offers several courses on education from both theoretical and applied perspectives. Topics include Supporting Children with Difficulties in Reading and Writing, Learning Mindsets & Skills, Get Interactive: Practical Teaching with Technology, Positive Psychology: Character, Grit and Research Methods, etc.Coursera
Education and topics related to EducationAlison offers free courses on various topics in education that are self-paced and do not require any previous experience or knowledge. Topics include Diploma in Educational Psychology, Growth Mindsets for Teachers and Learners, Managing Safety and Health in Schools, Principles of Childhood Development, and more.Alison
Education and topics related to EducationUdemy has over 60 education courses ranging from topics like Philosophical and Sociological Perspectives of Education, How to become an Academic Auditor?, Academic Excellence – A System-Based Approach, Raising and Sustaining the Bar of Excellence in Education, etc.Udemy

FAQs about Online Doctorate
in Education Programs

How to get a doctorate in education?

There are a few steps to take for a student to graduate from a Ph.D. in education program successfully. These steps mainly include – taking required courses and one or two electives, focusing on, isolating, and conducting education research, taking comprehensive exams, undertaking dissertation research, drafting and presenting the dissertation, and defending the dissertation in front of a select panel.

What are the best Ph.D. programs in education?

What can you do with a doctorate in education?

What is the average fee charged by colleges?

Is there a Ph.D. in education online?

How long does it take to get an Ed.D.?

What is the difference between a Ph.D. and a doctorate in education?

What is an Ed.S. degree?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after
Online Doctorate in Education

PhDs are widely sought, particularly in the field of higher education. It is often required for positions such as dean of students or provost in a university or college. According to PayScale, persons with a master’s degree in education earn an average salary of roughly $60,000 a year across the country, whereas those with a Ph.D. in education can earn an average salary of approximately $89,000 each year. While education alone cannot guarantee a successful career, a Ph.D. in education has the potential to significantly increase one’s earning potential, depending on the career path one chooses after graduation.

A Ph.D. in education degree can prepare students to pursue a career as:

  • Educational Policy Expert
  • Education Consultant
  • Provost
  • Chair
  • Admissions Dean or Administrator
  • Provost or Vice President
  • Development Officer
  • Leadership Program Administration
  • Academic Dean
  • Professor
  • Student Services Dean
  • Student Engagement Outreach Specialist
  • Chief Academic Officer
  • Researcher
  • School Administrator
  • Athletic Director
  • Academic Director
  • Faculty/Professor
  • Superintendent
  • Financial Aid Director

Ph.D. in education graduates will usually find work in settings such as:

  • Schools or School Districts
  • Community Colleges or Junior Colleges
  • 4-Year Colleges
  • Universities
  • Research Institutes

Some of the prominent job titles are listed below, along with their typical average annual salaries, as reported by PayScale:

Certifications and Licensing for Online
Doctorate in Education

Board certification provides a measure of assurance to the public and employers that an individual has met the requirements of certification, which include demonstrating a level of mastery in the fundamentals and concepts of education theory and practice. Certification has been most successful where it encourages continuous learning and reflects expertise beyond core knowledge. In most instances, certification typically requires examination and additional qualifications, including years of practice and training in the specialty. Here are a few certifications in the field of education:

National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT)

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) established National Board Certification to assist teachers in growing, retaining, and being recognized for their accomplishments, as well as to promote continual development in schools across the country. It is the most renowned and well-known teaching credential accessible. Art, Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood, Early Childhood and Middle Childhood Art, Career and Technical Education, English Language Arts, English as a New Language, Exceptional Needs, Health Education, Library Media, and others are among the NBCT certificates available.

Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential

The ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) offers the Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate, which is the most widely recognized and accepted early childhood education degree. It allows early childhood educators who work with children ranging in age from birth to five years old to exhibit and improve their knowledge, comprehension, and teaching skills. The CDA Credential is a superb learning experience for professional growth as well as a requirement for advancement in the field of early childhood education.

Certified Childcare Professional (CCP)

The National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA) administers the Certified Childcare Professional (CCP), created exclusively for early childhood educators and teachers. CCPs are successful individuals who have made substantial national and state contributions to childcare and early childhood education.

As for licensure, while most jobs in the education sector will require a master’s degree in education (along with licensure), some specific roles would require a Ph.D. or Ed.D. However, these advanced degrees must also be coupled with certifications and licenses to be eligible for senior and responsible positions in the industry. Those who wish to teach would do well to pass one or more Praxis tests, apart from fulfilling state-specific licensure requirements.


The Praxis is a set of tests for aspiring teachers in over 40 states to complete licensure and certification requirements. The tests are designed to evaluate a candidate’s knowledge and abilities in the core academic areas they seek to teach. There are over 90 Praxis exams, with each state requiring a different set of exams depending on the subject and grade level to be taught. Educational Testing Service (ETS) administers the Praxis.

Additional Resources for Online PhD
in Education Degree

Education is a vast and complex subject that continuously evolves. Therefore, teachers and education students may benefit by communicating with colleagues, comparing notes, discussing ideas, and engaging in a variety of other activities in light of the numerous new discoveries, novel teaching approaches, and pedagogical principles that are constantly appearing in the education discipline. To help with this, students and professionals working in the field of education can take advantage of the services and resources given by the organizations and resources listed below:

Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA)

The Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) is the only organization of independent educational consultants committed to helping high school students find the right college fit. Members of HECA improve access to opportunities and impact lives. Professionals can rely on the HECA network for personal support, professional resources, and educational programs to help them do their best work with students.

American College Personnel Association (ACPA)

The American College Personnel Association (ACPA) is a values-based leadership organization dedicated to improving and transforming higher education. ACPA’s objective is to deliver high-quality educational programs, provide access to modern research and scholarship, and promote leadership at all levels to student affairs and higher education professionals, teachers, and students via a racial justice and decolonization lens.

American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA)

The American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA) is the sole professional organization representing school employees. Human resource administrators, personnel support employees, superintendents, principals, and graduate students interested in the field will benefit from AASPA membership. To help members operate efficiently, legally, and effectively, the association provides information, professional development programs, and networking opportunities.

Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA)

The Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) is the only organization dedicated entirely to those who work in international education. AIEA members are senior international executives who head higher education institutions and support international higher education. AIEA brings together global education professionals to talk about their work with one another, their counterparts around the world, organizations that support international education, and organizations that design and govern international higher education.

Association for Experiential Education (AEE)

The Association for Experiential Education (AEE) is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to experiential education and those who use it, including students, professors, and practitioners. The AEE is dedicated to fostering global professional development, theoretical advancement, and evaluation of experiential education. Books, webinars, a career center, workshops, and other AEE resources are available to members.

Author Bio:

Nikita Nath

Nikita is a psychologist working primarily with children using a child rights-based approach. She also writes content for various websites and blogs on diverse topics, focusing primarily on academia. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, and discovering different coffee-making techniques.


Bachelors in English, Journalism, and Psychology; Masters in psychology with clinical specialization

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

  • 2 years of experience working as a content writer with various start-ups
  • 1 year of experience working as a child psychologist with Insight
  • Working on various projects of inclusion for neurodivergent children
  • 2+ years of experience teaching psychology online


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