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Online Doctoral Programs In Education: What You Need To Know

It likely comes as no surprise that advancing your career in the education field often requires an advanced degree. If you’re looking to reach your next career milestone, it’s time to do your research on doctoral programs in education. As you do, you’re likely to encounter many online options. 

Online doctoral programs in education offer the flexibility to earn your degree and maintain your career. However, how do you know if an online program is right for you? Will it provide the same value as a traditional in-person program? We’re here to help you answer these questions and more as we provide an overview of online doctoral programs in education. 

Can You Earn A Doctoral Degree In Education Online?

Absolutely, earning a doctoral degree in education online is very common. 

According to leading labor market analytics firm EMSI, degree completions through online doctoral programs in education are growing, while in-person degree completions are declining. 

In fact, more students completed their doctoral degree in education online than in person in 2020.

The prominence of online doctoral programs in education shows the increasing innovation in online education at the university level. Especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many universities have heavily invested in technology that allows online learning to be just as engaging as an in-person classroom. 

The trend toward online learning will only continue to accelerate. However, you want to ensure you find a high-quality program that will provide a strong return on your investment.

Are Online Doctoral Degrees In Education Well Respected?

Yes, high-quality online programs deliver the same value as an in-person program. 

Look for an accredited university, which indicates the institution follows the highest standards for quality in curriculum, faculty and student services. 

Online doctoral programs in education that follow the same rigorous curricula as brick-and-mortar options lead to equivalent advancement opportunities for graduates. You can expect to qualify for leadership positions, increase your salary and improve your marketability as a job candidate—just as you would if you received your degree in a traditional classroom.

Earning a doctorate is challenging and rewarding, but do you know what to really expect? Download this free guide for tips and insights to help you prepare for success


What Are The Advantages Of Earning A Doctoral Degree in Education Online?

There are many advantages to earning your doctoral degree in education online. First and foremost, the flexibility of an online doctoral program in education opens the door to busy, working professionals who can’t afford to put their career on pause. Getting your doctoral degree in education online can help you balance additional responsibilities, such as child or family care, on top of your work and class schedules.

In addition to flexibility, here are some of the other benefits of earning your doctoral degree in education online:

  • Avoid the hidden costs associated with earning your degree on campus. From gas and parking costs to university recreation fees—these costs can add up and be more difficult to factor in ahead of time.
  • Get support services designed with working professionals in mind. The best online doctoral programs in education offer individualized support and resources that work around your schedule. For example, Franklin University assigns all doctoral students with a dedicated faculty mentor who helps them progress and navigate any challenges.
  • Take advantage of more generous transfer credit policies. It’s not uncommon for universities with residency requirements to offer no transfer credit. Online doctoral degree programs, such as those offered at Franklin University, accept up to 24 credit hours, or 40% of required credits.

Now that you understand the advantages of online doctoral programs in education, let’s look at what it costs and what’s required to earn your degree.

What Are The Average Costs And Requirements For Online Doctoral Programs In Education?

Every online doctoral program in education is unique. However, it’s valuable to have an understanding of the average costs and requirements of getting a doctoral degree in education online so you can evaluate programs against one another.

  • Average Costs: According to U.S. News and World Report, per-credit costs for an online education doctorate typically range from $375 to $1,230. Students should expect to pay between $20,000 and $79,000 in total tuition.
  • Admission Requirements: Completion of an accredited master’s degree program, which normally does not need to be in a related field. GPA requirements for master’s degrees vary by university. 
  • Credit Requirements: Credit requirements for doctoral education degrees vary by degree type. Here are general guidelines for credit hours and time to graduation.
    • Ed.D Degrees: Online doctorates in education generally require students to complete between 54 and 64 credits. Typically, full-time students can earn a degree in three years. 
    • Ph.D. Degrees: If students decide to pursue a Ph.D. in Education online, these programs can require up to 90 credit hours, which can take approximately 5 years to complete.
  • Dissertation Requirements: All high-quality doctoral degrees require the completion of a dissertation in addition to completion of coursework. A dissertation in an education doctoral program requires a student to design and conduct research to address a challenge within the education system. Students then must successfully defend their dissertation before being qualified to graduate.

What Different Types of Online Doctoral Programs in Education Can You Pursue?

There are many options for online doctoral programs in education. Here are five of the most prominent programs that will prepare you for leadership positions in many facets of the education industry.

  • Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership: An Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership is designed to empower current and aspiring leaders to become a change agent in their organization. Drawing on best practices in leadership, you’ll learn how to become an effective leader and use research principles to solve real-world problems within the education field. This degree also offers focus areas in PK-12 education or higher education to help you apply these leadership principles to your preferred academic setting.
  • Ph.D. in Education: A Ph.D. in Education is designed for aspiring academics and researchers who want to contribute original thinking to the field of education. Their goal is typically to conduct scholarly research that will advance educational theory, rather than everyday practice.
  • Doctor of Professional Studies – Instructional Design Leadership: This doctoral degree focuses on developing curriculum and learning experiences that improve outcomes. This degree can be applied to both education in a school setting or in a professional development environment.
  • Doctoral Degree in Educational Administration: This professional degree is designed to give you the skills to become an administrative leader in a school, school system or higher education institution. This degree focuses on the business of education, helping you manage teachers, develop budgets and ensure students meet learning objectives.
  • Doctoral Degree in Education Psychology: This degree will further your understanding of social, emotional and cognitive processes to help improve student learning. Applications of this degree include school psychologists, academic counselors and training and development managers in a corporate setting.

Choose The Right Online Doctoral Program in Education For Your Career Aspirations

Getting your doctoral degree is the achievement of a lifetime. It’s also an undertaking that requires time, tuition, dedication and perseverance. To empower your success, you need a doctoral program that is designed to meet your needs.

Franklin University offers an online Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership that can take your career in education to the next level. This versatile degree will enhance your leadership abilities while giving you the research, critical thinking and communication skills to solve pressing challenges facing the education industry.

Learn more about the Ed.D. program at Franklin and its three focus options: Organizational Leadership, PK-12 Education and Higher Education. Our admissions team is also happy to meet with you one-on-one to discuss which option is right for your career goals.

Free Guide:
How to Complete Your Doctoral Journey
Discover common pitfalls and the 5 key metrics that will help you finish your doctorate degree.