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Online Doctoral Programs in Educational Leadership & Administration

An online PhD in Educational Leadership looks at how to help school communities thrive. That means exploring current educational research, and discussing how to apply it in the real world. Programs might also focus on the unique responsibilities of leadership positions. That could range from helping your faculty succeed to balancing all the needs of your students.  Overall, online doctoral programs in educational leadership aim to help current and aspiring leaders make a difference.

Why Earn an Online PhD in Educational Leadership?

Earning a doctorate in educational leadership means learning what it means to lead a school community. Programs might focus on many different aspects of being a school leader. Some might look at cutting-edge educational research. Others might discuss and practice tried-and-true management strategies. Still more might focus on the legal aspects of being a school leader. Whatever your focus, doctoral programs could give you the knowledge you need to guide your school community to the next level.

What to Expect in Online Doctoral Programs in Educational Leadership

Online doctoral programs in educational leadership might focus on all different areas. A few things that might impact your experience include your goals and the goals of your program. For example, where one program focuses on educational policy, another might look at how to lead a school or district. So your choice of program may be impacted by what you want to do after.  Similarly, some programs may focus on applying knowledge in the field, whereas others might look at performing educational research.

One thing to keep in mind is offline elements. That could be the case even if you're earning your doctorate online. That might include residencies or other field experiences. One benefit to attending a program with this kind of element is that students could gain important real world experience. If you’re balancing your online coursework with an education career, you might need to think about how this fits into your schedule.

Types of Online PhD in Educational Leadership Degrees

Online doctoral programs in educational leadership might include different degree types. Sometimes, the differences depend on the preferences of that school. However, sometimes the differences can be a little more significant. Here’s a brief guide to some types of doctorates in educational leadership you might find.

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Educational Leadership: PhD is one of the most frequently offered degree types across many fields. While many different educational leadership doctoral programs incorporate research skills and practice, PhD programs in particular may tend to emphasize it a little more strongly than the alternatives. PhD in educational leadership may also be a solid choice for those interested in teaching at the university level in an education department.
  • Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership: These programs could sometimes be considered a little more “hands-on” than PhDs. That's because Educational leadership EdD programs online tend to focus more on application in the field. That means utilizing research to make strategic leadership decisions in context.
  • Other options you could come across might include things like Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in educational leadership. These programs might typically be offered by a business or psychology school respectively. As such, they may tend to emphasize those approaches to leadership.

Online PhD in Educational Leadership Programs: Concentrations

Another way your online PhD in educational leadership programs may vary? Your areas of concentration! Not all programs include a concentration. Some might instead act as a broader survey of the subject. But some online doctoral programs in educational leadership look more closely at management in one context. Here are some examples of the kinds of concentration areas you might find.

  • Pre-K-12 School Leadership: These programs look at the needs of schools and children in every community. That could range from preschool all the way through high school. Programs might focus on how to run one school, or look at the needs of the district or state educational community.
  • Higher Education Leadership: These programs look at the needs of universities as a whole, and the schools that comprise them. Courses might look at recruiting students out of high school, and attracting top notch faculty. Classes may also discuss how to make sure your students have all the resources they need to succeed.
  • Special Education Leadership: Special education is a complex subject. It not only involves its own rules and regulations, but also the individual needs of every student. Special education leadership looks at how to balance all those priorities in a way that supports your students and community.
  • Educational Policy: These programs look at legislation and policy that impacts your schools. This could include shaping and influencing legislation. Courses might also look at interpreting it as you serve your school and community.

Online Doctoral Programs in Education Administration: Example Course Topics

The courses in your online phd in educational leadership program have a big impact on you take away it. While programs may vary widely in terms of their curriculum, here are a few examples of what you might study in your course program.

  • Educational Law and Policy: These courses aim to build fluency with federal, state, and local education laws. Courses might discuss something like IDEA or ADA, or something unique to one city. Classes could also look at how these laws are formed and what educators can do to shape them.
  • Diversity and Culture in Education: These courses aim to help leaders become more familiar with the unique needs of each student. This could include ethnic and cultural issues, religion, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and more.
  • Educational Research: Educational research courses aim to build fluency with research practices and data.  That could be accomplished in a few different ways. Some programs may look at applying research findings in school settings. Others may look at how that research was collected and analyzed.
  • Organizational Leadership and Behavior: These courses aim to hone real world management expertise. This could include things like making financial decisions, workforce management, and encouraging a healthy work environment. Courses may also look at organizational behavior.

Keep in mind that the names and content of the courses in your online program may be different. If you have questions about curriculum, reach out to your selected schools for more information.

Educational Leadership Careers

Earning an online PhD in Educational Leadership could be an asset to a variety of career paths. That could mean supporting your current leadership role, such as working as school principal.  It could also mean moving into a new area like instructional design, working as a superintendent, or even at the state or federal level to influence educational policy.

Here are a few example roles as well as corresponding median annual salaries from 2015.

  • Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals: $90,410 per yeari
  • Higher Education Management: $88,580 per yearii
  • Instructional Coordinator: $62,270 per yeariii

Find Online Doctoral Programs in Educational Leadership Today

Start searching today for your online educational leadership doctoral programs! You can begin by reading up on the sponsored listings on this page. Once you’ve found a few that seem like a good fit, click on the Request Info button to get in touch with them! Then ask for any additional information you may need, and even start applying!

 

[i] bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm

[ii] bls.gov/ooh/management/postsecondary-education-administrators.htm

[iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm

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