Most Affordable Online EdD Education Programs 2020

| Staff

Most Affordable Online EdD Education Programs 2020
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A doctorate in education prepares educators for leadership roles in academia. Generally considered a practice-based doctoral program, the Ed.D. focuses on the application of research data and findings to existing problems and challenges in education. Most Ed.D. degree-holders work as academic deans, college presidents, principals, or district superintendents.

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Several accredited institutions offer online Ed.D. programs that enrollees can complete while holding down a full-time job. Most students earn the degree within 3-4 years, depending on their enrollment status, educational background, and work experience. Ed.D. programs typically require applicants to hold a master’ degree in education or a closely related field such as psychology, social work, or even business.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a higher-than-average growth rate of 9% for postsecondary teachers, many of whom pursue a doctorate in their concentration area. Although the BLS projects only average growth rates for principals and postsecondary education administrators between 2019 and 2029, these professionals earned 2019 median salaries that are higher than the national average ($96,400 and $95,410, respectively, versus $39,810).

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Accredited Online College Programs

What Are the Goals of Education?

On-campus and online Ed.D. programs give students an excellent opportunity to learn about the most recent research developments in terms of methodologies, relevant technologies, new standards, and effective field practice. When working on their dissertation or capstone project, doctoral candidates can often apply their newly acquired knowledge in developing solutions to actual problems in their work environment.

Depending on their area of expertise, degree-holders often qualify for key leadership positions in postsecondary institutions, local school districts, and education-related government agencies. An Ed.D. presents the degree-holder as an educational leader with the training, skills, and knowledge required to address and solve various academic, structure, and fiscal challenges in education.

What Are the Benefits of a Degree in Education?

Going back to school to earn a doctorate in educational leadership requires a significant investment of time and money. However, for many graduates, the benefits far outweigh the cost. Below are some benefits Ed.D. degree-holders get to enjoy after working hard to earn the degree.

Build Professional Network: Most Ed.D. programs follow a cohort model of education, making it easy for participants to build and maintain professional connections that last throughout the program and during their careers.

Expand Knowledge: A well-designed Ed.D. curriculum gives students the opportunity to learn about the most recent developments, theories, and research findings. Furthermore, as a practice-focused degree, Ed.D. candidates can immediately apply this new knowledge in the workplace.

Financial Benefit: As stated above, Ed.D. degree-holders earn annual median salaries much higher than the national average. Additionally, doctorate-trained professionals boast the lowest unemployment rate among U.S. workers.

Increased Career Options: Many Ed.D. graduates take high-level positions in academia. An Ed.D. also serves as excellent preparation for policy-making jobs in government agencies and top administrative positions in teaching hospitals.

Meet Job Requirement: Some senior-level positions require candidates to hold a doctorate, including college presidents, academic deans, and school district administrators. Large corporations and international nonprofit organizations with deep ties to education often prefer doctorate-trained practitioners as well.

Accreditation for an Ed.D. in Education

Many postsecondary institutions in the United States undergo a voluntary process called accreditation to signify their commitment to quality education. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) act as overseers of the accreditation process in the country.

Degree-centered, nonprofit public and private colleges and universities seek regional accreditation. For-profit, career-focused vocational schools seek national accreditation. Regional accrediting bodies usually adhere to stricter accreditation standards than national accreditors. Because of this, regional accreditation is often considered more prestigious. However, ED and CHEA acknowledge both regional and national accrediting agencies. They make sure they maintain and apply an accepted set of standards within their competence area.

Some accrediting bodies focus on specific programs instead of entire schools. In the education field, the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation serves as the main accreditor for educational programs including an Ed.D.


Question Answer
Is an Ed.D. graduate called a doctor? Yes, an Ed.D. degree-holder is a doctor. In most professional scenarios, this is the accepted practice and the preferred form of address.
What is the difference between a Ph.D. and Ed.D.? A Ph.D. is a research-focused program that prepares graduates to become experts in their field. Although an Ed.D. also has a research component, it is a practice-centered degree that prepares graduates to be leaders in their field.
Can you teach with an Ed.D.? Yes, Ed.D. degree-holders are academically qualified to teach at the postsecondary level in two-year and four-year institutions.
Is a Ph.D. more prestigious than an Ed.D.? Both are rigorous, challenging programs. Preference for either one is often dictated by the student’s educational and career goals and workplace requirements./td>

Courses in an Ed.D. Program

Many onsite and online Ed.D. programs offer specializations in areas such as curriculum and development, educational technology, and higher education administration. Students enroll in courses in their chosen area of specialization in addition to fundamental coursework and dissertation or capstone project research credits.

A typical Ed.D. curriculum includes leadership and research courses along with other broad-based classes that cover the areas described below. Foundational coursework gives doctoral candidates the opportunity to develop advanced skills and in-depth knowledge that qualify them to lead institutions through organizational and developmental changes.

Doctoral Writing

A doctoral-level writing course teaches students how to write and develop research proposals, cite academic sources properly, and provide cogent arguments. Doctoral candidates also learn how to recognize compelling written work by others such as academic papers and other types of professional writing. Additionally, many doctorate-trained professionals write books and scholarly articles for peer-reviewed journals. The skills they learn in doctoral-level writing courses can serve them well in this aspect.

Educational Leadership

Enrollees study the different aspects of organizational behavior and the essential factors for positive change and sustainable growth. The course covers topics including change management, academic assessment, and essential educational leadership skills. Course materials include case studies of effective leadership strategies at the program, school, and district levels. The course gives students ample opportunities to discover and develop their leadership qualities and strengths.

Program Evaluation

This course introduces doctoral candidates to varying methods of assessing the effectiveness and relevance of different types of educational programs. The knowledge and insights students develop throughout the course can help them choose the ideal programs to include in a college or university’s academic offerings. Graduates can also use this knowledge in making organizational and policy changes, reviewing research proposals, and applying for funding.

Research Methods

Doctoral candidates typically enroll in at least one course each in quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. The classes provide enrollees with the tools necessary for researching and writing their dissertation or capstone project. Students learn how to select topics for research projects, establish the breadth and depth of a research undertaking, and communicate relevant findings. Topics often include cluster analysis and multiple linear regression.

Technology in Higher Education

Students learn how to integrate technology into various academic activities in the classroom and other educational settings. The course provides an overview of existing and emerging instructional technology to help graduates create educational environments that use technology as an integral part of the learning process. The course familiarizes doctoral candidates with educational software relevant to learning as well as in administrative and organizational functions.

How to Become a Professor

Accredited two-year and four-year colleges and universities typically require postsecondary professors to hold at least a master’s degree in their field. However, many four-year institutions prefer professors with doctoral degrees, especially for tenure-track positions. Some academic arenas require professorial candidates to possess industry experience, but this is not always the case. Additional certification or a license in their field of practice often boosts a professor’s standing in academic circles.

Completing a master’s degree can take up to two years beyond a bachelor’s, and a doctoral degree can add up to 3-5 years more, depending on a student’s educational background and industry experience.

Career and Salary Outlook for Education Majors

Education is a broad field with employment options for professionals with varying academic backgrounds. Many education practitioners start out as teachers, a job which requires at least a bachelor’s degree. Some educators remain in the classroom, whether as high school, college, or postgraduate professors. Others opt to build a career in educational leadership as principals or district administrators. The options below represent just four professional opportunities for educational practitioners.

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal: Principals perform a variety of day-to-day functions such as overseeing school operations, approving learning activities, and managing teaching and administrative staff. They also attend district-wide meetings on school budgets, curriculum development, and regulatory standards. Principals make sure the school environment remains a safe and supportive setting for students and teachers.

Postsecondary Teacher: Postsecondary instructors teach courses in specific subject areas. They develop a syllabus or teaching plan for each course that often includes classroom instruction and other types of learning activities. Postsecondary teachers keep track of student progress in their classes through tests, assignments, class participation, and special projects. They make sure their instruction plan meets departmental and university standards.

Postsecondary Education Administrator: The scope of responsibilities of a postsecondary education administrator often depends on the size of the institution and the specific department where they work. Small to medium-sized colleges often require administrators to perform multiple functions which may include coordinating student services, reviewing applications, and evaluating curriculum. Large universities usually assign an administrator for each function.

High School Teacher: High school teachers instruct grade 9-12 students and prepare them for college or the workforce after graduation. In most schools, they also supervise students outside the classroom during lunch breaks, study periods, or educational trips. High school teachers help students prepare for required standardized testing, communicate with parents regarding their child’s academic progress, and coordinate learning activities with other teachers.

Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal $96,400 4%
Postsecondary Teacher $79,540 9%
Postsecondary Education Administrator $95,410 4%
High School Teacher $61,660 4%

Source: BLS

Certifications and Licensure for Education Majors

Education practitioners often pursue additional certifications in a field that holds their professional interest. A recognized credential presents degree-holders as knowledgeable leaders and dedicated practitioners. A broad field of study, education presents several opportunities for professionals to hone their skills and deepen their knowledge including the three areas presented below.

Child Development Associate Credential: This credential from the Council for Professional Recognition enjoys wide recognition in the early childhood education field. The credential presents the bearer as an expert in helping young children learn vital developmental and educational skills. Qualified candidates can test for a bilingual specialization under the general CDA certification.

National Board Certification for Teachers: NBCT offers this certification to qualified K-12 teachers across the country. Candidates must hold a valid teaching license in the state where they work, a bachelor’s degree, and at least three years of experience as a teacher or school counselor. There are 25 certification areas available. Some states count board certification toward state licensure renewal.

Structured Literacy Classroom Teacher Knowledge Certificate: This certificate program is administered by the Center for Effective Reading Instruction. The certificate targets classroom teachers or educational support personnel who work with students struggling to meet grade-level reading standards. The degree-holder possesses foundational knowledge in language structure and intervention practices addressing various reading difficulties.

How Can an Ed.D. Student Pay for College?

Four-year colleges and universities offering doctoral programs often provide fellowship and scholarship opportunities for doctoral candidates. In addition, private organizations and federal agencies administer grant programs that recipients can apply toward their degree no matter which school they choose to attend. The five funding opportunities below represent a small sample of available financial assistance for doctoral students.

AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship in Education Research
Who can Apply: Doctoral candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups in the higher education field can apply for this funding opportunity. Applicants must be in the dissertation stage of their studies and identify as African Americans, Alaskan Natives, Asian Americans, Hispanic or Latinos, and Native Hawaiian. In addition to the award, the program provides mentoring opportunities to all fellows.
Amount: $19,000

American Association of School Administrators Scholarships
Who Can Apply: AASA sponsors several scholarships for graduate students enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program in educational administration. Applicants submit answers to three essay questions in the application form, two letters of recommendation, and transcripts. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to pursuing a career as a school superintendent.
Amount: Varies

Kappa Delta Pi Scholarships
Who Can Apply: KDP accepts applications from members pursuing an undergraduate, master’s, or doctoral program in education. KDP sponsors several scholarship programs and specific application requirements may vary. In general, applicants must submit an essay addressing the issue given in the application, one letter of endorsement, and official transcripts. Applicants must be KDP members in good standing.
Amount: Varies

National Academy of Education Dissertation Fellowship in Education Research
Who Can Apply: The fellowship accepts applications from doctoral students from various disciplines. However, their dissertation must address a relevant concern in the field of education. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited U.S. institution but can hold U.S. or non-U.S. citizenship. The fellowship requires applicants to show completion of all pre-doctoral requirements of their program.
Amount: $27,500

National Association for Gifted Children Scholarship
Who Can Apply: NAGC welcomes applications for the A. Harry Passow Classroom Teacher Scholarship from K-12 teachers of gifted children. Applicants must show enrollment in or acceptance to a graduate program for advanced training in gifted education. Applicants must show NAGC membership for at least one year prior to the date of application.
Amount: $2,000

Affordable Online Ed.D. in Education Programs 2020

  • Lamar University

    Beaumont, TX

    The Lamar University Doctorate in Educational Leadership has a concentration in Global Educational Leadership. Meaning graduate students who work in this program will focus on changing local and global policy in order to develop their communities. The SACSCOC accredited school offers 100% online capability for their 60 credit-hour program. Terms are completed in 8-week segments and the doctorate is typically completed within 8 semesters, allowing working professionals the ability to learn while still in their communities. Tuition for Lamar is $15,582, or half that for In-State students.

    For more information: Lamar University

  • Liberty University

    Lynchburg, VA

    Liberty University offers a budget friendly Educational Doctorate. The 60 credit hours program takes the typical student 3 years to complete, many of whom complete while continuing in their professional career. They allow up to 15 transfer credits (at a doctoral-level) and are accredited NCATE through CAEP.

    Liberty's Ed.D is great for people in the workforce looking to continue their work rather than go into a more research-heavy position, which a Ph.D is more suited for. Liberty's program is designed for students who would like to pursue careers as principals, administrators, or superintendents. The program is on the lower end of pricing at only $595 per credit hour — netting the average student just under $40,000 for the complete program including all fees and expenses.

    For more information: Liberty University

  • Texas Tech University

    Lubbock, TX

    The Texas A&M Educational Leadership Ph.D is the ideal choice for students who are passionate in non-profit and cultural research & policy. The program focuses on developing community leaders with a deep understanding of cultural diversity and policy to impact students in surrounding areas.

    The program has a rigorous application process — allowing students to work with top-tier professors and fellow graduate students. The SACSCOC accreditation applies to all doctoral programs offered. Students can expect a final cost of $23,000 for a 60 credit hour program, or about half that for Texas state students.

    For more information: Texas Tech University

  • University of North Dakota

    Grand Forks, ND

    University of North Dakota's Ph.D in Higher Education focuses on preparing students for upper-level administrator roles and/or faculty positions teaching at universities. The program has an emphasis on theory, research, and practice. Core components of the program involve publishing a doctoral thesis, developing courses, and designing academic programs to influence student outcomes and develop policy.

    The 90 credit hour program takes 4+ years and is available completely online or on campus. Tuition at UND is $23,435 for out of state students, or around $10,000 for residents of North Dakota and its neighboring states.

    For more information: University of North Dakota

  • University of the Cumberlands

    Williamsburg, KY

    University Of The Cumberlands offers a fast fix for working professionals looking to get their online doctorate in education. In the extremely affordable program, students can complete their doctorate at the fully-accredited school in as few as 60-credit hours and do it without ever having to step foot at the U of C.

    Their program is perfect for working professionals passionate about furthering their education and leadership. The program offers hands on experience and research in the curriculum, which puts it a step above many other online doctoral programs.

    For more information: University of the Cumberlands

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