Affordable doctoral programs are becoming the norm with more and more schools offering advanced programs. Individuals interested in pursuing a doctorate in education can expect a host of premium programs that can be completed without the need to go to a physical campus or into debt. Many of the following schools not only ranked for quick programs that be completed in an average of 3 years, but did so while still being top ranked schools with regional and some national accreditation. In our ranking we included both programs in Ed.D as well as Ph.D; one suited for working professionals who wish to pursue further education in order to influence policy in their communities and take roles as high-level administrators, as well as Ph.D programs best suited for individuals pursuing the professor track or making changes in the way higher education is experienced.

Ranking Low-cost Education EdD Online Programs

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The schools on this list were compiled by looking at 20 online EdD in education, or closely related, programs. We selected colleges or universities that had received regional or national accreditation and at least one ranking or recognition from a major publication like U.S. News and World Report. We gathered in-state graduate tuition from the National Center for Education Statistics (College Navigator) and ranked the top 10 schools according to raw affordability.

The sources we used included:

The National Center for Education Statistics – College Navigator, for tuition information.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the United States Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics, for earnings potential and projected job outlook.

U.S. News and World Report for school and/or program rankings.

Sources were used to verify information, compile data, and examine tuition costs. The most affordable online education EdD programs are listed below:

#5 – University of North Dakota

Online PhD in Higher Education

Grand Forks, North Dakota

For more information: University of North Dakota

“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.”

#4 – Liberty University

Online EdD in Education

Lynchburg, Virginia

For more information: Liberty University

“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.”

#3 – Lamar University

Online EdD in Education – Educational Leadership

Beaumont, Texas

For more information: Lamar University

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.

#2 – Texas Tech University

Online EdD in Higher Education

Lubbock, Texas

For more information: Texas Tech University

“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.”

#1 – University of the Cumberlands

Online EdD in Educational Leadership

Williamsburg, Kentucky

For more information: University of the Cumberlands

“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.”

Other schools we looked at include:

Johns Hopkins University

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $52,210

For more information: Johns Hopkins University

University of Southern California

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $42,305

For more information: University of Southern California

Drexel University

Online EdD in Educational Leadership and Management

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $33,024

For more information: Drexel University

Andrews University

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $25,818

For more information: Andrews University

Northeastern University

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,913

For more information: Northeastern University

University of Pittsburgh

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,578

For more information: University of Pittsburgh

Concordia University

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,910

For more information: Concordia University

University of New England

Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,622

For more information: University of New England

Nova Southeastern University

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,175

For more information: Nova Southeastern University

University of Illinois

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,289

For more information: University of Illinois

Northcentral University

Online PhD in Education

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,781

For more information: Northcentral University

Capella University

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,003

For more information: Capella University

Walden University

Online PhD in Education

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,555

For more information: Walden University

Regent University

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD) and PhD in Education

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,226

For more information: Regent University

University of South Carolina

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,798

For more information: University of South Carolina

University of Florida

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,737

For more information: University of Florida

Florida State University

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,543

For more information: Florida State University

Arizona State University

Online EdD in Leadership and Innovation

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,506

For more information: Arizona State University

The University of Alabama

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,470

For more information: University of Alabama

Southwestern College

Online Doctorate of Education (EdD)

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,085

For more information: Southwestern College

 

Education Administration Career Outlook

Most individuals earning an EdD education online degree have career aspirations of becoming a secondary administrator, postsecondary education administrator, or principal. School administrators typically need a master’s degree for entry-level positions, but employers do prefer candidates holding an EdD or PhD.

The job outlook for education administrators is projected to grow ten percent over the next nine years, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. More growth is expected for postsecondary education administrators as colleges and universities anticipate increasing student enrollment. Employment growth for school principals and secondary administrators will depend on state and local budgets. Budget constraints could delay the building and opening of new schools; however, employment for elementary, middle, and high school principals is expected to increase eight percent over the next several years. The rate is about as fast as the average of all occupations.

How to Find the Right Online Education EdD

Finding a suitable online education EdD program requires research. Many programs exist, but not all may fit your needs and expectations. The most important aspect of any online program is accreditation. The importance of accreditation and how employers regard accredited programs are discussed in the next section. Once you have determined accreditation, you should research your fit. Ask yourself if the program offers the kind of courses you expect to take in an online education EdD program. Also, look for research opportunities and internships. Both of these may lead to career advancement.

The Importance of Accreditation

Accreditation is important when searching for an online education EdD program. Employers, especially schools, colleges, and universities, value regionally or nationally accredited institutions. Accreditation is critical for advanced degrees. Earning a non-accredited degree will make you less likely to secure employment or advance your career. Accrediting agencies authorized by the U.S. Department of Education help enforce strict guidelines and standards for curricula and ensure candidates receive a quality education online EdD degree.

Specialization Options for Education Doctorate Online Programs

There are several specialization options for online EdD programs that allow students to tailor their degree toward areas of interest or to meet career goals. While some students may opt to earn a general education Ed.D. degree, others might choose to earn credentials in curriculum and instruction, instructional technology, organizational management, principalship, or the superintendency. There are also specialties at different levels of education. For those interested in educational administration at the elementary school level, an emphasis in K-12 leadership might be suitable. Adult education and postsecondary administration specializations are also available.

What Do Education Administrators Earn

Pay varies for educational administrators and is contingent on education level, job setting, and years of experience. The United States Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a person with an online education EdD degree will generally earn more over a lifetime than an individual with only a master’s degree in education. This is likely due to career advancement for those with an earned doctorate. Experience is also a factor when it comes to earning potential. The school systems reward longevity. Those with ten years of experience will earn more than those with only one year of experience, especially in administration and teaching positions. Earning an education online EdD can provide a higher return on investment than a master’s degree.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median annual wage for elementary, middle, and high school administrators (such as principals) was just over $92,000 in May 2016. Postsecondary education administrators earned an average of $90,760 in May 2016. While secondary administrators earned more on average than postsecondary education administrators, the highest 10 percent earned nearly $180,000 per year. This is approximately $44,000 per year more than elementary, middle, or high school administrators.

Unlike teachers, most administrators work year round and take little to no time off during the summer months. Some schools may reduce their hours in the summer, but administrators are expected to work during this time. Hiring new staff, attending workshops and conferences, and managing school affairs often occurs year round. Also, administrators may find themselves working evenings and weekends to meet with parents and community members, organize school and athletic functions, or attend concerts and other programs orchestrated by the school or university.

GSH Staff
December 2017

This concludes our ranking of the top 10 most affordable doctorate in education online degree programs of 2018.