10 Most Affordable Doctorate in Educational Administration Online

Staff picture
Updated June 23, 2021

GradSchoolHub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Teachers feeling unfulfilled by their classroom jobs could advance into leadership roles by completing an online EdD in education administration over the Internet. Educational administrator is a broad title given to chief PreK-16 officials who supervise the academic, social, and athletic functions of schools. Administrators sometimes pursue doctorates to certify their expertise crafting building-wide policies, mentoring teachers, budgeting for supplies, setting curricular standards, and much more. The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) reported that 9.3 percent of elementary and 12.4 percent of secondary school principals are doctoral-trained. Following the footsteps of famous college deans like Dr. Amy Gutmann and Dr. John L. Hennessy virtually requires a doctorate. Joining the nearly 6,000 post-grads entering U.S. education doctoral programs annually opens doors at every grade level.


Picking the most inexpensive education administration doctorates online began with thorough research on the National Center for Education Statistics' (NCES) College Navigator. We selected the educational administration or supervision category and checked the box for distance learning online. Our search turned up 33 EdD and PhD options that we ordered based on mean 2016-17 graduate tuition. For public colleges, we added the in-state and out-of-state prices and divided by two for the average. Although affordability was the chief concern, we also gave preference for Council on Accreditation for Educator Preparation (CAEP) approval. The following are the 10 affordable education administration online EdD programs from highest to lowest tuition (tuition information taken from NCES College Navigator).

  • Aspen University

    Denver, CO



    Publicly traded for $4.2 million revenue in 2017, Aspen University is a private, for-profit DEAC-accredited institution celebrating its 57th anniversary since opening as the International Academy. Authorized by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, the Aspen Group Inc. uses Brightspace D2L to instruct 3,600 students worldwide from the "Mile High City." Given 4.6 stars on Facebook, Aspen University is currently ranked 30th by OnlineDegreeReviews.org. Aspen was also named America's 137th most focused teacher preparation school by College Factual and Colorado's third cheapest university on Best Value Schools.

    Post-master's candidates with 3.0 GPAs or better could pay just $375 monthly to begin Aspen's Doctor of Education in Leadership and Learning K12 Educational Leadership track. Directed by Dr. Kevin Thrasher, the School of Education focuses the EdD education administration online for ethical, transformational leadership in public or private districts. The 60-credit, 20-course curriculum actively discusses topics like faculty development and educational psychology online in eight-week modules. Attention is given to technology integration strategies key for 21st-century program success. After two years full-time, graduates research, write, and orally defend dissertations.

  • Capella University

    Minneapolis, MN



    Acquired by Strategic Education Inc. for $1.9 billion in October 2017, Capella University is a for-profit, virtual learning institute established in 1993 as the Graduate School of America. Based in the Twin Cities' South Sixth skyscraper, Capella offers more than 2,100 online courses with 1:1 engagement for more than 37,000 adult learners. Awarded the 2010 CHEA Award for Outstanding Student Learning Outcomes, the regionally accredited online giant is ranked 87th for location diversity by College Factual. Capella University was applauded for America's 39th best distance education on OnlineDegreeReviews.org too.

    Following Capella's GuidedPath learning format each 10-week quarter, Capella offers both PhD in Education and Doctor of Education (EdD) leadership programs in its School of Education, led by Dean Dr. Amy Smith. The 11-course, 63-credit, online educational administration EdD program prepares teachers to coordinate schooling in inclusive, collaborative communities. Professionally-aligned courses like organizational dynamics end with a scholarly capstone. The 92-credit Online PhD in Educational Administration includes a dissertation instead.

  • Carson-Newman University

    Jefferson City, TN



    Established as Mossy Creek Missionary Baptist Seminary in 1851, Carson-Newman University is a private, conservative Christian liberal arts school devoted to "Truth, Beauty, and Goodness." Enrolling 2,500 Eagles, the CCCU member holds a $49 million endowment to teach online and atop its 200-acre on Overlook Avenue in Jefferson City. The U.S. News World Report labeled CNU the South's 66th top college and 26th best value. Carson-Newman University, a "College of Distinction," was also declared the 365th best graduate education school by Niche.

    Online courses begin every eight weeks for Carson-Newman's Doctor of Education w/ Administrative Leadership Concentration in the CAEP-accredited Teacher Education Program. Mandating 3+ years of teaching in Tennessee PreK-12 schools, the cheap online educational administration EdD is chaired by Dr. Kim Hawkins. Monthly payment plans cost as little as $156 while studying financial planning, spiritual leadership, and quantitative analysis. The 57-credit, faith-focused program builds state-required licensure portfolios and dissertation papers. Another three-year CNU doctorate online is the Doctor of Education w/ Curriculum and Instruction Concentration.

  • Concordia University-Irvine

    Irvine, CA



    Planned by Dr. Victor Behnken in 1955, Concordia University-Irvine is a private, nonprofit Christ-centered institution owned by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, America's second-largest faith system. Endowed for $230 million, CUI extends beyond its 70-acre campus in Forbes' 87th best metropolitan for careers to serve 4,046 Eagles online. Labeled "fast-growing" by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Concordia University-Irvine is ranked America's 164th best religious college on Niche. CUI was crowned the 41st top Western school with the 23rd most vet-friendly education by The U.S. News World Report.

    Admitting cohorts of 7-9 teachers with valid California credentials, Concordia's CAEP-accredited School of Education is directed by Dr. Deborah Mercier to deliver six graduate degrees, including the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership. Taking a constructivist approach, the 46-credit, post-master's program has a focused 36-month pathway to completion. Courses blend real-time online learning with residencies in Irvine one Saturday per semester. Senior faculty then mentor CUI candidates individually to complete practice-oriented dissertations. Annual trips to Washington, DC or the People's Republic of China can even be supplemented.

  • East Tennessee State University

    Johnson City, TN



    Awarded over $50 million for research yearly, including in the Center for Community College Leadership, East Tennessee State University is a public, RU/H doctoral institute opened for K-12 teacher training in 1911. Thirty minutes from the Appalachian Trail, ETSU's 340-acre campus in Johnson City serves 14,334 Buccaneers face-to-face and online primarily on D2L. Included on the Princeton Review's "Best Southeastern" list, ETSU is ranked 252nd among U.S. public colleges by Forbes magazine. Washington Monthly also crowned East Tennessee State University the South's 145th best buck.

    Headquartered in Warf-Pickel Hall, the CAEP-accredited Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education lets teachers with master's or specialist degrees complete the Educational Leadership Doctor of Education online. Coordinated by Dr. Bethany Flora, the EdD education administration online has three concentrations: School Leadership, Classroom Leadership, or Postsecondary and Private Sector Leadership for administrative endorsements. The 42-66 credit eLearning curriculum schedules asynchronous meetings on Adobe Connect for courses like creating school cultures. ETSU cohorts need 10 approved residency activities, 150+ internship hours, qualifying exam scores, and dissertation research to graduate.

  • Indiana State University

    Terre Haute, IN



    Linked to 51,063 LinkedIn alumni, including Drs. Lou Anna K. Simon and Robert Jerry, Indiana State University is a public, service-oriented teacher's college founded in 1865. Beyond its 435-acre campus surrounding Fairbanks Hall in Terre Haute, the Missouri Valley Conference member offers its 2,243 post-grad Sycamores digital courses on Blackboard Learn. The U.S. News World Report ranked ISU among America's top 300 universities with the 113rd top online graduate education. Washington Monthly also named Indiana State University the 71st best institution for research and faculty resources.

    Known for its Indiana Principal Leadership Institute, the CAEP-accredited Bayh College of Education conferred 234 post-grad degrees, including the Educational Administration PhD, in 2016. Chaired by Dr. Mary Howard-Hamilton, the affordable online doctorate trains diverse teachers for leadership functions in two tracks: School Administration or Higher Education Administration. Enrolling each Fall, the 63-credit curriculum immerses master's transfers in problem-based learning online with just three Friday/Saturday seminars in Terre Haute. Courses like modern educational thought integrate two semester-long internships before the dissertation.

  • Texas A & M University-Commerce

    Commerce, TX



    Granted Carnegie's Level II doctoral research classification, Texas M University-Commerce is a Wall Street Journal "Best Buy" founded by William Leonidas Mayo for teachers in 1889. Endowed for $20 million, the publicly funded Lone Star Conference member attracted 12,385 Lions to its 1,926 acres in Hunt County and online classroom. Chosen for the 2016 THECB Star Award, Texas M-Commerce is ranked fifth for community service by Washington Monthly. TAMUC also stands as America's 253rd top university on Forbes and 361st most selective college on Niche.

    Chaired by Dr. Arthur J. Borgemenke, TAMUC's Doctor of Education in Educational Administration competitively admits two online cohorts after the November 1st and July 1st deadlines. Reaffirmed by the CAEP in 2017, the College of Education Human Services has a K-12 public school leadership emphasis for its online EdD in education administration. The 60-credit, post-master's doctorate requires GPAs above 3.3 within 24/7 online courses from teacher observation to district finance and facility management. Before the dissertation, candidates could add the Texas Superintendent Certification, attend the Meadows Principal Improvement Series, and join Phi Delta Kappa.

  • Trident University International

    Cypress, CA



    Accredited by the WASC and Better Business Bureau since 1998, Trident University International is a "Military Friendly" incorporated, for-profit research institution with a 17:1 student-professor ratio. Headquartered in California's Orange County by Summit Partners, Trident belongs to the Touro University system to help 6,197 students "Aspire, Believe, and Achieve." Holding a 73 percent recommendation rate on GradReports.com, Trident is ranked eighth by College Values Online. Trident University International was also positioned 153rd for location diversity on College Factual and 10th for nontraditional adult teaching by Forbes.

    Trident's 100 percent Online College of Education created the non-licensure Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership to develop innovative scholar-practitioners for maintaining positive learning cultures. Headed by Dr. Heidi Gilligan, the 60-credit program takes 36 months on average for post-master's professional competency. After core courses like strategic planning, candidates choose from two concentrations: PK-12 or Higher Education. The Doctoral Positioning System (DPS) lets post-grads check off tasks, compile ePortfolios, and finish the 800 Dissertation Course. Trident Learning Community members could also pursue the PhD in Educational Leadership online.

  • University of Massachusetts-Lowell

    Lowell, MA



    First chartered as Lowell Normal School in 1894, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell has 85 percent retention as the Merrimack Valley's largest public, state-funded research centers. Endowed for $82.4 million, UML occupies a 150-acre campus in Middlesex County to inspire 18,058 River Hawks face-to-face and online via Blackboard Learn. Called Business Insider's "Most Underrated College" in 2013, UMass-Lowell is declared the 156th best university by the U.S. News World Report. The University of Massachusetts-Lowell was also recognized for America's 66th best 20-year ROI of $568,000 on PayScale.

    Belonging to The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED), the College of Education headed by Dr. Eleanor Abrams confers its Doctor of Education in Leadership in Schooling online. Open for admission until August 15th or March 31st annually, the education administration EdD online includes just one week-long residency in Lowell. Offering an optional STEM Education emphasis, the three-year, CAEP-accredited curriculum trains online cohorts to administer successful K-12 districts. Master's grads become effective scholar-practitioners by completing 11 online courses like strategic community partnering and a nine-credit dissertation.

  • University of the Cumberlands

    Williamsburg, KY



    Graduating successful alumni like Bert T. Combs and Dr. Betty Siegel since 1913, the University of the Cumberlands is a private, nonprofit liberal arts school of the Kentucky Baptist Convention that's making "Life More Abundant." Serving 6,031 Patriots, 48 percent of whom are first-generation, the Cumberlands is endowed for $73.3 million atop a 150-acre campus north of Knoxville. Granted SACS Level V accreditation, UC is congratulated for the 92nd best online graduate education by the U.S. News World Report. The University of the Cumberlands also landed 115th among America's most conservative institutions on Niche.

    Within the UC School of Education, the CACREP-accredited Counselor Education and Supervision Department makes the Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership available online. Chaired by Dr. Laura Bonzo-Sims, the 60-credit education administration online EdD includes evening synchronous sessions. Offering optional Kentucky Rank 1 certification, the curriculum ranges from grant writing to program evaluation and change processes. Eight-week online courses are melded with 70 days of clinical practice and hands-on dissertation work. The PhD in Leadership at the University of Cumberlands has the Education Specialization too.

Explore these promoted online degree programs.

These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online graduate degree programs. Figuring out where to apply? Consider one of these online Master’s or PhD programs.

What Kind of Education Administration Doctorate Online Programs Are There?

Education doctorates are granted at the highest, terminal academic level to individuals who've proven substantial subject-area expertise. Although more flexible around full-time work schedules, online doctoral degrees are just as rigorous. Doctor of Education (EdD) programs are most abundant online for scholar-practitioner training that applies theory into real-life school scenarios. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education degrees are also findable online for empirical-based training that researches hypotheses about child learning. It's common for PhD and EdD education administration online degrees to offer concentrations in different disciplines, such as superintendency or college leadership. Since Columbia University granted the first education doctorate in 1893, specializations have grown from student affairs to institutional analysis.

What Career Benefits Do Online EdD Education Administration Degrees Give?

Funding like the TEACH Grant and PDK Graduate Scholarships may help lower the costs of online EdD in education administration programs with big career benefits. Doctoral-trained administrators can add "Dr." to their résumé, get monetary compensation, obtain scholarly respect, and open new certifications. For example, the Illinois State Board of Education offers PEL administrative endorsements, including Chief School Business Official, Director of Special Education, and Teacher Leader. Here are some sample careers where your online doctorate will be well-received:

  •  PreK-12 Principal- Elementary, middle, and high schools are increasingly hiring doctoral graduates to act as headmasters for building-wide learning leadership. PreK-12 principals wear many hats to hire teachers, create honor codes, schedule academic events, mentor students, secure funding, restructure failing programs, run professional development meetings, and more.
  • School Superintendent- The United States' 13,600 districts need CEOs to make strategic decisions with a board of trustees for the community's best outcomes. School superintendents run human resources, allocate taxpayer money, set district goals, analyze test scores, create cross-building partnerships, address major parent concerns, and hold public meetings.
  • Education Professor- Universities' CAEP-accredited departments may hire online educational administration EdD graduates onto their tenure-track faculty to inspire tomorrow's teachers. From the associate to the doctoral level, professors are creating lesson plans, giving lectures, assessing student progress, conducting research studies, and publishing in educational journals like Higher Education.
  • College Dean- Also called chairs or executive directors, college deans are doctoral-level administrators who develop and supervise the delivery of effective postsecondary programming. Their duties include hiring professors, overseeing recruitment, monitoring college budgets, planning course schedules, finding outreach activities, addressing student complaints, and reporting to the Provost.
  • Educational Leadership Coach- Getting an education administration online EdD would also let graduates' entrepreneurial spirits soar as self-employed consultants for school reform. Educational leadership coaches help meet district goals by giving teachers feedback, suggesting new instructional practices, mentoring principals, designing professional development workshops, and testing for outcome improvement.

Explore Similar Industries

How Much Can I Earn with an Education Administration EdD Online?

Cheap EdD education administration online programs can garner salary potentials that are double or triple the tuition spent. According to World Education Services, average lifetime earnings in education rise from $1.79 million to $2.81 million from the bachelor's to the doctoral level. The median yearly salary for education doctorate grads is $73,000. Postsecondary professors make slightly less at $70,260, but wages often grow larger. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that PreK-12 school administrators claim an average income of $95,390. College administrators bring home a healthy mean salary of $105,770, or $50.85 per hour. Top executives, including university presidents, collect annual pay of $194,350 on average.

Will Schools be Hiring Online Educational Administration EdD Graduates?

Federal data in The Washington Post shows that teacher shortages exist in all 50 states, especially rural areas like Oklahoma and West Virginia. Estimates on CNN suggest that the United States will be short 112,000 educators in 2018. However, the abundance of job openings drops off as you climb the administrative ladder. The BLS predicts selective hiring of school principals with 19,700 new jobs created by 2026 for just 8 percent growth. Increasing college enrollment will spark a 10 percent jump in postsecondary education administration. Professors are perhaps the most hirable with 10-year job growth of 15 percent projected. Getting an online EdD in education administration could bolster your chances of being considered for competitive vacancies.

This concludes our ranking of the 10 most affordable doctorates in educational administration online.










Additional Resources

See All Posts

GradSchoolHub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Explore different options for you based on your degree interests.