10 Most Affordable Doctorates in Elementary Education Online in 2021

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Updated June 28, 2021

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Grammar school teachers on quests for advanced educational professionalism could add "Dr." to their names with minimal campus visits thanks to online Ed.D in Elementary Education programs. Education doctorates are the highest, most prestigious degrees conferred for ambitious lifelong learners to push their K-6 teaching careers forward. The Kappa Delta Pi encourages doctoral study if teachers have long-term goals in administration, academia, research, or government policy. Spending three to seven years on Ed.D elementary education online degrees sets graduates apart since only 9.3 percent of primary-grades principals have doctorates. According to the NCSES, education is the most popular non-STEM doctoral major with 5,300 graduates each year. Funds like the TEACH Grant and Hollis L. Caswell Laureate Scholarship can also make elite doctorates easier to afford on modest teachers' salaries.

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10 Most Affordable Doctorates in Elementary Education Online in 2021

  • Ball State University

    Muncie, IN



    Opened as the Eastern Indiana Normal School in 1876 with 256 teachers, Ball State University is a public, coeducational RU/H doctoral institute that's reaching beyond the Hoosier State's 92 counties with online sessions on Blackboard Learn. Located upon 1,140 acres in the Westridge district of Muncie, BSU teaches 22,513 Cardinals with 400+ clubs and 2.3 million volumes in Bracken Library. Given the first Quality Matters Learner Support Program Certification, BSU has America's 101st best online graduate education according to the U.S. News. Ball State University ranked 201st for research on Forbes and 93rd for teaching on Niche nationally too.

    Publishing 136 peer-reviewed journal articles in 2016, Ball State's CAEP-accredited Teachers College has the United States' third-largest Doctor of Education program with specializations like Elementary, Early Childhood, and Reading Education. Directed by Dr. Linda Martin, the 48-90 credit curriculum requires a master's and 3.2 GPA before courses online or at Greater Indianapolis centers. The online elementary educational EdD accepts applications until December 1st from certified teachers pursuing leadership service careers. Post-grads can expect intensive seminars like learning psychology, residencies at Burris Laboratory School, qualifying exams, and dissertation research colloquia.

  • Kennesaw State University

    Kennesaw, GA



    Merged with Southern Polytechnic by President Papp in 2015, Kennesaw State University is a public, coeducational USG constituent with Carnegie's R3 status. Endowed for $36.5 million, Kennesaw belongs to the Atlantic Sun Conference to enroll 35,600 Owls on 602 combined acres in Cobb County and online on D2L Brightspace. Granted the Sloan Consortium 2015 Faculty Excellence Award, KSU is ranked America's 117th best big college on Niche. Kennesaw State University is also the 192nd best Southeastern value in Washington Monthly with an "A" from the ACTA.

    Partnered with 11 districts like Atlanta Public Schools and Fulton County Schools, Kennesaw's Bagwell College of Education has used the Distance Learning Center to grant the EdD in Elementary & Early Childhood Education online since 2015. Belonging to the Carnegie Project, the 66-75 credit program picks up where Master of Education curricula ends for those with Georgia teaching certification. Led by Dr. Neporcha Cone, the CAEP-accredited online doctorate admits Fall cohorts until April 1st for courses from multicultural education to technology enrichment. Nine credits of dissertation research on PreK-5 practice follow with 1:1 faculty advisement.

  • New Mexico State University

    Las Cruces, NM



    Featuring our list's cheapest in-state price at $4,088, nearly $25,000 below average, New Mexico State University stands on Pan American Plaza in Las Cruces with a 900-acre campus that also innovates with interactive television and online learning. Formed in 1888, NMSU has 3,113 staff serving 14,852 Aggies on the $621 million budget as a top-tier public, Sun Belt research college near the Mexican border. According to the Brookings Institution, NMSU ranks second nationally for equal access. New Mexico State is recognized for America's 21st best education in Hispanic Outlook and 150th top teaching school by the US News and World Report.

    Chaired by Dr. Azadeh Farrah Osanloo in O'Donnell Hall, New Mexico's CAEP-accredited College of Education launched the Educational Leadership Doctorate for a 63-credit EdD or 78-credit Ph.D degree. Teachers meeting the requisite 5+ years of experience before the January 17th deadline can customize cognates like Elementary Education, Child and Family Development, or Latino/a Education. Emphasizing Border issues, hybrid cohorts blend online courses from public school law to program evaluation design with summer residencies in Las Cruces. Graduation from the cheap online elementary education doctorate involves an advanced, 12-week internship and dissertation.

  • University at Buffalo

    Buffalo, NY



    Linked to 133,481 LinkedIn alumni, including educators Mark Huddleston and Ann Kirschner, SUNY University at Buffalo is the system's largest public, space-grant AAU member founded by the 13th President Millard Fillmore in 1846. Named an EPA Environmental Champion for its 1,346-acre campus near Niagara Falls, Buffalo has a 13:1 student-faculty ratio face-to-face and online on UBLearns. The University at Buffalo offers a 20-year PayScale ROI of $378,000 as The Wall Street Journal's 28th best college. Globally, UB placed 96th on Webometrics and 191st in Times Higher Ed.

    Chaired by Dr. Suzanne Rosenblith in Baldy Hall, the CAEP-accredited Graduate School of Education is ranked 10th by the U.S. News and World Report for 20 online graduate programs, including the Curriculum and Instruction Ph.D Emphasizing learning science, the 72-credit degree customizes an Elementary Education track to put teachers on the forefront of K-6 instructional innovations. Dissertation research follows synchronous online courses like Vygotsky's theory, emergent literacy, and digital education media. The Advanced Graduate Certificate in Gifted Education and Professional EdM in Science Education are also online.

  • University of Alabama

    Tuscaloosa, AL



    Nicknamed "The Capstone" by George H. Denny in 1913, the University of Alabama is the Hart of Dixie's largest public, sea-grant SEC powerhouse with a Crimson Tide of 38,563 students. Graded B+ by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, UA occupies a 297-building Tuscaloosa Metro campus and delivers Bama By Distance programs via the Gadsden Center. Ranked 93rd for teacher prep, the University of Alabama is America's 110th best college according to the U.S. News and World Report. Niche and the CWUR also positioned UA 69th for conservatism and 120th for quality alumni employment respectively.

    Accepting applications until July 1st for Fall or November 1st for Spring cohorts, Alabama's CAEP-accredited College of Education features a hybrid Ed.D in Elementary Education for master's and Ed.S graduates. Headed by Dr. Peter Hlebowitsh in Bibb Graves Hall, the 72-75 credit curriculum equips scholar-practitioners for primary grades leadership. Meetings at the Gadsden Center are mixed with virtual discussions on cognitive development, critical pedagogy, socio-cultural perspectives, and more. Finishing the online elementary education EdD also involves passing a written exam, teaching practicum, and dissertation seminar.

  • University of Florida

    Gainesville, FL



    Established in 1905 when the Buckman Act merged East Florida Seminary and Gainesville Academy, the University of Florida generates $791 million in R&D expenditures and trains 16,819 post-grad Gators as a public, sea-grant research hub. Housing a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, UF's 2,000-acre campus extends beyond Forbes' 38th best city for education with Canvas courses online. The U.S. News ranked Florida the ninth top public college with the 29th best teaching programs. UF also stands as America's 18th top institution in Washington Monthly and 62nd best school on Niche.

    Devoted to "Building a Brighter Future," Florida's College of Education was reaffirmed by the CAEP in 2017 for the job-embedded Online Ed.D in Curriculum, Teaching, and Teacher Instruction. Coordinated by Dr. Alyson Adams, the 60-credit, four-year elementary education Ed.D online develops pedagogical expertise with three days of face-to-face residency in Gainesville each summer. Cohorts with 3+ years of teaching experience engage in online modules from literacy to STEM education and school reform. The state-of-the-art Lastinger Center provides resources for teachers' "research groups" to complete course applications and dissertations.

  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte

    Charlotte, NC



    Positioned 38th on the Social Mobility Index, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte has 29,308 Forty-Niners hailing from 103 countries as a diverse public, coeducational doctoral institution established in September 1946. From its 250-acre tract in the U.S. News and World Report's 14th best place to live, UNCC delivers 23 doctorates on-campus and online via Moodle with Atkins Library resources. The University of North Carolina-Charlotte is declared the 137th best public college by American City Business Journals. Other UNCC rankings include the 284th best teacher preparation on Niche and 240th top faculty on the CWUR.

    Scheduled for CAEP reaccreditation in 2018, Charlotte's Cato College of Education awards the Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction with Elementary, Math, Urban, and Literacy Education tracks available. Chaired by Dr. Paul Fitchett, the three-year, post-master's online elementary education doctorate develops reflective, collaborative leaders for Grades 1-6 innovation. Graduates with minimum 3.5 GPAs apply until February 1st to take courses like inquiry teaching and educational reform. The 60-credit plan integrates a comprehensive exam, field practicum via the Professional Development Schools Network, and dissertation research.

  • University of North Texas

    Denton, TX



    Deemed an "emerging national research institute" by the Governor's Select Committee, the University of North Texas was established in 1890 by Joshua Crittenden Chilton. Budgeting $865 million yearly, UNT affordably serves 6,770 post-grad Mean Green in Conference USA with a Classic Learning Core on its 1,200-acre Denton County campus near Fort Worth and online by Blackboard Vista 4.2. Named a "Best Buy" for 22 years, the U.S. News and World Report ranked North Texas in the top 300 universities with the 16th best online graduate education degrees. Niche also recognized UNT for America's 195th most diversity and 163rd best student life.

    Chaired by Dr. Dina Castro, the Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction is delivered primarily online by the Toulouse Graduate School with concentrations in Curriculum Studies, Early Childhood Studies, or Language and Literacy. Mandating GRE scores above 152, North Texas' elementary education doctorate online facilitates research on child development younger than age nine. Applying by the February 1st deadline could immerse candidates in the 78-credit degree's courses like policy analysis and conceptual curriculum framework. The Bill J. Priest Center and Human Development Center offer valuable resources for the required dissertation.

  • University of South Carolina

    Columbia, SC



    Ranked #1 for SEC Academic Honor Roll members, the University of South Carolina is a flagship public, "more selective" RU/VH institute that was founded in 1801 under Rev. Jonathan Maxcy in Rutledge College. Endowed for $655 million, USC instructs 51,000 Gamecocks systemwide on 359 acres in Columbia, at seven satellites, and online via Adobe Connect. Employing four Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award winners, the University of South Carolina was recognized within the Faculty Scholarly Index's top 10. USC is also America's 32nd best value in Kiplinger's and 93rd best education school on the U.S. News survey.

    Renowned for its Yvonne and Schuyler Moore Child Development Center, South Carolina's CAEP-accredited College of Education launched the EdD in Curriculum & Instruction online with an Elementary Education cognate. Giving $4,000 discounts to certified K-6 teachers, the 60-unit degree directed by Dr. Fenice Boyd aligns to Carnegie Project standards to sharpen curriculum implementation skills. Completing the elementary education Ed.D online takes 36 months with eight-week, post-master's courses like learning assessment, staff development, and curricular diversity before dissertation preparation. In Columbia, there's an 81-credit Teaching and Learning Ph.D too.

  • Walden University

    Minneapolis, MN



    Purchased by Sylvan Learning Systems Inc. in 2001, Walden University is a public benefit, for-profit corporation that's licensed by the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board to serve nearly 52,000 learners. Boasting a below-average cohort default rate of 3 percent, Walden is headquartered on Minneapolis' Washington Ave. near St. Anthony Falls to teach over 150 specializations online. The U.S. Department of Education IPEDS ranked Walden #2 for professional doctorates awarded. Walden University also has America's 19th most adult-friendly courses in Washington Monthly and 30th most popular education degrees on College Factual.

    Affiliated with 100+ state Teacher of the Year Award winners, the Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden offers the CAEP-accredited Doctor of Education and Ph.D in Education. Similar to Ed.D elementary education online programs, the former has an Early Childhood specialization to study pedagogical practices for optimal Birth-Grade 3 development. The 76-credit, post-master's curriculum is taught by doctoral mentors like Drs. Patricia Brewer and David Thornburg with one three-day Twin Cities residency. Study culminates with a doctoral intensive project after ePortfolio courses like literacy coaching, family-school collaboration, and quantitative methods.

Our Methodology, Explained

Grad School Hub compiles rankings based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics play a significant role in how we source our educational data. After collecting insight for each institution, we organize information into five weighted categories.
Metric Data Used Percentage
Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 30%
Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 10%
Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 30%
Program Offerings Number of program options 20%
Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 10%
A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible on our Ranking Methodology page.

What Benefits Do Online Ed.D in Elementary Education Degrees Provide?

Sacrificing K-6 classroom time for college lectures isn't always feasible unless teachers can log onto online platforms 24/7 from home. The elementary education Ed.D online offers unparalleled flexibility while developing the same higher-level skills with the same distinguished faculty. Whether you select a research-oriented Doctor of Philosophy in Education or practice-based Doctor of Education, you'll unleash your fullest potential for transforming our youth's learning success. Online doctoral courses frequently cost less because of cheaper digital textbooks, nixed childcare expenses, reduced lab fees, and no dorm housing. Ed,D elementary education online classes engage teachers in national or global cohorts, reinforce content with multimedia, help build LiveText portfolios, and give immediate faculty advisor feedback too.

Which Career Possibilities Open with an Elementary Education Doctorate Online?

Pursuing an online Ed.D in Elementary Education allows certified teachers working full-time to find their true passion in upper-level administrative roles. Since education doctorates are terminal, there's literally no job related to K-6 learning you won't qualify for. Let's review some example careers where an Ed.D Elementary Education online degree would serve well:

  • Elementary School Principal- America's 61,250 public and 14,510 private elementary principals perform all high-level administrative tasks for maintaining safe, effective learning communities. Also called headmasters, they hire personnel, make impromptu classroom observations, establish school policies, allocate budgetary resources, mentor students, hold faculty meetings, communicate concerns to parents, and plan special events.
  • Education Professor or Dean- Niche reports that 125,070 U.S. students graduated with teaching degrees in 2016, so colleges and universities need to employ faculty for training them. Professors carry out individual courses by planning lessons and grading assignments while deans have department-wide responsibility planning course schedules, hiring staff, forming internship partners, and coordinating research labs.
  • Education Policy Advisor- Government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education, rely on nonpartisan, doctoral-educated experts to weigh into legislative matters affecting young children. Education policy advisors improve student outcomes on state or national levels by relaying empirical research to appointed officials, performing cost-benefit analyses, suggesting law changes, and monitoring academic trends that need addressing.
  • K-6 Curriculum Developer- Elementary education doctoral grads might work behind-the-scenes creating the instructional tools and standards districts use in multi-subject primary classrooms. Curriculum developers design teaching materials, select suitable textbooks, assess student testing results, conduct quality assurance reviews, suggest policy changes to principals, and train teachers on new Common Core activities.
  • Educational Researcher- Universities and nonprofit bodies like the American Institutes for Research hire PhD-level scholars to search for innovative answers to pressing K-6 problems. Researchers formulate hypothesis to test, write grant proposals for funding, implement surveys or observations, analyze statistical results, draw conclusions, and get published in scholarly journals.

How Much Do Ed.D Elementary Education Online Graduates Earn?

According to the Council of Graduate Schools, earning an elementary education Ed.D online would reap strong economic payoffs with average lifetime earnings of $3.3 million. Making the median doctoral salary of $84,396 might sound like music to your ears, but your income potential can rise. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that elementary school administrators earn a mean annual wage of $95,390. Average salaries for college deans and professors are $105,770 and $75,430 respectively. Federal employment for online elementary education Ed.D graduates provides GS-15 income of $93,000-$145,000. Curriculum development jobs gift top pay of $85,868. Salary.com also reports a median wage of $132,702 for education R&D managers.

What is the Job Outlook After Online Elementary Education Ed.D Programs?

Education matters because the average 2016 unemployment rate fell from 2.8 percent for bachelor's-level teachers to 1.5 percent for doctoral graduates. Cheap online elementary education Ed.D study leads to a teaching field poised for 9 percent growth, or 876,800 total jobs created, by 2026 according to the BLS. Behind healthcare and construction, educational services is named the #3 fastest-growing sector by the Edunomics Lab. Teacher shortage areas include bilingual, literacy, mathematics, and special education. Doctoral-trained practitioners will find job growth of 15 percent in college teaching, 10 percent in postsecondary administration, 8 percent in elementary school administration, and 10 percent in curriculum design. For a lasting career advantage with less tuition, look on one of these programs in online Ed.D in Elementary Education.

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This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Most Affordable Doctorate in Elementary Education Online.

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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.

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