Doctorate in Education

Doctorate in Education

The Doctorate in Education, which is also commonly known as a Doctor of Education (D. Ed.) or Doctor in Education (Ed. D.) degree, is a graduate level degree program which can either focus on professional education or prepare an individual for working in the field of research in their chosen profession. Either way, the degree can prepare students for a range of roles in education, including administrative and leadership positions, research and clinical jobs, as well as teaching roles. Students may also find employment with a variety of organizations, including academic and educational venues, civil search organizations and private and non-profit facilities, as well.

Online and On Campus Education Doctoral Programs

Doctorate in Education degrees allow individuals to specialize in a particular teaching-related or academia-related discipline. These can include administration, librarianship, school counseling, or education, to name just a few. There are also PhD programs for teaching which can be achieved in addition to education doctoral degrees and many programs offer the combination of both in a single discipline. These prepare people for teaching at the university level or working in the field of academic research and policy-making positions too.  

At one time, those who wanted to earn a doctorate in education had to attend graduate school full-time at a traditional campus and had no other options available to them for completing their advanced degree. Today, thanks to the prominence of online degree programs offered by accredited colleges and universities, graduate programs, including the doctorate in education, are widely available through home study and distance learning. Many also offer a range of scheduling options in order to make the process of earning an advanced degree more feasible for working professionals.

Ed D and PhD Differences

Both the doctorate in education and the PhD in education are considered to be research doctoral degrees in the United States, encompassing many overlapping academic disciplines in each. While quite similar in some respects, the two degrees are different in many respects as well.

The biggest distinction between the two is that a PhD actually prepares students in academic-related fields in which theory and research are primary, while the doctorate in education focuses more on the practical aspects of applying knowledge and skills in practice. In other words, those who wish to go into academic research may be better served by the PhD in education, while those who wish to work in leadership, administration or in teaching may be best served by the Ed D.

That being said, the similarities between the two degree programs makes it possible for skilled and knowledgeable professionals who hold either degree to find ample employment opportunities in their chosen fields. There is enough cross over between the academic focus and coursework in both types of programs to allow professionals to apply their skills and knowledge in a range of education-related fields.

Colleges and Universities

There are many schools in the United States that offer both the doctorate in education (D Ed) and the Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD Ed), though most universities decide to offer one or the other. When selecting a graduate school program for completing an educational doctorate degree, you’ll want to survey not only the coursework requirements and admittance criteria for the school, but also the reputation of the degree program as well. As there are so many different schools that now offer both the D Ed and PhD Ed, holding a degree from one of the top colleges or universities may greatly increase your reputation and boost your career prospects.

Dissertation Requirements

Any doctorate level degree requires the completion of a dissertation. Each college or university sets its own standards for the dissertation’s focus and what that document is intended to achieve.

More often than not, because the doctorate in education focuses on practical application within the field of education, the dissertation for these degrees is required to contribute in some way to the resolution of or solving of common issues in the world of academia. In other words, these programs require dissertations that demonstrate a student’s ability to apply their knowledge to professional practice in the field of education.

The PhD in education, on the other hand, is more often focused on theoretical and research-related prospects in academia, which means that the dissertations that are typically required for completing these degrees usually focus on adding to the knowledge in the field of education – making a significant contribution to the basic understanding of academics.

Professional Prospects for D Ed and PhD Ed Holders

Both doctorate in education and PhD degree holders are widely recognized as qualified professors, lecturers and other faculty members at the college and university level in the United States. Many also hold positions as school administrators and superintendents at the high school district and university levels. You can also find plenty of examples of doctorate in education degree holders working in other areas of academia as well, including public or civil education-focused organizations, as principals in elementary, junior high and high schools across the nation, and in many state, regional and federal governmental program offices.

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