Higher-Level Education Degrees: The Difference Between an Ed.D. and a Ph.D.
What are the biggest differences between an Ed.D. and a Ph.D. in terms of doctoral programs within higher education? Saint Leo University explains.
Now is a wonderful time to have a career in education as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs in this field are expected to increase by nine percent by the year 2026. This rate is slightly faster than the national average which is closer to seven percent. Additionally, the increased demand for teachers is projected to span across all of the educational ranges, from preschool to colleges and universities, creating greater opportunities for all education professionals from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Of course, many of the positions in education require some type of degree, a factor which likely contributes to the National Center for Education Statistics reporting that, out of the roughly 1.8 bachelor's degrees conferred in a one year timeframe, approximately five percent of them (92,000) are in education. There are also 147,000 education-based master's degrees and 11,800 doctor-level designations given out annually.
If you're between the last two degrees, already earning your masters and considering getting your doctorate degree, one question that may come up while researching your options is how a doctorate in education (which is designated as an Ed.D.) is different from a Ph.D. Let's look at this issue now.
As indicated by the "D" in both titles, an Ed.D. and Ph.D. are both designations that result in the title of doctor. However, they are actually different degrees, mainly because of the courses of study involved in each one.
Specifically, an Ed.D. degree is a designation received after completing a program designed to give you the skills and knowledge necessary to excel within the educational field. This includes taking classes geared toward problem-solving some of the top issues faced within the education system, as well as how to improve the various learning strategies commonly used today.
A Ph.D., on the other hand, is an advanced degree that is more focused on conducting research in regard to the educational field. For instance, this research could include collecting and analyzing data at a local level, or it may involve taking a more big-picture dissection of the entire educational system.
What can you do with these two types of post-master's degrees? As you may guess, the answer depends on which one you choose to obtain.
Earning a doctorate in education, an Ed.D., puts students in a prime position for higher-level educational careers. These are typically career paths toward some type of educational leadership. Within the school system, this includes positions with titles such as Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Director, or Principal.
An Ed.D. also prepares students for upper management positions with the title of Executive Director, a position that is commonly found in organizations like youth facilities and child care agencies. In essence, this degree gives you the flexibility to work either within or outside of a school-type environment, whichever one you feel suits you best.
On the other hand, if you earn your Ph.D. in education, your career options include becoming a higher-level educator or researcher within a college, university, or other relevant organization. Both of these positions provide great value, not only to future students, but also to the system as a whole.
Benjamin Franklin once said, "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." So, now the only question you have to ask yourself is whether that investment is best spent on an Ed.D. or a Ph.D. If your answer is an Ed.D., then Saint Leo University is excited to reveal that, as of the fall of 2018, the school now offers this advanced degree with a concentration in School Leadership.
When you earn your Ed.D. with a concentration in School Leadership at Saint Leo University, you can take all of your required classes (60 credit hours in total) in a convenient online format. In fact, the only time you have to appear on campus is to complete two separate one-week residencies which are spread out during the course of this three-year program.
Though other universities offer an Ed.D. degree, what sets Saint Leo apart from these programs is that it was designed to work cohesively with the student's current job functions. In other words, the coursework was created in a manner that is able to be integrated seamlessly into your work environment. This makes it easier to obtain your advanced degree while still tending to your work-related obligations at the same time.
Plus, as an Ed.D. student at Saint Leo, you also gain the benefit of being assigned a dissertation chair early on in your program. This gives you full support well in advance of your preparations for this final course completion requirement.
At Saint Leo, the faculty in this program understand the importance of being a skilled teacher or administrative professional. That's why there are several different options with degrees in education, one of which is this higher-level Ed.D. degree.