The decision to pursue a doctorate is never made lightly. After all, graduate school costs money, takes years to finish, and requires the investment of your free time and energy. For many, the choice to enter into doctoral study comes from a place of passion. This is especially true for those who are interested in earning a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.). Ed.D. candidates are driven to make positive changes in their schools and school districts. They are motivated to make a difference in the lives of students and educators, alike. Still, even if you’re someone who is filled with ambition and passion, you may find yourself wondering, “Is an Ed.D. worth it?”
Here’s what you need to know before enrolling in an Ed.D. program.
What is an Ed.D.?
An Ed.D., or Doctor of Education, is a terminal degree that prepares candidates for a career in education leadership. Typically, those who pursue an Ed.D. are interested in filling administrative roles in K-12 institutions. However, graduates are also qualified for positions in higher education. It should be noted that while the Ed.D. program is a doctorate, it differs from a Ph.D. in Education in several key ways.
Ed.D. vs. a Ph.D. in Education
If you’re trying to choose between an Ed.D. and Ph.D., there are several factors to consider. Firstly, an Ed.D. requires between three and four years to complete. By contrast, a Ph.D. may take up to six years to complete. Additionally, an Ed.D. typically provides students with more flexibility, allowing for hybrid or online study. A Ph.D. traditionally requires students to attend courses in-person and full-time. In other words, an Ed.D. is the ideal choice for working education professionals who want the option to complete their studies while continuing to work. Lastly, an Ed.D. prepares candidates for active leadership roles in academia (e.g. School Principal, Admissions Director, or Academic Dean) as well as scholarly research. A Ph.D. is best for those who wish to teach in a university setting or work as a researcher and academic.
Does an E.D. Align With Your Goals?
Before enrolling in an Ed.D. program, you should consider whether a Doctorate of Education will help you meet your career goals. As mentioned, the Ed.D. is ideal for candidates who want to fill educational leadership roles. While an Ed.D. graduate may pursue a career as a professor, this is somewhat uncommon. An Ed.D. is a professional degree, geared toward teaching students the kinds of skills they need to solve the challenges and problems they may face as an educational leader. For example, Ed.D. participants complete coursework in such topics as Grant Writing, Policy, Organizational Management, Curricula Theory, and Program Evaluation. This coursework is designed to train future administrative professionals. If your goal is to lead a school or work within an administrative team, then this degree is certainly worth your consideration.
What’s the Return on Investment for an Ed.D.?
Of course, when asking whether an Ed.D. is worth it, it’s important to consider financial factors. The return on investment, or ROI, for a Doctorate of Education can depend on a variety of factors, including employer, geographical location, and years of education.
Anyone who is considering an Ed.D. (and if an Ed.D. is worth it) already knows that it’s never an automatic given that a doctorate will correspond with higher pay. However, a study by Urban Institute revealed that those who earn a master’s degree can make a salary that’s 23% higher than the average for those who only hold a bachelor’s degree. Likewise, those who hold a doctorate make a salary that is, on average, twice as high as those with bachelor’s degrees. It’s also worth noting that if you are currently working as an educator, you may qualify for fee or tuition reimbursement. This may greatly improve your overall ROI. Ultimately, however, the salary you can expect to earn as a graduate from an Ed.D. program will depend on what kind of career path you choose to pursue.
Worthwhile Careers for an Ed.D. Graduate
While many Ed.D. graduates are interested in pursuing a career in school administration, an Ed.D. is a particularly versatile degree. There are a variety of careers that an Ed.D. can prepare you for, making this degree well worth it. Here are just a few careers you may consider as an Ed.D. candidate:
- School Principal
- Curriculum Director
- Education Policy Maker
- Human Resources Director
- Admissions Director
- Chief Learning Officer
- Nonprofit Director
An Ed.D. is a highly versatile degree that helps professionals develop the skills they’ll need to enact positive change in their chosen field. Whether they choose to pursue work in secondary school administration, higher education, or even corporate leadership, an Ed.D. can effectively assist them in cultivating the skills they’ll need to succeed. This highly flexible degree is well worth your consideration.
Are you considering pursuing a Doctorate in Education in Connecticut? Request more information and learn about University of Bridgeport’s program here.