Online doctorate in IT education programs are for those who are skilled in information technology and want to pass on their knowledge to the next generation of IT professionals. Students gain a deeper understanding of IT as well as the skills and methods necessary to succeed as IT educators. An online doctorate in IT education is a three-fold degree. Students learn to analyze and problem solve in the IT world. They also gain academic skills, such as in-depth research techniques and writing skills, and education skills.
Moreover they are prepared to utilize their degree to advance to their career’s next level and payscale. Those with a Ph.D. in the education field often achieve leadership positions in the primary and secondary fields as well as some community colleges. Additionally, a Ph.D. is often required for those who wish to teach at the university level. All of these opportunities may lead to higher career positions and income.
About Online PhD Programs in IT Education
Students who work towards their online doctoral degree in IT education can expect to spend between three and seven years in school. Generally, students’ first two to three years are devoted to completing their required courses, many of which prepare them for their dissertation. After a student has completed their doctoral course work, they will sit for one or more comprehensive examinations that test the depth and breadth of their knowledge in IT education. Capella University is one of the few universities to offer online PhD in IT education programs. It requires, as many schools do, that students complete a Doctoral Comprehensive Examination as well as residencies, which aid students in their studies, dissertation, and future careers.
- Information Technology Research and Practice. Students learn about research in the IT field as well as how research techniques are put into practice. This course aids students in their dissertation endeavors.
- Advances in Information Technology. Various technological and methodical information technology advances are introduced to students.
- Quantitative Research Techniques. Students study and implement statistical methods and learn how to analyze statistics as they relate to IT.
- Theory and Methods of Educating Adults. In this course, students learn education methods and theories as they relate to adult education.
- Dissertation Research 1. Between four to five dissertation research courses are required in most Ph.D. IT education programs. This is the first installment of students’ dissertation research.
- Higher Education Curriculum Development and Teaching Strategies. Students explore research-based strategies for teaching effectively at the postsecondary level as well as methods for organizing, revising, and evaluating postsecondary curriculum.
The dissertation process begins taking place the moment one begins their Ph.D. program. Early on, students must declare their dissertation’s topic. As they take their courses, students also begin collecting research and further developing their topic. Upon finishing their required courses, students focus the entirety of their attention on their thesis. Many schools have four to five stages that make up their dissertation program. Students consult their dissertation advisor throughout the process with questions, concerns, and for general guidance.
Value and Criticisms of a PhD in IT Education
The pros of an online doctoral degree in IT education include flexibility, convenience, and advanced job opportunities. Students can study when and where they want, allowing them to maintain full-time or part-time careers. Students can seek positions as university professors. Jobs that graduates can obtain with their degree are often higher paying and higher ranking than those they’d obtain without a Ph.D.
Cons are also inherent in this degree. Some will find that a Ph.D. doesn’t necessarily better their career because it isn’t a requirement for a given career type. Ph.D.s are also a very lengthy means to obtaining a career as many students spend six to seven years in pursuit of their degree. Moreover, online degrees require that Ph.D. students be highly motivated. Some students not in an academic environment surrounded by peers and instructors find it difficult to concentrate on their end goal.
Application & Admission Requirements
In order to be considered for a Ph.D. program, students must have a master’s degree; it is suggested that their master’s studies be in a similar subject, though this is not required in most cases. Students must complete an application for admission and submit an application fee. Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts, GRE or applicable standardized test scores, and a CV are also standardized requirements. Moreover, students must supply schools with three letters of recommendation from academic and professional references.
Career Options & Job Market
Those with a Ph.D. in IT Education most commonly enter the education field as professors. At four-year colleges and universities, one must either have a Ph.D. or be working towards it in order to obtain a job as a professor. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professors earned an annual salary of $62,050 in 2010. Careers in this field are expected to increase by 17% through 2020. The BLS reports that this increase is due to higher rates of enrollment in postsecondary institutions and thus a great need for more instructors.
Where to Find Information
- Association of Information Technology Professionals Members of this association benefit from networking, informational, and skill development opportunities in the IT field.
- American Association of University Professors
This is a great resource for those interested in diving into the world of education; it is comprised of postsecondary teachers across the country.
- U.S. News Online Doctorate Programs An online directory with information on online education and schools offering online learning options.
How to Get Funding
Ph.D. students often have a multitude of opportunities for gaining financial assistance during their studies. Grants are one way of achieving this. Students submit an application explaining a project they’d like to run, which is generally part of their dissertation. If their proposals are accepted, students receive funding they do not have to pay back. Assistantships are another popular option for funding a Ph.D. Commonly, this is offered by the school one attends, but some private organizations also offer it. Ph.D. students who receive this funding often work where they receive their assistantship and get aid towards their studies in return.
- Federal Direct Stafford Loan. IT education Ph.D. students can apply for the Federal Direct Stafford Loan in order to gain financial assistance at a low-interest rate. They can receive as much as $20,500 annually at an interest rate of 6.8%.
- Federal Perkins Loan. Those Ph.D. students whose financial need is greater than most often qualify for the Federal Perkins Loan, which awards students with an average of $3,500 at a 5% fixed interest rate.
- Campus-Based Aid. Getting campus-based aid is also a popular route taken by Ph.D. students. Aid varies by school but you can consult your school’s financial aid office for aid options.
- Spend time doing your research to ensure a Ph.D. program is right for you. These programs take a lot of time and dedication. Consult someone with experience in a PH.D. program to gain a real-world perspective.
- Understand the program you decide on. Ensure that it will help you further your career.
- Be prepared to have your life revolve around your dissertation. This project is so detailed and involved that many Ph.D. students are forced to temporarily put their social lives on hold.
- Seek financial assistance, such as grants and assistantships. These are very common for Ph.D. students and help alleviate some of students’ financial burden.