An online PhD in professional studies in education can lead to a rewarding and fulfilling career that spans a wide range of disciplines and opportunities by building on the prior education, training and experience of education professionals, consultants and researchers seeking to broaden their careers. Professionals with backgrounds in education who are seeking an online PhD in professional studies in education will need experience in their chosen concentration, such as education principles, child development, psychology, and even state and federal guidelines depending upon the specific field of interest. The majority of the top online doctoral programs in professional studies in education require a master’s degree. Some of the master’s degrees that are best suited for pursuing an online doctorate in professional studies in education are a Master of education, Master of child development or child education, or Master of school administration. Completing an online doctorate degree in professional studies in education can take from as little as two years to four years to finish. Most online doctoral programs in professional studies in education do allow for certain credit transfers. The PhD in Education with a specialization in professional studies currently being offered online at Capella University, for example, allows up to 48 transferred credits.
About Online PhD Programs in Professional Studies in Education
Online doctoral programs are usually more interactive than traditional courses. PhD candidates are expected to participate in weekly discussion boards, group projects, study scholarly readings, and write lengthy papers. In addition to course work, professional studies in education doctoral students conduct in-depth research within their area of interest and write a dissertation reporting the findings and discussing future implications. Education processes, learning theories, advanced research techniques, and critical thinking are some of the core subjects covered in most online doctorate degree in professional studies programs. Once these principles are mastered, doctoral candidates will move on to the specific subject areas pertinent to their field of interest. Specializations in professional studies in education include educational research, educational statistics, school administration, school board administration, educational policy and educational consultant.
- Foundations of Theory and Practice in Doctoral Studies. In this introductory course offered by Capella University’s Phd in Education with a specialization in professional studies program, students are introduced to topics specific to professional studies and begin to put into practice the academic developmental and behavioral competencies within the context of their specialization.
- Educational Research Methods. In this course, students explore the quantitative and qualitative research methodologies often used in educational research by examining strategies for designing specific, appropriate and feasible research questions.
- Educational Philosophy and Change. Students examine the philosophical foundations, ideologies and theories that have influenced the development of educational philosophy and practices in the United States.
- The Future of Educational Institutions: Topics and Trends. Students explore both the theory and practice of changing educational institutions to meet future needs.
- Advanced Qualitative Research. This course focuses on the major qualitative research designs and their applications to educational research as well as the ability to frame problems and issues as research topics and identify effective approaches to reporting research results.
- Statistics for Educational Research. Students learn to apply statistical analyses and examine statistical concepts including descriptive statistics, normal distribution, sampling probability, and sampling distribution.
- Professionalism in the 21st Century. In this course, students are trained to develop foundational understanding and skills of professionalism and examine the major historical, ethical, sociocultural, and theoretical perspectives that have contributed to current multidisciplinary models and definitions of professionalism.
- Theory and Methods of Educating Adults. Students examine the ways race, ethnicity, class, gender, ability and other forms of diversity impact the theory and practice of adult education.
- Learning Theory and the Educational Process. Students explore the major behaviorist and cognitive learning theories and associated concepts such as memory and motivation.
In addition to these courses, the best online PhD programs in professional studies in education require a doctoral comprehensive examination as well as up to twenty credits of dissertation research courses. Most online PhD programs in professional studies in education have a residency or on-campus requirement. As part of its residency requirement, Capella University students in education programs online must attend three four-day colloquia seminars. At these colloquium seminars, students can interact with faculty and peers and take part in self-reflection exercises, research and critical thinking activities, and a final assessment. An example of a dissertation is College and Cultural Diversity: A Global Language Arts Perspective. Another example is Supervisors’ Perceptions on Using Course Management Software During Business Education Student Teaching Experiences.
Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Professional Studies in Education
In the education field, earning advanced level degrees online has become more accepted and widespread. There is less of a stigma in online education than there was a decade ago. By earning a PhD in professional studies in education with a specialization, you increase your chances of securing a high level position in higher education, business, nonprofit organizations, the military, health care or government. One of the major advantages of a PhD in professional studies is the specializations it offers, giving postgraduates a specific area of expertise that can prove appealing to potential employers. Benefits for these high level positions are excellent, including 4 or 5 weeks of vacation time every year, health insurance benefits, and pension packages. The value of a PhD in professional studies in education may be better for obtaining jobs at the postsecondary level than at the K-12 level. This is due to the fact that earning this degree does not guarantee teacher licensure or your state’s other requirements. Therefore, it is crucial to contact your school district for more information about state, city or district requirements before you pursue the doctoral degree. It is also important to know your other degree options, as your career goals may only require a graduate certificate or a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) instead.
Application & Admission Requirements
The best online PhD programs in professional studies in education, such as Capella University’s online PhD program in education with a specialization in professional studies program, expect applicants to have a master’s degree from an institution accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Applicants must also submit a completed application, official postsecondary transcripts, and have maintained a 3.0 cumulative GPA from their master’s degree program. Applicants must have three years of licensed teaching experience and must submit a Licensure Disclosure and Responsibilities Acknowledgement as well as a Certification of Teaching Experience form. Other programs may require GRE scores, a detailed résumé or curriculum vitae, and recommendation letters from current and previous employers.
Career Options & Job Market
Earning an online PhD in professional studies in education can lead to rewarding career opportunities in the field of education such as becoming an education administrator, educational counselor, K-12 teacher, or postsecondary instructor. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, postsecondary school administrators earned a median annual wage of $80,670 in 2008, while elementary and secondary school administrators had a median annual wage of $83,880. It is important to note that salaries are dependent on the school’s location, school district and level of enrollment. Another high demand career opportunity is an education counselor, who typically earns between $44,000 and $57,800 a year at the elementary, secondary and postsecondary level. Professors in universities tend to bring in more than other occupations with $70,000 to $90,000 a year, while most post-secondary educators typically earn between $40,000 and $80,000 per year. The demand for K-12 educators is expected to increase by about thirteen percent by 2018, with the most common earnings in the $40,000 to $50,000 per year range, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Where to Find Information
- NCATE, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
- National Education Association
- Teacher Education Accreditation Council
- More information about the PhD in Education with a specialization in professional studies offered at Capella University
How to Get Funding
Tuition at Capella University for its professional studies online PhD program is currently $4,485 per quarter for coursework, and $3,945 per quarter for dissertation courses. Capella offers financial aid for students who fill out a FAFSA yearly. Applicants can also apply for scholarships and fellowships from professional organizations, such as Phi Delta Kappa International, who offer multiple scholarship and fellowship opportunities for professional studies in education PhD candidates who are also members. Another option is finding out whether your employer is able or willing to handle your tuition expenses. Scholarships.com offers more information on available scholarships for education students.
- Helene Krivosha School of Education Scholarship. Doctoral students are eligible for this need-based scholarship that awards $5,000 which is evenly distributed over 4 consecutive quarters. The scholarship is offered only once a year.
- Phi Delta Kappa Graduate Fellowships in Educational Leadership. PhD candidates who are members of PDK International are eligible for a number of fellowships and scholarships such as the Donald H. and Verna S. Duncan Fellowship, Past President Emery Stoops Fellowship, the Memorial-Howard Soule Fellowship and many more.
- TEACH Grant. Funded by the United States Department of Education, TEACH Grant provides up to $4,000 per year to graduate students enrolled in a TEACH Grant Program.
- Weigh your options and do the research. You’ll need to know for sure whether an additional degree will increase your earning potential more than a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a similar field would.
- Try to obtain a scholarship, fellowship or grant. Studying at a PhD level is costly, and you may not be able to predict how many years it will take you to complete it.
- Talk to current doctoral candidates and graduates in online doctoral education programs about course load, time management, what admission materials they submitted, and so on. This is the best way to learn if the program is right for you.
- Check the school’s credentials. Once you find a program, make sure it is accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the United States Department of Education.