At the doctorate level, the study of education goes beyond the basic training of education professionals. Online doctorate programs in professional studies in education guide teachers, administrators, and individuals in other educational careers in the development of advanced research skills. Such skills prepare these professionals for the advancement of their careers. Graduates from online doctoral programs in professional studies in education are well-versed in areas of curriculum design, educational policy, program assessments and research. Students enrolled in professional studies in education PhD programs online spend an average of three on their coursework, after which they take comprehensive examinations over their newly honed skills. Once the comprehensive examinations have been passed, students begin work on their dissertations, thorough research projects on a topic within the field of education. After an average of four years of enrollment, students then graduate from the program prepared to take on new positions as leaders in the educational system. Common jobs for students that have achieved their professional studies in education PhD online include superintendent, educational counselor, and consultant positions. With an advanced degree in professional studies in education, graduates use their critical thinking, statistical analysis and research skills to improve the field of education.
About Online PhD Programs in Professional Studies in Education
The curriculum for online doctorate degrees in professional studies in education is based upon the acquisition of advanced research skills that can be utilized to improve the educational system. With courses dedicated to exploring theories of learning and educational philosophies, students will graduate from the programs feeling prepared to tackle the complex challenges that arise within schools, school districts, and even within educational policy. Online PhD programs in professional studies in education provide most of the curriculum and coursework on the internet, which encourages an independent approach at learning. It’s not uncommon, however, for some programs, such as Capella University’s professional studies in education program, to require a brief series of residential symposiums during the course of a student’s enrollment. These symposiums are geared toward student networking and faculty involvement, and seek to keep students on track with their research pursuits. Aside from the residency component, students will use the internet for coursework, which covers advanced research and educational design, as indicated by the examples of Capella University’s online professional studies in education doctorate curriculum, outlined below.
- Educational Philosophy and Change. An exploration of the theories behind educational methods and structures, this course examines the rationale behind the employment of educational philosophies, as well as the ways in which such philosophies are – or should be – changed throughout time.
- The Future of Educational Institutions: Topics and Trends. As societal trends shift and new technological innovations emerge, so too do the structure and methodology of educational institutions. This course explores those trends, as well as current topics in educational organization and leadership.
- Professionalism in the 21st Century. The definition of professionalism has changed over time. As societal trends shift, so too do the guidelines of professional behavior. This course explores what it means it be a professional in this day and age, as well as ways for employers to encourage professionalism from their employees.
- Learning Theory and the Educational Process. Many theories, such as the theory of cognitive development or the social learning theory, fuel the methods used within the field of education. This course explores those theories and how they apply to contemporary educational practice.
- Foundations of Theory and Practice in Doctoral Studies. In pursuing an online PhD in professional studies in education, students go beyond basic comparisons of theories and their translations into practice, to a thorough examination at the crossroads between the two, why theories do or do not fully function in an educational environment, and how to improve upon applying theories to practice.
- Statistics for Educational Research I. Statistics play an important role in the assessment of curricula and educational programs. In this course, students learn to use statistics within their research, to better support their claims.
- Dissertation Coursework. Students will take a series of courses dedicated to research design and the construction of their dissertations.
Specializations and Concentrations:
There are many possibilities for concentrations for online doctoral degrees in professional studies in education, depending on students’ future career plans. Some online programs offer concurrent certificate programs in areas like college teaching or educational administration. Other programs give students the option of concentrating on consultation or educational statistics. The online professional studies in education PhD can be as specific as a student wishes, which provides a broad choice of future career options.
After the above coursework is complete, students are prepared to tackle the comprehensive examinations. These exams serve as a thorough review over all of the education theories, best practices, and research skills that students have learned during their online PhD professional studies in education coursework. The exam is usually written, sometimes with an oral component. Once students have passed the exam, they begin work on their dissertations. Dissertations serve as doctoral students’ contributions to research in professional studies in education, and are completed in written form. Past dissertations in the educational field include The Effectiveness of No Child Left Behind's Federal Tutoring Mandate by Juan Esteban Saavedra and “You Look On Us As Professional People:” New York City Teachers Union, School Administration, Teacher Education Programs and the Creation and Contestation of Professionalism in the Twentieth Century by Diana C. D'Amico. As education is a field that changes along with societal trends and expectations, there are always new possibilities for dissertation proposals.
Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Professional Studies in Education
Online doctoral programs in professional studies in education are a good choice for individuals with a keen interest in educational design, structure and policy. Students that are motivated to impact the system of education and enjoy using research-based methods to improve the educational field would also benefit from an online PhD in professional studies in education. Online PhD programs in professional studies in education are not for individuals that have no interest in learning theory or education philosophy. Pursuing an online doctorate in professional studies in education is a good option for the working student, as all coursework can be done at the student’s convenience, rather than at dedicated times on a physical campus, however such students must be available to take time off to attend the residency symposiums that most accredited programs require. As with coursework, most dissertation research can be completed away from the physical campus with the use of online resources and local libraries. However, some research topics within the field of education may require visits to schools, interactions with teachers, or other exposure to educational organizations. In these instances, students will work with their advisors to determine the best approach to their research, often petitioning local schools for their cooperation. Achieving professional studies in education doctorate degrees online is a very viable option for students, as the use of technology is very important in education, training, and students’ lives. Using technology as the medium for accessing coursework, research and assignments is very relevant to today’s societal climate, and will give students pursuing their online professional studies in education PhD from top online universities great experience with an important topic in the educational field.
Application & Admission Requirements
Individuals that apply to online PhD programs in professional studies in education should have a broad knowledge base of educational philosophy, research methods, and theories of learning. Previous coursework in child development and adult learning is also recommended. Online universities require the completion of a Masters degree prior to enrollment, in a field related to education. Online professional studies in education PhD programs usually require applicants to have maintained a 3.0 or better grade point average during their Masters programs. Some programs may also ask for two recommendation letters and GRE scores. It is not uncommon for schools to request a statement of purpose as well.
Career Options & Job Market
Online PhD professional studies in education graduates are well-equipped to tackle the school administrator positions, post-secondary teaching positions, and even consultant positions. Having an online doctorate in professional studies in education gives graduates the momentum they need to positively impact the educational system. Graduates often establish careers as superintendents, a “top executive” position as labeled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which averages $173,350 annually with an excellent job outlook., or other administrative positions, which average $89,990 with excellent job opportunities projected. The research skills that professional studies in education PhD online graduates harbor are widely sought after in professors, a position which averages $64,370 annually, and boasts employment growth. With many practical applications of online PhD degrees in professional studies in education, graduates have the ability to forge paths to the careers they desire.
Where to Find Information
- The Association of Teacher Educators. A professional association aimed at promoting teacher education.
- Independent Educational Consultants Association. A professional association for educational consultants that provides resources and professional development opportunities for its members.
- American Educational Research Journal A journal that provides studies and analyses of contemporary topics and issues within the educational field.
- Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics. A journal dedicated to educational and behavioral research and developments within the field.
How to Get Funding
Online courses tend to be more affordable that campus-based courses, but education expenses can add up quickly. Online universities usually charge by credit hour, but most courses are three to four credit hours, and these costs do not include registration fees and the price of books and other materials. Old Dominion University charges $379 per credit hour for their Teletechnet PhD program, while Capella charges $487 per credit hour for coursework. Capella has a residency requirement, while Old Dominion University only recommends campus visits. In light of all the expenses that students accumulate, applying for financial aid is a key part of the application process. Below is a list of financial resources for students seeking to earn their online PhD in professional studies in education.
- Dissertation Fellowships in Education Program. An fellowship awarded to dissertation research that shows potential for new contributions to the field of education.
- AERA Dissertation Grants Competition. Grants awarded to students that perform research aided at addressing contemporary issues in education.
- Senior Urban Education Research Fellowship. A research fellowship that promotes guidance for urban school systems.
- Joining a professional association can grant you access to resources and excellent opportunities for professional development, which will look excellent on an application for a professional studies in education program.
- Before selecting a program, it is helpful to talk to professors about their interests and research. This will give you insight into whether your educational interests will be best served in that program.
- Experience in education, administration, or research will make your resume stand out among your peers.
- If you have any questions about a particular PhD professional studies program, call the admissions department and ask. They are there to help you.