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15 Best Grad Schools with Online Doctorate in Educational Administration

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Updated: July 4, 2024, Reading time: 28 minutes

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Educational administrators serve a very important role in the higher education landscape. These professionals oversee teachers and ensure everything is running smoothly. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to increase by 4% by 2032. 

Having a master’s degree qualifies you to become an educational administrator in preschools through secondary schools. However, if you want to work in postsecondary institutions like colleges and universities, you typically need a doctorate. 

One of the best ways to earn a doctorate is online. This learning modality offers a flexible approach to higher education, often allowing you to work while studying. In this article, we will go over the 15 Best Online Doctorate in Educational Administration programs. 


Additional Resources:


Overview

Doctor of Educational Administration programs are designed for professionals who want to research themes related to educational leadership using a theoretical framework. It integrates a curriculum that helps doctoral students pursue leadership positions in education in state agencies, higher education institutions, colleges and universities, and offices or departments that conduct research or analyze public policy. Research technique, both quantitative and qualitative, is emphasized in a doctoral degree in Educational Administration.

Quick audio summary:

Methodology

Each of the online Doctorate in Educational Administration programs on our list stands out in the following academic qualities:

For more details, please read our Methodology.

Top 15 Online Doctoral Programs in Educational Administration

The University of Oklahoma

Doctor of Education in Education Administration

The University of Oklahoma offers one of the most flexible online EdD in Education Administration. Online students will learn from the same on-campus instructors from OU’s Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education. This program helps students advance in their careers and leadership roles by teaching them about current challenges in education. It prepares them to lead changes and equips them with the skills to make lasting improvements in educational organizations.

Features

Admission Requirements


Walden University

Walden University

EdD in Educational Administration and Leadership

K12 administrators who want to become more influential in transforming their educational organizations can consider Walden University’s EdD, which focuses on Educational Administration and Leadership. The best feature of this program is its 8-year maximum time frame. This allows students to remain enrolled in the dissertation/doctoral study course until their capstone project is finished and accepted. Students can also petition to extend the 8-year maximum time frame.

Features

Admission Requirements


University of Nebraska – Omaha

EdD in Educational Administration

Graduate-level professionals with educational and professional backgrounds in school leadership can qualify for the online EdD in Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska – Omaha. Most students can transfer previous graduate credits, which reduces the number of credits needed to earn the doctorate.

In addition to offering a top-notch online educational administration doctorate, UNO provides several student services dedicated to student success. Online students can use several of the school’s on-campus services, such as academic advising, financial aid, and networking opportunities.

Features

Admission Requirements


University of Kansas

University of Kansas - School of Education and Human Sciences

EdD in Educational Administration

Education professionals seeking credentials and eligibility for higher-level roles in Pre K–12 school districts can apply for a spot at the EdD in Educational Administration program offered online by the University of Kansas. Students will learn from a world-class faculty who are authorities in their subject. 

The curriculum of this program provides students with the underlying knowledge and educational policy formulation for effective instructional leadership. Graduates will be able to meet the requirements for state license endorsement in school district-level administration in the state.

Features

Admission Requirements


Ball State University

Ball State University

Doctorate of Education in Educational Administration and Supervision

Ball State University’s online EdD in Educational Administration and Supervision is designed for professionals seeking credentials to obtain a superintendent license in Indiana. This program aims to train teachers for high-level administrative positions in K–12 school systems, institutions of higher learning, and other educational organizations. 

In addition to offering an extensive online EdD in educational administration, Ball State is also known for providing online students with generous Graduate Assistantship opportunities. Although opportunities are limited, qualified students will have access to competitively awarded doctoral assistantship that waives their tuition, graduate course fees, and out-of-state fees.

Features

Admission Requirements


Pennsylvania Western University

Pennsylvania Western University - Global Online

Doctorate in Educational Administration and Leadership

PennWest’s Global Online Campus offers an online Doctorate in Educational Administration and Leadership program for seasoned education professionals seeking advanced knowledge. It has received national recognition from the Educational Leadership Constituent Council, approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

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Admission Requirements


Carson-Newman University

Carson-Newman University

EdD in Administrative Leadership

Carson-Newman University’s Doctor of Education offers an Administrative Leadership concentration for licensed teachers with master’s or education specialist degrees working full-time in an educational institution. The program’s coursework can be completed online or in a hybrid learning format, allowing full-time professionals to obtain advanced knowledge without leaving their current positions.

Doctoral candidates will learn advanced techniques for evaluating theory and research results for use in various educational contexts and learn strategies for carrying out original research. Candidates will also concentrate on developing the leadership abilities necessary to implement research-based change initiatives. Before moving on to the program’s research component, doctoral candidates must finish several courses and a qualifying exam. 

Features

Admission Requirements


Fordham University

Fordham University - Graduate School of Education

EdD in Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy

Fordham University offers one of the best online EdD in Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy. This program is designed to cater to working professionals who want to develop the abilities and knowledge for senior-level administrative positions in educational institutions. It is devoted to student success and advancing higher education at all levels by offering a curriculum that adheres to the best academic standards.

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Admission Requirements


The University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi

Educational Administration Doctorate

The University of Southern Mississippi’s online Doctorate in Educational Administration is accredited by the CAEP. It aims to provide educators with the necessary capabilities to become college and university administrators or other educational institutions. Prospective students should understand that students in the program study in cohorts, meaning they will progress through the curriculum together; there are no asynchronous classes.

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Admission Requirements


Indiana State University

Indiana State University

PhD in School Administration

Indiana State University offers a Ph.D. in School Administration tailored to fit the needs of working professionals; it can be completed in an online/hybrid learning format. This program is best suited for online learners who want to focus on running schools or educational systems that benefit students and teachers. The curriculum focuses on improving students’ attention to detail through statistical and policy analysis coursework.

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Admission Requirements


University of Florida

University of Florida - College of Education

Leadership in Educational Administration Doctorate

Students who want to study in a flexible learning environment while still being able to have immediate and direct interaction with peers and instructors can consider the University of Florida’s online EdD in Leadership in Educational Administration degree program. UFL’s EdD program uses an online learning format that blends asynchronous course content with synchronous online weekend meetings per semester for real-time interaction between peers and experts. This doctoral program, however, is not a principal preparation program.

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Admission Requirements


East Carolina University

East Carolina University

EdS in Education Administration and Supervision

East Carolina University’s online EdS in Education Administration and Supervision is best for doctoral candidates looking for an educational leadership online program with no required on-campus visits. 

Features

Admission Requirements


Capella University

Capella University

PhD in Leadership in Educational Administration

Capella University’s online Ph.D. in Leadership in Educational Administration is a top educational leadership program in the United States, offering flexible and self-paced online courses at low and affordable tuition rates. This online doctorate in educational leadership program offers a curriculum that develops students’ decision-making skills and abilities to lead schools utilizing administrative innovation. Graduates will be prepared to direct education from an administrative viewpoint at the local, district, or state level by combining specialized courses, residencies, and a dissertation.

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Admission Requirements


Liberty University

Liberty University

PhD in Educational Leadership

Liberty University’s PhD in Higher Education Administration offers an Educational Leadership concentration. Graduates will be qualified to pursue administrative positions in various contexts, including a college, university, business, or government. Doctoral candidates will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the historical and philosophical influences of administration, governance, and leadership in higher education institutions.

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Admission Requirements


Southern Nazarene University

Southern Nazarene University - Professional and Graduate Studies

EdD in Administration and Leadership

The EdD in Administration and Leadership is Southern Nazarene University’s first doctorate program. While relatively new, introduced in the spring of 2019, this doctorate program has proved its strengths to be included as one of the best educational leadership doctoral programs online. This online EdD incorporates a dissertation process that pushes students to become capable educational leaders who advance their fields of study and motivate significant change.

SNU has added more dissertation directors since the program’s inception to maintain a favorable and manageable student-to-director ratio. Throughout the research process, teachers interact with the students and provide them with individualized coaching and advice.

Features

Admission Requirements

Educational Administration Degree Overview

A degree in educational administration equips graduates with the information and abilities required for leadership positions in academic institutions such as colleges, universities, school districts, and schools. The main topics of an education administration program are the ideas, philosophies, and practices of educational leadership, administration, policy, and management. 

Doctoral degrees are terminal degrees that understand senior-level professions that have specific training required for the position. To help students tailor their coursework and obtain the necessary training for their particular field of interest, several online doctorates in educational administration offer concentrations/specializations, such as school superintendents, administrators in higher education, and decision-makers in education.

Graduate students enroll in core classes and electives in their areas of expertise and often pass a rigorous examination to show proficiency during a doctorate. Doctoral candidates often conduct research and/or prepare a dissertation after completing their studies. A practicum or internship is a common component of EdD programs to help students gain real-world experience.

Online doctorates in educational administrations use the same on-campus curriculum. Online degree graduates will have the same career opportunities as graduates from brick-and-mortar programs. They can hold the positions of superintendents and principals at the K–12 level. They may choose to serve as administrators in higher education or pursue research careers.

Common Coursework in Online Doctorate in Educational Administration Degree Programs

Doctor of educational administration focuses on equipping students with the required educational leadership, administration, research, and policy knowledge. Coursework of educational administration EdD and PhD programs will vary. 

The following are a few of the most common subject areas in doctorates in educational administration programs online. 

Curriculum Development and Evaluation

This course examines the methods used in creating, developing, and evaluating curricula. It addresses curricular models, teaching techniques, assessment procedures, and curriculum integration with academic standards and goals.

Data Analysis and Decision-Making

Students who complete this course can gather, evaluate, and understand data to make well-informed decisions. It addresses statistical analysis, research techniques, data-driven decision-making, and the application of data to enhance educational outcomes.

Educational Policy and Law

The laws, rules, and policies about education that affect educational institutions are examined in this course. Legislation governing education, equity, accountability, and the legal duties and rights of educational administration are some of the themes it covers

Ethical Leadership and Professional Ethics

The ethical problems and choices educational leaders must make are examined in this course. It discusses moral reasoning, professional ethics, ethical frameworks, and the duties of ethical administrators in education.

Leadership Theory and Practice

This course examines leadership theories and how they might be used in educational contexts. It addresses ethical leadership, decision-making, communication, and leadership styles.

Organizational Management and Change

The main topics of this course include organizational management principles and techniques in educational contexts, such as strategic planning, budgeting, resource allocation, personnel management, and change management.

Research Methods in Education

An overview of popular research methodologies for research in education is provided in this course. It covers data gathering methods, study design, quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, and data analysis.

Dissertation Research

Students often complete a substantial research project, like a dissertation, as the program’s capstone. This entails conducting original research, analyzing data, and presenting scholarly conclusions.

Common Specializations in Educational Administration

Students can frequently concentrate on particular subfields of interest in educational administration doctoral programs. Through specialization, students can broaden their knowledge and level of proficiency in a specific area of educational leadership. Although specialties may not be offered at all schools, the following specializations are frequently offered in doctoral programs in educational administration:

Curriculum and Instruction Leadership

The importance of leaders in curriculum creation, instructional design, and evaluation is emphasized by this specialty. It addresses issues including curriculum alignment, teaching techniques, evaluation procedures, and teacher professional development.

Educational Policy and Advocacy

The creation, evaluation, and application of educational policy are all topics covered by this concentration. Developing policies, promoting educational equity, and addressing social and systemic issues in education highlight educational leaders’ importance.

Educational Technology Leadership

This specialization examines how technology is used in educational settings and how leaders use technology to manage efforts. Instructional design, educational technology policy, digital learning environments, and technological leadership techniques are some of the subjects it addresses.

Higher Education Administration

People interested in holding leadership positions in colleges, universities, and other postsecondary educational institutions might consider this specialization. It covers higher education policy, governance, student affairs, enrollment management, academic administration, and institutional leadership.

K-12 School Leadership

The emphasis of this concentration is on educating educational leaders for administrative roles in K–12 institutions. It addresses curriculum development, school reform, human resource management, and community involvement.

Organizational Leadership and Change

This specialization focuses on organizational behavior, leadership theories, and change management in educational organizations. It covers subjects like directing initiatives for educational reform and corporate culture. It also covers strategic planning and transformational leadership.

Special Education Administration

This concentration focuses on preparing administrators to direct and oversee services and programs for special education. It addresses issues like individualized education plans (IEPs), special education law, inclusive education, program evaluation, and assistance for kids with disabilities.

These are just a few samples of typical specialties in doctoral programs in educational administration. Remember that different institutions may provide different specializations, and some programs offer unique or multidisciplinary specializations.

What Can I Do With an Online Doctorate in Educational Administration Degree?

What Can I Do With an Online Doctorate in Educational Administration Degree?

Education Policy Analyst or Researcher

Doctorate has open positions as an education policy analyst or researcher at several organizations, such as research, think tanks, and government agencies. You would investigate educational methods, examine laws and regulations, assess programs, and make suggestions based on the best available data.

Median Annual Wage: $98,717

School Principal

You can pursue leadership positions as a school principal with a doctorate in educational administration. In this role, you would manage personnel, develop and implement instructional programs, and foster a supportive learning environment for students. You would also oversee the everyday operations of a school.

Median Annual Wage: $96,696

Professor or Researcher in Higher Education

Higher education teaching and research are the most popular career paths for PhD graduates. You would conduct research, mentor students, teach classes, publish academic papers, and help improve the curriculum.

Median Annual Wage: $84,380

Nonprofit Leadership

Some people opt to hold executive positions in nonprofits that support education. These groups might focus on problems like educational reform, access to high-quality education, or educational equity. You would manage operations, create programs, push for legislative reforms, and raise money to further the organization’s goals as a nonprofit leader.

Median Annual Wage: $79,000

College or University Administrator

Deans of colleges or departments, admissions directors, registrars, or directors of student affairs are a few examples of these positions. In these roles, you would manage resources, execute policies, and promote students’ success in addition to overseeing particular divisions of the organization.

Median Annual Wage: $74,365

School District Administrator

Many PhDs in educational administration work in school district offices in various administrative capacities. These positions could be the director of curriculum and instruction, the director of special education, the director of human resources, or the superintendent. You would create policies, oversee budgets, work with stakeholders, and provide leadership and direction to numerous schools within the district in these jobs.

Median Annual Wage: $72,058

Educational Consultant

Doctoral graduates in educational administration frequently work alone or for consulting businesses. You can serve as a consultant to educational institutions, school districts, or governmental organizations by offering your knowledge and advice on various subjects, including strategic planning, leadership development, curriculum design, and data analysis.

Median Annual Wage: $66,205

These are a few of the most common employment opportunities for a doctorate in educational administration graduates. Your interests, abilities, area of specialization, and the demands of the education sector will all influence the specific prospects.

EdD vs PhD in Educational Administration

PhD and EdD programs have overlapping coursework and career options. However, both terminal degrees give their graduates an advantage over non-doctorate holders. These two degrees involve significant time commitments; however, a PhD may take longer.

EdD students study various leadership and educational philosophies and how education fits into society at large. They investigate local, state, federal, and international policy. They learn how to drive transformation in the educational system. Graduates of EdD programs can learn how to form strategic alliances and deepen relationships in the workplace.

On the other hand, PhD students put much more emphasis on data gathering and research techniques. Compared to EdD students, they often examine a more narrowly focused dissertation. PhD candidates frequently choose a certain field of study and then devote a significant amount of time to gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data to come to valid findings. 

Furthermore, PhD programs often explore education theory and practices to have them applied directly in the classroom, whereas EdDs focus on systemic progress and trends.

EdD and PhD programs focus on training professionals for various employment opportunities after graduation. Programs leading to a Ph.D. typically provide more options and specializations than programs leading to an EdD. While a Ph.D. is more focused on preparing graduates for instructional and research roles in education and higher education, such as professors and researchers, an EdD primarily prepares graduates to become leaders and strategists in the education field, such as school superintendents, deans, provosts, and school district officials.

While PhD programs are more narrowly focused on academic research, EdD programs only concentrate on educational organizations and institutions’ overall goals and strategies. You might think that someone with an EdD won’t be able to work as a professor in higher education settings or that Ph.D. graduates do not qualify as superintendents or deans. This is not the case at all. 

Both degrees ultimately allow degree holders to influence students’ lives and educational communities positively, and both degrees are connected to professionals who have attained leadership positions in the field of education.

Professional Associations in Education Administration

American Association of School Administrators (AASA)

The AASA is the top organization for school district administrators, including superintendents. They offer chances for networking, professional growth, advocacy, and research.

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

ASCD is a global organization that offers assistance to educators and administrators in the areas of leadership, curriculum, and instruction. Educational administrators gain access to books, resources, and professional development.

American Educational Research Association (AERA)

AERA is a research-focused organization that brings together academics, researchers, and educators to increase knowledge and encourage educational research. They publish publications, plan conferences, and provide tools for administrators and scholars in the field of education.

Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE)

CASE is a group that aids special education leaders and administrators. They provide information, advocacy, and professional development for special education administrators.

National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)

NAESP is committed to assisting principals and administrators in elementary and middle schools. They provide tools, opportunities for professional growth, and support for school leadership.

National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)

The mission of NASSP is to assist principals and administrators in middle and high schools. They offer tools, opportunities for professional growth, and support for secondary school leadership.

National Association of School Business Officials (ASBO)

Professionals in school business who manage the operational and financial facets of educational institutions are supported by ASBO. They offer materials, networking opportunities, and professional growth.

National School Boards Association (NSBA)

The NSBA represents school board members and offers tools, support, and chances for professional growth in educational leadership and governance.

Online Doctorate in Educational Administration - fact

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to earn a Doctorate in Educational Administration?

The typical length of a doctorate in educational administration takes three years to complete. Some programs offer an 8-year maximum time frame. 

Is an Educational Specialist Degree (EdS) a terminal degree?

Yes, a degree in education is a terminal degree. However, it is not valued as highly as a PhD or an EdD as a professional degree.

Do you need teaching experience to become a school administrator?

Before taking on administrative positions, most school administrators start as teachers. Before seeking a license as a school administrator, a principal may be required to obtain a teaching license in some states. Other administrative positions, however, do not necessitate academic training.

Key Takeaways

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