A career in education offers reliable employment opportunities and is described by practitioners in the field as highly rewarding. Educators who earn their PhD can opt to become teachers of teachers in universities and colleges, or they can enter into administrative positions.
In addition to a broad concentration such as teaching, general education, educational technology or educational leadership, most programs require candidates to choose a sub-specialization for their dissertation.
PhD students intricately investigate the core issues in modern education such as problem definition, data collection, analysis, and interpretation. The four common concentrations for intensive study are curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, special education and leisure, youth and human services.
Specific coursework depends on each student’s academic track, but the common goal of all doctoral programs is furthering new developments in the field of education. Through passionate engagement with the research process, candidates emerge as true experts on their dissertation topics. Students already holding their masters degree will have to complete less formalized study during their PhD program. To complete the doctoral degree, students must formally present and defend their dissertations. Since many teachers opt to pursue their doctorate while continuing to work full-time in education, online degree programs can be an attractive educational path.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), students aspiring to be a principal, school district administrator, university department head or chief academic officer should pursue a PhD in Education for optimal career opportunities. Depending on a student’s skill set, other potential paths include consulting or working for a private think tank researching educational topics. Other PhD degree holds may opt to serve in governmental positions or capitalize on their authority and write freelance articles or books in their area of research.
Salaries for people with a PhD in Education average $72,000. In some parts of the country administrators and counselors earn between $100,000 and $200,000. PhD holders who enter academia may not earn the highest salaries, but university teaching provides other perks not found in K-12 education like sabbaticals, tenure track and shorter work weeks. Professors in higher education earn a median yearly salary of $64,000 in Florida and $70,000 in California. Even more exciting for students interested in obtaining their PhD in Education is that the BLS projects that the demand for postsecondary instructors will increase over the next seven years.
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