Online Educational Leadership Doctorate

Educational Leadership PhD and EdD by Distance Learning

Consider online educational leadership doctorate programs if your goal is to work in scholarly, administrative, or leadership positions at various educational institutions.

This includes primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools, as well as colleges, universities, community and technical colleges, and non-profit or government agencies.

Depending on your specific goals, you can choose an online educational leadership doctorate program leading to either a PhD or EdD (educational doctorate). While there is some overlap, the PhD degree is geared more toward scholarship and research in the educational leadership field.

An EdD is designed for learners who want to primarily become leaders at educational institutions.

Who would benefit from an educational leadership doctorate?

You are a good candidate for this program if you:

  • are a teacher or educator in the university or college setting seeking to develop additional competencies to support your role.
  • have masters in educational leadership or related field and want to advance your knowledge of educational leadership and administration. Some universities offer the degree at the Educational Specialist (EdS) level.
  • are seeking a collaborative setting where you can interact with, and learn from, other higher education leaders.
  • are currently working in higher education or teaching, and are interested in taking on leadership and administrative roles in an educational institution.
  • want to attain skills to move into an educational capacity in a variety of other government and non-profit agencies.

Upon graduation, you will be well prepared for the increasingly challenging leadership roles and able to apply your knowledge and skills to support education in a variety of settings.

Online educational leadership doctorate requirements

To apply for online educational leadership doctorate program, you will require a minimum of a masters degree. Some programs may allow admittance with only a bachelor's degree, but would require one take additional preparatory classes prior to beginning the doctoral coursework.

Both the PhD and EdD programs require a dissertation written about an area of interest related to educational leadership. The PhD degree may require a more intensive dissertation process, along with additional seminars and research requirements.

Some online programs may also require a limited amount of on-campus attendance in order to satisfy the degree requirements.

You may choose to focus your online PhD or EdD leadership doctoral program in many areas such as educational leadership or administration in K-12 or higher education, adult and continuing education, law as it relates to post-secondary education, organizational leadership among other specializations.

Featured Colleges offering Online Educational Leadership Doctorates

Walden University

  • PhD in Education - KAM-based - Adult Education Leadership
  • PhD in Education - KAM-based - Community College Leadership
  • PhD in Education - KAM-based - K-12 Education Leadership
  • PhD in Education - Mixed-Model - Adult Education Leadership
  • PhD in Education - Mixed-Model - Community College Leadership
  • PhD in Education - Mixed-Model - K-12 Education Leadership
  • PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision
  • Doctor of Education - Administrator Leadership for Teaching & Learning
  • Doctor of Education - Higher Education Leadership
  • Doctor of Education - Teacher Leadership
  • Ed.S. in Administrator Leadership for Teaching and Learning
  • Ed.S. in Educational Leadership & Administration (Principal Preparation)
  • Ed.S. in Teacher Leadership
  • PhD in Education - Course-based - Leadership, Policy & Change

Northcentral University

  • Ph.D. in Education - Educational Leadership
  • Ph.D. in Education - Higher Education Leadership
  • Ph.D. in Education - Instructional Leadership
  • Ph.D. in Education - Organizational Leadership
  • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Higher Education Leadership
  • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Instructional Leadership
  • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Educational Leadership
  • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Organizational Leadership

Capella University

  • PhD - Leadership in Educational Administration
  • PhD - Special Education Leadership
  • Education Specialist (EdS) - Leadership in Educational Administration

Grand Canyon University

  • Doctor of Education(Ed.D) in Organizational Leadership - K-12 Leadership
  • Doctor of Education(Ed.D) in Organizational Leadership - Higher Education Leadership
  • PhD in Organizational Leadership - Special Education

University of Phoenix

  • Doctorate in Education - Educational Leadership
  • Doctorate in Education - Educational Leadership/Educational Technology

Didn't find your ideal program? search more schools with online doctoral programs

Why pursue a doctorate through distance learning?

As a terminal degree, the PhD or EdD is the peak of advancement in the educational leadership field that many people in education aspire to attain.

  • Flexible learning - if you're a professional, an online educational leadership doctorate allows you to reach your educational goals while you're busy working. Through a rigorous, distance-based learning environment, you can achieve a career-changing doctorate by studying during the hours that fit your schedule.
  • Build a supportive learning community - many online programs are also designed in a cohort fashion, which encourages the same group of students to move through the program together. Each cohort brings together professionals with varied backgrounds, providing a richer learning environment.
  • Varied learning styles - the geographically diverse nature of online learning is balanced using proven technologies that solidify the educational environment. Students learn through a variety of online tools, including presentations, lectures, and audio conferences. Students will continue to read off-line on their own time, but many of the resources may be provided electronically through the school's library.

As you consider earning a leadership or educational administration doctorate, check that the school or program is accredited through a credible regional or national organization. Some schools also have additional program accreditation, such as the Teacher Education Accrediting Council. Accreditation is a sign that the school or program adheres to rigorous educational standards. It assures that your diploma will be respected in the industry.

What will you study?

The coursework that makes up online educational leadership programs is generally offered in the context of graduates leading from within an educational institution.

Throughout a doctoral leadership program, students gain an expanded knowledge of issues that affect educational organizations such as organizational leadership, decision-making, design and implementation of instruction, teaching and learning, student affairs, politics and policy and law. Programs may also include experiential practicum that provide a more in-depth study of the real-life educational world.

Programs expand students' expertise in areas such as financial management, problem solving, planning, and change management. The programs also underscore the importance of promoting diversity and access at all educational institutions.

Careers options

An online educational doctorate prepares graduates for prominent scholarly, administrative, and leadership roles in various educational institutions as well as non-profit and government agencies. At higher education institutions, graduates often obtain mid- or senior-level positions, including student affairs, alumni and development, athletics, and housing and residence life. The job outlook for education administrators is expected to be excellent due to retirements and a decrease in the number of applications, according to BLS.

Those graduating with a PhD, or an EdD with an extensive research component can continue their scholarly endeavors through research and teaching at the university and college level, although various non-profits and government agencies may also support independent research of issues and topics related to educational leadership.

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