Suppose you, like many other motivated professionals, are interested in further improving your skills and seeking advanced career opportunities. How would you achieve that? Well, although a great deal of learning and improvement comes from work experiences, you should also consider investing in developing your knowledge and abilities through academic degrees.

For education professionals, one of the primary paths towards advancing their career, improving salary, and developing the skills required for leadership roles in our evolving society is earning a Doctoral Degree in Education (EdD).

Before you decide whether this would be the ideal next step for you, let’s go through some questions you might have in mind. What is an EdD? How is it different from Ph.D. programs? What can you do with this degree? Read on as we provide you with all the necessary information to help you determine whether a doctoral degree in education should be your next addition to the resume.

What Is a Doctoral Degree In Education (EdD)?

A Doctoral Degree in Education (EdD) is a professional doctorate designed to help experienced practitioners, senior-level workers, or even mid-level professionals develop their leadership skills further and obtain specialized knowledge regarding their area of concentration. As a practice-based program, the EdD equips candidates with the necessary academic and practical skills to manage their duties regardless of whether they work in higher education institutions, kindergartens, government, or military organizations.

Generally, EdD programs require students to accumulate around 60 credit hours which, typically, with a full-time program, you can complete in three years. However, the exact length can vary depending on what study mode you pursue.

In addition, a vast majority of EdD contenders have work responsibilities outside of the program they are completing, so most institutions provide flexibility in schedule that can further contribute to a difference in the period during which students complete the program.

The curriculum of EdD programs typically encompasses courses related to strategic planning and data-informed decision making, educational history, politics, and policy of American education, organizational change, leadership theory, applying research and theory in practice, and many other subjects.

To make the most of your doctoral degree, you can choose a specialization that aligns with your career goals and aspirations. Some of the many options you can choose from include:

  • Educational Administration and Leadership
  • Community College Leadership
  • Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
  • Higher Education and Adult Learning
  • Higher Education Leadership and Management
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Educational Technology
  • Reading, Literacy, and Assessment
  • Special Education

Why Get an EdD?


If you are seeking leadership positions in your field of work, then a doctoral degree in education is a must. Not only will you enhance the skills required for advanced career positions, but you will also seek better compensation for your work and meet people who can aid you throughout your professional journey.

Career advancement opportunities

Institutions are continually looking for well-informed professionals on the latest research and advancements in their field of study. So, when applying for a position or seeking promotion, professionals like you who have dedicated their time towards further improving themselves for the role will have the edge over those who only have undergraduate or master’s degrees.

Once you obtain an EdD, you will be among the most educated professionals in your field of study and enrich your resume to demonstrate that you are fit to succeed in high-level positions. The employers will acknowledge that you are equipped with the latest educational and leadership information plus the skills needed to design programs or policies and manage higher job positions, thus providing career advancement opportunities.

Enhancing management skills

The EdD program’s curriculum tackles various subjects related to management, which help you improve your leadership abilities. Through the courses of these doctoral degrees, you will enhance your management skills by exploring educational theories related to organizational leadership in combination with developing your problem-solving and analytical thinking skills.

The management skills you acquire with a doctoral degree in education are essential for any academic leadership position but do not forget that they are also transferable to numerous other careers.

Higher incomings

As mentioned, doctoral degrees in education aim to equip professionals with the skills and knowledge for academic leadership roles. Therefore, a significant benefit of obtaining such a degree is the lucrative job positions you will be eligible for.

According to BLS reports, professionals with a doctoral degree earn more than $90,000 per year. Their stats also show that the average salary of professionals with EdD is much higher than those with a master’s, bachelor’s, or associate degree.

Professionals with a doctoral degree earn around $1885 weekly, those with a master’s degree around $1545 per week, professionals with a bachelor’s earn about $1305 each week, and those with an associate degree earn a median weekly salary $938.


With each educational program you pursue, you create more opportunities for meeting professionals that help broaden your network. Nowadays, having people who can refer you to jobs, help with career advice and overall support is important to succeeding in any field.

While obtaining your EdD, you will profit from building your network of experienced professors and fellow students, seeking to advance in their careers, as well as the alumni of the college you attend and many other professionals you might not otherwise have had any contact with.

What Can You Do with an EdD Degree?

The more effort you put into improving yourself professionally, the more career opportunities you will have. A doctoral degree in education will open many doors to excellent career choices for which you would be a good fit and most likely succeed in.

Some of the many job positions you will be eligible for due to your EdD include:

Postsecondary Education Administrator

As a postsecondary education administrator, you would be responsible for supervising student activities, research conducted within the institution, and the overall academics. The average salary for this position is $66,075 per year.

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When working as a professor, your primary responsibility is to teach and guide students. Other duties in your role include evaluating the students’ work, preparing teaching materials, assigning tasks, conducting seminars, etc. The average salary for professors is estimated to be $114,111 per year.

Chief Learning Officer

CLOs are responsible for managing learning in a company. They deal with implementing various methods and strategies within the institution they are working, providing knowledge and enhancement of skills to the other workers. The average salary of chief learning officers is $76,877 per year.

Chief Academic Officer

As a CAO, your responsibility would be to oversee the university’s academic program, supervise the student recruitment process, and administer excellent educational experiences in accordance with the institution’s financial objectives. The average salary of chief academic officers is $132,882 per year.

Academic Dean

When in the position of the academic dean, you would be responsible for supervising and managing all the academic and administrative operations within a specific department of the educational institution. The average salary of academic deans is $97,602 per year.

What Is the Difference Between an EdD and a Ph.D.?

Another option for terminal degrees in educational leadership is Ph.D., so there is often confusion about the difference between EdD vs. Ph.D. Although they both offer a deep dive into the field of your studies, there are still many differences between these two options.

One of the first differences we can notice is that EdDs are designed to focus on the practical aspect of leadership. In contrast, a Ph.D. is concentrated more on the theoretical part. Although many of the course subjects students follow in the two programs overlap, the EdD trains students as practitioners while PhDs prepare students for careers as scholars.

A noteworthy difference also lies in the length of each degree program. EdD programs require 60 credits earned in approximately three years, whereas Ph.D. programs demand 90 credits and can often take more than four years to complete.

Remember that both degrees are excellent options, and you can significantly benefit from whichever one you choose. So when it comes to picking between EdD vs. Ph.D., simply think about your career goals and how they align with each program.

To sum everything up, a doctoral degree in education is the key to extraordinary leadership opportunities. So, if you’re interested in a career that blends the educational field with leadership, then a doctoral degree in education may be the ideal step for you.

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