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Selecting the Correct Program: EdD vs. PhD in Education 

Selecting the Correct Program: EdD vs. PhD in Education

Choosing a degree program is a huge decision that can significantly impact your future career path. Before making this choice, it is essential to research and understand your options. An EdD focuses on leadership and strategy in education, while a PhD is more academically oriented. This article will explore both degrees and help you determine which one is the best fit for your career goals.

What is a PhD?

As a Ph.D. student, you can master the subject matter, hone your research skills, and advance theory on a passionate topic. This advanced degree also offers you credibility, professional mobility, and a chance to make your academic mark.

However, considering why you want to earn your Ph.D. before making this significant commitment is essential. It’s a long haul that requires years of work and the right motivation to see it through. Do it for the right reasons, and you’ll reap the rewards.

Unlike the EdD, a PhD is designed for candidates who want to conduct research and teach at the university level. Typically, you’ll study various topics and subjects related to your field. You’ll likely write a doctoral dissertation that adds to the body of knowledge in your study area.

Whether you choose an EdD or a PhD, both advanced degrees can help you become a leader in education. The difference between the two lies in your career goals, so choose wisely and prepare to embark on an exciting new chapter of your academic journey. 

What is an EdD?

The curriculum for an EdD is designed to prepare graduates to take on leadership roles within the field of education. It is a practical program with hands-on learning that teaches students how to spearhead organizational change.

EdD programs also introduce students to view a problem from multiple perspectives and apply research to solve it. It makes them an excellent option for working professionals who want to advance in their current position in the education industry, such as superintendents in a school district or college/university administrators.

Students who choose EdD online programs can also use their skills to work as consultants and research scholars in the private sector, including companies specializing in educational technology or textbook publishers. The degree can help working professionals gain leadership positions in non-educational industries like business or health care.

Students interested in conducting academic research and teaching at the university level should consider a Ph.D. This terminal degree is the most advanced in education, and it is a good choice for students who plan to pursue careers as college/university professors or research scholars who hope to publish their findings and teach future educators.

It is important to note that a Ph.D. in education can lead to the same career opportunities as an EdD. Still, it focuses more on academic research and theory than practical application.

What is the Difference Between the Two?

The decision to pursue either an EdD or PhD will ultimately come down to the type of career you want and the research focus you wish to take. While a Ph.D. may be a better option for those who want to become research professors, an EdD is more practitioner-focused and geared toward individuals who want to grow their leadership roles within their organizations.

In terms of time, an EdD program takes about 1.5 to 3 years on average to complete. Most students who earn an EdD work full-time while completing their degree and many online programs are designed with working professionals in mind. A PhD, on the other hand, is typically a 4- to 6-year program that requires you to attend full-time classes and perform extensive research to graduate.

While you can find online PhD programs that cater to working professionals, they are much more challenging to locate than those offered by on-campus schools. As you decide whether to pursue an EdD or a PhD, keep in mind that both are valuable for anyone who wants to impact the field of education significantly. Choosing the right program for your career goals will require some introspection. Still, with careful consideration, you’ll be on the path to becoming an influential leader in your expertise.

What is the Right Degree for Me?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer regarding which degree you should pursue. The right option for you depends on your career goals and the specific leadership role you want to take in education. If you’re interested in being a professor and conducting academic research, a Ph.D. is your ideal path.

However, an EdD may be better if you’re more interested in working in administration or policy development. An EdD program is more practically oriented and can help you take on leadership roles in schools, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. It also prepares you to apply research to real-world issues in education and improve organizational practices.

A PhD is more theoretical and can prepare you for academic teaching or research at a university. You can also use your PhD to become an expert in a particular field, such as education policy.

Regardless of which doctoral degree you choose, both offer significant benefits for your future professional career in the field of education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals with advanced degrees make significantly more money over their lifetimes than those with bachelor’s or master’s degrees.

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