Home Career Tips The benefits of an EdD over a Ph.D. for educational professionals

The benefits of an EdD over a Ph.D. for educational professionals

by Maurice A. Miller

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If you are considering pursuing a doctoral degree in education, you may be confused about which to choose—an EdD or a Ph.D.? You’re not the only one facing this dilemma. Many who have reached this point have had to weigh the pros and cons before deciding what was best for them. An EdD means Doctor of Education, while a Ph.D. stands for Doctor of Philosophy (in education). Both degrees are ideal for anyone looking to advance their careers in education, but they serve various career purposes. Before filling out that form online, knowing the difference between the two is crucial.

Difference between EdD and PhD

A Doctor of Education (EdD) is a professional degree for people considering educational leadership roles. These experts want to lead their organization and implement change there. EdD graduates work in non-profit, government, military, healthcare, private organizations, etc. The aim is to transform these organizations by implementing what they learned during their program.

The degree is practice-based, meaning practitioners are in the field doing real work with humans. Researchers in this field are more concerned with exploratory and qualitative research, data collection, and strategy development. They gather data, interview selected groups, observe, and develop strategies to help solve problems. The coursework focuses on managerial communications, educational leadership, and organizational behavior.

If you see yourself as a leader in your field, you need an EdD.

A Ph.D. in Education, on the other hand, is best suited for individuals who want to pursue a career in academia, especially at the university level. Studies here are more theoretical and analysis based. The research aims to contribute unique knowledge to a body of research and Ph.D. candidate’s research to reveal other areas of study yet to be explored. This approach aims to inspire change in society through their work.

People who aspire to become professors or obtain a tenure position choose a Ph.D. in Education as it is a prerequisite for these positions. Students in this program also focus on publishing original articles for journals, conferences, and books. They are also involved in teaching future educators.

An EdD is preferable for educational professionals between the two doctoral degrees in education. Although both degrees are ideal for educators hoping to reach the peak of their careers, they serve diverse purposes. Practitioner-based roles are available to professionals with an EdD since it is focused on applying research and theory to the workplace.

One of the significant benefits of enrolling in one of Rockhurst University’s EdD courses is that they are accessible and flexible, which is crucial considering that most students work. Upon admission, students take courses and complete projects that align with their interests. Upon entry, students take classes and complete tasks that align with their interests. Upon admission, students take courses and complete projects that align with their interests. Interested individuals in a Ph.D. or EdD program must first obtain a relevant bachelor’s or master’s degree as required by the school.

EdD career paths

Whether you do a Ph.D. or an EdD, there’s something for you in the labor market. However, not everyone is interested in research or teaching university students. Your passion for education could be more focused on leading your group, and that’s fine. You can still make an impact on the larger society with that. Have you considered EdD and are wondering about your career options? Many are out there, and the Bureau of Labor statistics backs up the salary figures. However, your salary range depends on your country and the organization’s size.

Below are eight possible career options for someone with a Doctor of Education.

Education administrator 

Education administrators do not teach in the classrooms but oversee the teaching and learning process at the educational institution where they work. Their job is to maintain high educational standards for admissions, academics, learning, development services, and all rules applicable to the school. They also oversee financial aid for students. These administrators may supervise research, extracurricular activities, and educational policies within the school. They may take on several roles, like the dean, provost, registrar, or vice-chancellor. These administrators collaborate with professors, junior lecturers, and other non-academic staff to ensure the academic session runs smoothly.

Training and development manager

Training and development management involves the directing, planning, and overseeing of education and learning in employees. This role entails instilling high standards of discipline in an organization. These people train and onboard new staff while disciplining erring ones. Training and development managers can be directors, managers, or other senior officers trained in the role. Organizations often hire people for this role to help management attain long-term organizational goals. There are no hard and fast rules for fitting into this role, but if you can train staff to improve productivity, you’re perfect for the job, and an EdD will equip you with that skill. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are great prospects for this role. It is projected to expand by 7% from 2021 to 2031.

HR director jobs

Most human resource jobs require one to have at least a master’s degree. This is because you’ll be dealing with many professionals. Therefore, it is best to be on par with them. Having a doctorate qualifies you even more strongly to be an HR director. Managing human assets is the core goal of any organization. Employees do not function on their own accord. They need guidance and a team to talk to should they experience problems. Whether it is a small or large corporation, the role of a human resource manager must be emphasized. The job description of HR is broad. However, they focus on recruitment, salary, benefits, the employee-organization relationship, reward systems, etc. The HR executive supports all aspects of the organization to ensure effective operations.

Instructional coordinator

Although instructional coordinators work mainly in educational institutions, they also function in private institutions. These coordinators can also work in the state and local government, managing the school system under their jurisdiction. They harmonize the school curricula and teaching standards while compelling all schools to meet them. They may also coordinate the implementation of new school programs, develop instructional materials, and assess the effectiveness of education within their organization.

Non-profit director jobs

A Doctor of Education can work with non-profit organizations outside a typical education or private organization setting. The non-profit director has a wide range of duties within the organization. Most non-profit organizations are involved with political action, education, and fundraising for charity. Generally, they exist for the good of society. The director of this organization coordinates other staff members so that their collective goals are met. People in this role manage information, people, education, and the organization’s processes. An EdD is your best bet if you want to lead a world-class non-profit organization one day.

Education technology 

Years ago, education was defined as the ability to read and write. Today, the definition has expanded to the ability to read, write, and compute. Modern educational programs are delivered mainly through electronic devices like laptops, desktops, mobile phones, etc. An educational technologist is employed to provide digital support in the educational sector. EdD graduates specializing in educational technology administer programs for organizations, businesses, and the schools for which they work. The salary is attractive, especially in developed countries, but it varies from position to position.

Leader in the armed services

EdD graduates can be recruited to become leaders in the armed services or training and development specialists. They are not limited to a specific branch of armed services. It works in both ways: they can either be civilians employed by the military or join the military full-time. Leaders in this sector are prepared to adapt to innovation and technology. They are responsible for the people assigned to them. The role allows one to execute educational programs within the given jurisdiction.

Chief academic officer 

A chief academic or education officer is responsible for achieving the organization’s goals. They supervise the training and re-training of staff. They also manage the activity, perform supervisory roles, direct team leaders, and head project teams. A doctorate in education prepares you to make your teaching more effective.

Education lobbyist 

Many political organizations rely on lobbyists and political scientists to manage regulatory and legal policies. An educational lobbyist works for the national or state government. They also work for other policy-making organizations. Lobbyists analyze educational policies and champion their outcomes at the federal and state levels. Their primary role includes advancing the interests of the institution where they work. Academic lobbyists are found in educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and private corporations.

Elementary, middle, or high school principal 

School principals oversee the overall operations of their schools. They manage teachers, non-teaching staff, curriculum programs, and school events, maintain a budget, keep the learning environment safe, foster community relations, etc. They also uphold educational and moral standards based on federal or state standards, hire teachers, and monitor students’ performance. Principals do not teach but can be promoted from leading to that position. In most cases, this position is open only to people with advanced degrees in education. Teaching experience is also a plus. The pay is attractive enough to raise your interest. With more new schools opening in the US, the BLS estimates that principal positions will grow 8% between 2030 and 2030.

The career opportunities with an EdD are limitless, but the ten listed above are the most popular. If you seek to work as a leader in a government agency, a Doctor of Education is the right fit for you. Read on for more help choosing an education degree.

Five expert tips for choosing between EdD and PhD

Advancing your career in education starts with getting a doctorate. Many schools offer diverse programs with pros and cons. There are plenty of factors to consider before deciding on the best one, as both Ph.D. and EdD doctoral degrees are useful for various purposes.

Before enrolling in either, consider the following:


Imagine your future for a second and ask yourself what you’d like to be doing. Where do you see yourself in five years? The answer to this question will help you choose between a Ph.D. and EdD. Are you passionate about teaching younger ones in the classroom and imparting knowledge? Do you prefer to impact people’s lives behind the scenes? Would you rather lead an organization? It is important to choose a career path that offers personal satisfaction. Sometimes, the remuneration for these jobs might be the significant reason for your choice. Allowing pay to motivate you into a career is also reasonable.

Explore possible career options.

While endless opportunities abound for graduates with a Doctor of Education, the same applies to a Ph.D. in Education. Both careers can be profitable, depending on what you make of your chances. However, you should thoroughly research the job opportunities available in your state regarding what each degree can offer. You can list your favorite jobs and see which degree corresponds. If it is more towards the side of a Ph.D., don’t ignore the inner voice telling you to go there. If it says otherwise, listen to it. Because these degrees are resource-, time-, and energy-consuming, you should take care of your choice.

Picture your daily life.

Considering most people who enroll in advanced degrees also have full-time jobs, the curriculum is often flexible. However, there’s a limit to this. Both programs require a lot of time investment (two years minimum), but this pays off in the long run.

The daily life of a Ph.D. student is filled with research. Their studies revolve around investigating theories and researching them. On the other hand, EdD programs involve the application of research. These students invest less time in research than their Ph.D. counterparts. They spend more time applying the knowledge from the class to solve professional challenges.

If you love research and can invest ample time in it, a Ph.D. in Education is best for you. If you’d rather apply the research knowledge from a Ph.D., an EdD is where you should be.

Compare the coursework

Programs in a Doctor of Education are challenging but different from Ph.D. programs. Ph.D. students focus on qualitative and quantitative research methods that equip them with the tools needed for research. They also write their dissertation, after which they sit for oral and written exams. These students are also researchers. The bulk of their coursework revolves around it. Ph.D. students often collaborate with a research faculty member on their research.

Because EdD students are future leaders, their course focuses on training them to view common problems from multiple perspectives. They are taught to think outside the box and contribute to meaningful conversations within the academic environment. This explains why they are considered for leadership positions in the education sector.

Consider the time spent.

Despite the career opportunities afforded by both degrees and their benefits in the long run, you should minimize the time spent getting your degree. A Ph.D. in Education takes four to six years, while EdD programs take two to three years. Although both can be completed while you have your full-time job, you may prefer to opt for the shorter option so that you can keep up with other commitments.

On the other hand, you may be confident about what you want from a Ph.D. in Education and don’t mind the duration. Some Ph.D. programs require a full-time commitment. The curriculum might be so intensive that you must take a work break. However, you might get a scholarship that caters to your tuition and basic needs, so you don’t need to work. Therefore, don’t let the time commitment discourage you if a Ph.D. in Education best suits your vision for your future.


Educational professionals have the option of a Ph.D. or an EdD. However, if you want to offer your expertise outside the school environment, it is best to choose an EdD. This career helps you see your organization as an educational institution where people must learn and unlearn. It also provides you with an opportunity to lead people. Further, advancing your career means better incentives and promotions. While focusing on your full-time job, you can enroll in an EdD on the side and complete it within three years.

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