Career Options & Opportunities With an EdD Degree

Career Options & Opportunities With an EdD Degree
The Editorial Team May 27, 2020

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A Doctor of Education, or EdD, degree is a common choice for people who want to advance their career in education. In some ways, it’s similar to a PhD in Education, but while the PhD is focused on theoretical knowledge, an EdD is a practical course that concentrates on skills that can resolve problems in the education sector.

Graduates of EdD programs are considered thought leaders in education. They have leadership roles at all levels of education and work to implement changes that positively impact the community. However, the education industry is not the only destination for EdD students. There are career opportunities in the government, corporate, and nonprofit worlds.

Understanding possible career paths and how a doctorate can impact your career is the first step in deciding if an EdD is right for you.

How Does a Doctorate Degree Impact Potential Earnings?

Teachers are usually drawn to the career by a desire to share their passion for learning with young people instead of its earning potential. But that doesn’t mean money is inconsequential. After all, even teachers have bills to pay.

It’s difficult to define how much a person with an EdD will earn, as there are many career paths open to graduates. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that people with higher degrees earn more over the course of their careers. In terms of weekly wages, those with a master’s degree earned an average of $1,434 in 2018, but a doctorate degree raises that average to $1,825. One study found that over a lifetime someone with a doctorate can earn $3.25 million — around $1 million more than those with a master’s degree.

What Is the Career Outlook for People With an EdD?

Again, the career outlook for people with an EdD depends largely on the jobs they pursue. In general, most education careers have higher-than-average expected job growth due to population growth, a focus on quality learning, and people retiring from their education roles.

People with higher degrees also have lower unemployment rates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ figures from 2018 show that those with a bachelor’s degree have an unemployment rate of 2.2% while those with a master’s have a rate of 2.1%. People with a doctorate have an unemployment rate of just 1.6%, meaning that an EdD can help students find secure employment.

Career Options in Higher Education

The higher education sector is a popular destination for people who have completed an EdD program. There are around 17 million students enrolled in post-secondary education in the USA, and 4,000 degree granting institutions, including colleges, universities, and community colleges. These institutions welcome employees with the skills and practical experience to implement positive changes.

Although this is a more common career path for people with a PhD in Education, some EdD graduates go on to become professors, guiding the new generation of teachers and focusing on research in education. The BLS expects an 11% growth in post-secondary teacher positions from 2018-2028, and the average salary is around $79,500.

Deans are senior administrators at colleges and universities. These roles include faculty and budget management, strategic planning, and fundraising. Deans also help guide an institution’s research and academic goals and play a big part in fostering student development. Deans are post-secondary education administrators, a job sector which is expected to grow 7% from 2018-2028. Their average salary is $95,400.

Some EdD graduates go on to become presidents of colleges, community colleges, and universities. People in these positions can help guide the direction of entire institutions. There are a limited number of these positions, but it’s an admirable goal that allows a person to make a difference in the lives of countless students.

Career Options in K-12 Sector

Education for K-12 students is also a large sector, with 54 million students across the United States. Often people pursue an EdD so they can improve the education system in their own schools or districts.

Many EdD graduates go on to become principals at elementary, middle, and high schools. Principals oversee all school operations and help develop an environment where students can learn safely. Job growth is expected to be 4% from 2018-2028, and the average salary is $96,400.

Graduates looking to influence a greater number of students may look at a school superintendent role. Superintendents work with school boards to establish a district’s goals and develop and implement policies and strategies to achieve them. The average salary for the role is around $118,000.

Nonprofit Career Opportunities

People with an EdD can find opportunities in the nonprofit sector, especially in organizations that focus on education. Graduates who move into this sector use their knowledge to advance educational causes at the local, national, and international levels.

A career as an education lobbyist is one way that graduates can help reshape the future of education. Lobbyists work for many different institutions, including schools and universities, and work to influence policies and legislation. Some graduates take positions as nonprofit directors. These roles include many of the responsibilities of top executives, such as managing budgets, strategic planning, and establishing the organization’s goals and policies. Wages for people in the nonprofit sector can vary widely but may be lower than similar positions in the corporate world due to restricted budgets.

Other Career Opportunities

The skills gained in an EdD are highly sought after, and graduates may be surprised at the variety of positions open to them. Experts in education are needed in many sectors to ensure staff are well-trained. For example, chief learning officers can be found in both the military and the corporate world.

Some positions also span across the entire education sector. Curriculum specialists are a good example of this. This role is perfect for people who want to influence the way students learn, and job opportunities are available from preK to postsecondary schools.

An EdD can give a boost to any teacher’s career, especially those who want to move into leadership positions. It also lets you pursue your passion and make a difference in the lives of students and communities as you help shape the future of education.


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