Why This Matters


    A doctorate of education opens up many promising career paths. Pursue a position as a school principal, school superintendent, academic dean, college president, executive director, or another educational administrative leader.


    Because every community has a public school system, many positions are available for principals. In fact, there are 283,200 principal jobs in the United States.


    The average annual salary for someone with a doctor of education degree is $78,429. If you become a principal, superintendent, or college president, however, you could make well over six figures.

Our Research

We reviewed many Doctorate in Education degrees, including online, on-campus, and dual-mode programs. Online degree programs sometimes require a brief in-person component.

The degrees may be abbreviated as either EdD or DEd. While the EdD abbreviation is more common, there isn’t any material difference between the two, and both refer to doctorate in education programs.

All of the programs listed have regional accreditation, and many are also accredited by an education-specific body such as the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) or the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Attending an accredited program ensures the quality of the curriculum and the degree will be recognized.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 59 hours to write this article
  • 153 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 334 education programs we compared

The Top 37 Doctorate in Education Degree Programs

Best Doctorate in Education Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

While a doctorate in education is a doctoral degree, it shouldn’t be confused with a doctor of philosophy (PhD) program. EdD degrees are professional degrees for students who wish to pursue a career in educational leadership, usually at the administrative level. PhD degrees are research degrees and don’t include the same practical focus as EdD programs. PhDs may examine an educational topic, and graduates who complete PhD dissertations on educational topics mighty enter educational administrative roles; however, PhDs are academic research degrees.

Online doctor of education degrees can be completed mostly remotely, but they often have an in-person practicum. This may be done on campus or in an educational setting near you depending on the stipulations of a program. Make sure any in-person requirements fit with your schedule and budget.

Many students who enroll in these degree programs already have positions in educational settings (see eligibility below), and most programs can be pursued while working at a school. The coursework is often somewhat flexible and specifically designed to be completed while you’re actively engaged in education. Many classes may even have projects to implement where you’re working.

What’s Next?

Ask yourself these questions when considering doctorate in education degree programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Because these degrees have a practical focus, many require you to have experience in an educational setting before applying. You might not be able to apply immediately after completing a master’s program, and you might have to work as a teacher or in educational administration for a few years first. A master’s in education is also normally required.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? One major difference between EdD and PhD degrees is how long they take to complete. PhD degrees commonly require two years of schoolwork and a dissertation, which might take two to five years. All of the coursework for an EdD degree can usually be completed within three years.

Once you’ve identified a few programs that interested you, research the required admissions materials and deadlines. You can find this information on the program’s website or by contacting the program directly.

Financial aid might be available to help defray the cost of your doctoral degree. Fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and check to see if your employer offers tuition reimbursement.