In a country full of educators who pride themselves on lifelong learning, one would think getting an Education Doctorate Degree is a popular culminating option, yet only about 10% of us actually complete the degree. I’ve been wrestling with the idea of going back to school (again) for this purpose and wanted to write a post on the topic for anyone in a similar position. Here is what I've learned about the Ed.D while gathering data to inform my decision.
An Education Doctorate Degree is essentially a research-based degree. Unlike a Master's program, which covers topics with greater breadth such as Educational Leadership as a whole, this is more focused in nature. Focused on what? Focused on whatever topic in education that sparks your individual interest. Although core classes and some electives exist in most programs, the majority of the work will be self-directed towards a dissertation. I recommend selecting your dissertation topic carefully. Aim to develop a clear vision of what you’d like to research during the program and understand how the topic directly aligns with your career goals. This will set you up for success down the line.
Deciding if this is for you and whether or not to begin your studies at any particular point in life is a complex question. Here is a list of three "Pros and Concerns" that are guiding me through my decision process. Hopefully, it can help you navigate yours as well.
Pros of having an Ed.D Degree
Becoming an Author- many dissertations have been converted into book form. If you’ve ever wanted to write and publish your own book, the comprehensive research required during an Ed.D program could make that dream a reality.
Salary Benefits- if you get your Ed.D early in your career, you will likely make a return on your investment and profit as a teacher by moving up the salary scale. Administrators may or may not be compensated for this additional education (depending on your location and district).
Career Advancement- including an Ed.D on a resume will validate you as a highly qualified candidate for many jobs in higher education, administration, educational consulting, etc...
Concerns of an Ed.D Program
Heavy Workload- this degree will demand your attention and cut directly into your free time and weekends. Reading and writing assignments for an Ed.D will be ongoing. You will need to master time-management.
Expensive- depending on which college you attend, this degree will likely cost $35,000-$75,000. This is a large investment that must not be taken lightly.
Not Required- this degree is not necessary in order to move into administration at the K-12 level. MANY educators move up the ladder into administration without possession of this degree.
If you have an Ed.D, did the degree propel your career to new levels?
Please comment below. All opinions welcome.