Doctor of Education: Instructional Leadership Degree Overview

In Doctor of Education in Instructional Leadership programs, students develop original educational, organizational and leadership research projects. Therefore, these programs combine practical application experiences with theoretical research.

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Essential Information

The Doctor of Education is a professional and research doctoral qualification and is the highest degree awarded in the field of education. In order to apply, students will need a master's degree in the field, and perhaps experience as a teacher or administrator, depending on the program.

Instructional leadership programs in particular are designed to train candidates to assume leadership positions in educational settings. While taking courses, completion of a research project and/or dissertation is required.


Doctorate of Education in Instructional Leadership

A Doctorate of Education in Instructional Leadership degree program, also available as an educational leadership program, is designed for teachers or administrators who wish to advance to roles in directing curriculum choices, managing faculty or staff or providing administration in an academic setting. Some common course topics include:

  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Educational law and ethics
  • Educational leadership theory
  • Emerging technologies in education
  • Financial management in education
  • Theory and design of curriculum

Popular Career Options

Instructional leadership programs can train principals and other administrators to promote student learning. Educational administrators work in public school districts or private schools, directing either aspects of educational programs or the schools as a whole. Common career options for those with an Ed.D. in Instructional Leadership include:

  • School principal
  • Higher education administrator
  • Department or program administrator

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, elementary, middle and high school principals were projected to see a 4% growth in employment from 2018 to 2028, which is on par with the national average. The median annual wage for these workers in May 2018 was $95,310.

Licensure Information

The Ed.D. is considered a terminal degree. Many states require principals to go through a licensing process that may involve education to at least the master's degree level. Further, in some states principals may also be required to take specific courses or a licensing test. Other administrators are not generally subject to these requirements, though this may vary by state.

If you are a student with a master's degree in education or a related field, and would like to pursue a career as a principal or education administrator, a Doctor of Education degree is often essential. Some programs are also designed for current teachers or education administrators who would like to advance their educational careers.

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