The curricula of Ph.D. programs in educational administration include research and practical coursework. Practical coursework includes topics in leadership, curriculum development and program evaluation. The capstone requirement for a Ph.D. program is a doctoral dissertation. Students research an approved topic in educational administration and complete their dissertation during the second half of their program. Once the work has been completed, analyzed and written up, students defend their dissertations in front of a doctoral committee. They must also pass a comprehensive examination before they graduate. While Ph.D. programs do not always have a set curriculum, they often have a time frame in which students must complete all requirements.
In order to apply, prospective students must have a bachelor's and/or master's degree. Some programs also require applicants to have teaching experience or state certification as a principal. In addition, they must submit standardized test scores and meet minimum GPA requirements.
Ph.D in Educational Administration
Some doctoral programs in educational administration offer concentrations in a specific education level, such as elementary, secondary or postsecondary. Some course topics may include:
- Education psychology
- Educational research
- Management of educational agencies
- Educational curriculum
Popular Career Options
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that most educational administrators work in schools, although other employment opportunities may be available in government organizations and educational support services (http://www.bls.gov). Many positions require these professionals to interact with teachers, administrative personnel and government employees. Job titles may vary, but some possibilities include:
- Admissions director
- Academic affairs dean
- College president
- Assistant principal
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The BLS estimates that employment from 2019 to 2029 will increase 4% for elementary, middle and high school principals. Post-secondary education administrator growth is also projected at 4% over the same period. According to May 2020 salary data from the BLS, elementary and secondary school education administrators earned median annual wages of $98,490. This was slightly more than the $97,500 median annual salary for postsecondary education administrators.
The BLS indicates that most states require licensure for principals, child care directors and preschool center directors. While the licensing standards vary by state, typical requirements include experience, a certain level of education and the completion of a mentorship program. In some states, the standards vary by administrative position and individuals must meet new requirements for advancement. Continuing education may be required.
By taking advanced classes in education and conducting in-depth research in a specific interest area, students gain the expertise they need for high-level administrative positions.