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Online Doctorate Degrees in Teaching: Program Information

Get info about online doctoral degree programs in teaching. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Teachers or other individuals aspiring to high-level positions in education, such as principal, superintendent or college instructor, could find a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree helpful or necessary. Several schools offer online Doctor of Education degree programs with a concentration in teaching.

For graduates interested in teaching, state teacher licensing requirements must be met. These usually include, in addition to degrees, completion of a teacher training program and passing a general knowledge examination. Public school administrators may need an administrator's license. Students should check with their state department of education to make sure that online degree programs meet state standards. Some schools allow bachelor's degree-holders to enroll, though most applicants need to have earned a master's degree.

Many of doctorate programs in education include teaching assistantships within the program that could provide financial assistance as well as classroom experience. Some programs also include campus residencies.

Learning Environment

For online instruction, students generally only need a computer and Internet access. Programs blend traditional textbooks with online materials and presentations to create a virtual classroom. Some courses could also include streaming video lectures or real-time conferencing.

Some schools require short, on-campus participation to establish residency, and students may complete teaching assistantships.

Common Coursework

Courses may include research methodology, statistics, research design and qualitative methods. Many programs allow students to specialize in areas including curriculum development, leadership or literacy education. A dissertation is usually required. Candidates participate in independent and guided research to complete their dissertation projects.

Historical Overview of Education

This course looks as the educational system from an historical and philosophical perspective. Students look at past and current trends in public, private and religious educational systems. Discussions extract successful classical theories and principles of education for modern interpretation.

Contemporary Curriculum and Instructional Strategies

Students identify successful teaching strategies and philosophies and analyze modern educational course materials used in U.S. schools. The course focuses on developing and implementing curricula that meet acceptable scholastic standards. Course topics evaluate the effectiveness of the design and delivery of curricula in order to make necessary, effective changes.

Foundations of Effective Teaching and Learning

Students study modern theories and models used by working teachers. Topics explore the concepts of student motivation, learning aptitude, self-assessment and the influence of social, emotional and cultural variables.


Career Information

Graduates with an Ed.D. degree in education qualify for a number of careers in education, such as principal, dean, director of student activities and college professor. College and university teachers don't usually require any credentials other than a doctorate degree. However, teachers and administrators that work in public elementary, middle and secondary schools must obtain state licensure. Earning a doctorate degree satisfies educational requirements, though states commonly require education professionals to pass one or more licensing examinations.

Continuing Education

Licensed teachers and administrators must often earn continuing education credit to renew a state license. Professionals can usually participate in classroom, seminar and teaching conference activities to satisfy the requirement. Teachers seeking career advancement into administration might need to take an additional state licensure test to obtain an education administrator endorsement.

Experienced teachers who want to advance to administrative positions may consider earning an online Ed.D. in Education. Over the course of these distance learning programs, students take advanced classes that cover historical trends and current challenges within the field, and they have the opportunity to conduct independent research leading to a final dissertation.

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