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Ph.D. in Community College Leadership: Degree Program Overview

Students in a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Community College Leadership program study the influence of the college within a community. They also examine ways of enhancing a school's cultural diversity and broadening curricula.

Essential Information

Ph.D. programs in community college leadership help aspiring community college administrators and leaders build the strong communications and organizational skills they need to relate to and empathize with diverse groups of people. They also help students develop the problem-solving skills they will need to work effectively with faculty, students, and the general community population. In addition, students learn to collaborate with a school's teaching staff to formulate appropriate programs and curricula. Graduates are prepared for licensing as college administrators, which is a requirement in most states.

Most programs take at least three years to complete. Few U.S. universities offer Ph.D. programs for community college leaders, but those that do often offer hybrid programs that are mostly offered online, which some on-campus requirements, usually on weekends or in the summer. In order to apply, students must hold a master's degree in a related field and have completed prior coursework in student and business relations, statistics, and school administration. Applicants must also have several years of professional work experience in teaching or academic administration.


Ph.D. in Community College Leadership

The curriculum for most Ph.D. programs in community college leadership includes group and individual projects, a professional internship, portfolio and dissertation. Some common classes include:

  • Program and syllabus development
  • Fiscal responsibility
  • Faculty and student relations
  • Cultural and community engagement
  • Legal issues and ethical practices
  • Workforce assessment and training demands

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a projected an increase in job opportunities for postsecondary education administrators of 9% between 2014 and 2024. Postsecondary education administrators at junior colleges earned an average income of $88,990 as of May 2015, and administrators at technical and trade schools earned an average of $79,900. Student body demographic and geographic region affect wages. Community college administrators typically receive generous benefits including paid leave, health insurance, retirement packages and paid tuition for themselves and their family members.

Continuing Education and Licensure Information

While each state has its own criteria, college administrators are generally required to be licensed. Continuing education is typically not required, though educational pursuits and professional workshops can be found through organizations like NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the Association of College Administration Professionals. These organizations offer networking conferences, mentoring events and volunteer opportunities for members.

In conclusion, a Ph.D. in community college leadership can prepare students for administrative positions through advanced interdisciplinary studies. This is the terminal degree in the field, but graduates may need to earn licensure and can benefit from voluntary continuing education opportunities.


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