What Can You Do With a PhD in Educational Psychology?

May 31, 2020

A PhD in educational psychology deepens prospective graduates' knowledge of educational psychology, development and learning models of cognition learning, and survey research and design. This article will discuss some potential career options for those with such a degree, along with their job growth and median salary information.

PhD in Educational Psychology Jobs/Salary

Job Title Median Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals $96,400 4%
Psychometrician $82,597 (2020)** 14% (for all Psychologists)
Postsecondary Education Administrators $95,410 7%
Postsecondary Education Teachers $65,510 8%
Instructional Coordinators $66,290 6%

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

PhD in Educational Psychology Careers


Psychometricians spend the majority of their time developing, reviewing, and administering tests designed to evaluate an individual's psychological attributes. These same tests can be used later to alter a school's curriculum to better fit the students and encourage higher test scores. Additionally, they might create tests that will be administered at educational institutions and may even assist schools in developing career aptitude assessments. Those with a PhD in educational psychology will have a good understanding of how to create tests that will accurately answer the questions being posed, making them well prepared for this career.

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

Elementary, middle, and high school principals manage their respective schools. Their duties can range from setting up meetings with teachers and parents to discuss a particular student's behavior and performance to overseeing the scheduling of classes and the discipline of students. Additionally, they conduct performance evaluations of teachers and help to set up the school's curriculum. Though only a master's is required for such a position, having a PhD will allow job candidates to stand apart from those who do not. Additionally, their PhD will give them a deep understanding of the human psyche, allowing them to come up with more effective learning environments and disciplinary measures.

Postsecondary Education Professors

Postsecondary professors who teach education courses introduce future educators to various teaching techniques. Furthermore, they teach the different ways that people learn and work to foster an understanding of what methods of teaching should be used in a given situation. They also educate students on how to create courses and class syllabi in an effective manner. Having a PhD will not only allow recent graduates to teach at the highest levels, but it will also open the door to independent research opportunities in the field of education down the road.

Postsecondary Education Administrators

Postsecondary education administrators can lend their services in a wide range of departments within educational institutions from admissions to student affairs. Postsecondary education administrators who work in student affairs provide advice for students on personal or academic issues. They develop and oversee non-academic programs for students and schedule services and events for them. Though a PhD isn't required, having that level of education will help improve a candidate's odds of employment. Additionally, PhD graduates will have a good understanding of how and why students behave the way they do in certain learning environments, allowing them to select spaces that facilitate a healthy learning experience.

Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators work with educational institutions to develop a well-rounded curriculum. They collect and examine student test data and evaluate potential educational materials like textbooks. In addition, these same individuals set up and conduct teacher training workshops and instruct teachers on how to implement a new curriculum. While only a master's is required, having a PhD ensures that prospective job seekers have a wide breadth of knowledge on the subject of education.

Having a PhD in educational psychology will give graduates who wish to work in the field of education the necessary tools and skills to shape educational institutions and improve the performance of both teachers and students. Through their coursework and hands-on experience in the classroom, graduates will be qualified for many jobs, including as psychometricians and postsecondary education administrators.

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