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Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership

Earning a Doctor of Education degree in leadership can further advance your career in the education field. Learn what courses you can expect to take, online availability, and requirements to earn a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree, along with possible career options.

What Courses Will I Take?

The Ed.D. program includes theoretical management classes as well as practical application classes. Classes in leadership, finance and law are included as well. You can take research methods or qualitative analysis courses as part of this degree. Topics of study include:

  • Strategic action plans
  • Statistical methods
  • Business law
  • Ethics
  • Personal development and leadership

Common Courses Stategic action plans, business law, ethics
Difference in Degrees Ed.D.: studying of practices in education field, with practical application. Experienced based
Ph.D.: Research based.
Online Availability Hybrid availability
Possible Careers Educational organization management
Median Salary (2018)$94,340 (Postsecondary Education Administrators)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)10% growth (Postsecondary Education Administrators)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What is the Difference between an Ed.D. and a Ph.D.?

A Doctor of Education degree or Ed.D. is based on a study of educational practices. In your Ed.D. thesis, you might write about studies based on local school populations or the application of research to a real population. With the Doctor of Philosophy or Ph.D., you would be more likely to do straight research with less practical application.

You might earn a Ph.D. if you want to be a college professor. If you're interested in supervisory roles in K-12 education, an Ed.D. degree might be a better choice for you.

Organizational leadership may be listed as a sub-specialty within the overall educational leadership category. On paper, the two categories are very similar. Some people believe that an organizational leadership degree would be more suitable for an industry other than education. However, the available programs have very similar coursework in many areas.

Can I Get This Degree Online?

Many of these programs are designed for schoolteachers who are free in the summer. Online hybrid programs commonly require you to attend for a week (usually in the summer) or for a limited period of time. Some programs have you attend several in-person Saturday classes. The degree programs follow the university's regular academic calendar, and work must be completed within specified time frames.

Some also require a mentored practicum or an internship that can be done locally if necessary. Since this degree tends to be offered to working professionals, the practicum and internship can often be done in your current job. The experience can be tailored to experiences in teaching, administration or any areas related to organizational leadership. A practicum could involve establishing a complete registration schedule for a school year, setting up a comprehensive training schedule, or participating in an accreditation process. For someone in other industries, it might be evaluating a training program or conducting survey research to measure educational effectiveness.

Not all programs require a practicum. Some schools instead allow you to work with a group of other doctoral students on a specific project. The students must work together at the same pace, usually doing statistical research on a specific educational process or method.

What Can I Do With the Degree?

If you are interested in a career managing an educational organization, this degree can help you meet that goal. Both schools and industrial training departments require managers with leadership and organizational skills. This degree can be a bridge between educational institutions and industrial organizations.

According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, educational leadership jobs are expected to grow at faster than the average rate between 2016 and 2026. Finding a job in this field should be easier because there have been an increase in post-secondary education enrollments. Leadership work in the corporate setting has a better outlook than the average for all other kinds of work.

Salaries for organizational leadership jobs may be similar whether the employer is a school or a business. For example, educational administrators in postsecondary schools (colleges and universities) had a median annual wage of $94,340 in 2018 (www.bls.gov). Training and development managers for non-educational industry had a median annual wage of $111,340 for the same period.