What Can I Do With an Online Doctoral Degree Program in Education?

Professionals with an online doctoral degree in education can pursue careers as education administrators, instructional coordinators, academic counselors or postsecondary teachers. These positions generally require extensive academic qualifications. Read on to learn more about these career options.

Essential Information

An online doctoral degree in education can equip students for a variety of roles in elementary, secondary and postsecondary education. These programs often focus on curriculum and instruction, leadership, or policy issues within education. Both instructional and administrative positions often require this type of advanced education.

Important Facts About These Occupations

Education Administrators Academic Counselors Postsecondary Teachers
Key Skills Computer, interpersonal, and organizational skills Interpersonal and listening skills Critical-thinking, speaking, and writing skills
Work Environment Colleges and universities; usually full-time Colleges and career centers; usually full-time Colleges and universities; flexible schedules are common
Similar Occupations Human resources managers, postsecondary teachers High school teachers, human resources specialists Career and technical education teachers; postsecondary education administrators
Continuing Education Certification renewal often requires continuing education Certification renewal often requires continuing education None required

Education Administrators

An education administrator works in school districts, colleges, universities and learning centers and performs administrative tasks. Education administrators can manage school systems, classes or educational programs and often work with students and other educational professionals to create balanced curricula and meet school objectives. Common job titles include principal, assistant principal, academic officer, provost, dean, chairperson, university president, vice president and academic director.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most principals and administrators have to work full time, including in the summer (www.bls.gov). In 2014, there were approximately 175,100 postsecondary education administrators and 240,000 elementary, middle and high school principals employed in the United States.


Education administrators often have teaching experience, in addition to the master's or doctoral degree and administrative experience. The BLS notes that principals usually need to earn certification in order to work in a public school; however, private school principals usually don't need certification or licensure. Postsecondary education administrators don't need certification.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to the BLS, average job growth of 6% is expected for elementary, middle and high school principals from 2014-2024, while faster-than-average growth of 9% is expected for postsecondary administrators. The median annual salary in 2014 was $89,540 for principals and $88,390 for postsecondary administrators.

Academic Counselors

Academic counselors help students with school work by providing support systems, creating career and academic goals and helping students develop academically and personally. They can be responsible for administering academic and professional tests, diagnosing possible learning disorders and evaluating academic progress. According to the BLS, there were 273,400 school and career counselors employed in 2014. Schools at all levels of education use counseling services, so academic counselors can work in elementary schools, high schools and postsecondary institutions.


Many academic counseling positions only require a master's degree; however, a doctoral degree in education provides greater advancement opportunities. In addition to a doctoral degree, counselors are often required to have additional state licensure or certification.

Job Outlook and Salary

School and career counselor employment was expected to rise at an average rate of 8% over the 2014-2024 decade, according to the BLS. The BLS reported that the median annual salary for these counselors was $53,370 in 2014.

Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers, also known as professors, work at colleges, universities, vocational schools and other educational institutions beyond high school. College faculty members usually specialize in one subject area and often perform independent research studies outside of the university. They are responsible for creating course curriculums, giving assignments and tests, attending administrative meetings and evaluating academic performances. The BLS reports that many college faculty members are part-time or adjunct. In 2014, there were more than 1.3 million postsecondary teachers employed in the country.


A master's degree can be enough to get started in this profession. However, job prospects are best for those with experience in a specific field and advanced degrees, such as a doctoral degree in education.

Job Growth and Salary

According to the BLS, postsecondary teacher employment was expected to rise 13% over the 2014-2024 decade, although demand for specialties varies. The median wage for postsecondary teachers in general was $70,790 in 2014, though some specialties yield higher or lower wages.

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