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What Can I Do with a PhD in Education?

Earning a Ph.D. in Education can prepare you for work in a number of different fields both inside and outside of academia. Keep reading to find out more about what you can do with a Ph.D. in Education.

phd graduate

Career Possibilities

This article will cover fields relevant to earning a PhD in education, such as teaching, education research, administration, government and business.

Important Facts About These Careers

Postsecondary Teacher School Principal Training Manager
Median Annual Salary (2018) $78,470 $95,310 $111,340
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% growth 8% growth 10% growth
Key Skills Critical-thinking, resourcefulness, and interpersonal skills Decision-making, problem-solving, and leadership skills Communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills
Similar Occupations Anthropologist, Political Scientist, Sociologist School/Career Counselor, Special Education Teacher, Childcare Center Director Human Resource Manager, Training/Development Specialist, Compensation/Benefits Manager

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Careers in Teaching

Earning a Ph.D. in Education can lead to a teaching career at many colleges and universities. Teachers at the postsecondary level generally have doctoral degrees, especially those who work at 4-year universities. To teach at the university level, you'll need to be sufficiently trained to teach students and have experience in the subject area you're teaching.

Some doctoral degree programs in education offer specializations in such fields as curriculum design or instructional technology. Other programs also exist in specific fields, like mathematics.

Careers in Education Administration

If you earn a Ph.D. in Education, you can also pursue leadership positions in education administration. As an education administrator, your duties might include developing policies, training teachers and setting educational goals. You could serve as a school principal or superintendent at the elementary or high school levels. At colleges and universities, you might qualify to work as a dean, chief academic officer or provost. Be aware that some of these positions require practical experience as a teacher or state licensure. Additional job-specific training could be required as well.

Careers in Education Research

According to the U.S. Department of Education, education researchers ensure student safety and examine methods for evaluating students' progress. They may also study how to integrate technology into the classroom. The results of your dissertation, a common requirement for many Ph.D. programs, might help you find a career in educational research after earning your degree.

You might even use your educational research data to start a program. Some of the most effective after school, student support and literacy programs were started because of the evidence suggesting the need for their existence.

Careers Outside of Education

Doctoral education programs cover research methods, statistics, public policy, communications and other topics that can be valuable in a variety of other industries. You might be able to find a career influencing education policy with a government agency or lobbying group. In addition, you could pursue a career as a corporate trainer, helping large organizations educate employees.