What Careers Are Available in Education Research?

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in education research. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and licensure information. Schools offering Education Assessment & Evaluation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does an Education Research Career Involve?

Careers in education research include postsecondary teachers and instructional coordinators. Postsecondary teachers conduct research in a particular area of expertise, such as science or humanities. In addition, they teach classes for undergraduates and serve as research mentors for graduate students. Instructional coordinators investigate the effectiveness of current school programs. Based on their findings, they create curricula and instructional materials, and they work with teachers and principals to implement improvement strategies.

The following table provides information about educational requirements, salary, and job growth in these fields.

Postsecondary Teacher Instructional Coordinator
Degree Required Master's degree, doctoral degree Master's degree
Training Required Teaching or research experience could be required Several years of work experience in a related field
Licensure Certification, licensure, or registration may be required if the occupation taught requires itLicensure may be required to work in public schools
Job Growth (2014-2024) 13%* 7%*
Median Salary (2015) $61,560* $62,270*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Research Jobs

You could work for a postsecondary institution, research firm, education board or government agency. As a professor of education, you might teach classes, conduct research and publish your findings in books or peer-reviewed journals. Research areas might include curriculum improvement, teacher education or teaching English as a second language. Education professors may collaborate with other instructors from university departments of psychology, sociology or political science.

You could work as a director or assistant director of research at a university or research firm. As a director of research, you might oversee a team of researchers and develop research directives. You may also be responsible for implementing research strategies, publishing articles in scholarly journals and attending or speaking at industry conferences. Additional job titles in this field might include research specialist, instructional coordinator or director of student assessment.

Get Your Degree

Most research positions require a doctorate; in some cases, a master's degree may be sufficient. Additionally, many employers in education research prefer job candidates with teaching experience or a significant body of professional research. You could pursue a Master of Arts in Education, a Doctor of Philosophy in Education or a Doctor of Education. Many programs will allow you to select a specialization, such as higher education administration, language and literacy or education leadership. You could also specialize in educational change, curriculum development or educational psychology.

Potential topics of study might include quantitative and qualitative research, educational policy, applied statistics and theories of learning. Master's programs usually culminate in a thesis and take 2-3 years to complete. Doctoral degrees can be finished in 4-6 years and often require completion of a dissertation.

How Much Can I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary teachers earned a median annual salary of $61,560 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). During the same year, instructional coordinators made a median annual wage of $62,270.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Another high-level job in the field of education is a school principal. These professionals oversee the operations of a school, including staff supervision, budget management and curriculum implementation. For this job, you need to have a master's degree and a license to work in a public school. Another option if you are interested in both education and academic research is a career as a curator or museum director. They design museum exhibits, hold educational events for the public and oversee the institution's research projects. You need to have a master's degree to get this job.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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