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EdD and PhD in Education Jobs and Career Paths

Drexel University School of Education

PhD vs. EdD 

Though the EdD and PhD in Education are similar in form, they’re fundamentally different in function. Both the EdD and Phd degrees allow you to develop your abilities as an educator and to pursue a wide range of career opportunities with high earning potential. However, with a different emphasis in curriculum, the EdD and PhD, differ significantly in the range of career paths that graduates are ready to pursue.

Interested in learning more about career opportunities and jobs in education with an EdD or PhD requirement? Request more information about Drexel University School of Education’s educational programs.

What does it mean to have a doctor of Education (EDD)? 

Careers with a doctorate in education range from leadership positions in schools to careers in corporate, government and non-profit settings. A common question when students are thinking about an EdD is, “can you be a professor with an EdD”? The short answer to this question is yes, although a PhD may be a better fit for those who wish to become a professor at a college or university. An EdD is ideal for those who are practitioners looking to grow within their company. For example, a teacher or school principal wishing to become a superintendent may find Drexel’s EdD in Educational Leadership and Management with a Superintendent Letter of Eligibility to be the right degree for them. Alternatively, a manager within a company looking to grow into a c-suite executive or Chief Learning Officer position may benefit from an EdD with a concentration in Human Resource Development.

What can you do with a doctorate in education?

EdD programs tend to focus on learning about the management of large and complex organizations. This curriculum prepares EdD graduates to take on a wide range of administrative positions inside and outside of academia, with varying salaries.

Doctor in Education (EdD) Salary and Career Opportunities

With an emphasis on leadership roles, and the experience of working with cultural diversity in the classroom, a doctorate in education (EdD) prepares you to work in a number of different positions, with Doctor of Education salary varying by position. These positions include, but aren’t limited to:

  • school superintendent
  • policy maker
  • curriculum director
  • chief learning officer
  • education administrator
  • training and development manager

School Principal

Though students often think of principals as a chief disciplinarian, school principals are actually responsible for overseeing virtually every aspect of a school’s operation. From evaluating teachers to managing the budget, principals work to improve student outcomes in a multidimensional way.

The average salary for a school principal varies between $80,329 for elementary school and $89,882 for high school positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median pay for a school principal (without specifying between elementary, secondary education, or high school) is $98,490.

Education Administrator

For a number of reasons, an education administrator is one of the best PhD in educational leadership jobs. Someone in this position is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of a school.

The role requires developing a vision for the future of the school and implementing programs to help keep that vision running on track.

Salary varies depending on the educational level instructed. According to PayScale the average salary for an education administrator is $69,508, however according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, education administrators for elementary and secondary schools have a mean annual wage of $98,750.

Training and Development Manager

Individuals in the education field need to continue learning throughout their career. A training and development manager is someone who evaluates an organization’s future and present needs for training. They might create or update existing training programs, with videos, web content, instruction manuals, and similar educational training resources. They may also directly oversee the training of staff, making them one of the most hands-on variety of doctor of education jobs.

According to PayScale, the average salary for a training & development manager is $77,507. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median pay for a training and development manager as substantially higher at $115,640.

Chief Learning Officer

Every business, non-profit group, and educational institution will have their own unique goals, resources, and talent on staff. A chief learning officer is someone who formulates the strategy, responsible for directing the goals and policies of their institution. Similar to a training and development manager, the chief learning officer is responsible for disseminating knowledge, keeping things under budget, and a number of similar administrative tasks.

According to PayScale, the average salary for a chief learning officer is $155,551, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites the median pay at $115,640.

EdD Career Frequently Asked Questions

Can I become a professor with an EdD?

Individuals with an EdD can become a professor at a college or university, but they typically also have several years of work experience. For instance, a superintendent of a school district may retire and become a professor of education at a university. It is recommended that if your career goal is to become a professor, that you pursue a PhD degree. A PhD degree includes a curriculum that is steeped in research, which is what a professor would be doing when they are not teaching courses.

Do I have to come to campus to complete my EdD?

At Drexel University, the online EdD program can be completed without ever coming to campus. Students can take all their courses online and conduct their dissertation research remotely. EdD students can also defend their dissertation remotely. It is quite common for students to only come to campus for their commencement ceremony to receive their doctoral hood from their professor and be recognized on stage, however, this is also not required.

What does it mean to have a PhD in education?

A PhD in Education is an advanced degree that teaches students various qualitative and quantitative research theory and techniques. The curriculum involves formal courses along with professional research and other activities. Students work closely with a supervising professor as they conduct their dissertation research. A PhD in Education typically prepares students for careers as a professor or researcher in education, although the core research principles taught in the program can apply to other fields in the private and public sectors.

PhD in Education Salary and Careers Opportunities

What can you do with a PhD in education? PhD programs are usually best suited to people who want to teach or research. Having a mastery of their subject and finely-honed research skills, a PhD graduate is a scholar capable of training new scholars. Though focused on teaching and research, the PhD in Education actually provides access to a diverse range of career options inside and outside of academia.

University Professor

Professors are teachers for college-level students. Usually specializing in one field, such as law or biology, a university professor is responsible for instructing students. They are educators who have a mastery of understanding over the importance of diversity in the classroom and use it to educate students from a wide variety of backgrounds. Depending on their focus and career track, professors are also usually involved with research or publishing.

The salary of a university professor varies widely, depending on area of expertise, and whether working in an adjunct or tenure track position. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median pay for this position is $80,790, but according to PayScale, university professors have an average salary of $88,445.

College President

In addition to sharing many responsibilities with school principals, a college president is the chief fundraiser of their institution. They work to raise the profile of their institution and work closely with other administrators to find better ways of supporting their students. Similar to a chief learning officer, the president has a vision for their school, and works to develop that vision.

According to PayScale, the average salary for a college president is $155,616. But there are significant differences in salary between public and private institutions. Conversely, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a postsecondary education administrator enjoys a median salary of $97,500.


An educational researcher leverages their knowledge of the educational field and designs academic programs that assist schools and universities to devise curriculum and measure student progress. They work with faculty to devise a measurable process for programs, identifying inefficiencies and working to develop the skills of faculty to give students a more robust educational experience.

Additionally, they can advocate for research projects that can help a university to determine new programs to add. Universities will add new programs in order to meet changing demands within academia and the workforce thus preparing students for existing or emerging career paths.

According to Glassdoor, university researchers earn an average salary of $57,000, although some can command an annual salary of up to $89,000.

PhD in Education Frequently Asked Questions

Can I earn a PhD while working full-time?

At Drexel, we offer two paths in our PhD in Education program. We have a paid full-time program and a part-time program. In the full-time program, students take courses and work within their department of study. Students receive a stipend to help pay for their living expenses while in the program. The part-time program is geared towards working professionals who want to earn a PhD, but do not want to give up their jobs. Students in this track take courses in the evening and online and pay tuition. Students in the part-time PhD program may be eligible for financial aid and scholarships to help cover the cost of their education.

Can I apply my PhD to careers outside education?

A PhD in education opens the doors to many careers both in and outside of education. Students with a PhD can apply their knowledge of research to almost any company or organization that is looking to solve complex problems. Careers outside education include Chief Knowledge Officer, Chief of Staff, Researcher, and more.

Which is Better, PhD or EdD in Education?

While not one degree is “better” than the other, the bigger question is “which degree, PhD or EdD in Education, is better for you.” Visit our EdD Vs PhD page to learn more about the similarities and differences between the two programs. You can also visit our Doctoral Programs page to learn more about the curriculum and format of Drexel EdD and PhD programs, or you can Request More Information from us.