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EdD vs. PhD in Education: Differences, Benefits & More

Drexel University School of Education

Doctor of Education (EdD) vs. PhD in Education

Earning an advanced degree can be both a life achievement and an effective tool for career advancement. But even with closely related areas, like the EdD vs PhD in education, you can find more than a few significant differences.

Broadly speaking, the EdD vs PhD comparison comes down to only a few core concepts. The EdD is focused on individuals who want to apply their knowledge to practice, while the PhD is more focused on research. However, learning more about the distinction between the two can help you find the program that most closely aligns with your goals.

What is a Doctor of Education Degree?

The Doctor of Education (EdD) is degree oriented towards professionals who want to learn to leverage educational leadership skills. Combining both research and application, the EdD is applicable to a broad range of industries inside and outside of the world of education. In other words, this degree aims at creating highly experienced educators who want to bring productive changes to an organization.

Exactly how long does it take to earn an EdD in education? Specifics vary between programs and the students who take them. Some institutions offer two-year full-time programs, while others have three-to-five-year part-time programs. Obtaining an EdD also requires a residency, which is included within that time frame.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GETTING AN EDD?

The benefits of a doctorate degree in education are as varied as the career potential this specialization offers. Graduates learn to influence educational policy, affecting positive change from the top. An advanced education degree can help you stay competitive in your field while preparing you for a variety of administrative roles.

Your dissertation also gives you an opportunity to explore a targeted area of interest and learn strategies for addressing social challenges. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with a doctoral degree in the field earn an average salary that approaches six figures.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH AN EDD DEGREE?

The EdD aims to create scholars who are ready to put their erudition into practice. They are prepared for a variety of leadership roles in schools, government agencies, and both the for-profit and non-profit sectors.

Program concentrations make it possible to focus your EdD further. For example, the EdD in Educational Leadership and Management prepares leaders for management specifically, while a Sports Leadership EdD would focus on improving education within athletic communities. You can find many types of concentrations, including those in education policy, administration, innovation, leadership, global education, and other key areas in education.

HOW DO I GET A DOCTORATE OF EDUCATION?

If you are wondering how to become a doctor of education, the first step to earning an EdD is to get a master's degree in education or an equally appropriate field. GPA requirements are most often 3.0 or higher. Depending on your concentration, you may find additional requirements, such as specific entrance exams. In many cases, you can also earn the same EdD degree both online and on-campus.

What is a PhD in Education?

As the highest degree you can receive in the field, the PhD in education qualifies you primarily for research and teaching positions. Students learn to identify gaps in existing research, contextually interpret relevant literature for posing new hypotheses, and produce new original research. Part-time programs typically take around four years to complete, while full-time programs take three years. Unlike the EdD, the PhD doesn't require a residency.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GETTING A PHD IN EDUCATION?

Like other highly competitive degrees, the PhD tends to lend credibility, expertise, and social mobility. As a student, you learn to enhance your research skills and hone your technical expertise. The PhD also gives students the opportunity to conduct research into an area that interests them, making their own discoveries and contributions to knowledge in the process.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A PHD IN EDUCATION?

As with the EdD, your degree concentration is able to focus your interests and extend your career prospects. For example, the PhD in Education includes a leadership, policy, or STEM focus. The majority of these positions are related to becoming an educational researcher, or assuming a faculty position within a college. The PhD may also be applied to administrative positions related to education, like chief learning officer, superintendent, dean, or director of education.

HOW CAN I GET A PHD IN EDUCATION?

Educators who are looking for opportunities to grow professionally often use the PhD to do so. You can get a PhD in education by first obtaining a Bachelor's degree in a related field, or other significant experience in an education-related setting, and then successfully applying to a PhD program. In addition to earning enough credits, a PhD also requires completing a dissertation. All of this can be done both online and on-campus.

Pursuing Your Career in Education

At its core, the EdD vs PhD difference really comes down to what you want from your degree and long-term career goals. Drexel’s School of Education makes it possible to complete the EdD or PhD in Education with both traditional and online programs. If you want to pursue a higher education degree, start by learning more about our admission requirements or requesting information about the Drexel SoE.