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Lead in Education Administration with a Doctor of Education Degree

A pair of education administrators having a conversation while walking down a hallway.

Lead in Education Administration with a Doctor of Education Degree

February 20, 2024

by Michael Mahaffey

Taking on a leadership role in education has never been more challenging. Rapidly changing technology and social paradigms require individuals with knowledge and skill to make informed and effective decisions that drive positive change and innovation in complex educational settings.

The University of Oklahoma’s online Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.) program offers PK-12 and higher education institution leaders a cutting-edge doctoral experience. The 54-hour, 100-percent online Ed.D. program is a fast-paced, accelerated degree program emphasizing relationship-building in a cohort model through community groups, networking events and collaborative projects.

This flexible, 36-month online program allows students to balance work, life and family commitments. Courses feature synchronous and asynchronous content and create ample opportunity for students to interact and collaborate with their peers while providing access to experts, industry leaders, guest speakers and program events.

The Ed.D. program equips graduates with advanced knowledge of educational leadership theories, emphasizing practical application in solving real-world challenges. It focuses on honing decision-making and problem-solving skills for complex educational settings, along with organizational management and leadership competencies, covering areas like human resources and financial management.

In addition to developing strong research skills for qualitative and quantitative analysis, the program also instills the principles of ethical leadership, promoting integrity, fairness and professionalism in students while fostering cultural competence in diverse educational environments. Graduates are adept at reflective practice, continually assessing and improving their leadership approach.

Students can begin their curriculum in the summer or fall terms and can choose from two concentrations based on their career goals — PK-12 Education Leadership or Higher Education Leadership.

In the PK-12 Education Leadership concentration, students learn cutting-edge research and leadership skills to help advance their career in PK-12 school district-level education, including assistant, associate and superintendent positions and human resources administration.

Students in the Higher Education Leadership concentration will learn to apply current scholarship and research skills to advance their careers in colleges, universities and nonprofit organizations for positions in student affairs, student support services, institutional research and higher-level positions like dean or provost.

Both programs of study include theoretical paradigms in education, visionary leadership, program evaluation, educational and community relations, and strategic and financial planning, along with concentration-specific courses to prepare students to pursue their career goals in a wide array of positions, including postsecondary education administrator, training and development manager/director, program director, dean, provost, school superintendent, admissions director, educational advisor, professor or chief learning officer.

Accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and led by world-class faculty from OU’s Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, the Ed.D. program is structured to prepare students for job advancement and leadership by cultivating a deeper understanding of challenges in today’s educational settings. Students will learn how to lead change in their careers and gain the tools necessary to make positive and lasting changes in the organizations and educational settings in which they interact.

In each course, students will work with renowned educational leaders and scholars who have redesigned classes to be responsive to the current complexities of leadership. Participants will learn to develop and implement strategic plans that drive positive change and innovation in educational organizations, gaining an expanded professional network as part of the global OU alumni community.

The program hosts monthly coffee chats each Friday where students can network with faculty and industry leaders and offers tutoring support throughout the program. After completing year two, students can attend an immersion experience on OU’s Norman campus. The Ed.D. culminates with a problem practice dissertation completed during coursework in the program’s third year. Each student also receives a personalized reference from the director of the Ed.D. program.

Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for postsecondary education administrators was $99,940 in May 2022, with the median annual salary for training and development managers at $120,000. Job openings are projected to grow 4 percent over the next decade, with about 15,300 openings per year.

Applications are now open for the Doctor of Education in Education Administration program. Visit the OU Online website for more information about the Ed.D. or other online programs offered by OU Online.