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What Are My Career Options With an Online PhD in Education?

Find your professional niche as you use your doctoral degree to advance the field of education.

Earning a PhD in Education is a powerful accomplishment for those who want to take their education as far as possible. Known as a “terminal degree,” a PhD is the highest level of graduate degree available in academia, and certainly one of the most rigorous. With tough standards every step of the way, online PhD in Education programs can help prepare students for influential roles in academia, research, government education agencies, business, industry, and the nonprofit sector.

Top careers in education for PhD graduates include:

What Are My Career Options With an Online PhD in Education?

  • Professor in secondary and higher education
  • University dean or associate dean
  • Education policymaker or policy writer
  • K-12 administrator
  • School district superintendent
  • Curriculum director
  • Education consultant
  • Education researcher
  • Education program director or coordinator
  • Adult educator and trainer

How Business and Industry Benefit from Professionals With PhDs

Although they may not realize it at the time, doctoral students are not only preparing for stimulating careers as professors, administrators, and researchers, they’re gaining the same kind of executive-level skills sought by businesses and industries worldwide. Throughout their doctoral studies and the dissertation process, PhD candidates—whether in education or other fields—are tested and challenged in different ways. Their ideas regarding original research projects are critiqued by a panel of advisors and as doctoral degree candidates, students learn to hone their skills as critical thinkers, complex problem solvers, and successful decision-makers.

An online Phd in Education degree can prepare students for influential positions that help drive positive changes in corporate settings, nonprofit organizations, and non-governmental organizations. Some career choices might include:

  • Vice president of human resources
  • Corporate training director
  • Director of education programs
  • Executive director of education-related nonprofit organization
  • Corporate research director

The following is a sampling of careers and salaries for educators with a PhD degree:

Salaries and Job Growth for PhD in Education Careers1

Position Median Annual Wage Annual Wage for Highest 10%  Projected Job Growth
Post-Secondary Teacher $78,470 $175,110 15%
Post-secondary Education Administrator $94,340
Curriculum Director (Instructional Coordinator) $64,450 $102,200 11%
Vice President, Human Resources $189,600 $208,000 8%
Corporate Training and Development Manager $111,340 $192,970 10%

How One Online PhD in Education Graduate Changed Her Community

After graduating from Walden University and earning her PhD in Education with a Higher Education, Leadership, Management, and Policy specialization , Dr. Dorsey Kendrick became president of Gateway Community College in New Haven, Connecticut. At that time, the college had just 3,000 students, as well as some serious problems.

“Gateway was an urban school disconnected from the community. Today that has changed tremendously,” Dr. Kendrick said. “We are the hub…and connected to the community in every possible way.” Gateway now has a state-of-the-art campus and 8,000 students. “I’m very proud to be a part of this community.” Watch as Dr. Kendrick shares the rest of her story.

“Being a [doctoral] student at Walden was traditional in a way. I did travel all over the United States for various sessions with my class…I met people from all over the world…We talked about change, what we had to do individually and professionally to be a part of change. So my experience was extremely positive…I learned so much from so many people.”

Dorsey Kendrick, PhD, President, Gateway Community College, New Haven, CT
PhD in Education Graduate, Scholar of Change, Walden University

Special Strengths of PhD Graduates

Successful doctoral degree candidates often possess professionally desirable qualities, including tenacity, curiosity, and the courage to identify and creatively solve a problem no other person has attempted. Many doctoral degree candidates—especially those completing online PhD programs—are excellent collaborators. They’re often viewed as optimistic and determined, considering the dedication required to complete a doctoral degree.

Explore how you could launch or advance your career with an online education degree from Walden University, offered in a convenient online format that suits your busy life.

1Source: for Post-Secondary Teachers, Post-Secondary Education Administrators, Instructional Coordinators, Top Executives, Training and Development Managers