An Ed.D. in assessment and evaluation prepares graduates to work in school districts, while an online Ph.D. in assessment and evaluation allows professionals to find jobs as researchers, policy advocates, professors, and consultants. Graduates work for educational organizations, research facilities, and government departments. Ideally, candidates should possess strong analytical and quantitative reasoning skills, along with a passion for education and assessment reform.
According to PayScale, graduates with a Ph.D in education earn an average of $72,000 annually, and many find work as professors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 15% growth for postsecondary teachers -- about twice the average growth rate for occupations nationwide.
Should I Earn an Online Doctorate in Assessment and Evaluation?
Educational professionals who want to earn recognition as experts may enroll in an accredited online Ph.D. program in assessment and evaluation. As a terminal degree, the Ph.D. in this area demonstrates a deep understanding of assessment, curriculum development, research, and student evaluation. Learners also find personal fulfillment in knowing they achieved the pinnacle in their fields.
A Ph.D. also opens career pathways that master’s degrees do not. For example, graduates with doctorates can teach at the university level. Furthermore, some organizations prefer candidates with doctoral degrees for leadership positions, such as education program director or director of assessment and accreditation.
Teachers work directly with their students, while professionals with doctoral degrees work to change education at the macro level.
As leaders and managers in education, professionals enjoy more leeway to impact their students' lives. Teachers work directly with their students, while professionals with doctoral degrees work to change education at the macro level. Those who aim to make changes on a larger level may benefit from a doctorate and the positions for which it qualifies them.
The potential to lead on the cutting edge of education draws people into academia. Education professionals who enjoy research and possess strong analytical skills thrive in Ph.D. programs that allow students to dig into specific subjects that capture their interest. Graduates from these programs qualify to work as researchers who conduct groundbreaking studies. Regardless of why learners enroll in the top online Ph.D. in assessment and evaluation colleges, they enjoy a variety of career options after graduating.
What Can I Do With an Online Doctorate in Assessment and Evaluation?
Online doctorates in assessment and evaluation prepare graduates to work in many settings, including government organizations, education-focused nonprofits, universities, school districts, and standardized assessment companies. Each of these organizations needs people to design and implement tests, policies, and curricula. For example, state education agencies hire assessment experts to design standardized exams for K-12 students. Accrediting agencies and other nonprofit agencies need professionals to evaluate higher education programs.
Furthermore, the College Board and other college exam providers need people at the top of their field to write, test, and evaluate their exams. School districts hire these professionals to select and implement curricula, while higher learning institutions need people to assess learning standards in their institutions. Some candidates work for themselves as consultants with education clients. Organizations bring in these professionals to gain outside perspectives and advice from experts.
An online Ph.D. in assessment and evaluation allows candidates to stand out as experts in their field. Furthermore, doctoral students may use dissertations to distinguish themselves in a specific career area, such as K-12 standardized tests. Doctoral degrees prepare learners to work either in these hands-on fields or in academia and research.
Online Ph.D. programs in assessment and evaluation include several research courses. As such, graduates can work as effective researchers, collecting and analyzing data about tests and curricula. These researchers often work as professors in universities and colleges, as well. They may teach courses in teaching or education leadership. After several years of postsecondary teaching, research professionals can advance into dean positions.
Common roles for Ph.D. in assessment and evaluation holders also include:
Director of Assessment and Accreditation
Assessment and Education Researcher
Education Program Director
Assessment and Evaluation Ph.D. Program Overview
Several schools offer accredited online Ph.D. programs in assessment and evaluation. Prospective students should thoroughly examine each program of interest to find the perfect fit, deciding whether they want a Ph.D. or Ed.D., whether they meet admission requirements, and what type of curriculum they wish to complete. They should also consider in-person requirements, timelines, and program outcomes. Finally, learners should only consider universities with proper accreditation.
Types of Doctoral Degrees in Assessment and Evaluation
Though both Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs require learners to understand research practices and complete scholarly articles, a Ph.D. tends to include more research-specific courses, making it more suitable for anyone who wants to work in educational research. Ph.D. programs prepare learners to work as postsecondary teachers who often continue their studies while they teach. Ed.D. graduates may find jobs as professors, as well, but some schools require candidates to hold Ph.D. diplomas.
One of the biggest differences between a Ed.D. and a Ph.D. is how much funding learners receive. Some Ph.D. candidates must pay tuition, but most of them earn full funding for their research, tuition, and some living expenses. As such, many Ph.D. students do not work while in school. Ed.D. candidates may receive similar funding, but less commonly.
Ed.D. programs do offer some benefits, however. Learners who want more practical skills may choose Ed.D. programs because they focus less on theory and more on administration techniques. Furthermore, Ed.D. programs often allow learners to work full-time, meaning Ed.D. candidates tend to earn more than Ph.D. students. Many Ed.D. students work in education while they study, as well, creating professional networks as they get to know their classmates.
Some schools offer both Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs, so prospective students can talk to an admissions counselor to understand the differences.
Application Requirements and Admission Criteria
Each university imposes unique, competitive admission requirements, depending on the students it wants to attract. Generally, candidates must hold master’s degrees in education from accredited universities. Some schools accept learners from schools with national institutional accreditation. However, some require these degrees to come from regionally accredited schools.
Many universities with online Ph.D. programs in assessment and evaluation require candidates to have prior educational experience. Many programs only recognize prior teaching experience, while others recognize principal and other managerial experience. A few universities require learners to submit GRE, GMAT, or MAT scores, asking for graduate-level academic writing samples, instead.
Applicants should also prepare to send professional resumes, three letters of recommendation, and personal essays detailing their interest in the field.
Specific requirements for the top online Ph.D.s in assessment and evaluation vary among schools, but most programs offer assessment and evaluation courses, research classes, and dissertations. Some also include graduate writing assignments and on-campus intensives. Most universities require 75-90 total credits for graduation.
Dissertations require learners to conduct research, write scholarly articles on their findings, and defend their articles to faculty members. In some programs, learners start on their dissertations immediately and stay in these courses until they complete the project. In other schools, learners cannot begin their dissertations until they pass some or all of their research courses.
Most coursework takes place online for Ph.D. in assessment and evaluation programs, but some schools require learners to come to campus for 3-4 days at a time. During these trips, degree candidates attend seminars and discuss topics with classmates and professors.
Classes in research, assessment, and evaluation make up most of the curricula, but each school balances these differently. Research-heavy schools, for example, may require 20 or more credits in this area, while others may require just three research courses. Either way, candidates for doctoral degrees in assessment and evaluation can expect to encounter courses in the following subjects:
Data-Driven Instruction and Assessment
Curriculum Evaluation for Social Change
Instruction and Assessment Systems
Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
Research Development and Strategic Planning
Online Ph.D. in assessment and evaluation programs offer research-focused, in-depth curricula. Coursework equips students with the skills to evaluate curricula, analyze assessments, make recommendations for changes, and promote social change through better education.
Graduates understand how to continuously update education policies based on emerging technologies, the changing needs of students, and new data. Professionals with these degrees possess the skills to work with community members, teachers, and peers to create better educational systems. These programs also teach candidates to work according to the ethics and laws that govern the education profession.
Research coursework ensures that learners obtain the skills to evaluate new studies and make decisions based on their findings. They can also work as researchers at the highest levels of education and conduct studies that change education policy.
Accreditation for Online Assessment and Evaluation Doctorate Programs
Prospective students should consider online Ph.D. in assessment and evaluation programs with institutional and programmatic accreditation. These credentials ensure that programs provide high-quality education recognized by employers and other educational institutions. Institutional accreditation applies to universities as a whole, while programmatic credentials cover specific colleges.
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) provides programmatic accreditation to these doctoral programs. Until recently, CAEP was known as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Degree candidates may see programs with CAEP or NCATE credentials, both of which signal proper accreditation.