A job candidate who holds a master's degree in education and looks to earn an advanced position in their field should pursue an educational psychology doctorate. The future is bright for these professionals, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for school psychologists to grow 14% by 2026.
Ideal students for the best online educational psychology doctoral programs should enjoy learning new concepts and working with children. Degree seekers should also be willing to perform extensive research, in addition to writing dissertations and completing fieldwork assignments.
Should I Earn an Online Doctorate in Educational Psychology?
Graduates can help learners by improving educational standards in K-12 and postsecondary education. Specifically, doctorate holders can teach college classes in the field, oversee college programs to ensure efficiency, or consult school boards on educational strategies and ways to encourage learners.
Some positions in education require a candidate to possess a doctorate. As examples, some schools mandate a doctorate for postsecondary teaching positions, and colleges and universities may also insist on a doctorate with years of experience for college deans and provosts. The best online educational psychology doctoral programs satisfy this need for these advanced professions.
These programs also build research skills that can help graduates earn careers in multiple fields.
These programs also build research skills that can help graduates earn careers in multiple fields. For instance, learners can use data about student accomplishments and test scores to determine academic areas that require curriculum adjustments. The ability to perform original research and analyze data can apply to noneducational careers, such as market research analysts. Coursework also trains learners to communicate well, pay attention to detail, and excel at problem-solving. These qualities can prepare students for a variety of careers, benefitting potential managers, editors, and event planners.
Obtaining a doctorate in the education field also increases salary expectations. According to World Education Services, doctorate holders in education average $2.8 million in lifetime earnings, which surpasses candidates with only a master's by 24%. Doctorate holders also earn over $1 million more than bachelor's-level candidates.
What Can I Do With an Online Doctorate in Educational Psychology?
After earning an online doctorate in educational psychology, learners can pursue careers in K-12 education. Careers in this area involve curriculum development and training school faculty to improve educational quality. Specifically, candidates can become instructional coordinators, who earn a median salary of $64,450. The BLS projects an 11% increase in positions for this profession by 2026.
Graduates can also work for colleges and universities as postsecondary teachers. These educators boast median earnings of $78,470 and the BLS projects 15% growth in the field by 2026. This degree also qualifies graduates for postsecondary education administrator positions, such as college deans. The BLS reports median earnings of $94,340 per year and projects the profession to grow 10% by 2026.
The BLS reports median earnings of $94,340 per year and projects the profession to grow 10% by 2026.
Other career possibilities include educational consulting opportunities for school districts. Graduates may also work in government positions at the federal or state levels. In particular, this degree can lead to employment with the U.S. Department of Education or a state board of education, where candidates can perform research and develop educational policies. Government employees may also develop assessment methods for current educational practices.
Graduates may also work for regional, national, or programmatic accrediting agencies to design school standards or determine if institutions deserve accreditation based on current standards. Doctorate holders can also work as nonfiction writers, who construct books, articles, and blog posts on educational topics. While writers do not need a degree, a doctorate indicates field expertise that gives the writer credibility. The BLS projects an 8% increase in these positions by 2026 and reports median earnings of $62,170.
Candidates may also find work as editors, who review field documents for factual and grammatical accuracy to earn a median salary of $59,480 per year.
Postsecondary Education Administrator
Educational Psychology Ph.D. Program Overview
Educational psychology programs can vary, with each school requiring unique application materials and coursework. Degree types also vary since students can pursue an educational psychology doctorate (Ed.D.) or a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.). Each degree type prioritizes different skills. Programs can also provide concentrations. All of these decisions can impact program outcomes, graduation times, and curriculums. A candidate should consider each detail carefully to ensure that a program suits their professional goals.
Types of Doctoral Degrees in Educational Psychology
A Ph.D. focuses heavily on research and helps students learn theories and concepts in the field. Ideal students for these programs enjoy examining field concepts and exploring new ideas based on a love of learning and knowledge. These degrees typically require each enrollee to commit to four or more years of study and a dissertation as a capstone project. This dissertation should contribute new research to the field and may include an oral defense.
Students may need to complete research seminars and courses before their dissertations, which strengthen the research focus of Ph.D. programs. Departments may also deliver these programs in a self-paced format rather than semester-based courses to increase time management skills and encourage independence for future leaders.
An Ed.D. focuses more on practice to train students to apply knowledge in evaluating educational practices, solving problems within school districts, pushing for policy changes, and creating curricula for K-12 schools. As such, learners may obtain practical experience through internships, practicums, or on-campus experiences. Some Ed.D. programs do not require dissertations. Degree seekers can finish these programs in under four years.
Students who earn a Ph.D. can pursue careers as field researchers or postsecondary educators who teach courses in educational psychology, while the Ed.D. prepares learners to use research for improving education in careers such as instructional coordinators and policymakers.
Application Requirements and Admission Criteria
Admission into online educational psychology Ph.D. programs may require a master's in education or a similar discipline and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants may need to submit official transcripts with applications to verify these accomplishments.
An admission department may also require a writing sample, such as an essay, personal statement, or statement of teaching philosophy. These documents allow schools to consider students' professional beliefs and writing abilities and often come with a word or page count requirement.
Additional admission elements can include a resume or curriculum vitae and scores from the GRE. Candidates may also submit recommendation letters from professional and academic references. These letters should address the applicant's qualifications that can lead to program success.
Schools may also require interviews for applicants who pass an initial screening. Departments may conduct these interviews over the phone, online, or insist candidates come to campus.
Online educational psychology doctoral programs often require 60-72 credits that learners finish in four or five years. Students may complete courses in categories to earn these degrees. For instance, programs frequently include a core course category where degree seekers explore research, theory, and educational statistics at introductory levels. This selection often includes 12-16 credits.
Programs may also include a research course category with classes in regression analysis, statistical analysis, research design, and qualitative strategies. Departments often require 9-18 credits for this category. This research information can help learners fulfill dissertation requirements, which may include multiple classes in directed research and an oral defense.
A Ph.D. in educational psychology online can also offer specializations, typically requiring 15-18 credits, in areas such as multicultural education, motivation, educational and psychological measurement, and child and adolescent development. Additional categories may include educational policy, behavioral assessment and intervention, and development and learning foundation courses. Programs may also require practicums, comprehensive exams, portfolios, and participation in group labs.
Students should note, though, that program elements will differ among schools. For instance, some programs may not offer concentrations, which would impact course requirements. However, the following options are common classes in accredited online educational psychology doctoral programs.
Motivation in Education
History of Education
An online doctorate in educational psychology addresses curriculums, child development, and learning theory. These focuses can help students to determine effective teaching and motivational strategies for diverse classrooms. Students may also study factors that hinder academic accomplishments.
Programs also develop research skills for qualitative and quantitative methodologies and data analysis. In particular, doctorate programs often require multiple research classes to prepare for a dissertation. The skills and knowledge gained through this process can equip graduates to review student data and make positive changes in schools. Specifically, graduates may guide school districts' curriculums or help shape educational policies.
An online doctorate in educational psychology addresses curriculums, child development, and learning theory.
Programs can also advance communication skills. For instance, departments may train learners to listen to student problems and communicate educational issues to school districts. Online educational psychology Ph.D. programs can additionally develop leadership skills and problem-solving abilities.
This combination of skills and knowledge equips students to consult school districts on improving education, work with educational boards to influence policy, and manage programs at K-12 or postsecondary levels.
Accreditation for Online Educational Psychology Doctorate Programs
Accrediting agencies review schools and programs to certify institutions that meet their standards. Colleges can earn regional or national accreditation. Regional accreditation refers to a limited geographic area, while national accreditation reaches across the nation. However, students can transfer credits more easily after attending a regionally accredited school. Individual programs may also obtain programmatic accreditation from field-related agencies.
Students should only consider accredited online doctorates in educational psychology since federal aid only extends to candidates at accredited institutions. Additionally, future employers may not recognize degrees from unaccredited schools.
For educational psychology programs, candidates should look for accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Programs can also earn approval from the National Association of School Psychologists.