15 Best Online Doctoral in Education in 2022

Searching for the best online doctoral education?

Education is transforming rapidly. More students are learning online than ever before, and educational technology must continue to evolve to meet the shifting needs of students and teachers.

Research has shown that 70% of students would prefer to take a class online that actually go through the stress of dressing up and going there physically.

Searching for the best online doctorate of education in the country? Looking for a distance-based online doctoral program in education that matches your career goals?

This is a guide to tell you all you need to know about getting an online doctoral program in Education. Keep reading.

What is an Online Doctoral Program in Education?

All degrees are designed for candidates who seek academic, administrative, or clinical research positions in the field of education, whether it is through a public or private organization.

The fact that it is called an online doctoral program simply means that instead of Schooling physically, you actually do it online from the comfort of your home.

How Do I Know the Best Online Doctoral Program in Education for me?

  • Start with checking out the online degree program title. If it looks like it matches up with your job goals, you can explore the sections on coursework & admissions requirements.
  • Choose a Career-Focused Concentration. Depending on your career choice, it is advised that you opt for an online degree program which suits your choice career-wise.
  • Look for Quality Markers. In doing this, ensure that you find online doctoral programs universities with CAEP accreditation, membership in the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED), great graduate student reviews, experienced faculty, and high U.S. News & World Report rankings for the College of Education.
  • Create a Comprehensive Budget. Many online doctoral programs have campus components. You have to ensure that any online doctoral program you choose is in place with your budget.  

How Much Will I Make with an Online Doctoral Program?

It’s impossible to nail down an exact salary estimate for online doctoral degree holders.

The amount of money you would make will depend on the particular type of degree you hold as well as your specific position and your employer.

However, Payscale.com estimates that professionals with an online doctoral program degree credential make approximately $79,260 per year, on average.

What to Expect in an Online Doctoral Program?

In many ways, your experience in an online doctoral program will be very close to an on-campus program. While to plan to attend, expect that you:

  • would go through a rigorous program of study that includes targeted educational leadership coursework and mandatory credits in research methods.
  • would be taught by College of Education faculty.
  • may be collaborating on class projects with fellow students.
  • would be expected to take exams and provide a dissertation proposal & defense.
  • would end the doctorate with a practice-based dissertation, dissertation in Practice, or capstone.

However, there are obvious differences in delivery & time expectations.

What Can I Do with an Online Doctoral Program in Education?

An online doctoral program can prepare you for a career as a teacher or administrator in higher education. The degree can also qualify you for high-level administrative roles in K-12 education, such as principal or superintendent.

Some graduates of doctoral programs in education programs become training and development managers or instructional coordinators.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for elementary, middle, and high school principals could grow by 8% between 2020 and 2030.

This is on par with the average job growth rate across industries. Principals earned a median income of $98,490 in 2020.

How Much Does it Cost to Get an Online Doctoral Program in Education?

Online doctoral programs typically cost about as much as on-campus programs, with total program expenses running anywhere from $15,000 to $200,000.

The easiest way to minimize debt is to choose an affordable online doctoral program.

How Long Does it Take to Complete an Online Doctoral Program?

Generally, you would be required to complete 45-60 credits. It would take at least three years for you to complete an online doctoral program.

Individuals earning their educational doctorate online can fulfill most academic requirements remotely. It should be noted that many online programs expect students to complete a short on-campus residency.

Admission Requirements

Most online doctoral programs in education require applicants to submit:

  • A resume
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Academic transcripts
  • GRE scores
  • A statement of purpose or graduate application essay.

Mostly, you would be required to identify a specific problem in education they wish to investigate during their studies.

15 Best Doctoral Programs in Education

#1. Vanderbilt University

Online Doctoral Program in Leadership and Learning in Organizations with CAEP Accreditation.

In Vanderbilt, its reputation speaks for itself. It is ranked #1 in the list of schools with the best doctoral programs in education. The university is internationally renowned and receives outstanding reviews from graduate students.

Vanderbilt splits the online doctoral program into five parts. The coursework basically covers: Leadership & Organizational Development, Learning and Design, Data and Analytics.

Schooling online in Vanderbilt is pricey. One some occasions, it may cost three times the amount of per credit tuition prices at public universities.

#2. New York University

Online doctoral program in Leadership and Innovation without CAEP Accreditation.

New York University is ranked #2 in the list. NYU’s high octane Online education doctoral program in Leadership and Innovation comes from Steinhardt, a school with superb rankings, an active Department of Administration, Leadership, and Technology and diverse faculty.

It’s also a qualification that’s designed to cover a wide range of sectors. If you have a fair amount of experience under your belt, this program is worth a look.

There are 17 required courses in this online program, including credits in research. The first takes place in the initial week of the program; the second occurs in the last week, when you present your culminating projects.

#3. University of Southern California

Online doctoral program in Educational Leadership – K-12 Leadership in Urban School Settings; Online doctoral program in Organizational Change and Leadership with CAEP Accreditation

University of Southern California has a top notch education system. The university happens to have a great World Report ranking, plenty of research centers that focus on urban issues, and a reputation for being helpful.

The 43-credit Online doctoral program in Educational Leadership – K-12 Leadership in Urban School Settings contains a core of up-to-date courses in topical areas, some of which include- Urban Education, Leadership, Diversity & Equity, mandatory work in Research Methods, and a Dissertation in Practice.

You would also take coursework in areas such as Leadership, Creativity & Innovation, Organizational Changes.

You must have a master’s degree, leadership experience, and a minimum of 3 years of full-time work experience that’s relevant to their concentration.

You’ll need to submit a résumé, a statement of purpose, 2 letters of recommendation, video responses, and a writing assessment. GRE or GMAT scores are optional.

#4. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All concentrations in this online doctoral program contains a core of required courses, coursework in research methods, 5-8 electives, qualifying exams, and a dissertation.

  • Online doctoral program in Education Policy,
  • Organization and Leadership: Diversity & Equity in Education;
  • Online doctoral program in Education Policy,
  • Organization and Leadership: Global Studies in Education;
  • Online doctoral program in Education Policy,
  • Organization and Leadership: Human Resource Developments;
  • Online doctoral program in Education Policy,
  • Organization and Leadership: Learning Design & Leadership

Doctoral candidates are expected to have a master’s degree from an accredited institution and a minimum GPA of 3.0. You would also need to supply a personal statement, résumé, and 3 letters of reference.

A scholarly writing sample is strongly recommended. Global candidates should read the International Applicant Criteria.

One of the biggest selling factors of this school is price. Tuition rates are remarkably inexpensive for online students. The other deciding factor will be the uniqueness of the concentrations. Options such as Global Studies aren’t that common at other universities.

#5. Johns Hopkins University

John Hopkins University is a major research university with a top-ranked School of Education. All of its education doctoral programs are 100% online. Summer residencies are also videotaped for anyone who is unable to attend in person. Really cool right?

  • Online doctoral program in Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education;
  • Doctoral program in Mind, Brain & Teaching (Online);
  • Online doctoral program in Urban Leadership

John Hopkins University is would be interested in you if you have a master’s degree (minimum of 36 credits) and a 3.0 GPA.

However, if you do not have the required 36 master’s credits, you may be admitted on a conditional basis. In John Hopkins University, you can also offset the cost with merit-based doctoral program scholarships. International students are also eligible for this.

#6. University of Georgia

On-Campus Components: Annual one-week intensives; face-to-face meetings each semester

UGA’s well-regarded College of Education has come up with a part-time, cohort-based Online doctoral program in Student Affairs Leadership that explores every aspect of a leader’s job. If you enjoy collaboration and networking, and don’t mind the occasional commute, this option could be perfect for your needs.

The curriculum is meticulously structured. The first 2 years will include courses on topics such as The College Student, Legal Issues, Environmental & Facilities Management, Administrative Practices, and more.

The last year is devoted to dissertation work and 6 credits of supervised internships. Weekly classes are delivered online. There’s an annual one-week intensive program on the Athens campus and several face-to-face meetings each semester in Griffin.

#7. Indiana University-Bloomington

Online doctoral program in Instructional Systems Technology; Online doctoral program in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education.

Indiana University-Bloomington has a solid reputation in teacher education, with excellent employment outcomes.

The customizable online doctoral program in Instructional Systems Technology is composed of major requirements, inquiry requirements foundation requirements, minor requirements, and a dissertation.

With 24 credits of electives and 9-12 credits in the minor, you’ll have a lot of freedom to shape the curriculum. The curriculum for the online doctoral program in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education is a little more structured.

#8. Arizona State University

Arizona State University is ranked #8 in the list. The curriculum consists of a professional core, a research core, advanced professional studies. The PK-12 concentration tends to attract aspiring superintendents, education administrators, teacher leaders, and curriculum specialists.

The Higher Education concentration is tailored to mid-level professionals. The Systems, Professional, and Reimagined Change (SPARC) concentration is for individuals in educational environments outside of schools & universities.

  • Online doctoral program in Leadership & Innovation: PK-12;
  • Doctoral program in Leadership & Innovation: Higher Education (Online);
  • Online doctoral program in Leadership & Innovation: Systems, Professional, and Reimagined Change (SPARC)- 100% online

#9. University of Virginia-Main Campus

Online doctoral program in Curriculum & Instruction with CAEP Accreditation

University of Virginias Curriculum & Instruction is very impressive for a number of reasons. This 100% online doctorate places a huge emphasis on personalized coursework, mentorship, and applied learning. It allows students to study part-time or full-time.

You would be expected to have a master’s degree from an accredited institution and at least 4 years of full-time teaching experience or equivalent professional experience. You would also need to submit 2 letters of recommendation, a goal statement, and GRE scores.

The program is designed to prepare future curriculum specialists, faculty members, educational consultants, or policy developers in areas related to curriculum and the education of professionals.

#10. Boston College

Online Executive doctoral program in Higher Education; Online Executive doctoral program in Higher Education: Catholic Higher Education

BC’s cohort-based Online Executive doctoral program in Higher Education bears the halo of the university’s reputation for excellence. If you live in the Boston area, you may also wish to consider the cohort-based, on-campus doctoral program in Educational Leadership.

This online doctoral program is a part-time, 3-year program. Online coursework is a combination of asynchronous and synchronous elements; on-campus summer residencies last for one week. You’ll take 4-5 classes per year for a total of 14 courses/48 credits.

You are required to have a master’s degree and 5-10 years of professional experience in higher education or a higher education adjacent field. You will also need to submit a résumé, personal statement, 3 letters of recommendation, and a writing sample. The GRE is not required.

#11. Florida State University

Online doctoral program in Educational Leadership & Policy

FSU is a massive public school with a big College of Education, substantial financial resources, and a Carnegie designation as a Research University with Very High Research.

While you pursue the Online doctoral program in Educational Leadership & Policy, you would have plenty of opportunities to buff up your résumé. This is one of the perks of an online program anyway.

FSU’s online doctoral program follows the standard pattern for a 3-year doctorate. The first year is all foundational courses, including credits in research methods and leadership.

The second year involves credits in research tools & policy, with courses in Policy Studies, Policy to Practice. The third year is primarily devoted to original research.

#12. University of Florida

University of Florida is highly ranked College of Education is a big school for big thinkers. It is involved in all kinds of research initiatives and outreach programs. It has also embraced distance learning with a passion.

The curriculum for the 54-credit Online doctoral program in Educational Technology has a solid amount of coursework in the major including 6 credits of a Practicum in Educational Media. Including research courses and a dissertation.

You are expected to have a master’s or specialist degree in education with a 3.0 GPA on all undergraduate & graduate coursework. You would also need to be in a current role as a full-time practicing educator and have a minimum of 3 years of practical experience in the field of education.

  • Online doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction- Teachers, Schools, and Society (TSS);
  • Doctoral program in Educational Technology (Online);
  • Online doctoral program in Special Education

Application materials should include the GRE General Test score, 3 letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and an essay.

#13. Boston University

Online doctoral program in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies: Leadership in Early Childhood Education-Grade 12

In Boston College, this doctoral program contains all kinds of unique career-building elements. The Wheelock College of Education is affiliated with multiple research centers & institutes in early learning, cognitive development, and disenfranchised youth.

The curriculum for BU’s online doctoral program consists of 14 courses, 3 leadership seminars, and a Dissertation in Practice. You would cover subjects such as School Improvement Science & Implementation, School Labor Relations & Personnel Management, Diversity & Justice in Education, and Child & Family Policy.

This thoughtful program also incorporates job-embedded coaching, field mentorship, and cross-district student partnerships. You’ll travel to the campus once per month during regular semesters and attend a 2-week institute each summer.

#14. Texas A&M University-College Station

Online doctoral program in Curriculum & Instruction

Texas A&M University-College Station has made good provisions for this program. It has a practical flavor.

The first 2 years cover major topics in curriculum and instruction, as well as research methods and educational leadership. The final 2 years are primarily concerned with seminars and your Record of Study.

You must have a master’s degree and a minimum of 5 years of successful teaching experience, preferably in PK-12 schools. You’ll also be required to supply 3 professional references, writing samples, and GRE scores.

This online doctoral program is a good fit for mid-career educators who aspire to hands-on leadership roles.

#15. University of Arizona

Online doctoral program in Educational Leadership

University of Arizona’s Online doctoral program in Educational Leadership is a practical, part-time program with a focus on social justice. Aspiring educational leaders will be prepped to serve vulnerable students, families, and communities. This doctorate looks to be 100% online, with no residency requirements.

The online doctoral program is spread out over 3 years. In the first 2 years, you would take 2 courses in the fall and spring semesters and 3 courses in the summer semester. In the final year, you would take 2 courses in the fall and 3 courses in the spring, including a 6-credit Dissertation in Practice.

This program is a particularly good fit for aspiring K-12 principals and superintendents who want to combine practical training with research into issues surrounding social justice, race, and culturally responsive leadership.

Frequently Asked Questions

Online Doctoral Program in Leadership and Learning in Organizations with CAEP Accreditation.

Online doctoral program in Curriculum & Instruction

To be 100% online means to be completely virtual. You would take part in online orientations, defend your dissertation through video meetings, and collaborate with students via distance learning methods.

In most cases, an up-to-date web browser, a strong Internet connection, and an email client will be enough. Universities use a wide range of software packages to host classes. Blackboard, Canvas, and Moodle are the most popular

It depends. If you have a tight schedule, look for online doctoral program courses that are taught asynchronously

The best thing about an online doctoral program is that you can often study on your own schedule. But you still have to put the time in.


Earning an online doctoral program in Education has been made very easy through the use of online platforms.

By going for a doctoral program online, you can pursue a career helping students and teachers adapt to this changing educational landscape.

These are the 15 best online doctoral programs in Education.


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