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The 10 Best Online Doctorate Degrees in Educational Leadership - Early Childhood Education Degrees
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The 10 Best Online Doctorate Degrees in Educational Leadership

If you are looking to obtain your PhD in educational leadership, chances are you’re considering time and cost among the top factors for whether or not to take the plunge. Sure an advanced degree in education means a better salary, more up-to-date knowledge, and a great opportunity to make an impact. But in today’s world where the high demands of the classroom come with so little downtime, it’s not always easy to justify a few more years in school. That being said, here you are! You’re ready to make a change maybe even at the policy level. You have seen schools function well and you have certainly experienced what it’s like when they are not functioning optimally. You feel good and ready to take the plunge into a PhD. We have some really great news. Many of the programs that we looked at are not only academically prestigious, they’re also affordable and take on average just 3 years to complete. Some of them are offered over the course of 5 or 6 years- giving you the option to pace yourself. Most all of the programs are offered online with just a few weeks of face-to-face time. You will learn to research, analyze data, and then apply what you have learned in these hands-on doctorate of education programs (Ed.D.). Additionally (as you likely already know), the salary boost for educators with doctoral degrees is tremendous. In fact, education administrators make on average $90,670 per year- whereas teachers make on average $53,563 dollars per year. Of course the position of an educational leader will come with a new set of challenges, but with these online courses you will work with some of the top leaders in the field, in cohorts with like-minded peer, and among a network of other successful leaders. If you are looking to lead the charge for positive change in education, a doctorate of education in educational leadership is a must-have.

1. Florida State University

Florida State University (FSU) is a public research university located in Tallahassee, Florida. There are 41,173 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 24:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits FSU to award associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees as well as post-master’s certifications. In fact, there are over 340 degrees available to undergraduates, graduates, and professionals. According to U.S. News FSU ranks as the 81st best school in the nation, 44th best college for veterans, 33rd best public school, and 13th for best online graduate education programs. Carnegie classifies FSU as a R:1 university with the highest level of research activity. When it comes to student support, FSU offers academic counseling, career counseling, and on-campus daycare for students’ children. As you might have imagined with such a high number of academic degrees comes a great diversity of offerings. As a matter of fact, students study everything accounting to opera. Though world-renowned for their academics and athletics, FSU has a well-known performing arts department. Not only that, but today FSU offers 14 fully online degree programs among them their online master’s in management information systems, online master’s in Art teacher education, and online master’s in clinical/medical social work.

FSU offers an online doctorate in education (Ed.D) in educational leadership and administration. We selected this program for its affordable tuition rate and high quality of academic prestige. This online PhD requires 69 credit hours for completion and cost $500 per credit hour. Not only that, but FSU ranks as the 13th best school in the nation for online graduate education programs. This degree may be completed in a little as 3 years. The core courses include the following: Educational Administration and Organizational Practice, Professional Learning for Education Practitioners, Literature Review for Educational Research, Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods, Foundations of Research, Applied Methods for Education Practitioners, Professional Learning For Education Practitioners, and more. If you are looking to lead in the field of education, a PhD in educational leadership and administration is a great route towards success.

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $500
  • US News Ranking: N81

2. University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky is a public 4-year institution located in Lexington, Kentucky. There are 29,781 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits University of Kentucky to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees as well as professional certificates. According to U.S. News University of Kentucky ranks as the 133rd best school in the nation, 83rd best college for veterans, and among the top for best online graduate education programs. In addition to academic and career counseling, the University of Kentucky also offers credit for life experience, remedial support, and on-campus day care for students’ children. Their academic offerings are vast and diverse including programs in agriculture, neuroscience, Chinese literature, law, and acting. Currently there are 17 fully online degrees available through the University of Kentucky including their online doctorate in educational leadership and administration, online master’s in manufacturing, and online master’s in library science among others.

The University of Kentucky offers an online doctorate of education in educational leadership. We selected this online degree for the affordable tuition rate, and high quality of academic programming. In fact, this 60-credit-hour doctorate cost just $375 per credit hour, and may be completed in less than 3 years. Their online graduate education degrees rank among the top, and the online format fits well with the schedule of a working professional. This PhD divides into three core areas: 27 credit hours of administrative leadership core, 15 credit hours of professional research, and 18 credit hours of your specialty area. Inferential statistics in education, politics of educational decision-making, leadership theory and practice, educational program evaluation, and grant writing and proposal development are among the courses taught during this program.

  • Cost Per Credit Hour:$375
  • US News Ranking: N133

3. University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas (U of A) is a public land and space grant university that was founded in 1871. It is located in Fayetteville and enrolls 27,194 students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits U of A to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. There are hundreds of academic programs available appropriate for both traditional and non traditional learners in a vast range disciplines including the sciences, arts, and humanities. With over 30 online degrees and certifications, UofA has online courses for all types of interests. The largest online courses are in the fields of business, education, engineering, and health. According to U.S. News U of A ranks as the 133rd best school in the nation, and 56th for best online graduate education programs.

U of A offers an online doctorate of education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership. We selected this degree for the affordable tuition rate, and for the quality academic programming. In fact, this online degree costs just $420 per credit hour and requires 42 credit hours for completion. Not only that but U of A ranks among the top schools in the nation for online graduate education degrees, and this online degree may be completed in as little as 3 years. You will learn from experienced professionals within a network of K-16 partners across the state. Those looking to lead education in Arkansas have a number of educational scholarships to choose from. For an efficient online PhD, you can’t go wrong with U of A.

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $420
  • US News Ranking:N133

4. Union University

Union University is a private doctoral university located in Jackson, Tennessee. There are 3,466 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Union University to award comprehensive degrees and professional certificates. U.S. News ranks Union University as the 176th best school in the nation and 176th for best online graduate education programs. Union does accept credit for life experience and also offers academic support through academic counseling and remedial help as even provides placement opportunities for its graduates. The majority of their academic offerings are in vocational fields. Though some programming may be found in the humanities and visual and performing arts. Their most robust schools are their school of education, and school of health. Currently there are 8 online degrees available including their online MBA, online master’s in theology, and online PhD in education.

Union University offers an online doctor of education (Ed.D) in leadership and school reform. We selected this online degree for the high quality of academic programming and for the affordable tuition rate. In fact, this 60-credit-hour PhD costs just $563 dollars per credit hour. The aim of this program is to equip its students with the ability to make positive change in schools grades P-12. The program is designed with working professionals in mind and my be completed in a little as 3 years. If you are looking for a degree that blends theory and practice, and is affordable as well as accelerated, this may be the right fit for you.

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $563
  • US News Ranking: N176

5. University of Nebraska, Lincoln

The University of Nebraska is a public research flagship university with a land grant. It’s the state’s oldest university as well as the largest in the Nebraska system. Currently, there are over 25,200 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 22:1 The majority of classroom sizes accommodate between 20-49 students. According to the U.S. News the University of Nebraska is ranked 124th in the nation, and 96th best value school. The Higher Learning Commission accredits the University of Nebraska to offer comprehensive education. Lincoln is ranked as the one of America’s healthiest small cities, #1 U.S. city for quality of life, and 7th best city for college students according to American Institute for Economic Research . The Distance Learning program regularly rank highly as well according to U.S. News and all students engage with their curriculum through the web, email, videoconferencing, CD-ROM and blackboard which is their online management system.

UNL offers two online doctorate programs in education: an online EdD in Educational Studies, and an online PhD in Educational studies. It should be noted that both programs do require some time spent on campus. The Ed.D. requires students to be one campus for seminars during the first 3 Summers of study. The PhD in Educational studies requires 90 credit hours for completion and the EdD in Educational Studies requires 96 credit hours for completion. The PhD focuses on PreK-12 education. The specialization is in Educational Leadership and Higher Education. We selected this program for the high quality of academics combined with the low tuition rates. In fact, students pay just $700 per credit hour.

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $700
  • US News Ranking:N124

6. University of Florida

The University of Florida is a public university with a land, sea, and space grant located in Gainsville, Florida. According to U.S. News , the University of Florida is the top 42nd best school in the nation, 9th best 2nd best school for online graduate education degrees, and 6th best school for online MBA programming . Additionally, UF has a massive graduate program that includes 123 master’s degrees and 76 doctoral degrees. With a university this size and with a myriad of top degree programs, it’s no wonder that UF is responsible for generating over 100,000 jobs annually for the state of Florida. There is also over $700 million dollars of research that fuels this economic growth and innovation. Their innovative impact generates more than 5 times the startup companies than the national average. Currently, there are over 50 online programs available to both undergraduate and graduate school candidates alike.

UF offers an online Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) with a focus in Leadership in Educational Administration (LEAD). We selected UF’s LEAD program for the high quality of academic programming. They begin a new cohort every 2 years, so be sure to check ahead for application times. This program is broken into four main components: 36 credit hours of department courses, 15 credit-hours of research courses, 24 credit-hours of dissertation, and 15 credit-hours of electives/ transfer credits. This program is designed with professionals in mind and may be completed part-time in 4-5 years. You will study, among other courses, organizational leadership, leading change, problems in school administration, contemporary issues, public school law, turnaround schools, and educational policy and development. The cost of this program is $632 per credit hour.

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $632
  • US News Ranking: N42

7. University of Massachusetts, Lowell

The University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) is a national research university that was founded in 1894. There are 17,849 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges accredits UMass Lowell to award comprehensive degrees and professional certificates. According to U.S. News UMass Lowell ranks as the 156th best school in the nation, 80th top public school, and 8th best for online graduate education degrees. UMass Lowell supports its students with academic counseling, career counseling, employment services, and placement for its graduates. As a student you have an opportunity to study anything from accounting to visual arts. Health, business, and education are some of the most robust fields, and there are several online degree offerings. In fact, there are nearly 50 fully online degrees and professional certifications offered to undergraduate and graduate students alike including their online bachelor’s in business administration, online certificate in computer information systems security, and online PhD in educational leadership.

UMass Lowell offers 2 online doctorate of education programs (Ed.D.): an Ed.D in Leadership in Schooling, and an Ed.D. in Leadership in Schooling STEM. We selected UMass Lowell for the high academic quality and flexible options. For the most part, this program is presented entirely online. Though students are required to do a one-week Summer Residency each year. This is an accelerated Ed.D which may be complete in 2-3 years across 4 semesters. You are required to complete two courses of study each semester with a one-week residency in the Summertime. Among the classes you will take include applied research design, foundations for practitioner scholars, organizational learning, strategic partnering with families and communities, and law policy and finance. If you are looking for an accelerated flexible online Ed.D., this is a great option.

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $575
  • US News Ranking: N156

8. Liberty University

Liberty University is a private evangelical Christian university located in Lynchburg, Virginia. There are 75,756 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 19:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Liberty University to award comprehensive degree programs and professional certificates. U.S. News ranks Liberty University as the 42nd best school for online graduate criminal justice programs, and 190th best school for graduate education programs. Their academic offerings are robust including programming in biology, education, health, criminal justice, health, and many others. Some of their most popular programs are in the fields of education, psychology, mental health, and aerospace science. If you are looking to study online, Liberty University may be a great place to look with over 115 fully online degrees offered at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s level. What’s more, Liberty accepts credit for life experience, and offers remedial as well as academic and career counseling. There’s something for everyone at Liberty.

Liberty University offers an online Doctorate in Education with a number of focus areas. We selected Liberty’s program for the affordable tuition rate and flexibility afforded through options. In fact, students may select to specialize in curriculum and instruction, elementary education, middle-grades education, secondary grades, or special education. We like that you can tailor your program to match your exact career requirements. Some of the courses include curriculum theory, quantitative methods of research, middle grades curriculum and methods, professional writing, technology and diversity, theories of education, and professional writing. The cost of this program is $595 per credit hour.

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $595li>
  • US News Ranking: N231

9. Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University (CMU) is a public research university located in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and established in 1892. There are 25,986 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 22:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits CMU to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees as well as professional certificates. According to U.S. News CMU ranks as the 113th top public school in the nation, 46th for best online graduate education programs, 54th for best online MBA programs, and 66th for best online bachelor’s programs. To support their students, CMU provides remedial help, weekend and evening classes, online programming, employment for students, academic counseling and will also accept credit for life experiences. They offer vocational degrees, liberal arts degrees, and programing in the Arts. Their largest colleges by enrollment are business, health, and education school with extensive programming in education. Not only that, but over the years CMU has developed a robust online school, and currently offers 45 fully online degrees and professional certifications including among them their online PhD in educational leadership, online master’s in special education, and online bachelor’s in child development.

CMU offers an online doctor of education in educational leadership. We selected this online program for the high quality of academic offerings, flexible number of offerings, and for the affordable tuition rate. CMU ranks as the 46th best school for online graduate education degrees, and offers this online PhD for $658 per credit hour. The online PhD program requires just 63 credit-hours for completion. For the most part, this program is completed online- but CMU does require four face-to-face Summer meetings per year. You also have the option to focus on one of four concentration areas including: K-12 curriculum, K-12 leadership, higher education leadership, and educational technology. The academic core includes organizational theory in educational instruction, a doctoral seminar, ethical leadership, and organizational culture and change in education.

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $658
  • US News Ranking: N207

10. Drexel University

Drexel University is a private research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There are 24,232 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits Drexel University to award comprehensive degrees as well as professional certificates. According to U.S. News, Drexel University ranks as the 94th best university in the nation, 70th best value school, and 101st best school for online graduate education programs. Drexel supports their students with the full gamut of services including dual credit, study abroad programming, remedial support, career counseling, and credit for life experience. It’s not wonder Drexel ranks among the top schools in the nation. They offers a vast range of degrees and certifications for myriad of interests. In fact there are over 150 areas of study including in some unique fields like food science, game design, publishing, and Neuroscience. Drexel also offers a large number of fully online degrees and certifications for bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD-seeking candidates including their online PhD nursing, online master’s in commerce, and online bachelor’s in elementary education and teaching.

Drexel University offers a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Management. Though our most expensive pick, we believe the high quality of academic offerings make up for the price with high value. This program is presented by Drexel’s award-winning school of education and is truly tailored to the needs of ambitious working professionals. You have the option to complete this PhD in as little as 3 years or as many as 5 years- so you can learn at a pace that works for your life. Not only that but Drexel offers 9 areas of concentration including: athletic administration, creativity and innovation, educational administration, educational policy, global and international education, higher education, human resource development, learning technologies, and special education leadership. Not only that, but students may opt to take this program entirely online or in a blended format.

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $1228
  • US News Ranking: N94
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