Best Online PhD in Educational Leadership Programs

If you are looking to advance your career in education, you might want to consider a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. This degree can help you take on leadership roles in educational institutions, from K-12 and up.

Getting a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership can be time-consuming and complicated. Thankfully, there is an alternative that can help you reduce the complexity. An online degree. An online Ph.D. offers the same benefits as offline doctorates. You can use this opportunity to juggle several commitments while studying in the comfort of your own home.

The key to getting the studying experience you want is choosing the right program. Let’s take a closer look at getting a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership online.

Why Get an Online Ph.D. in Educational Leadership

Getting a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership requires a comprehensive approach to studies. Many students who plan to get this degree already work in the educational niche. They want to improve their knowledge and get a chance to work in leadership positions.

After completing the Ph.D. program, you will be able to find real-world applications for your research findings. You may have a chance to share new teaching methods with your existing team. Some Ph.D. holders contribute to the improvement of their local community. Meanwhile, others take their research to the national level.

The majority of online Ph.D. programs in Educational Leadership take between two and five years to complete. Some universities may be willing to let you study longer if, for a legitimate reason, you can’t complete the education on time. Many programs also require a capstone or practicum before graduation.

Research-Based Practice

While getting a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, you will be exploring evidence-based practice (also called research-based practice).

Evidence-based practice is a methodology based solely on evidence. Besides accepting teaching practices as they have been used for many years, students question their viability and efficiency. During your studies, you will take these practices and test them in new environments to gather evidence. This evidence can either confirm the methods’ viability or demonstrate their inability to meet the new century’s requirements.

With evidence-based methodology under your belt, you will be able to change curricula, reorganize subject matters, and create a brand-new atmosphere in the classroom. The goal is to streamline the educational process in the most effective way possible.

Things to Consider When Choosing to Get Your Ph.D. in Educational Leadership Online

Earning a Ph.D. online is a convenient way to combine professional and personal commitments. However, this choice comes with several nuances that you have to consider.

Choosing a Pace

Online studies allow you to choose your own pace. You don’t have to come to the campus every morning and leave every afternoon. You can decide when to start listening to recorded lectures and when to conduct your research.

While this sounds highly convenient, it could pose a problem to someone who has never studied on their own before. It’s especially hard when you need to pace other commitments to achieve your studying goals.

If you aren’t sure that you can set an effective pace, consider choosing a program with set lecture hours. Instead of watching recorded materials, you can attend online lectures and meetings according to the schedule. This can provide the much-needed structure for your studies.

Offline Requirements

Not all online Ph.D. programs are created equal. Many of them prefer to add offline requirements. For example, you may need to attend the campus once every week, month, or semester. While this doesn’t seem like a lot of effort, it prevents you from choosing a faraway location. Unless you are willing to travel regularly, you may be limited by the schools available in your area.

Make sure to check the offline requirements before applying to the online program. Many universities aren’t always straightforward about this issue. You may want to do some research to make sure you know as much as you can about the program’s structure and schedule.

Financial Aid

The cost of online Ph.D. programs is rarely lower than the costs of their offline counterparts. Accordingly, if the school offers both offline and online Ph.D. in Educational leadership, the cost of these programs is likely to be the same.

Take the time to explore financial aid options at the school of your choice. Some universities offer multiple opportunities to save money on your studies. If the cost is an issue, you may want to check how schools of your choice are willing to help.

On the bright side, the cost of online studies is often lower than the offline alternative, However, this doesn’t have anything to do with the tuition. You can spend less money on food and transportation while avoiding the costs of moving to another location.

Elements to Consider When Choosing an Online Ph.D. Program

Before you fill out an application and send your documents to the schools of your choice, you have to do some research. Questions to answer before contacting the admissions committee include:

What Is the School’s Accreditation?

When a qualified body gives accreditation to the university, it means that this school provides high-quality education to its students. When you search for a job after getting your Ph.D., the employer is highly likely to check the school’s accreditation. The right accreditation shows employers that the university meets high educational standards.

What Are the Admissions Requirements?

Admissions requirements vary from school to school. You may be asked to demonstrate or provide:

  • GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Statement of purpose or personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation (usually 2 or 3)
  • Official transcripts from previous academic institutions
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) or resume
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  • English language proficiency test scores (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS) for international students
  • Research proposal or research statement
  • Interview (in some cases)

While some admissions requirements may seem strict, this isn’t always the case. When it comes to Ph.D. programs, many schools are willing to reduce these requirements if they see that a student is a valuable asset. This means that even if you have a lower than required GPA or GRE score, you can compensate by relevant work experience or an in-depth personal statement.

What Is Program Quality?

The quality of the program is the most important element to consider. Before making the final decision, you need to check the university’s reputation. Besides conducting in-depth research online, you may want to speak to the alumni. They can give you the best evaluation of the pros and cons of the program.

Don’t hesitate to contact the school’s representative and ask relevant questions. While some universities willingly share immense amounts of information on their websites, others keep it short. Don’t rely solely on online research. Make sure to speak to alumni, current students, and maybe even professors in person.

How Are Online Students Supported?

Online students often don’t have direct access to many resources that offline students usually use. That’s why you have to find out how online students are supported by the faculty.

  • Will you get access to online library resources?
  • How many faculty members will be providing support and guidance?
  • How often will online meetings with mentors be arranged?
  • Will students be provided with access to the necessary e-learning software?

Always keep in mind that online students need more support. Try to choose a program that’s tailored to your online studying needs.

What Are Possible Career Outcomes?

You probably already have an idea of how to take advantage of the online Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. Find out if the program you choose provides the necessary knowledge to help you advance your career.

Ideally, consider speaking to the graduates of the program. Alternatively, a school may be keeping success records of their students. Find out how many of them managed to fill the leadership roles you are thinking about.

Online Ph.D. in Educational Leadership Programs: Top Picks

While there isn’t a wide variety of universities that are willing to offer online Ph.D. programs, you can still find a few that suit your needs. Below is a carefully selected list designed to simplify your choice.

American University

American University has an online Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership. The program aims to teach students about new approaches to education. The goal is to create qualified leaders who can support modern educational approaches. After completing this program, you will have a chance to get a leadership position in an educational institution.

Admissions requirements for this program include:

  • Statement of purpose
  • Official transcripts from universities you previously attended
  • CV or resume
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL (for non-native English speakers)

The program requires three on-campus residencies.

School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

California State University (Fresno)

California State University Fresno has a Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership, which is available in both online and offline formats. As part of this program, students conduct field-based research, establish sound educational policies, and acquire methodological knowledge. You can complete this program in just three years. However, the majority of online students do it in four years.

Admissions requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s and master’s degree from an accredited institution
  • GPA 3.0 or above
  • Statement of purpose
  • CV or resume
  • Examples of professional writing
  • 3 letters of recommendation

School Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission and other agencies.

University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota has a strong Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership online. You will be able to choose from several specializations, including:

  • Education policy, reform, and equity
  • Higher education
  • Instructional design and technology
  • School leadership
  • Teacher education
  • And more

Depending on the level of commitment, it usually takes three years to complete the program.

Admissions requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s and master’s degree from an accredited institution
  • GPA 3.0 or above
  • TOEFL or IELTS for non-native English speakers

This particular program may have other requirements. Please check with the admissions department.

School Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission

George Washington University

George Washington University has an excellent  Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership and Administration. It can be completed fully online or in a hybrid format. The program is designed to teach leadership for equity, social justice, and education improvement.

During the program, you will learn how to meet the most common educational leader challenges and conduct research to improve the current landscape. After completing the program, you will have sufficient knowledge and experience to fill leadership positions at the state and federal levels.

Admissions requirements include:

  • Master’s degree
  • Statement of purpose
  • Official transcripts from previously attended educational institutions
  • Scholarly writing sample
  • Resume
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Interview

School Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

Florida State University

Florida State University’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences has a strong  PhD program in Educational Leadership. This program is designed for people who already have experience in the educational field. The goal is to enhance their knowledge to maximize skill value. As part of this problem, you will conduct research with the goal of improving educational policy and practices. You will be learning from top professionals in the field.

Admissions requirements include:

  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution
  • GPA 3.5 or above
  • GRE scores
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (for non-native English speakers)
  • Official transcripts from previously attended educational institutions

School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Making the Most Out of Your Ph.D. in Educational Leadership Online

Congratulations! You are now ready to choose the most suitable program for getting a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership online. While the journey can seem intimidating at first, it has an impressive return on investment (ROI). Armed with the knowledge and skills acquired through this problem, you have a chance to make a real difference in the educational landscape.

The flexibility of the online learning format allows you to keep your day job while getting the necessary education and advancing your career.