Education is one of the most important and, unfortunately, often overlooked academic disciplines, and for anyone interested in contributing to this area of study, there are two ways to get a professional graduate diploma in education. In the United States, you can get either a PhD, or doctor of philosophy, in education or an EdD degree, which stands for doctor of education. The PhD is a more traditional academic degree that enables students to contribute to the collective body of research in education, such as the statistics related to effective teaching methods and positive learning outcomes. The EdD is usually the choice for students who want to go into administration and work directly in the education system, applying their knowledge to the real-world problems existing in schools and in government policy.
EdD vs. PhD in Education
The difference between these two degrees is subtle; to those outside the academic discipline of education, it sometimes seems like there’s no difference at all. However, there have been studies on the differences between the two degrees, and in general, they found that PhD students in education produced more work related to statistical analysis of education while EdD students focused more on the application of education research to the school system. Some universities offer both degrees, making a distinction between the requirements of the two programs based on the policy of the department. Other schools offer only one degree or the other, and students must choose a school based on the merits of a particular program.
Both the PhD and EdD are terminal degrees, and graduates must demonstrate an ability to apply knowledge from the body of academic research to the existing problems in the education system. It’s possible to get these degrees online from public and for-profit universities or from traditional brick-and-mortar colleges. After graduating, the student has the title of doctor and is qualified to do most jobs in education, although the types of jobs PhD graduates do usually differ from the jobs done by EdD graduates. The EdD is usually earned by people who want to work in kindergarten through high school grade levels, while the PhD is earned by people who want to work in postsecondary education as professors or researchers.
What a Professional Degree in Education Prepares You to Do
The focus in a PhD program is mostly research, and although EdD students do research as well, they typically focus on the practical application of existing research to the everyday issues that arise in the school system. They also often go into policy advocacy, non-profit work and other areas that require expert knowledge of education research.
There isn’t necessarily a clear dividing line between the types of jobs offered to PhD holders and jobs offered to EdD graduates, and doctors of education often go into postsecondary teaching or administration, as well. The career path of the graduate has a lot to do with the program taken and the research completed during graduate school. The job market for postsecondary teachers is growing faster than average, although many of the traditional tenure-track jobs are being replaced by part-time and adjunct positions.
Education is a unique discipline in that it combines academic research with real-world problem solving. If you have a talent for teaching young people and a passion for lifetime learning, you may be interested in a professional graduate diploma in education.