What is the Difference Between a PhD and an EdD in the Field of Education?
Educational professionals who would like to advance in their careers often consider earning a doctoral-level degree in education, but just what is the difference between a PhD and an EdD in the field of education? Knowing the main differences between these two degrees is important when considering which path would suit one’s career goals best. The main differences involve three distinct areas that are discussed below, and they are program requirements, areas of focus, and typical employment available after graduation.
Common Program Requirements
One of the biggest differences between a doctorate of philosophy in education and a doctorate of education in education involves the requirements that are most common to earn each degree. First of all, whereas students would typically only need to complete around 60 credit hours of coursework to earn an EdD, they would need to complete about 90 credit hours of coursework to earn a PhD.
Because of this, PhD programs usually take four years or longer to complete while EdD programs can be completed in about two or three years. EdD programs also commonly require a variety of community-based projects, workshops, and fieldwork whereas PhD programs commonly require teaching internships and well as completion of various research projects and a dissertation prior to graduating from the program.
Areas of Focus
Another key difference between an EdD and a PhD in education is the area of focus when speaking in terms of program completion. PhD programs are more oriented towards research and in-depth exploration of the field of education. EdD programs, on the other hand, are more oriented towards providing students with practical skills necessary to solve various problems in the educational system.
These different areas of focus lead to differences in much of the coursework that is required for each program. While both programs most often require certain research-related and practical skills-oriented courses, PhD programs require more research and teaching-focused courses while EdD programs typically require more community and administrative skills-based coursework.
Typical Employment Available
Typical employment available to persons possessing each of these degrees is yet another difference between a doctor of philosophy in education and a doctor in education degree. Both of these degrees allow specialization in a variety of areas including early childhood education, special education, K-12 education, higher education, and educational leadership. But the difference between the two degrees is the type of employment persons with these degrees most often seek.
Persons who choose to earn PhDs in the educational field often choose to obtain positions as college or university instructors. These positions are growing at a rate of about 15 percent according to the United States Department of Labor. Many persons with PhDs also go on to acquire positions as educational consultants or academic researchers. Persons who choose to earn EdDs, on the other hand, often seek positions as educational leaders such as school principals, facility administrators, curriculum coordinators, or school superintendents.
Related Resource: 15 Cheapest Online Programs in Educational Leadership and Administration
Choosing a higher-level degree to meet one’s career goals in the educational field may seem confusing at first. But learning the key differences between a PhD and an EdD in the field of education can help students determine which degree would suit their long-range objectives.