For those who are looking to further their careers in the field of education and have a master’s degree, the next logical step is to pursue a doctoral degree. There are a couple of different choices: a PhD in Education or a Doctor of Education degree.

Career Choices

Both a PhD and a Doctor of Education focus on continuing education for teachers and administrators. However, a PhD in Education is more appropriate for those who want to become postsecondary professors or instructors. Those who earn a PhD in Education are prepared to continue their careers as educators and to publish research concerning their profession and the education system at large.

Those who want to move up to administrative positions, like principal or superintendent, or who want to work in curriculum design and instruction should consider an EdD as the more appropriate educational path. EdD programs focus on educational, leadership and decision-making skills that prepare graduates for administrative and leadership positions.

Curriculum Differences

A PhD in Education and an EdD differ in the kinds of courses and subjects that are taught. Classes in a PhD program are generally research-heavy and emphasize subjects like curriculum development, statistical methods and workplace learning. In some cases, a PhD has specific concentrations, such as sociology of education, childhood learning, special education or literacy.

An EdD program requires core courses that cover subjects including leadership and ethics, historical foundations of organizations, public policy, and teaching and mentoring. A concentration in curriculum and instruction helps equip graduates with skills and knowledge concerning curriculum theory, concepts and design, and instructional systems. This concentration specifically prepares students to pursue careers in curriculum design, instructional coordinating and corporate training. Instructional coordinators make an average salary of $62,270 a year. Generally, they work full time and do not take summer breaks.

Those who choose to concentrate on organizational leadership are prepared for more general positions and, in some cases, jobs not in the education field. Organizational leadership focuses on management skills, critical issues in leadership, different organizational systems and best practices. Though many with an EdD pursue careers as principals or superintendents, they are also prepared for leadership positions in nonprofits and community organizations. The average salary for a school principal is $90,410 a year.

Which Degree Is Better?

The answer depends on what kind of career individuals want to pursue. If prospective doctoral candidates want to continue their career as an educator, then a PhD is the best route. If they want to become school administrators or community leaders, then a Doctor of Education is the best choice.