What Can You Do with a Doctorate in Education?

Faculty Insights Industry Advice Education

Associate teaching professor Dr. Karen Reiss Medwed explains how an EdD can help advance your career.

As a leader working in education, as a classroom teacher, organizational manager, or member of an administrative team, you might wonder, “What can you do with a Doctorate in Education?” Congratulations on asking the question; you’re now one step closer to the actualization of earning your EdD—a degree that can catapult your career.

An EdD signals to employers that you’re a thought leader; that you’re someone who’s demonstrated record capacity to identify a problem, examine the issue from multiple perspectives, and offer relevant insights for practical solutions. With your doctorate in hand, you’re prepared to take on a leadership role across a variety of industries.

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A Virtual Degree with Flexibility and Real-Life Application

When choosing an EdD program, you’re at an advantage: You’re an experienced professional who’s exploring avenues for growth. You’ve identified your areas of interest and pathways for career advancement. And that’s a benefit, because an EdD is a focused degree of studies that you can tailor to your needs, adapt to your life, and align with your areas of interest.

At Northeastern, our EdD is offered 100 percent online. Students seeking flexibility might find that the doctorate’s virtual coursework is best suited for their busy professional lives. Online studies offer the opportunity to engage in learning with a vast community of professionals, while still working full-time. You can draw on the knowledge and expertise of peers from across the country and globe—amplifying your network during your studies.

An added bonus is that, as industries continue to employ online networks for professional development and teamwork, the experience of earning a doctorate in a virtual environment will position you at the forefront of these learning and communication practices for your field.

When doctoral coursework addresses real-life applications to problems of practice that arise at work, it advances both your knowledge and leadership capacity to enact change. At Northeastern, this real-life application of doctoral work uniquely positions our students to be able to advance their professional careers through their research, while balancing work, family, and studies through our online learning environment.

It’s in this way that one of our students, Marcy*, was able to maintain her role as vice president at her local university, while taking courses and working on her doctoral thesis, which focused on the experiences of senior staff at a university undertaking a change project. Drawing on her vast network of colleagues and the support of her faculty chair, she completed her studies and assumed a position as president of a university—all in only four years.

Opportunity To Be Part of a Vast Network of Professionals

With an EdD, you’re positioning yourself to advance in your career across a wide range of fields, including school education leadership, higher education, nonprofit leadership, and organizational leadership. As a student in a program with a vast range of professionals, you’re entering into a serious network of knowledge and experiences all available to you to seek out to advance your career.

One of our students, John, began our program while working in a regional office for a national retail company. His work entailed developing employee handbooks to ensure safety at the workplace, which he developed with the support of his coursework and doctoral thesis. Today, he holds a national position in his company and uses the work he began in our program to educate a vast network of employees across the country.

What Can You Do with a Doctorate in Education?

Professionals working in an educational setting might use their EdD to advance into careers ranging from elementary education administrator to instructional coordinator. In higher education, our EdD supports you as you grow into senior roles in student services, community college leadership, university leadership teams, chief executive officers (CEOs), or chief information officers (CIOs), as well as roles as consultants in higher education.

The EdD allows each of you, as a participatory leader, to grow your voice and role in your work. We look to such alumni as Carley, who was able to employ her EdD work toward understanding how to blend two schools into one. She’s now successfully running this new school, which has since won awards under her leadership.

With an EdD, those working in nonprofit and for-profit organizations often advance into leadership roles as CEOs or executive directors at a regional or national level. They might also become specialists and lobbyists. Fields as diverse as security, military and police, to nursing and medical education, to sports and nonprofit leadership, all find the EdD serves to advance their management voice and role in their fields.

What’s Unique about an EdD from Northeastern?

When you earn your EdD from Northeastern, you’re not only advancing your own work, you’re joining a top-tier university and pursuing a rigorous education with an entrepreneurial orientation toward making our world a better place. You’re joining a vast network of students and alumni in the EdD, which spans more than 2,000 professionals across many domains of education. You’re gaining access to engaging faculty who understand the importance of professional experiences in a growing leadership capacity, and who are prepared to offer you personal attention to support your professional development.

With your EdD, you can make a difference in the lives of children, communities, and organizations, as you transform your problem of practice into a plan for change and action.

*Names are fictional but reflect real lived experiences of students in our program.


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