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A Ph.D. in education can open many new career doors. Most top positions are only open to candidates with doctoral degrees in this industry.

These positions may feature higher salaries and excellent benefits packages, so earning your Ph.D. in education can be a satisfying career.


If you love working in education, why not consider going back to school to get a Ph.D.? With your Ph.D. in education, you can work as a professor, educational researcher, or policymaker.

These leadership roles come attached to high salaries and perks that allow you to pursue your passions while also giving students your love for education.

Let’s look at what you can expect in a career in education if you earn your Ph.D.

Ph.D. in Education versus Other Degrees

While the Ph.D. in education is one of the older doctorate degrees for educators, this is not your only choice.

You can also earn a Doctorate of Education or EdD, and some schools even offer educational administration degree choices. Ph.D. programs focus mainly on two areas of education: teaching and research.

Earning this type of degree will prepare you to work as a professor.

You can also get a leadership role with a Ph.D. in education, working in positions like a school district superintendent or government educational policymaker. Still, these more functional roles are better suited for those with an EdD.

There’s a lot of overlap between these two degrees, so even if your career goals change in the future, having a Ph.D. in education can lead to many high-level positions.

Working as a Professor

Most students who earn a Ph.D. in education work at colleges and universities as professors.

In this role, you’ll likely be hired first as a junior professor or even an adjunct professor, which means that you’ll work part-time or work full-time but have limited academic freedom.

As you work in this field, you can begin to complete research projects and write papers for journals in your area, eventually leading to tenure.

You could move to become the HOD or take an administrative role as your school’s dean.

Advantages of a Ph.D. in Education

The top schools only consider Ph.D. (or EdD) holders as candidates for their job openings.

Even junior colleges who sometimes consider master’s degree holders only allow these professors to take junior or adjunct roles, not full tenure roles.

Earning a Ph.D. in this field will open lots of career doors and help you hone your academic interests.

Education Job Title and Earnings

A doctorate in education (EdD) helps you prepare for an educational leadership role, working as a policymaker, school superintendent, or other related positions.

A Ph.D. in education, however, helps you prepare for a role in teacher education or educational research.

When it comes to salaries, your location also plays a role. The top-paying positions are typically more available in more urban areas than rural areas. Your specific employer matters too.

If you get a position at a top school like Harvard or a specialized school like MIT, you may earn more money than if you worked at a local state public school (though this is not always the case).

You may also earn more money if you’re tenured in education.

Teaching and Education Benefits

Higher education professors usually receive a comprehensive benefits package with the job.

Every employer is different, but you can expect perks such as health and dental coverage, paid vacation days, and a retirement plan for full-time positions.

In addition, most workers in the educational field get access to research facilities, professional conferences, and more to pursue their passions.

A Ph.D. in education or a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree is the highest degree conferred in education.

Graduates of such a program will be prepared to enter careers in the academic, administrative, clinical, or research fields of education.