Education policy is made up of the principles, regulations, laws, and legislation that guide and govern today’s education systems. Policies concerning class size, teacher education and certification, teaching methods, curricular content, and school values are debated at length on the local and state level. Those who want to increase their involvement in education research and advocacy can do so by earning a PhD in this specialized field. At the doctorate degree level, students will take advanced courses in education policy and administration as well as conduct original research in their area of expertise.
Why a Doctorate Degree?
The doctorate degree is the pinnacle of academic achievement in education policy. PhD holders possess an advanced understanding of their field and have demonstrated their knowledge and skills through original dissertation research. Most doctoral students have completed a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in education policy. The PhD offers graduates more career options and advancement opportunities in education, politics, or research.
Getting Into a Doctorate Degree Program
A Ph.D. is a huge investment for your career. It takes time, money, dedication, and the following educational requirements to obtain this prestigious degree:
- Master’s degree from an accredited institution
- Desired score on the GRE, GMAT, and/or qualifying exams
- Minimum required GPA
- Completion of prerequisites/work experience
Inside an Education Policy Doctorate Degree Program
The completion time for education policy PhD programs depends on your individual program, course load, and pace. However, most full-time doctoral students take about three to four years to finish. Some common courses students can expect to take in this program include: education statistics, economics of education, education policy implementation, and methods of policy analysis in education. In addition to core courses, students will also complete research courses and electives to satisfy their specialization.
Like traditional doctoral students, distance learners will also conduct many hours of original research and produce scholarly dissertations that contribute to their chosen field. Most PhD programs require students to attend a few face-to-face residencies each year. During these seminars, students can meet with faculty members, network, and discuss research topics.
What’s Next for Education Policy Doctorate Degree Holders?
Graduates of the online PhD in education policy are qualified to do many exciting jobs, such as postsecondary teacher, postsecondary education administrator, and political scientist/policy analyst. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of all three occupations is expected to be good for the next few years. By 2020, postsecondary teachers are expected to see a 17% increase in employment, postsecondary education administrators are projected to grow 19%, and political scientists/policy analysts are expected to increase 8%. Not only do these occupations have excellent job outlooks, but they also experience favorable salaries. According to the May 2012 Occupational Employment Statistics, postsecondary teachers made an average annual salary of $77,500, postsecondary education administrators earned $99,370, and political scientists/policy analysts made $104,600. Annual earning potential varies based on an individual’s employer, location, education level, and experience.