A degree in teaching offers a holistic approach to the study of education at large, without emphasis on a subject or targeted grade level. The doctoral degree in general education is the utmost level of academic pursuit achievable in the field. Those who are interested in pedagogy, educational leadership and administration, and superior learning environments are well-suited for the doctoral track in teaching, also known as general education. The ideal candidate has an inherent thirst for knowledge and a desire to better the lives of others through academia. The study opens up a variety of career paths in schools and other learning institutions.

Why a Doctoral Degree?

A Ph.D. provides a level of education and experience that is not available at the master’s or bachelor’s level. There is no way to guarantee a particular academic path will ensure a successful career, but earning your doctorate gives you a distinct advantage over those with lower-level degrees. The program is rigorous and comprehensive, covering all aspects of instructional design, the psychology of the learner, the administrative side of learning, and the diversity of students. In turn, doctoral students are prepared for virtually any teaching job ranging from kindergarten teacher to chief academic officer at a major university.

Getting Into a Doctoral Degree Program

In order to be considered for admissions into a doctoral program at the school of your choice, you must satisfy a set of degree requirements necessary for all entrants. While schools may vary in their prerequisites, they typically ask for:

  • A master’s degree from an accredited institution in a related field.
  • Desired minimum GRE score.
  • Transcripts from all previously attended universities.
  • A capstone or research thesis.

Inside a Teaching Doctoral Degree Program

Doctoral programs in teaching can take as few as three years to complete and as many as seven or eight years, depending on the program. The first few years focus on core course work, while the remaining portion of the program is dedicated to the student’s dissertation. Some of the topics that might be covered in a general education doctoral student’s course work include diversity in schools, curriculum instruction, education technology, cognition and learning psychology, educational law, and facilities administration. A variety of internships may also be available, which help the student focus their academic efforts toward a lucrative career.

Online students must navigate a slightly different route to achieve their degree. While they are subject to the same courses as traditional students, all course material is available online in the form of PDF files, PowerPoint presentations, and video lectures. Some schools offer online content synchronously, wherein students must log in at specific times to watch live video lectures and participate in chat-room conversation for a more interactive educational experience. Alternatively, some schools offer asynchronous online courses, which allow the student to access material from pre-recorded lectures at whatever time best suits their schedule.

What’s Next for Teaching Doctoral Degree Holders?

Many of the students enlisted in a doctoral program in general education already hold positions as teachers and faculty. Their newfound degree may be the key toward promotion and other opportunities which boost their career. Otherwise, degree-holders are eligible to work as teachers in every tier of the educational system, at public and private schools and universities. They may also find government teaching opportunities, corporate educational opportunities, or work abroad. Some work on the administrative end as school superintendents while others continue to build a body of research to help improve the educational system and the lives of students. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that postsecondary teachers made an annual median pay of $62,050 in 2010, while postsecondary administrators made $83,710.

Beyond gaining your doctoral degree, you may consider publishing your research. Likewise, additional certification may be required in order to teach at public elementary and secondary schools. Each state has specific regulations for teaching certification. There are many online programs offered which make certification accessible and simple for working professionals.