Online Ed.D. programs in educational technology (EdTech) prepare graduates for careers in information and communications technology (ICT). The combination of computer- and web-based education has altered the learning landscape, and EdTech is among the most influential sectors to emerge from the IT field. Students in online doctorate programs in educational technology assess, develop, and implement technological learning tools to enhance learning and improve performance through apps, software, and online systems.
For career information, skip down:
- What Else can I Expect from an Online Doctorate in Educational Technology Program?
- Accreditation for Online Educational Technology Doctorate Degrees
- Employment Outlook for Doctorate in Educational Technology Graduates
- Paying for Your Online Doctorate in Educational Technology
Educational technologists require a unique combination of skills from IT, communications, and education. Though career possibilities are diverse for graduates of online Ed.D. programs in educational technology, job growth and compensation are expected to favor those with advanced programming and data-mining skills. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for computer and information research scientists will grow 19% by the year 2026 due to the increasing need for more efficient technology.
The Best Online Educational Technology Doctorate Programs
1. University of Florida Distance Learning
UF offers an online Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction that features a concentration in educational technology which emphasizes integrating various tools and applications into elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and corporate learning environments. Most courses are delivered online, though students must attend two summer session on the school's Gainesville campus.
This online doctorate program in educational technology includes courses on topics like research in curriculum and instruction, instructional design, educational statistics, and a practicum in digital media. Students conclude their studies by completing a dissertation. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Applicants must have a master's degree from an accredited institution and submit a statement of purpose, a writing sample, at least two letters of recommendation, and GRE scores to be considered.
UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
2. Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
MSU offers a hybrid Ph.D. in educational psychology and educational technology program that provides students with the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to use technology to transform K-12, university, and virtual learning environments. The five-year program features mostly online coursework combined with a two-week, on-campus summer session.
This Ph.D. in educational technology online program includes coursework on research design, data analysis, and the creation of technology-rich learning. Students can work alongside experienced faculty on research projects, which typically focus on professional development and teacher education. Before graduating, all students must create and successfully defend a dissertation, a process that comprises the entirety of the fifth year. Applicants must have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and significant academic and professional accomplishments to be considered. They must also submit several strong recommendations and GRE scores.
MSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
3. University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
USC offers a doctor of education in curriculum and instruction with an educational technology track. This 36-month program was designed to prepare students to become the next generation of K-12 and postsecondary school leaders. The majority of coursework can be completed online, but students must visit the school's Columbia campus for a brief orientation at the beginning of the program.
This 60-credit online doctorate program in educational technology covers topics like diversity in curriculum, applications of learning principles, instructional design, educational technology research, and technology resource management. The final 12 credits center on preparing a dissertation. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Applicants must have a master's degree in a related field earned from a regionally-accredited institution to be considered. They must also submit a letter of intent, GRE or GMAT scores, a resume, and samples of academic writing.
USC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
4. University of Memphis - UM Online
Memphis offers an online Ed.D. in instructional design and technology program that prepares students for successful careers as professors, corporate trainers, human resource professionals, researchers, and school administrators. This degree emphasizes both research and examining practical applications of various technologies in the learning environment.
This 54-credit online Ed.D. program in educational technology features a cohort learning model, with students taking most classes with the same group of their fellow learners. Each semester includes one 14-week and two seven-week classes, creating a manageable schedule for working professionals. Each student must complete a research project and dissertation, which will be presented to a faculty committee at the end of the program. Applicants must have a master's degree from an accredited institution and submit a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and a resume to be considered.
Memphis is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
5. Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma State offers a Ph.D. in education with a concentration in educational technology. This 60-credit program features a variety of online courses, with some on-campus classes completed at the university's Stillwater or Tulsa campuses. This Ph.D. in educational technology online program includes coursework on advanced computer applications, digital media production, facilitation of online learning, instructional development, and library networks.
Students must research, create, and present a dissertation at the end of the program. Available student resources include IT assistance, a digital library, and financial aid help. Applicants must have a master's degree earned with a minimum GPA of 3.5 to be considered. They must also provide evidence of their writing abilities, GRE or GMAT scores, three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Oklahoma State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
6. Indiana University - Bloomington
Indiana offers one of the best online Ed.D. programs in educational technology in the U.S. This 60-credit program takes a hands-on approach to education, preparing students to develop instructional materials applicable to various settings. This program is ideal for those who want to become applied researchers and includes courses on topics such as doctoral readings, intermediate statistics, qualitative inquiry in education, adult learning, and learning and cognition.
The last nine credits of the curriculum includes a dissertation, which each student presents to a committee before graduating. Applicants must have a master's degree earned from an accredited postsecondary institution and submit GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement to be considered.
Indiana is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
7. Duquesne University
Duquesne offers a 57-credit online doctoral program in instructional technology and leadership that teaches students to use technology to create positive change in various educational settings. All courses emphasize access to opportunity and equality. This online doctorate program in educational technology includes courses on topics like instructional technology, digital media, electronic literacy, and classroom design.
Classes are delivered online through Blackboard Monday through Thursday evenings each week. This schedule is ideal for working professionals who are typically not available during the day. While most coursework is delivered online, students must attend a two-week residency on Duquesne's campus to begin the program. Applicants must have a master's degree in a technology- or education-related field earned with a minimum GPA of 3.5 to be considered. They must also be proficient in using technology, have high-speed internet access, and submit official GRE scores.
Duquesne is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
8. University of West Florida
UWF offers an online Ed.D. in instructional design and technology that emphasizes project management, critical thinking, communication, and ethics. This program is ideal for those who want to use technology to drive innovation, change, and productivity in education.
This online Ed.D. program in educational technology offers two concentrations: distance learning and performance technology. The distance learning track emphasizes online learning methods in K-12, postsecondary, and business settings. The performance technology concentration focuses on using technology to enhance the performance of individuals and organizations. All students must complete a research project and dissertation, which takes up the final 18 credits of the program.
Applicants must have a master's degree earned from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.5 to be considered. They must also submit GRE or GMAT scores, a resume, three professional references, and a statement of intent.
University of West Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
9. Old Dominion University
ODU Online offers a Ph.D. in education with a concentration in instructional design and technology. This flexible 60-credit program allows students to explore a variety of topics, including technology-mediated instruction, human performance technology, research, distance education, and instructional message design.
Although courses in this online doctorate program in educational technology take place at scheduled times, students can also access digital content at their convenience. The curriculum includes core courses on instructional systems design, cognition and instruction, and multimedia design. The final 15 credits consist of each student's dissertation. Applicants must have a master's degree from an accredited institution and must submit a writing sample, a personal essay, a resume, three letters of recommendation, and GRE scores to be considered.
Old Dominion is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
10. Concordia University - Chicago
River Forest, Illinois
CUC, located in the suburban community of River Forest, Illinois, offers a doctorate degree in leadership with a specialization in educational technology. This program emphasizes learning in the digital age while preparing the next generation of K-12, university, and other educational leaders.
This online Ed.D. program in educational technology includes 61-67 credits of courses on topics such as data management, learning environment design, technology department management, school district improvement, and curriculum development. Students may also choose from electives that emphasize learning in K-12, higher education, or corporate settings. Applicants must have a master's degree in a related discipline from a regionally accredited institution, along with a 3.0 GPA or better. They must also demonstrate familiarity with commonly used word processing spreadsheet, and presentation applications.
CUC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
11. Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Located in Virginia Beach, Regent offers a Ph.D. in education with a concentration in educational technology and online learning. In this program, students conduct their own research, use research and analytical methods to address problems, and seek publication in journals. This Ph.D. in educational technology online program features courses on advanced leadership practice, strategic planning and evaluation, instructional design, research design and analysis, and educational statistics.
The final year of the program focuses largely on a dissertation, which students must present to a committee before graduation. Applicants must have both a bachelor's and master's degree earned from regionally-accredited institutions. They must also provide GRE scores, a current resume, and a peer-reviewed scholarly paper along with the completion of an admissions questionnaire.
Regent is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
12. Boise State University
Boise State offers a doctor of educational technology degree that teaches students how to incorporate emerging technologies into K-12 and university settings. The program covers various topics, including academic technology leadership, software development, mobile applications, and digital games and activities.
Students enroll in courses focused on instructional design, website creation, research, statistics, and contemporary theories of learning and technology. Before graduating, all students must complete a thesis and final portfolio that they present to a faculty committee. Students can seek limited funding opportunities, including full- and part-time assistantships. Applicants must hold a master's degree from an accredited institution and must submit a scholarly paper, three professional references, and official GRE scores to be considered.
Boise State is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
13. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago
The Chicago School offers an online Ed.D. in educational psychology and technology degree that immerses students in the cutting-edge technologies and advancements that influence teaching and learning across multiple contexts. This degree covers a wide variety of topics, including interactions between computers and cognition, technology in the learning environment, and philosophical and ethical issues in educational technology.
While most classes are delivered online, students must attend two residency sessions at the school's campus in downtown Chicago. These residencies cover include the study of special topics, exams, and collaborative research projects. Applicants to this online Ed.D. program in educational technology must have a master's degree and submit a personal essay and resume to be considered. Those with a master's degree in non-related subjects should have at least three years of professional experience.
The Chicago School is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
What Else can I Expect from an Online Doctorate in Educational Technology Program?
While online Ed.D. programs in educational technology vary from school to school, most doctoral degrees feature some common characteristics. The majority of online doctorate programs in educational technology focus on research methods and statistics. Also common among doctoral degrees is the completion of a dissertation or final graduate project to conclude the program.
Curriculum for an Online Doctorate in Educational Technology
- Emerging trends in educational technology: Through the exploration of industry literature and best practices in the field, students identify and discuss current issues and emerging trends in educational technology, as well as their practical applications in a technology career.
- Leadership in educational technology: This course explores contemporary, innovative modes of leadership in the field today, emphasizing the models, processes, and theories that drive programs and projects in educational technology. Students also build skills related to teamwork, human resources, and organizational psychology.
- Global and cultural perspectives in educational technology: This course takes a global approach to educational technology, exploring various international ICT systems. Students discuss both the projections and potential pitfalls of ICT integration in countries other than the U.S.
- Statistics for educational technology: This course introduces students to concepts like confidence intervals, chi-square, analysis of variance, central tendency and variability, and one and two sample tests; this course typically follows a research course in educational technology.
- Research in educational technology: Students focus on quantitative and qualitative methods as the primary mode of conducting educational technology research. The course also covers the building blocks of doctoral research and the use of case studies.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Doctorate in Educational Technology?
On average, students spend at least three years completing an Ed.D. degree, though some online doctorate programs in educational technology may require less time if offered in an accelerated format. Completion times are affected by many factors, including the structure of the program, whether a student attends full- or part-time, and how often classes are available.
Schools may offer online Ed.D. programs in educational technology in either an individual learning or cohort style; the former offers students maximum flexibility in a self-paced program they can complete in their own time, while the latter groups students into groups to facilitate a collaborative learning environment.
The typical Ph.D. in educational technology requires between 54 and 66 credit hours, potentially including summer sessions, and most likely culminating in a thesis or dissertation. Doctoral programs are known for offering customizable options to prepare graduates for professional practice, such as internships and independent study opportunities.
Accreditation for Online Educational Technology Doctorate Degrees
As with any Ph.D. in educational technology, it is crucial to consider a prospective school's accreditation. Accredited institutions indicate that online Ed.D. programs in educational technology are of the highest quality. Regional accreditation is usually granted from one of six agencies, such as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the Higher Learning Commission, or the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Accreditation from both regional and national agencies is legitimate, though regionally accredited institutions usually require a more rigorous process to earn accreditation and are typically held to a higher standard than their nationally accredited counterparts.
Accreditation is an especially important point of consideration for transfer students. While the majority of nationally accredited institutions honor transfer credits from regionally or nationally accredited institutions, many regionally accredited schools will only accept credits from other institutions with regional accreditation.
Whether a school is nationally or regionally accredited, it should be recognized by the appropriate branch of either the U.S. Department of Education (ED) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the co-administrators of postsecondary accreditation in the U.S. Some online doctorate programs in educational technology receive additional accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Be sure to look for your school on the ED or CHEA websites.
Employment Outlook for Doctorate in Educational Technology Graduates
Doctorate in Educational Technology Careers
Graduates of online Ed.D. programs in educational technology are prepared for advanced careers in IT, education, and instructional design. While many entry-level jobs in these fields require only a bachelor's degree, earning a Ph.D. in educational technology requires a unique skill set -- one that is in-demand among the nation's most exclusive and innovative EdTech occupations. Candidates holding a terminal degree in educational technology are qualified for top jobs in computer science, instructional research, and higher education. Below are just some of the most common careers for educational technologists:
Computer and Information Research Scientist: Computer and information research scientists design and develop new learning technologies, as well as update and integrate existing systems. These professionals also provide critical services to other economic sectors including science, medicine, and corporate business. Computer scientists with at least a master's degree and advanced data-mining skills are projected to remain in especially high demand over the next decade.
- Median Annual Salary: $114,520
- Projected Growth Rate: 19%
Computer and Information Systems Manager: IT managers coordinate and oversee all computerized operations within a school or educational organization. They typically help an organization identify and implement the high-functioning computer systems they need to facilitate learning programs. Graduates of online Ed.D. programs in educational technology may qualify for advanced positions including chief information officer or chief technology officer.
- Median Annual Salary: $139,220
- Projected Growth Rate: 12%
Computer Systems Analyst: Sometimes called systems architects, computer systems analysts evaluate the current networks and systems of school or educational facilities to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness through new or modified designs. Graduates of online doctorate programs in educational technology, especially those with considerable IT experience, are poised for significant advancement in this field.
- Median Annual Salary: $88,270
- Projected Growth Rate: 9%
Software Developer: Software developers create computer software, applications, and (occasionally) operating systems to meet the needs of students and educators in the digital landscape. While most entry-level software developer jobs do not need a doctoral degree, a candidate with a Ph.D. in educational technology online may qualify for high-level jobs like IT project manager, a position overseeing the development of a particular learning tool.
- Median Annual Salary: $103,560
- Projected Growth Rate: 24%
Postsecondary Teacher: Becoming a postsecondary teacher of education technology requires a terminal degree in the field. Graduates of online Ed.D. programs in educational technology can become professors of education technology or a related subject at a college or university. They may also conduct graduate-level research and/or publish journals or other scholarly research in this area of expertise.
- Median Annual Salary: $76,000
- Projected Growth Rate: 15%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Doctorate in Educational Technology Salary
Salaries for Ph.D. in educational technology graduates depend on one's location, experience, and area of specialty. Job seekers have a wide range of employment options, each commensurate to an individual's education and experience. Offering a wealth of lucrative career opportunities and steady job growth over the next decade, the IT sector is especially generous to workers with advanced skills in specialties such as computer and information science and software development. As shown in the table below, educational technologists with specific IT skills can earn hefty salaries as they acquire more experience.
|Entry-Level Employees||Mid-Career Employees||Late-Career Employees|
|Project Coordinator, Information Technology (IT)||$54,498||$50,000||$61,000||$71,000|
|Computer and Information Scientist, Research||$109,169||$86,000||$108,000||$140,000|
|Information Technology (IT) Specialist||$54,440||$42,000||$52,000||$75,000|
|Computer Systems Analyst||$67,062||$54,000||$69,000||$81,000|
Educational Technology Professional Organizations
Sitting at the nexus of education, technology, and communication, the field of educational technology serves an important bridge between educators and administrators and the advanced technical skills they need to succeed. Through invaluable professional organizations such as ISTE, SETDA, and AECT, educational technologists can network with other professionals in the field, pursue continuing education opportunities, support field advocacy efforts, and engage in discourse over educational technology policy reform. Many professional organizations also offer affordable membership and financial support through scholarships and awards. Members can also attend exclusive workshops and seminars, subscribe to member newsletters, and pursue job placement through career services. Some of the field's most visible organizations include the following.
- International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE): ISTE offers a wealth of resources to an international membership of educational technology practitioners. Benefits like networking, publishing, and continuing education opportunities are designed for inclusion, and serve a diverse group of educators specializing in technology-based tools.
- State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA): SETDA connects educational technologists together in each state, engaging members in advocacy and policy reform events that affect each state's educational system. Through SETDA, educational technology professionals can attend webinars, conferences, and other public events that support the organization's four main priorities: equity of access, digital content, digital learning, and interoperability.
- Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT): AECT is the nation's premier organization for educational technologists and instructional designers, promoting values such as leadership, professional standards, sustainability, financial stability, and collaboration among its members. The organization administers a system of standards for professional education programs, and offers an endorsement for non-degree holders through a certificate program.
Paying for Your Online Doctorate in Educational Technology
For the majority of college students, the process of applying for financial aid begins with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). While this is the first step toward determining one's federal aid, the FAFSA is also used by most schools and private lenders to determine a student's eligibility for additional funding including scholarships, loans, and grants. Though candidates for a Ph.D. in educational technology online may face limited options for financial aid, the FAFSA is widely regarded as the universal standard for assessing all funding options.
As in many IT occupations and subfields of education, educational technologists are in high-demand. For these professionals, earning a Ph.D. in educational technology online offers the broadest variety of lucrative career prospects with longevity in the industry. To this end, aspiring educational technologists can pursue targeted scholarships from both their school and private lenders -- as well as loans, grants, and work-study awards -- to help finance their degree.