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High-level positions in education should open over the next few years as baby boomers continue to retire. Among the many job openings are positions for principals, many of whom earn more than $94,000 per year. To become a principal, you generally need five years of classroom experience and an advanced degree, such as a doctorate in education. In this article, learn more about advanced online teaching degrees, program selection, and possible careers.

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Online Doctorate in Online Teaching Programs

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Online Doctorate in Online Teaching Degree Program Ranking Guidelines: We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

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The Best Online Doctorate in Online Teaching Degree Programs

#1 The Best Online Doctorate in Education Programs

Pepperdine University

  • Malibu, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The Ed.D. in educational leadership program at Pepperdine University appeals to doctoral students seeking an online route to their teaching degree. Degree-seekers benefit from the private university's flexible format. Doctoral students work closely with faculty mentors and career advisors.

In the online educational leadership program, learners take doctoral-level coursework. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates propose a dissertation topic and conduct research in their specialty area. As the highest degree in online teaching, the doctorate meets requirements for research, academic, and leadership roles.

Doctoral students qualify for several forms of financial aid at the accredited institution. Contact the program for more information about research support and financial aid.

Pepperdine University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 1,623

Online Master's Programs: 12

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $34,900

Average Tuition
In-state
$55,640
Out-of-state
$55,640
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
32%
Students Enrolled
8,824
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#2 The Best Online Doctorate in Education Programs

University of Florida

  • Gainesville, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online

The online Ed.D. program at the University of Florida ranks as one of the best degrees in the teaching field. The public university helps degree-seekers complete a doctorate in a flexible format. Doctoral students receive support services like career advising and research support.

In the online Ed.D. program, graduate learners take advanced courses. After completing coursework, doctoral candidates conduct research for their dissertation or doctoral project. A doctorate leads to job opportunities in research, academia, and leadership.

Doctoral students attending the accredited institution online qualify for several forms of financial aid. Contact the program for more information about doctoral admissions.

University of Florida at a Glance:

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 67-to-1

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,358
Out-of-state
$15,000
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
32%
Students Enrolled
3,926
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 The Best Online Doctorate in Education Programs

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Champaign, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The learning design and leadership Ed.D. program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign enrolls online learners. At the public university, degree-seekers engage in online classes to earn a doctorate. Doctoral students participate in career counseling and benefit from research support.

The online teaching program incorporates doctoral coursework. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates complete a dissertation that contributes original research to the field. As the highest degree in teaching, the doctorate trains graduates for academic, research, and leadership careers.

Online doctoral students at the accredited institution pay for their degree with scholarships, fellowships, and loans. Prospective applicants can contact the program to learn more about the enrollment process and start dates.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 20,199

Online Master's Programs: 30

Online Doctoral Programs: 1

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $14,997

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,188
Out-of-state
$33,127
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
59%
Students Enrolled
51,605
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 The Best Online Doctorate in Education Programs

University of Wyoming

  • Laramie, WY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The educational leadership program at the University of Wyoming offers a doctorate in an online learning format. At the public institution, degree-seekers complete a doctorate in a flexible environment. Doctoral students receive support services like career advising and research assistance.

The doctoral program includes a rigorous curriculum in teaching. After meeting coursework requirements, doctoral candidates pass a comprehensive examination and conduct research for an original dissertation or project. As the terminal degree in education, the program leads to career opportunities in academia, research, and industry.

Online doctoral students at the accredited institution qualify for several forms of financial aid. Reach out to the program to learn more about the application process and start dates.

University of Wyoming at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 5,058

Online Master's Programs: 4

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $4,878

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,336
Out-of-state
$13,392
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
96%
Students Enrolled
12,249
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 The Best Online Doctorate in Education Programs

Boise State University

  • Boise, ID
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The doctor of education in educational technology program at Boise State University appeals to doctoral students seeking an online route to their degree. Degree-seekers benefit from the public university's flexible format. Doctoral students participate in career advising and gain research skills.

Learners complete doctoral coursework in the online teaching program. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates begin working on an original dissertation project. With a doctorate in education, professionals work in academia, research, and leadership roles.

Doctoral students pay for the program with federal financial aid, fellowships, and scholarships. Prospective applicants can contact the program for more about financial aid and admission requirements.

Boise State University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 10,304

Online Master's Programs: 6

Online Doctoral Programs: 2

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,110

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,532
Out-of-state
$22,452
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
26,217
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
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Choosing an Online Teaching Program

First, decide whether you want to pursue a Ph.D. or an Ed.D. Most Ph.D. candidates plan to teach in higher education, improving their own students' teaching skills and performing research on teaching best practices. Ed.D. graduates generally aspire to work as administrators, improving the educational system at the local, state, or national levels. An Ed.D. student may develop a policy change for her school or district and use the results as her dissertation's foundation.

Once you decide which degree works for you, investigate online teaching degrees that offer concentrations fitting your academic interests and postgraduate career plans. Most program concentrations emphasize educational leadership, research, and the overlap between education and public policy. Some programs boast unique concentrations such as international education. If a Ph.D. or Ed.D. program lacks concentrations, it may still allow you to tailor your education through independent study, research projects, or the dissertation. If you have a question about a program's courses or concentrations, contact that department to learn more.

What Else Can I Expect from an Online Doctorate in Online Teaching Program?

Your educational experience depends on the course and concentration offerings at the university you attend. For this reason, invest time researching the courses and concentrations offered by the online programs on your shortlist. In the next two sections, learn more about popular concentrations and courses offered by the nation's best online programs.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Doctoral Degree in Online Teaching

Curriculum for an Online Doctoral Degree in Online Teaching

  • Introduction to Doctoral Studies:
    In this course, students hone the academic skills required to excel in doctoral programs. In a teaching degree online program, a classroom activity might include analyzing a dissertation's strengths and weaknesses. All doctoral students take this or a similar course when they begin their programs.
  • Research Design:
    Doctoral students often take one to two research design courses before they begin the dissertation process. Students analyze different research methods and practice fundamentals such as writing a thesis, crafting a research plan, and creating an outline.
  • Social Justice in Education:
    This course appeals to students who want to correct racial and socioeconomic injustices many students face during their education. Students analyze the history of social justice in the classroom along with the issues standing in the way of equitable education for all students.
  • Higher Education and the Law:
    This course provides future postsecondary administrators knowledge of legal topics that affect higher education, such as campus safety reform and sexual harassment.
  • Contemporary Leadership Models:
    In this course, students learn how to reform an organization's leadership structure. To discover effective solutions, students analyze reform efforts from around the country and around the world. Students who excel in this course often work as advisors at colleges, universities, or school districts.
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Careers with a Doctorate in Online Teaching

  1. Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal:
    Principals at the elementary, middle, and high school levels implement new policies, evaluate teachers' performance, and act as their schools' spokespersons. Many schools and districts require that principals possess a doctorate; these employees often benefit from an automatic salary increase.
    • Median Annual Salary: $94,390
    • Projected Growth Rate: 8%
  2. Postsecondary Teacher:
    Postsecondary teachers who possess online teaching degrees educate the next generation of teachers. Job duties include creating curricula, writing academic papers, and presenting research findings at conferences. Although some postsecondary teaching positions may require only a master's degree, tenure-track positions, cater exclusively to applicants with an Ed.D. or a Ph.D.
    • Median Annual Salary: $76,000
    • Projected Growth Rate: 15%
  3. Postsecondary Education Administrator:
    Postsecondary education administrators work at colleges and universities, overseeing the work performed by a single academic department. Administrators who possess doctorates in teaching typically administer their schools' education departments. On the job, their responsibilities closely resemble those performed by principals. These administration positions typically require candidates to hold a doctorate and complete at least five years of teaching at the postsecondary level.
    • Median Annual Salary: $92,360
    • Projected Growth Rate: 10%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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