Online Ph.D. in Teacher Education Doctorate Programs

As numerous research studies have shown that the quality of the teacher has a tremendous effect on the students who are being taught, earning a teacher education online PhD teaches how to impact the lives of students in your school, district, university, or even state.

Continue reading to learn how teacher education programs combine curriculum design, language literacy, culture, and the science of learning so that you may be able to better prepare the next generation.

What Is Teacher Education?

Teacher education is an analysis of curriculum design, policies, procedures, and lessons that help teachers more effectively reach students.

Many of the online PhD programs in teacher education analyze and apply data to develop evidenced-based practice through design research.

This emphasis on the science of learning, as well as testing new theories and research to apply effective techniques to the classroom, means that these programs usually require a number of research methods and statistical courses.

Another emphasis of these doctoral programs is the ongoing development of teachers across their entire career and their relationships with learners, professionals, parents, and the community as a whole.

Did You Know?

Some research suggests that three years with a good teacher can increase student learning, but only one year with an ineffective teacher actually decreases it.

Everything About a Teacher Education Online PhD

With more data, research, and techniques available, teacher education online PhD programs usually focus on different ways to enhance the learning experience of all students.

Though these techniques are important for all school districts, one area that many programs focus on is applying these techniques to inner-city and impoverished neighborhoods and schools to maximize the results from limited resources.

Typically, this includes addressing the specific issues in those school districts and towns, and applying research in diverse contexts for learning and teaching.

Admissions Requirements

Some of the common admissions requirements for teacher education online PhD programs include:

  • Significant teaching experience or other school service experience
  • Master’s degree in a related field
  • Strong record of previous academic work
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of professional goals
  • Writing sample
  • Letters of reference
  • GRE scores

Keep in mind that specific requirements vary depending on the school you apply to, which means you should check out a number of options before applying to make sure that you’re a good fit.

For instance, some schools may look for a specific GPA or for a certain number of years of experience teaching or in a leadership position. Other schools give special consideration to those who have PK-12 teaching experience and / or those who have led professional development programs or activities in schools, school systems, and other learning organizations.

Therefore, be sure to check with each school for specific requirements before applying.

Graduation Requirements

In order to earn your online PhD in teacher education, typically you’ll need to:

  • Complete required courses (usually a mix of core courses and electives)
  • Practicum or journal length research paper
  • Comprehensive exam
  • Propose, write, present, and defend a dissertation

Again, remember that every school has a unique design and may have different requirements. For instance, every program may not have a practicum requirement, while other schools may have additional requirements.

Once enrolled, make sure to keep an open line of communication with your professors, counselors, and program directors to make sure that you’re on pace to earn your degree as you expect.

How to Earn an Online Teacher Education PhD

While there is no one, clear-cut path to earning a doctorate in teacher education, the most common steps include:

  1. Earn your bachelor’s degree
  2. Earn your master’s degree
  3. Gain experience in teaching or school leadership
  4. Apply to the perfect program for you
  5. Complete required courses
  6. Complete practicum and research assignments
  7. Pass comprehensive exam
  8. Write and present your dissertation

Possible Teacher Education Degree Names

An online PhD in teacher education can fall under a variety of degree names depending on the school and the focus of the degree. Some of these include:

  • Teacher Education and Teacher Development
  • Teacher Education and Professional Development
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Teacher Quality and Teacher Education
  • Teacher Education and School Improvement
  • Curriculum, Instruction, and the Science of Learning

While each of these degrees are academically equivalent and cover similar topics, including using research methods to address shortcomings in the education system, there are unique aspects to each.

For instance, a school improvement program focuses more on educational equity and social justice, whereas a teacher education and development program may be more focused on preparing you for work in practice, research, and policy.

Be sure to consider your goals and research all of your different options to make sure you choose the perfect program for you.

How Long Does It Take to Earn Your Online PhD in Teacher Education?

Typically, full-time students can earn an online PhD in teacher education in four to five years. However, every school has a unique design and format, and it may take longer depending on which school you choose.

Plus, though many schools are designed for students who have full-time careers, earning your degree will take longer if you attend as a part-time student.

Common Concentrations

In order to focus your curriculum and research in an aspect of teacher education and curriculum design that interests you the most, many online PhD programs in teacher education offer you the option of choosing a concentration.

Some of the most common concentrations include:

  • Elementary Education
  • English Education
  • Math Education
  • Reading Education
  • Science Education
  • Language Literacy and Culture
  • Social Studies
  • Multicultural Education

This is not a complete list of all your options and it doesn’t mean that every school offers each of these. Before applying, check with a variety of schools to make sure that you apply to ones that have the concentration you’re looking for.

Common Curriculum

Though the specific courses will vary from school to school, most of your time earning your teacher education online PhD will be spent learning and applying research methods for your dissertation, including courses in qualitative research methods, quantitative research methods, and statistics.

However, some of the other common courses include:

  • Policy and Contexts of Teacher Education
  • Principles of Supervision
  • Theories of Interest and Motivation
  • Children’s Thinking and Learning
  • Educational Equity and School Change
  • Studying Teacher Quality
  • Issues in Teacher Preparation and the Education of English Language Learners

In addition, your specific curriculum may vary depending on whether you choose a concentration or the type of teacher education PhD you choose to pursue.

For example, if you pursue a Curriculum, Instruction, and the Science of Learning doctoral degree, your courses may vary from those who choose a Teaching and Teacher Education doctorate.

Major Concepts You’ll Study

Because teacher education doctoral degrees focus on creating, researching, and implementing new techniques and methods of curriculum design and ongoing learning process for teachers, many of the key concepts you’ll study have to do with high level analysis of current research and trends in the field.

For instance, some of the areas where you’ll spend time studying and attempting to improve are:

  • Content area instruction
  • Teacher leadership
  • Teacher preparation, practice, and policy
  • How to support diverse learners
  • How to work together and communicate with schools, families, and communities
  • How to design and improve programs for teacher preparation and teacher professional development

Online teacher education doctoral degrees are focused on developing your expertise that can help school districts, universities, state departments of education, and other learning organizations create and build curriculum and effective lesson plans.

Combining all of the concepts above with the research and data analysis, as well as research methods, can help you examine and apply them in real world applications. Some of the specific concepts you may focus your curriculum on, or your research on, are listed below.

Teacher Education and Elementary Education

If you choose to focus on elementary education, your courses may help to prepare you for leadership roles in various elementary education positions. Therefore, your goal as a doctoral student is to develop a complete understanding of current research and theories to create a professional learning community and how to design and implement effective curriculum.

Your curriculum will also focus on the ongoing learning of teachers, how to create training strategies for new teachers, and continuing the professional development of in-service teachers.

Teacher Education and Special Needs

Some teacher education online PhD programs focus on lessons directly related to students with special needs. These special education students pose many challenges to educators because of the wide range of students at different levels of the educational system and with different needs.

Therefore, these programs are designed to focus on creating strategies so that teachers can meet these specific challenges, including a strong emphasis on research to apply the best techniques in helping these students and teachers.

Teacher Education and Curriculum Design

Curriculum design is one of the key aspects of many teacher education programs because it is intertwined in every level and a key part of successful leadership and implementation.

However, programs with a curriculum design focus are usually designed to help you develop a deep understanding of teaching, research on teaching, and the implications of research for the improvement of teaching, teacher education, and professional development, and how to apply these methods to the classroom.

Why Earn Your Teacher Education PhD Online?

Many doctoral programs in teacher education offer an online option for earning your degree. This may give you the chance to more easily perform your coursework around your schedule.

In addition, many of these programs have either rolling admissions and start dates, or start dates throughout the year, which may make it more convenient for you to begin pursuing your degree.

Some of the other benefits of choosing to pursue your PhD online include:

  • Freedom and flexibility
  • No need to relocate
  • Choose when you start
  • May be easier to be a part-time student
  • Easier to communicate with professors and peers

Keep in mind that some online programs require you to come to campus for residencies. Depending on the format of the school and the program, residencies can last for as little as one weekend or for as long as two weeks.

Usually, these residencies happen every six months or at the end of each term and include courses and opportunities for you to meet with classmates and professors face to face.

Did You Know?

In one academic year, students get about one and a half years’ worth of learning from the strongest teachers and only about a half year’s worth from the weakest.

Possible Careers in Teacher Education

Some of the careers you can pursue after earning your online PhD in teacher education are:

Career 2016 Median Annual Salary Expected Percentage Growth

Education Teachers, Postsecondary

$62,520 i

10% ii

Training and Development Managers

$105,830 iii

10% iv

Postsecondary Education Administrators

$90,760 v

10% vi

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

$92,510 vii

8% viii

Instructional Coordinators

$62,460 ix

11% x

Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of all possible careers in the field. In addition, many of these positions do not require that you have earned a PhD. For example, many training and development managers only have a master’s degree.xi

However, nearly all postsecondary teachers and some postsecondary education administrators, such as provosts and deans, require a doctoral degree for those positions.xii

Find Online PhD in Teacher Education Programs

Are you interested in helping to design more effective curriculum to help teachers better impact their students? Then find the perfect teacher education online PhD program for you!

Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to learn more about each program, when the next starting date, and how to apply.

[i] [ii] [iii] [iv] [v] [vi] [vii] [viii] [ix] [x] [xi] [xii]

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