Best Online Ed.D Programs [2021]

A Guide to Online Doctoral in Education (Ed.D) Programs

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a school administrator, you may consider online Ed.D or Doctorate of Education. These programs teach you the best and latest practices in education.

After the emergence of pandemic (COVID-19), education is transforming rapidly. Most of the world population prefer to learn online than ever before. This transformation makes it important to education must evolve to meet the needs of students and teachers. Earning Ed.D makes you pursue a career that helps teachers and students to adapt this change.

What is Ed.D?

Ed.D is considered as the highest degree of Education. It is practice-based, specialized doctorate degree. These programs are combination of a series of taught modules along with independent research towards an original doctoral dissertation.

Online Ed.D programs often feature the following elements:

Virtual live classes: Your built-in camera and microphone enable you to participate in face-to-face classes and discussions with classmates and instructors—in real time.

Learning management system: This is a central hub that allows you to access course-related content.

Interactive course content: Bringing coursework alive means incorporating a variety of mixed media segments.

Access to tech support: A capable tech support team can help you when dealing with time-sensitive tech-dependent assignments.

Mobile access: One of the advantages of online learning is being able to bring your courses with you anywhere you go.

Online Ed.D Requirements

If you are planning to apply for online Ed.D programs, then be ready with a resume, letters of recommendation, academic transcripts, and a statement of purpose or graduate application essay. Some universities can ask you to identify a specific problem you wish to investigate during your studies. You may ask to submit GRE scores, though not all programs require them.

Ed.D emphasizes on educational practice that’s why many programs expect you to have some teaching or education administration experience. Other prefer that students hold a master’s degree. Although, some programs may allow students to earn their master’s degree en route to the online Ed.D.

Can you be a Professor with an Ed.D?

This is commonly asked question. And the answer is YES. Earning Ed.D degree qualifies graduates to teach at colleges and universities. Similar to PhD in Education, an Ed.D is regarded as a terminal degree in the field of education.

Online Ed.D Programs without Dissertation

Every Ed.D is research-based doctoral project.  “No Dissertation Ed.D. Programs” typically require a DiP or capstone project.

A DiP in online Ed.D is to:

  • Tackle a complex Problem of Practice (PoP) facing an organization or stakeholder group in education.
  • Create an innovative, research-based project that can help guide other educators and be used in the field.
  • Integrate concepts of practice, leadership, and equity into your project.

Capstone Project is a culminating project, scholarly deliveryor an applied inquiry project. This project holds the equivalent weight of a traditional dissertation or DiP.

  • Some schools like to put an emphasis on group work.
  • Others are interested in seeing innovative final projects/deliverables.
  • Many follow the DiP model.

Avoid any Ed.D. programs that claims to have no dissertation or capstone requirement! They certainly will not be accredited, and not be recognized by employers.

Online Ed.D Programs; Top Schools

We compiled a list of top 5 Ed.D programs offered in USA.


Program Offered

Vanderbilt University

New York University

University of Southern California

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Johns Hopkins University


How Much Money can I make with Ed.D?

As of September 2021, PayScale reports that the average annual salary for a professional with an Ed.D. is $79,000. According to the BLS, postsecondary education administrators earned a median annual wage of $97,500 in 2020. Principals earned a median annual salary of $98,490 in 2020, while instructional coordinators made a median of $66,970 that year.

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