Ph.D. Vs. Ed.D

Obtaining an advanced degree allows you to land a suitable career and can be a huge achievement. Even though a Ph.D and Ed.D are similar, some differences can make students wonder which one to pick.

Some core concepts differentiate a Ph.D. and Ed.D A Ph.D is based on research, while an Ed.D. is better suited for students who wish to use learned knowledge for practical work/assignments. The best part is that you can even opt for online Ed.D programs no GRE, easily from the comfort of your home. In this guide, we shall look at what makes these two programs different so you can decide which is better. 

What Is a Ph.D.?

A Ph.D. is the highest qualification you can attain. A Ph.D. in education prepares students for research and teaching roles. A graduate will be able to bridge gaps present in existing research and interpret and analyze literature for new hypotheses. They can then come up with original research of their own. Part-time degrees take four years to complete, whereas a full degree can be completed in three years. A Ph.D. program does not require a residency, unlike the Ed.D. 

Why Get a Ph.D.?

  • A Ph.D. in education promotes social mobility, expertise, and credibility 
  • Enhances research skills and enables students to use their technical knowledge
  • It makes students confident enough to conduct their research, make discoveries, and contribute to the world through new deductions

Career Prospects

Similar to an Ed.D. program, a Ph.D. program also allows students to direct their focus on one goal and increase their career opportunities. Ph.D. holders have a sound knowledge of STEM, policies, and leadership. Graduates can easily work in various fields, such as becoming a teacher at a college or getting hired as an educational researcher at a renowned facility. Degree holders can also apply for administrative posts like a dean, director of education, superintendent, or chief learning officer.


PayScale deductions show that the yearly salary of a Ph.D. holder is around $101,000. This can vary based on job roles:

  • Professors teaching at a secondary or higher education school earn around $69,000 yearly
  • Research directors earn $105,000 a year

How to Get a Ph.D.

A Ph.D. can be obtained by getting a Bachelor’s degree in the field of your choice. Make sure it is related to the field you wish to pursue your career in. Comparable diplomas and other programs may also sometimes be enough to apply for a Ph.D. in education. 

To complete your Ph.D., not only are you expected to earn sufficient credits, but you will also be expected to complete a dissertation. Based on your preference, ph.D. programs can be completed both at a campus or online.

What Is an EdD?

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) is a program geared towards individuals that wish to use their knowledge/education to practice leadership roles. An Ed.D. combines practical research and theory, which is why degree holders enjoy an array of career opportunities. These job posts may be offered within or outside the field of education.

In simpler terms, an Ed.D. is perfect for experienced educators wanting to channel fruitful changes in any organization. The length and duration of an Ed.D. program may vary based on programs, regions, and type of students. Some schools offer two-year programs while others offer three to five-year part-time programs. Students are also required to have a residency which is a part of the degree duration.

Why Get an EdD?

  • Graduates can devise educational policies required for administrative change
  • Ed.D. holders give tough competition to other people and are often the top choice for administrative roles
  • The dissertation or specialty allows students to divert their expertise towards a certain field or subject and provide solutions to social issues
  • The BLS states that those with a doctoral degree often earn six-figure salaries

Career Prospect

Ed.D. students are often referred to as scholars that can use their knowledge for practical solutions. Ed.D. holders, therefore, are perfect for administrative roles in government departments, schools, NGOs, and for-profit institutions. 

Specializing or program concentrations allows students to create a sharper focus. For example, students with an Ed.D. in management and leadership will be better leaders. At the same time, one specializing in sports is better suited for an administrative role in athletic groups.

Examples of some concentrations that students can pick include:

  • Administration
  • Global education
  • Innovation
  • Leadership 
  • Educational policies
  • Sports
  • Management


PayScale has estimated that Ed.D. holders are paid nearly $80,000 yearly. This also varies greatly by job role:

  • Associate professors at higher secondary schools earn $74,000 a year.
  • Executive directors earn $94,000 a year.

How to Get an Ed.D.

To apply for an Ed.D., you will need a Master’s degree in education or a relevant field. GPA requirements are often expected to be 3.0 or greater. Specializations may ask for other requirements, such as passing certain entrance exams. The good news is that you can complete an Ed.D. on campus and online.

What Are the Main Differences Between an Ed.D. and Ph.D.?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that jobs for post-secondary and higher secondary teachers will increase by 11%, while administrative roles will increase by 7% from 2018 to 2028. This is greater than the national average. Here’s what makes a Ph.D. different from an Ed.D.:

  • Both degrees are designed for different career paths
  • A Ph.D. offers more options and specialty programs
  • Ed.D. allows students to become leaders in the educational field. Examples include deans, superintendents, and provosts
  • Ph.D. is ideally suited for management/administrative posts or research-based roles
  • Ed.D. degree holders can work as professors and instructors, while Ph.D. holders can be deans and superintendents. However, Ed.D. is focused on scope/strategy while Ph.D. is focused on educational research
  • Ed.D. holders learn about leadership skills plus local, state, national, and international policies
  • Ph.D. students learn data collection and research methodologies. They require a dissertation and specialize in their department to conduct research and draw conclusions
  • Ed.D. degree holders monitor processes, trends, and progress, while Ph.D. holders use theory and research directly in a classroom
  • Both degree holders practice educational leadership roles to impact students and the educational community positively


No matter what degree you pick, it is a must to have a spark in you that channels you to do something for students and the educational system in the long run. This way, you can stay motivated throughout your college life and career.