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Beyond the Classroom: How an Education Doctorate Boosts Careers

Earning a doctoral degree in education opens doors to high-impact leadership roles across academia and beyond. Professionals who obtain this advanced degree are equipped to spearhead positive change within K-12 school systems, colleges, universities, nonprofits, private companies, and more.  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects strong growth for the education field, with a 7% increase in jobs expected for postsecondary administrators and an 8% boost for postsecondary teachers from 2021-2031. 

The earning potential is also robust, especially for those in upper management. The average salary for a school superintendent role reaches $127,310, while top college presidents can make over $270,000.  

So what specific career paths can you pursue with an education doctorate? And what does the day-to-day work entail in these lucrative roles driving progress at all academic levels? 

Here’s an in-depth overview:

K-12 School Leadership Jobs

Principals and superintendents call the shots regarding key decisions influencing students, teachers, parents, and communities. Principals directly oversee the daily operations of elementary, middle, and high schools, including critical tasks like hiring staff, shaping curriculum standards, managing budgets, and enforcing disciplinary rules. 

The average salary for a principal role falls between $81,000 to $92,000 depending on grade level. Superintendents lead entire school districts, managing principals and reporting directly to school boards. Their core duties involve establishing a strategic vision for district growth, coordinating policies, allocating resources efficiently, and building strong relationships with key stakeholders. The average salary for superintendents lands at $127,310.

Higher Education Administration Careers  

An education doctorate degree readies teaching professionals for executive leadership roles at the postsecondary level. Academic deans oversee core areas at colleges and universities, such as admissions, student affairs, faculty staffing, research projects, and more. They manage budgets, set policies, handle recruitment/retention initiatives, support faculty, and ensure smooth operations. 

The average salary exceeds $90,000.Provosts take on big-picture budget/academic affairs responsibilities across an entire institution. They coordinate programs, manage services, improve student experiences, and advise presidents on key initiatives. 

Provosts earn nearly $150,000 per year on average. Presidents act as the CEO, making final calls that impact all students and staff. Fundraising, networking, problem-solving, and pushing innovation are par for the course. 

Presidents at large universities can make over $270,000 annually.

Education Research and Training Careers

Those with sharp analytical abilities, research skills, and training expertise can pursue vital roles driving progress through new insights and enhanced professional development programs. Education researchers work for school districts, research organizations, universities, and education nonprofits to assess the efficacy of policies, teaching techniques, curricula, and more. Findings inform practices across learning institutions at all levels. 

Researchers earn approximately $68,000 per year. Training and development managers work within school systems or private/public companies to evaluate needs and create skill-building programs that support talent optimization. 

This can involve researching, designing dynamic training, tracking participation metrics, and refining programs to boost outcomes. The median salary exceeds $120,000 annually.  

Nonprofit and Policy Careers 

Passion for expanding access and opportunities can fuel meaningful careers as advocates or leaders of education-oriented nonprofit organizations. Policy advocates collaborate with legislators at local, state, and national levels to promote reforms that tackle inequality and improve outcomes for all students regardless of background. 

The average salary reaches above $80,000.Executive directors at nonprofits focused on education oversee staffers, make major operational decisions, fundraise, manage PR, and direct initiatives tied to the organizational mission. This could involve operating schools, developing curricula for underserved communities, driving research, and lifting up youth voices. Salaries start around $73,000.

Final Words 

The expertise and bird’s-eye perspective gained from an advanced degree in education enables professionals to step into these highly impactful roles guiding progress and transformation at schools and learning institutions. 

Doctorate holders become qualified to tap into six-figure leadership positions where they can enact positive systemic change through teaching, research, administration, policy work, and nonprofit advocacy. An education doctorate degree empowers graduates to make a real difference in the lives of students, faculty, and communities over the long term.

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