How to Get an EdS, PHD, or EdD in Educational Technology

If you're looking to get a career in higher education and you have an aptitude for technology, achieving a Doctor of Education (EdD) degree in educational technology can prepare you for a career in this growing field. With an EdD in Educational Technology, you can pursue a career in education or in the private sector, in one of the many positions that employ technology to advance learning. Depending on your career goals, you may choose to earn a PhD or Educational Specialist (EdS) in Educational Technology. All three of these degrees have slightly different applications, are considered terminal degrees, and can lead to a variety of careers.

The field of educational technology has been growing as fast as the technology that drives it has been advancing. It's come a long way from using computer programs to create slide shows and brochures. Educational technology now includes everything from distance and online learning to designing advanced tutorial software for optimized teaching. If there was ever any doubt about the importance of technology in education, a recent report from the Department of Education has eliminated. Looking at data from 1996 to 2008, the report, Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning, shows that online learning trumps the traditional classroom format, and a hybrid online and face-to-face program out performs both, only reinforcing the need for furthering this field.

The 21st century will see a dramatic shift in the way we teach, and educational technology is where this change will begin. Professionals and academics are needed to research and implement the latest technology, design new curricula, and generally overhaul traditional educational models in preparation for the future. A doctorate-level degree in educational technology helps put you on the cutting edge, right where you're needed.

Choosing the Right Doctoral Program Takes Time

First, you need to know yourself and the facets of your life and career that are most important to you. Studying for an advanced degree requires substantial time and effort on your part, which means finding a program that meets your needs is worth all of the time that you can devote to the search.

You need to understand clearly your personal and career goals in seeking a doctoral degree. You also need to weigh your current life priorities while planning your future.

  • Consider the amount of time that you can devote to this study and the sacrifices that this effort could require in your personal life and current position.
  • Would the convenience and greater flexibility of an online EdD degree program provide the qualifications, academic achievement and esteem that you want to advance to an educational technology position?
  • Would you strongly prefer to attend a university and have direct contact with faculty and other students rather than take courses online?

Once you have a clear list of these sorts of priorities:

  • Compile a list of the doctoral degree programs in educational technology
  • Compare your first-draft list of schools with your list of priorities and start winnowing out the programs that have the least appeal to you
  • Learn all that you can about the basic requirements of these degree programs and the resources available to help you learn more

Earning your PhD or EdD in Educational Technology could take upwards of four years. You should be sure that you're entering a program that's right for you before taking the plunge. EdS degree programs typically takes less time to complete, but they may not get you where you want to go, career-wise. Doing your homework to figure out which doctorate is right for you and whether you'll benefit from an online degree program is of paramount importance.

What Are the Typical Graduate Degrees in Educational Technology?

While Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs are often the first to spring to mind when you're considering a doctorate, the EdD option is gaining popularity throughout the field of education. Different schools have different programs with different emphases, so be sure to research each degree offering individually.

The PhD in Educational Technology

PhD degree programs tend to involve more of the theories and philosophy of education. Earning a PhD requires learning and applying the skills for independent research into significant problems or areas in education. With a PhD you're more likely to find a career developing new techniques, new ideas for curricula in a wide range of subjects and grade levels, and new theories about using technology to enhance the educational experience of students of all ages.

The PhD in Education was developed in the late 19th Century and had other social-science research PhD degrees as a model. Scholars who attain a PhD in Education often teach the theory and practice of education at a college level or pursue a career in educational administration. Educational technology is sometimes an area of specialization within other doctorate degree programs in education, meaning you won't always be able to find a PhD in Education Technology, but you may be able to find a PhD in Education with an emphasis in technology.

The EdD in Educational Technology

In the 1920s, colleges and universities across the country developed the EdD degree to provide advanced education for administrators, teachers, and other professionals in education policy and practice.

EdD programs generally emphasize the application of ideas in teaching and in educational administration settings, as opposed to PhDs, which are often more abstract and theoretical. Many colleges and universities design EdD programs for working professionals who want to convert their classroom learning into practical solutions in their current position or as they advance in their careers.

The EdS in Educational Technology

EdS, or education specialist, degree programs aim to help educators who have achieved a master's degree and want to fortify their education and career prospects. Educators with an EdS degree may become leaders in administration, curriculum and instruction, and other areas. Some educators later proceed to a doctoral program, but an EdS is considered a terminal degree.

Much like the EdD, the EdS in Educational Technology is a professional degree. The coursework involved in an EdS degree program may not be transferable to a doctorate program, which means, again, that keeping your career goals in mind when researching potential degree programs is extremely important.

Career Paths with a Doctorate in Educational Technology?

An EdD, EdS, or PhD in Educational Technology prepares you to strategically manage the integration of technology into diverse learning environments. Graduates demonstrate their academic and practical knowledge through analytical and critical thinking. From academic institutions to businesses, holders of doctorate degrees in educational technology use their knowledge to advance and improve the education process.

The private sector offers positions for corporate training specialists for educational technology graduates. With emerging technologies so vital to business, healthcare, and other sectors of the economy, many organizations rely on educational technology to train personnel in the latest advances in their field.

Distance and online learning programs has seen quite a jump in enrollment and acceptance over the past decade. If you earn your EdS, PhD, or EdD in Educational Technology, you put yourself in a prime position to work for an online school. A doctorate in this field helps you develop intimate and up-to-the-minute knowledge of all of the issues in educational technology and how they apply to the online format. With more and more online graduate schools opening all the time, the need for top-notch curriculum designers is growing, which is where you come in.

Attain Your EdD in Educational Technology from an Online Program

Online degree programs lend themselves especially well to management and technology fields. Educational technology itself may very well be one of the best suited degrees for the online format, particularly for those looking to get into the distance and online learning industry. Graduates of PhD, EdD, or EdS programs offered by online graduate schools get the added benefit of experiencing technology in education firsthand.

If you find commuting to a campus too time consuming and expensive for your lifestyle, then a distance doctorate degree program might suit you perfectly. Many campus-based schools have created online doctoral degree programs to attract students who need convenient access.

If you work and think independently and prefer keeping your own schedule, an online doctoral degree program gives you the flexibility to attend class when the time is right for you. This greater flexibility also will help you meet responsibilities at work and with your family while still making time for coursework and classes.

Campus-Based Degree Programs

A campus program, on the other hand, could give you greater opportunity for hands-on experience with new educational technology than you might have at home. This means more than just handling the gadgets; by working at a school on campus or in the community, you could test your theory and see its application in real time with real students.

To help offset the cost of an education, campus program offer assistantships and other positions. You also would gain greater exposure to scholars and fellow students.

If your learning style enables you to perform best in a group or classroom, a campus program would be worthwhile. You might also stay on track more consistently by having scheduled classes and assignments.

How to Apply for a PhD or EdD in Educational Technology

As you conduct your research into the best type of degree program and the best school to meet your needs, identify the absolute requirements that any doctoral program must have for you to consider it. These should include:

Accreditation by a recognized organizations:

  • Accreditation assures you that the school's programs and faculty offer the quality of education that you need to meet your goals.
  • Obtaining federal and some state financial aid requires that the school that you choose has proper accreditation.
  • It also will help ensure that your prospective employers or clients will recognize your education credentials as worthy of their trust.

Accrediting bodies are private organizations created solely to evaluate higher education institutions and programs. The accreditation associations themselves are reviewed in turn by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

To learn more about the accreditation of schools that you are considering, visit the Web site of the regional accrediting organization for your target school.

Learn about the quality of the faculty and the specific scholars with whom you want to study. Working with a recognized authority in your field would provide academic reward as you learn and professional rewards and recognition as you advance in your career.

Study the history of the educational technology program at your top-choice schools, including their achievements, awards and other academic recognition.

Evaluate the graduation rate for students of the EdD programs.

Internet resources are widely available and make researching programs a lot easier. A Web site such as WorldWideLearn.com can help you compare multiple doctoral programs. You can even arrange to have schools contact you once you identify the programs that most appeal to you.

Understand the degrees and other requirements that you must fulfill for each school. Learn about the qualifying exams, such as the Graduate Record Exam, and the scores required for admission.

There are a number of academic publications that can help give you a better idea about the field, where it's headed, and what campus-based and online graduate schools might be looking for. Check out the following journals:

  • British Journal of Educational Technology
  • Educational Technology Review
  • International Journal of Instructional Media
  • Journal of Computing in Higher Education
  • Journal of Computing in Teacher Education

Your Future in Educational Technology

All that you have achieved in your academic and professional career has prepared to take the next step toward an EDS, PhD, or EdD in Educational Technology. This growing field is in need of active and knowledgeable professionals. Earning your doctorate puts you in a position to advance the industry and apply up-to-the-minute techniques. Evaluate your priorities and your resources and start your search for the school and program that will lead to lasting achievement and career potential.

 

Sources

  • British Journal of Educational Technology
  • Educational Technology Review
  • International Journal of Instructional Media
  • Journal of Computing in Higher Education
  • Journal of Computing in Teacher Education
  • George Washington University. Educational Technology Leadership Program
  • Pennsylvania State University. Master of Education in Instructional Systems--Educational Technology
  • U.S. Department of Education. Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning
  • U.S. News and World Report. Best College Rankings 2009
  • WorldWideLearn.com. Online Education Degrees in Educational Technology

Pursue your Educational Technology major today…

 
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