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What is a Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction

Many teachers who aspire to make meaningful contributions in the teaching profession consider earning a Doctor of Education with emphasis in curriculum and instruction. Such a degree allows teachers to expand their sphere of influence as educational specialists and make career advancements as administrative leaders in the field. Additionally, candidates seek flexible programs, such as online program options that allow them to continue teaching while pursuing further educational opportunities. With that in mind, it is wise to consider available online doctoral programs for teachers that focus on aligning instructional content with current educational standards and encouraging innovative teaching practices.

What a Doctor of Education degree means

A Doctor of Education degree (Ed.D.) differs from a traditional Ph.D. in education. A Ph.D. is theory-based and stresses research that expands the existing body of knowledge. This degree is appropriate for educators who seek careers as teacher educators, university professors or educational consultants. By contrast, an Ed.D. focuses on the practical applications of educational research and is more hands-on for teachers wishing to improve learning opportunities for schools and diverse learning populations. This type of doctorate is suitable for educators who would like work as curriculum specialists, school superintendents or administrators, teaching supervisors, or educational policy makers.

What to expect when you earn an online Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction

Accredited, online doctoral programs for teachers offer flexible formats and schedules for professional teachers to earn an Ed.D. with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction. Coursework can be conveniently accessed through distance learning applications and includes relevant instruction through video presentations, assigned readings and activities, and cohort studies with other online participants. Teaching professionals can use their classrooms as experiential settings in which to incorporate innovative teaching practices they have learned while earning their doctorate. Generally, online doctoral programs span three to five years, depending on individual pacing and requirements such as completing a thesis. Aspiring Ed.D. candidates should seek out reputable online programs with accreditation from one or more organizations that set forth standards and expectations for doctoral-level programs in education, including:

  • Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC)
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)*
  • The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)*
  • Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC)*

By opting to earn a Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction, professional teachers can effectively develop content and improve instruction delivery models to meaningfully impact all learners. Accredited online doctoral programs make this choice even easier by providing formats that accommodate teaching schedules and personal learning preferences. In this way, professional educators can hope to make significant contributions in the educational field and in their careers.

Learn more about the University of South Carolina’s online Ed.D. program.

*The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) consolidated in July 2013 to form a new accrediting body, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).


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