Question: How much can you make with a Doctor of Education (EdD) degree? What is the typical salary for an EdD graduate?

Answer: There are many different careers one can pursue with a Doctor of Education (EdD), each with its own average salary or earning potential. Many graduates work in educational leadership, taking high-level positions in school administration or instructional development, while others might find jobs outside academia, in corporate training, human resources, organizational leadership, or more. According to Payscale.com, the average salary of an EdD holder is $78,000 nationwide. However, students’ actual salary after earning their degree will depend largely on the career path they choose, where they decide to work, and their previous professional experience.

The article below examines a number of common careers for EdD graduates along with their current salary estimates according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), Glassdoor.com, or Payscale.com. Keep in mind, these sites only offer salary data based on job titles, not the degree level of those in these positions. Therefore, the following information is intended for example purposes only, to help students research possible career paths and estimate potential earnings post-graduation. While many jobs featured below may not explicitly require a doctorate, earning an EdD can prepare professionals for top-level positions in these fields and help them qualify for salaries on the higher end of the pay scale. Ultimately, the actual wages one makes will vary by location, employer, job duties, experience, and title.

Careers in Educational Leadership

As mentioned above, many students pursue an EdD to move into or advance a career in education administration. This field encompasses a wide range of positions involved in managing schools or school districts, with opportunities at every educational level, from PreK to postsecondary. Two examples of potential career paths for EdD graduates include primary or secondary school principal or school district superintendent.

According to the latest data from bls.gov, Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals earned a median annual wage of $95,310 in May 2018. As the head of an entire school district, Superintendents can expect to make more, with Payscale showing these professionals earning an average salary of $116,619 nationwide. Students should note that both of these positions typically require additional licensing or certification, which varies by state. While some EdD programs may help prepare students for licensure, in most cases, those interested in either career path will need to acquire these credentials separately from earning their degree.

Educational Leadership Salaries
OccupationSalaries (National Average)
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals$95,310 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Superintendent$116,619 (Payscale)
Postsecondary Education Administrators (All)$94,340 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Colleges, Universities, and Professional School Administrators$114,360 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Junior College Administrators$98,020 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Technical and Trade School Administrators$91,480 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

There are also a variety of administrative roles at the college level available to professionals with an EdD. In general, bls.gov reports that Postsecondary Education Administrators earned a median annual wage of $94,340 in May 2018. However, there is a wide range of earning potential, depending on one’s particular position and the type of institution they work for. According to bls.gov, the lowest 10 percent of earners in this field had a median salary of $54,680 or less, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $190,600 a year. Educational administrators working in Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools tend to fall on the higher end of this pay scale, with a median annual wage of $114,360, as opposed to those working at Junior Colleges, who earned $98,020. Meanwhile, bls.gov data shows that administrators at Technical and Trade Schools took home a median salary of around $91,480 in 2018.

Finally, looking at individual careers in this category further illustrates the scope of possible salaries available in college administration. For example, Academic Deans, who oversee an individual school or collection of departments within a college or university, currently earn an average salary of $90,062, according to Payscale. College or University Presidents, on the other hand, tend to earn significantly more, as they essentially serve as CEOs of their entire institutions. Payscale lists the average salary for these top-level administrators at $150,143 nationwide. At the same time, a role such as Vocational Program Director, which involves supervising job-specific training programs at technical schools or other locations, currently comes with an average base pay of $76,817 a year, based on Glassdoor data.

Other Careers in Education

Outside of administration, there are many other roles in education for graduates of EdD programs, depending on their area of interest or degree focus. Some work behind the scenes, helping to develop and assess curricula and teaching standards for schools or entire districts. These Instructional Coordinators earned a median salary of $64,450 in 2018, as reported by bls.gov. EdD students who choose to specialize in education technology or e-learning might put their expertise to work overseeing tech initiatives or online programs at the K-12 or collegiate level. Glassdoor data shows that Education Technology Specialists currently earn an average annual salary of $70,969, with Payscale citing a nationwide average of around $60,000.

Of course, earning a doctorate also qualifies EdD graduates to teach, with many going on to become professors at public or private colleges or universities. According to bls.gov, Postsecondary Teachers in the U.S. earned a median annual wage of $78,470 in 2018. However, professor salaries can vary quite significantly based on where they work, what they teach, and how long they have been teaching. Bls.gov data shows that, in 2018, the lowest 10 percent in this occupation earned less than $39,760, while the top 10 percent earned more than $175,110.

Graduates who want to work in education, but not necessarily be tied to a single institution or district, may want to consider a consulting role. Educational Consultants help schools, companies, and individuals with all sorts of different projects, from professional or curriculum development to building relations in the community. Payscale reports the national average salary for these professionals is currently $64,914 a year. Another option for students is working in local, state, or national government to influence and help formulate the laws that govern education systems and instructional practices. Based on Payscale data, Education Policy Analysts earn an average yearly wage of $61,175 nationwide.

Non-Academic Career Paths

Earning a Doctor of Education can also help prepare students for a variety of careers outside academia. Some end up working for businesses, corporations, nonprofits, the government, military, or other organizations in the public or private sector, either in managerial positions or as educational experts, supporting workforce training initiatives. The latest data from bls.gov shows that Training and Development Specialists earned a national median wage of $60,870 in 2018. Depending on their background and degree focus, those with an EdD, however, typically qualify to lead employee training programs and development efforts at most organizations. According to bls.gov, Training and Development Managers tend to earn significantly more, with a median annual salary of $111,340.

Some EdD programs even offer specialization options intended to prepare students for specific roles in business or organizational management. Students can earn their degree in a field like human resource development, then go on to become Human Resources Managers, overseeing all staff-related business functions for their employers. These senior HR professionals earned a median wage of $113,300 in 2018, as reported by bls.gov. There are also EdD programs with more broad concentrations in areas such as organizational leadership or entrepreneurship. With a doctorate in one of these fields, graduates could pursue high ranking executive positions in nearly any industry, or perhaps even start a company of their own. Bls.gov data indicates that Top Executives saw an overall median pay of $104,980 in 2018, with Chief Executives (CEOs) taking home a median salary of $189,600.


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