FAQ: How Much Can You Earn With a Doctorate in Education?

Updated May 31, 2023

A person standing in front of a building wearing a blue cap and gown and holding a diploma.

There are many reasons why someone might pursue a doctorate degree, such as earning a more competitive salary and qualifying for higher-level jobs. In education, having a doctorate can increase the number of positions a candidate is able to apply for and the likelihood of finding a job in an area in which they're genuinely interested. If you're considering a doctorate in education, you might want to learn about the earning potential that you can have once you graduate.

In this article, we answer some frequently asked questions about how much money you can make with a doctorate in education and explore some potential career paths.

What is a doctorate in education?

A doctorate in education is a postgraduate degree that's the highest level of degree someone can receive in the education field. Doctoral programs in education can focus on many topics, such as childhood development, ethics in education and different styles of learning. Here's some information about the two most popular doctoral degrees in education:

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

A Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree caters to those who want to work in administration or contribute to the development of new teaching standards at various levels of education. Most Ed.D. candidates already work in education and use their experiences to inform the research and work they do during postgraduate study. For example, if a teacher discovers a particular teaching method that they think might be effective in other schools, they can use an Ed.D. program to learn about how to develop and implement it at an administrative level.

Related: What Is a Doctorate? (And How To Get One in 3 Steps)

Ph.D. in education

A Ph.D. in education can be ideal for those who want to pursue jobs as teachers or in research. This is because Ph.D. programs in education typically focus on reviewing existing research surrounding education and closely related concepts and finding ways to improve them. These academic programs do this by allowing students to engage in research projects and sometimes take part in practical teaching experiences.

The key difference between the two degrees is their focus. A Ph.D. is typically for those who are interested in conducting research and contributing to the theoretical understanding of education, while an Ed.D. is for those who want to apply research to real-world issues and take on leadership roles in educational organizations.

Related: Ph.D. vs. Doctorate: What's the Difference?

How much can you make with a doctorate in education?

You can typically qualify for positions with high salaries if you have a doctoral degree in education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for those with a doctoral degree is currently $1,885 per week. This translates to around $94,250 per year, assuming a full-time schedule of 50 weeks per year with an eight-hour workday and a five-day workweek.

There are several reasons why people can earn competitive salaries like this with a doctorate in education, such as the highly technical skills they develop and the advanced work they do in the field. For example, a candidate who completes a doctoral program might have more experience in teaching or writing curricula than a candidate with a bachelor's or graduate degree.

Read more: Average Income by Education Level (Plus Career Options)

What factors increase your salary with this degree?

One major factor that influences your earning potential in this field is the level of experience that a person has in similar roles. Those who have spent more time working in education, particularly in positions of leadership or in specialized roles, may be able to negotiate higher salaries than those who are just starting out. Another important factor is the specific area of expertise that a person has developed. Specializations such as curriculum development, educational leadership or special education may be particularly in demand in certain regions or among certain types of employers.

Geographic location can also have a significant effect on earning potential, and salaries for educators can vary widely depending on the region of the country where a person works and the size and type of school district or educational institution. For example, those who work in larger, urban school districts may earn higher salaries than those who work in smaller, rural districts. Networking can also be an essential component of career development in this field and may lead to average salary increases. Additionally, those with a doctorate in education can develop the following skills to raise their earning potential:

  • Research skills

  • Analytical thinking

  • Problem-solving abilities

  • Writing and communication skills

  • Leadership skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Curriculum development expertise

  • Teaching and training abilities

  • Knowledge of educational theories and practices

  • Data analysis and interpretation skills

What are some funding opportunities for these degrees?

Both Ed.D and Ph.D. in Education programs offer various funding opportunities for students pursuing advanced degrees in education. Many universities and colleges offer tuition waivers, scholarships and fellowships to Ed.D. and Ph.D. students, which can cover some or all of the costs associated with their degree program. Students may also have the opportunity to work as graduate assistants or research assistants, which can provide additional funding and valuable experience.

Additionally, there are external funding opportunities available through organizations that offer grants and fellowships to support research and education in the field. Students pursuing an Ed.D. or Ph.D. in education can explore all these funding opportunities to help offset the costs associated with their degree program.

Read more: How To Find a Fully Funded Ph.D. Program

What types of career paths can you pursue with a doctorate in education?

Here are some of the popular career paths that you can work toward with a doctorate in education. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, visit Indeed.com/salaries.


Teaching careers typically involve instructing students in a particular subject, often in a classroom setting. With a doctorate in education, you can pursue teaching jobs that focus on advanced topics or highly technical expertise. Most teachers who have doctorates teach courses at the collegiate level, either in undergraduate or postgraduate programs. You may also work in secondary education.

Some common responsibilities that you typically have in teaching careers can include developing lesson plans and daily schedules, conducting lectures and presentations on topics that pertain to their subject and offering support to students who need extra help. Here are some job titles in teaching that you might apply for with a doctorate:

  • University professor: $79,736 per year

  • Guest lecturer: $37,035 per year

  • Adjunct professor: $103,830 per year

Related: 10 Teacher Careers: Requirements, Salaries and Duties


Careers in academia can refer to jobs that focus on developing educational practices and creating materials for teachers to use in their lessons. These types of careers can be ideal for those who enjoy research and problem-solving, as they often involve evaluating current educational standards and procedures and identifying areas for potential improvement. In a career in academia, you can have duties like developing curricula for schools and departments, building relationships between schools and their communities and revising the degree programs and department policies at colleges.

Here are some job titles in academia that can be ideal for doctoral degree holders:

  • Educational consultant: $61,654 per year

  • Curriculum leader: $71,942 per year

  • College department head: $88,719 per year

Related: 38 Careers That Require a Doctoral Degree


Administration careers in education are positions that involve overseeing the operations of educational institutions and finding ways to improve the methods they use. Those who earn a doctorate in education can find administrative jobs at facilities at almost any level of education, including primary schools, high schools and higher education institutes. Administrative careers typically have job duties like supervising teaching staff at an institution, recruiting and hiring new staff members and implementing new programs and curricula at a school.

Here are some job titles that those with doctoral degrees in education can pursue:

  • Instructional coordinator: $66,084 per year

  • Dean: $89,992 per year

  • Principal: $105,736 per year

Related: 5 of the Highest-Paying Jobs in Education (With Job Outlook)


Careers in research refer to jobs that focus on gathering information on particular subjects and using critical thinking to develop new understandings of concepts and solutions to challenges. With a doctorate in education, you can typically find jobs in research that involve reviewing existing scholarship on educational standards and practices and producing new research on topics that can improve the education system and the programs it uses. For example, a research job in education might have job duties like reviewing curricula and student grades to gauge the curricula's effectiveness, learning about new methods for teaching and completing research projects.

Here are a few common job titles that you can find in educational research:

  • Research manager: $63,676 per year

  • Researcher: $67,341 per year

  • Research scientist: $84,656 per year

Read more: 15 Research Careers You Can Pursue

Job growth for those with a doctorate in education

According to the BLS, the top-employing occupation for workers with a doctorate in education is postsecondary teachers, with a projected percent growth of 12% from 2021 to 2031. The typical entry-level education for this occupation is a doctoral or professional degree and 73% of workers in this field hold an advanced degree.

Other occupations that require an advanced degree in education include educational, guidance and career counselors and advisors and education administrators from kindergarten through secondary school. The percent degree holders in these fields are 1% and 5%, respectively. While there's a high demand for workers with a doctorate in education, there's also significant competition due to the large percentage of workers with advanced degrees in these fields. Nonetheless, those with a doctorate in education can expect significant job growth in the coming years, particularly in the field of postsecondary teaching.


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