Top 30 Doctorate in Elementary Education Online Degree Programs 2024

doctorate in elementary edu

Key Takeaways:

  • Our top two schools for online Doctorate in Elementary Education programs are Capella University and William Carey University.
  • Online Doctorate in Elementary Education programs offer flexibility for working educators pursuing advanced degrees and career advancement.
  • Factors like accreditation, affordability, faculty credentials, and program outcomes play a significant role in ranking these programs.

A career in elementary education can be very rewarding. There are many areas of opportunity, and not all of them are subject to teaching in a classroom. For those educational professionals who love children, want to enhance teacher satisfaction, are good at taking leadership initiative, and who have a mind to better the education system, a Ph.D. in Elementary Education is something to consider. According to Payscale, the average salary for a Ph.D. graduate in Elementary Education is $72K with a rating of “extremely satisfied” in job satisfaction. Now is a good time to pursue this degree as the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8% increase in elementary, middle school, and high school principal jobs now through 2026. There are a variety of specializations in this type of doctorate. Some of these are teaching leadership, administration, and K-12 educational leadership. A Ph.D. graduate in Elementary Education is qualified for a broad spectrum of careers within the education system. Generally work will be done outside of the classroom in leadership roles. Ph.D. graduates become superintendents, principals, curriculum developers, school reformers, staff developers, and facilitators. We’ve compiled a list of the top 30 online doctorate in Elementary Education degree programs.

We looked at dozens of universities that offer an affordable online Doctorate in Elementary Education. The criteria to make it on our top 30 list are as follows. The program is offered as a flexible 100% online degree or is mainly online with a nominal on-campus component. The university offers a Ph.D./EdD in Elementary Education or one that is a very close match, such as Educational Leadership, Curriculum, and Teacher Leadership. Each school has to be accredited and cost less than $60,000. If the school was awarded an achievement or nomination from notable sites like Forbes, US News and World Report, Princeton Review, or Kiplinger’s, these will be talked about in its write-up. After meeting the criteria, schools are ranked based on their raw affordability found on the College Navigator website.

Featured Programs

#1 William Carey University

Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership

Biloxi, MS

william carey university logo


This well-established university had its first roots in Mississippi as an all-girl boarding school. Through time, it’s grown into a coeducational university serving in Biloxi and Hattiesburg and accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. William Carey is a Christian school, following its namesake. The Carey Creed is  “Expect Great Things From God; Attempt Great Things for God.” This university has many programs from undergraduate all the way through doctoral, and many are available 100% online.

William Carey offers an online doctorate in Educational Leadership for professional educators who want to create excellent educational environments through their leadership. This flexible program is comprised of 36 credit hours past a master’s degree. The courses are taken in cohorts that start in the summer. The work is vigorous to ensure a fast-paced track to graduation. Through courses like Developing the Culture of Learning and Using Conflict Resolution and Mediation, students will graduate with the ability to make a difference in education.

Tuition: $17,640

#2 Capella University

Online Doctor of Education

Minneapolis, MN

Capella University logo


Capella is a popular online university. It’s fairly new, earning its accreditation through The Higher Learning Commission in 1997. In 2016, Capella received the Excellence in Assessment Award from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. The Alumni Employer Survey found that 97% of employers of Capella graduates surveyed rated the work performance as proficient or exceptional. Among its higher learning programs, Capella features an online Doctor of Education program.

This affordable Doctor of Education combines online coursework with a residency component to aid in the dissertation process. Unlike other schools, Capella has its students start their dissertation right away and throughout their studies to expedite the process. Its professors focus on supporting their students through the process. There are several specializations within this program. If students are pursuing a doctorate in elementary education online, the two specializations geared toward that are Curriculum and Instruction and Leadership in Educational Administration. To keep costs affordable, Capella offers a $10K scholarship to eligible students with a simple application process. This Ph.D. can be completed two ways–FlexPath and GuidedPath. Overall, Capella is an affordable way to earn a quality online Ph.D. with an interest in elementary education.

Tuition: $34,500

#3 Columbus State University

Online Doctor of Education Curriculum and Leadership

Columbus, GA

Columbus State University logo


Columbus State University values affordable high-quality education. It ranks in the Top 100 Affordable Colleges by College Consensus. Located close to Georgia’s capital of Atlanta, Columbus State takes pride in its diversity and commitment to bringing its influence into the community and globally. CSU has an extensive continuing education program and it offers an affordable online Doctor of Education.

The Doctor of Education Curriculum and Leadership is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. This program will be completed in 63 credit hours. This is a hybrid program and will require some on-campus time. Students will cover courses in both leadership and curriculum. Some courses include Trends and Issues in Curriculum Studies, Leading for Change, and Applications of Neurological Research to Student Learning. At the end of the program, educational professionals will be well-prepared to work as administrators, develop curriculum, or take various leadership roles within the K-12 systems.

Tuition: $13,265

#4 Kennesaw State University

Online Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership

Kennesaw, GA

Kennesaw State University Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership


Kennesaw State is situated just north of Atlanta, Georgia, and hosts over 35,000 students. U.S. News ranked it as a top choice for students, and it holds a spot in the top 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities that are Carnegie-designated doctoral research institutions. As far as their affordable Doctorate in Elementary Education Online offering, Kennesaw’s Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership fits this criterion. This degree is suited for individuals who want to lead education to new heights by building school culture, mentoring other teachers, and improving learning through building excellent curriculums. The Ed.D. in Teacher Leadership program requires 45 hours of learning in four areas along with a six-month residency. When completed, graduates will be ready to make their mark on the world of elementary education.     

Tuition: $21,174

#5 Regent University

Online Ph.D. in Education 

Virginia Beach, VA

Regent University logo image


Regent University was envisioned by Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson not only to graduate capable professionals into the world but also to train godly men and women who will make an impact on the world. Regent was started in 1978 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Its accreditation is through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission. Regent holds rankings with US News and World Report, American Council of Trustees and Alumni, Military Times, and Fulbright Scholars. In 2019 it ranked in Top National Universities as well as being a part of an elite group of 24 universities nationally rated “A” for comprehensive liberal arts curriculum.

Among these accomplishments, Regent was #4 among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in Virginia. It offers an online Doctor of Philosophy in Education. The program is offered completely online to allow flexibility for its professional students. The Ph.D. focuses on specific research in specialized areas in education. K-12 School Leadership and Curriculum & Instruction are two areas that are specific for elementary education professionals. Acknowledged for being a part of the Most Affordable Christian Colleges and Universities, students can earn a solid degree that won’t break their bank account.

Tuition: $17,190

#6 Texas Tech University

Online Ph.D. in Educational Leadership Policy

Lubbock, TX

Texas Tech logo image


Texas Tech University has been educating students for almost 100 years. TTU has an eLearning feature and offers its Ph.D. in Educational Leadership Policy 100% online. This ties in with elementary education as the courses will equip students to pioneer change and maintain core principles within the elementary schools through strong policy-making and leadership skills. This program was created for educators, counselors, school leaders, district consultants, educational non-profits, regional service center leaders, and educational professionals. It should be completed in 4 years with a total of 60 credit hours, through convenient video conferencing in a virtual classroom.

Tuition: $25,556

#7 North Greenville University

Doctor of Education Online

Tigerville, SC

North Greenville University logo


North Greenville University is a Christian university in South Carolina. It offers over 50 varying degrees, some in an online format as well. NGU has quite a lengthy list of achievements and rankings from, Forbes, Great Value Colleges,, and more. Its accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. NGU has 5 graduate schools including one for Education.

Elementary Education professionals with the desire to enhance their knowledge should pursue the EdD K-12 Leadership Concentration. Although there is an on-campus component, it’s a small one. Students will be required to complete a two-course seminar in a one-week onsite format. Some core courses in this program are Learning and Instruction: K-12, Organizational Development: K-12, and Today’s Student. After completing five 8-week terms totaling 60 credit hours, graduates will move on to leadership careers in education.

Tuition: $30,600

#8 UNC Charlotte

Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership

Charlotte, NC

UNC Charlotte logo


UNC offers a low-cost EdD program in Educational Leadership online. This doctorate can be completed online as well as some on-campus requirements. The program concentrates on three main areas: Higher Education, PK-12 Superintendency, and Learning, Design, and Technology. Graduates go on to have mid to senior-level leadership positions within public or private schools. This flexible online doctorate can be done at a pace that suits the student as long as it’s finished in 8 years. It’s comprised of 48 credit hours, and the student will pick between a Higher Education Concentration or a P-12 Superintendency Concentration. This program has accreditation through the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Tuition: $20,287

#9 University of Northern Colorado

Educational Leadership – EdD Online

Greeley, CO

University of Northern Colorado logo image


Most of the Educational Studies Ed.D courses can be taken online. There is a minimal on-campus requirement of 3 one-week research seminars done in three summers on a campus located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. This is a 64-credit hour program with courses like Philosophical Foundations of Education and Perspectives on Curriculum. Graduates will have the knowledge and ability to drive changes to better their K-12 school systems through administration, research, and curriculum development.         

Tuition: $21,786

#10 Rowan University

Online EdD in Educational Leadership: P-12 Track

Glassboro, NJ

Rowan University logo


Rowan University is a nationally recognized school with several rankings from US News and World Report and the Princeton Review. First known as Glassboro State University, Rowan started in 1923 as a normal school in New Jersey to prepare teachers to educate in New Jersey classrooms. It’s grown to become a university that graduates well-equipped students to be successful in the world. In 2018, Carnegie classified Rowan as a prestigious R2 institution for its research.

Rowan has online graduate programs through its Global Learning and Partnerships. It offers a 100% online coursework EdD in Educational Leadership: P-12 Track for students looking to receive a doctorate in elementary education. In addition to these online courses, there are three small residency requirements throughout the program. The first is a two day stay at the campus to go over the policies and procedures of the school. The second will be a one day stay to take the written part of the benchmark exam. The last is a weekend stay at the end of the second year to prepare for the dissertation. After completing the extensive 60 credit hours, graduates will be ready to make a difference through leadership within their elementary school systems.

Tuition: $22,339

#11 Boise State University

Online Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Boise, Idaho

Boise State University Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction
A part of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education


Boise State’s campus runs along the beautiful Boise River in Idaho. The Graduate College consists of 12 doctoral programs, 69 master’s programs, and 27 certificates, with numerous available online.

Boise State offers 2 doctoral programs in Elementary Education: a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and a Doctor of Education in Educational Technology. Both are geared for leadership professions in K-12 schools. The doctorate with the Educational Technology specialization is offered entirely online, while the Curriculum and Instruction Program has a hybrid setup. To help alleviate costs, there is a significant drop in cost per credit hour if more than 16 credits are taken in a semester. A couple of the courses a student can expect to take in the Curriculum and Instruction Focus are The American Culture and the Context of Schooling, School Culture, and the Problems of Change.    

Tuition: $23,776

#12 Central Michigan University

Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Mt Pleasant, MI

Central Michigan University Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership
Nationally acclaimed programs with a global campus


In 1994, CMU started its first online programs for national and international students. For those pursuing a Ph.D. in Elementary Education online, CMU Global Campus has an EdD in Educational Leadership. This program is offered hybrid with four on-campus requirements that are given a year in advance for the sake of convenience. Students work in cohorts throughout this program. This online EdD in Educational Leadership will prepare each student for leadership in K-12 schools or higher education. Students decide between a K-12 Leadership or K-12 Curriculum concentration. Through courses like ethical leadership and organizational culture and change, graduates will be well-qualified to hold positions as principals, superintendents, or curricular leaders.   

Tuition: $24,120

#13 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Online Ph.D. in Educational Leadership

Lincoln, NE

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Ph.D. in Educational Leadership
#9 in Best Online Graduate Education Programs


NU’s online Ph.D. in Educational Leadership is an online program that requires a small 6-hour campus residency, while the EdD offered can be completed entirely online. The major difference between these two doctorates is the focus. The objective of completing the EdD is to further the level of competence in the student’s leadership within the school districts. The focus during the Ph.D. is on an overall ability to research a more narrow area of study within the educational system. These programs focus on P-12 education and can be completed in about 96 credit hours. Completing the extensive 108-credit hour doctoral program will assure the graduate with readiness to make a difference in their school district.   

Tuition: $25,038

#14 University of Arkansas

Doctor of Education Online

Fayetteville, AR

University of Arkansas Doctor of Education
Graduated top-notch students like J. William Fulbright


There are many online programs at the University of Arkansas. Coursework for the doctor of education is 100% online. It should take about three years to complete with a total of 43 credit hours. Each semester, students are required to meet with their online cohorts in a one-time face-to-face meeting to assure good peer relationships for support through the program. In an effort to help students with cost, there are scholarships available each year that potential grad students can apply for. Educational professionals who complete this program will be fully-equipped to take on leadership roles within their school districts.

Tuition: $25,168

#15 University of Colorado Denver

Online Doctor of Education, Leadership for Educational Equity

Denver, Colorado

University of Colorado Denver Doctor of Education, Leadership for Educational Equity
28 mentions in Best Graduate Schools


 CU Denver features a Doctor of Education, Leadership for Educational Equity as a 100% online Ph.D. degree. It is offered in two ways. There is a three-year track or a five-year track to accommodate the flexibility needs of each student. In this degree, there is an Early Childhood Special Education/Early Childhood Education concentration.  Core courses include equality in diverse urban areas, leadership, research, and problem-solving. After completing 54 credit hours and a dissertation, Ph.D. grads will be ready to make a difference in their community and throughout the education system.

Tuition: $25,771

#16 East Tennessee State University

Online Doctorate in Education

Johnson City, Tennessee

East Tennessee State University Doctorate in Education
Offering a broad range of majors including medicine, education, and technology.


ETSU Online has a Doctorate in Education available, and the student can choose between the Administrative Endorsement Concentration or the School Leadership Concentration. The Admin Endorsement Concentration features preparation for beginning administrative positions at K-12 schools or district levels. A couple of the courses in this program are Shaping the Quality and Character of the Institution and Developing Learners Through Instructional Leadership. The School Leadership Concentration is geared towards those who already have administrative licenses and want to work in central office positions in public schools. This is a 66-credit program with courses like Law for Organizational Leaders and Policy, Power, and Politics in Education. Either of these affordable online doctorates will graduate professionally qualified leaders within the elementary education system.

Tuition: $27,119

#17 Arizona State University

Online Doctor of Education (EdD) in Leadership and Innovation

Tempe, Arizona

Arizona State University Doctor of Education (EdD) in Leadership and Innovation
#2 ranking in the nation for its online education


Among the online programs offered at ASU is the Online Doctor of Education (EdD) in Leadership and Innovation. It is an affordable degree that can be attained in 36 credit hours. This program concentrates on elementary educational leadership. Graduates will be ready to lead their education system in excellence. They will be equipped to map out curriculums and strategize ways to encourage the best student outcomes. Students will need to participate in a two-semester, school-based internship in a K-12 setting. This program is available in an online format and has a couple of start times per year.

Tuition: $28,336

#18 University of Kentucky

Doctorate in Educational Leadership Online

Lexington, Kentucky

University of Kentucky Doctorate in Educational Leadership
College of Education is top in National Research Council Doctoral rankings

Among their excellent doctoral programs, the University of Kentucky has a Doctorate in Educational Leadership for those who are pursuing a career in elementary leadership.

Program graduates go on to be principals, assistant principals, administrative deans, and district administrators. UK aims to graduate “change agents” in the elementary education system. This online program is comprised of 42 credit hours and a dissertation. Some courses include Design Thinking in Education and Leadership for Creative Problem Solving. At $674 per credit hour, pursuing this 100% online doctorate in education is one of the top affordable choices.   

Tuition: $29,099

#19 University of Alabama

Online Doctorate in Elementary Education

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

University of Alabama Elementary Education, Ph.D.
Home of the Crimson Tide and first public university in Alabama


The UA College of Education offers a low-cost online EdD in Elementary Education. This program features the application of theory and research, the practice of administration in K-12 schools, and other educational policy focuses. Graduates will be qualified for leadership positions like principals, superintendents, and supervisors. They will also be qualified to work at the state level. This convenient EdD online program is 72 credit hours. It has a residency requirement of 24 graduate hours while continuously enrolled for a period of 24 months. Graduates will be able to theorize and develop strategies that will enhance the classroom experience.  

Tuition: $29,230

#20 Andrews University

Curriculum and Instruction—EdD, Ph.D. Online

Berrien Springs, Michigan

Andrews University Curriculum and Instruction—EdD, PhD
Affordable online degrees through its School of Distance Education & International Partnerships


Andrews University offers affordable online degrees through its School of Distance Education & International Partnerships. Andrews has a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership available for professional elementary educators to move into leadership positions like K-12 superintendents, principals, and supervisors of instruction. This program requires completing 90 credit hours, but students can transfer up to 42 credits from previous graduate work. Some of the classes are K-12 Educational Finance, K-12 Law, and Elementary School Leadership. This program is offered 100% online for the convenience of its graduate professionals.

Tuition: $29,288

#21 Northwest Nazarene University

Online Doctor of Education

Nampa, Idaho

Northwest Nazarene University Doctor of Education
Dedicated to graduating well-educated and godly professionals

NNU has a flexible online Doctor of Education available to its students. This 36 credit hour degree program is comprised of coursework and dissertation prep and defense. Other than a two-week summer meeting on campus, the rest of this program is all online. Students will be learning from skilled faculty with expertise in K-12. NNU strives to graduate leaders who have servant attitudes into the education system. They prepare their graduates to tackle challenges within the education system with integrity and be equipped with sound knowledge to make changes that will improve schools.  

Tuition: $29,800

#22  Concordia University Texas

Online Doctorate of Education in Curriculum & Instruction/Educational Administration

Austin, TX

Concordia University Texas Doctorate of Education in Curriculum & Instruction/Educational Administration
A university with flexible and 100% online graduate programs


For professionals in education wanting to pursue an affordable Doctorate of Education, Concordia offers one that is flexible and 100% administrated through its online school. This Ph.D. in Education online consists of 24 credit hours of core classes developing leadership and research skills followed by a choice between two specializations. Once students choose between Educational Administration and Curriculum and Instruction, they will complete 37 more credits in that specialization. The Educational Administration focuses on leadership at the district/central office level, and students have an opportunity to take the Texas Superintendent Exam. The Curriculum and Instruction focus is designed to enhance leadership in curriculum and strategies for teaching mastery. To help with the cost, there is a textbook rental program that saves students an average of 35% on books.

Tuition: $32,078

#23 University of South Carolina

Online Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction-Curriculum Studies Concentration

Columbia, South Carolina

University of South Carolina Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction-Curriculum Studies Concentration
Home to dozens of accredited colleges


Within its college of education, USC offers two affordable online doctorates in education: the Teaching and Learning PhD and the Doctor of Education in Curriculum & EdD Instruction-Curriculum Studies Concentration Online.

The first of these affordable online elementary education programs is the Teaching and Learning Ph.D. This program is flexible and allows students to pursue their own desired focus. It has many areas of focus including elementary education. Electives and cognates are set up in a way that students can use them to concentrate on their area of interest. For instance, if a student wants to specialize in social studies, this can be done by choosing electives in social studies. A graduate from this program can work in leadership within the education system. They will be able to work as school leaders, district leaders, and leaders in the State Department of Education. After this 66-credit hour program, graduates will have a high level of understanding in culture, ethics, communication, advocacy, collaboration, and leadership. They will be skilled in research and using professional resources to grow with the changing philosophies of educating.

The Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction-Curriculum Studies Concentration Online is available as well. This 100% online EdD program is a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate Consortium. Students will take 36 months to complete this 60-credit doctorate. The program has a heavy emphasis on curriculum design and implementation. It highlights critical, past and current curriculum issues. It also prepares graduates for the moral, cultural, and ethical challenges faced while establishing curriculums. Graduates will also leave with top-notch leadership skills that will qualify them for careers in district-level curriculum administration and school-level instructional positions.

Tuition: $33,298

#24 University of Massachusetts

Online EdD in Leadership in Schooling

Amherst, Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts Doctor of Education in Leadership in Schooling, Ed.D
A university known for its cutting edge research


UMass offers an affordable online Doctor of Education in Leadership in Schooling, EdD. The department is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Students will graduate with the qualifications to lead in K-12 schools. This program is set up as a cohort that starts in the summer. It is completed in three years and requires a one-week summer residency each year. Graduates will leave as thoughtful and reflective scholar-practitioners.

Tuition: $34,570

#25 Texas A&M

Online Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

College Station, TX

Texas A&M Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction
Home of 100 doctoral degree programs


Texas A&M has an online school and offers an EdD in Curriculum and Instruction for those professionals who want to pursue their doctorate in elementary education. In an estimated four years, students will complete Texas A&M’s 64-credit hour 100% web-based curriculum. There are three face-to-face meetings that students will be required to attend. The first will be at the beginning of the spring semester, followed by two more meetings in the summer months. As far as affordability, there are online financial planning resources available to aid with finding the most affordable way to complete the program. Courses in this program are designed to prepare well-equipped teacher leaders in the preK-12 school districts. Texas A&M recommends only the most distinguished students to take this program because of its level of required professionalism, so it is assured that graduates leave with the capability to make a great impact on education.

Tuition: $37,495

#26 Liberty University

Online Doctor of Education Curriculum and Instruction

Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University Doctor of Education Curriculum and Instruction
Top 1% of online schools and universities for affordability, accessibility, and academic quality


Liberty has a Doctor of Education Curriculum and Instruction online degree in Elementary Education. It’s affordable and entirely online. This is a 60-credit program that can be completed in as little as three years. Graduates will leave equipped to manage student behaviors effectively through behavioral support. They will work in general and special education, imparting new wisdom in strategies for better learning. Liberty has many recognitions including Most Affordable Online college, top military-friendly, and top yellow ribbon college. This institution accommodates eager learners to lead the way in education.

Tuition: $38,932

#27 Hampton University

Online Doctorate in Elementary Education

Hampton, Virginia

Hampton University Ph.D. in Education Management
A mission to serve the learning needs of all who attend


Hampton features an online Ph.D. in Education Management that falls in line with a Doctorate in Elementary Education. In this doctoral program, students are taught to navigate the nuances of the ever-changing needs in education. This accelerated 66-credit program will ensure strong leadership capabilities in each of its students’ careers. There are four specializations within this doctoral course of study: Higher Education, Pre-K-12 Education, STEM Leadership, and Special Education. With its $695 per credit tuition, 100% online flexibility, and a completion time of 2.5 years, Hampton is a noteworthy option to prepare educators to make great strides in elementary education around the nation.

Tuition: $44,587

#28 Fordham University

Online Ph.D. in Administration and Supervision

New York, New York

Fordham University Administration and Supervision (PhD)
Serving close to 20,000 students each year


Fordham offers an affordable online Ph.D. in Education. This degree program serves those who want to branch out into leadership/curriculum positions in the elementary school system. Throughout this flexible online program, students will have support through weekly face-to-face online lectures and coursework that is self-paced through video-lectures and assignments. To keep in step with working professionals’ schedules, Fordham condenses in-person requirements to two times total to complete this degree.  

Tuition: $52,687

#29 Drexel University

Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management

Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management
A USDLA 21st Century Distance Learning Award winner


Drexel’s affordable online Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management is offered as a 100% distance-learning program. This program challenges students to think critically and make changes in these changing times in education. Through research, theorizing, and peer-collaboration, graduates will be well-equipped to initiate change within their school districts. There are nine different concentrations which the student will choose from. A few are Creativity and Innovation, Educational Administration, and Educational Policy. Any of these would be suitable for a student who desires a Ph.D. in elementary education. This degree is geared to train K-12 leadership such as superintendents, principals, administrators, and teachers. It can be attained in as little as three years or as many as five years depending on the student’s flexibility.

Tuition: $53,244

#30 Pepperdine University

Online EdD in Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy

Malibu, CA

Pepperdine University EdD In Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy
Acclaimed Christian school in Malibu, CA serving students near and far


Pepperdine has a hybrid EdD program in Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy. It prepares its students to lead K-12 schools in administration, leadership, and research. There is a required trip to Washington, DC or a similar place to experience policy-making at the federal, state, or local levels. This online EdD can be finished in just 3.5 years.   

Tuition: $53,932

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is finishing a Ph.D. in Elementary Education feasible for a working professional?

The short answer is: “absolutely!” Doctoral programs are geared towards working students because it is assumed that they have established careers and are looking to further their education. There is ample room for students to go at their own pace depending on their schedules and circumstances. The average window for finishing a Ph.D. in Education is between 3-5 years and usually no longer than 10 years. Each student will manage their own finish-time. While the coursework and the thesis are rigorous, support from the faculty and the online availability make progression feasible.

What is the difference between a Ph.D. and an EdD?

Those who have researched PhDs in education will notice another degree title, the EdD. Now, when a doctorate in education is pursued, it’s usually offered as a Ph.D. or an EdD. Though the work is similar in its intensiveness, the outcomes are somewhat different.

Ph.D. in Education:

The Ph.D. in Education is more philosophical in nature. This is a research-intensive degree. Often times, it will be fully-funded along with a stipend and provided living quarters. This is a huge advantage to this particular degree because price matters to most everyone. After graduating with a Ph.D., the graduate usually goes on to teach as a professor, research and analyze educational theories, and create new ways to better education. This degree is perfect for individuals who want to move and shake the educational system from a behind-the-scenes role.  

EdD in Education:

Pursuing an EdD will generally have the outcome of a more hands-on approach to education. These graduates are administrators, superintendents, and principals. As professional students progress through an EdD program, they work and connect with like-minded peers. This connection can be of great value both through exposure and collaboration. Although this degree isn’t funded like the Ph.D., career outcomes have salaries that are quite significant and can easily pay for the schooling. This is a great option for individuals who like working with people and enjoy more of a connection with colleagues in an educational environment.

How long will it take to complete an online Ph.D./EdD Education?

Based on research examining a slew of universities that offer the Ph.D./EdD in Education, the average time it will take to complete the degree is 3-5 years. Time to completion varies slightly based on the focus of study and whether the program is taken in an online format or on campus.

What is the average salary of a Doctor of Education graduate?

This is varied depending on the career path chosen. Here is a list of the careers and their annual salaries:

  • Principals: $95,310 (Bureau of Labor and Statistics)
  • Superintendents: $117,646 (Payscale)
  • Elementary Educational Administrator: $98,750 (Bureau of Labor and Statistics)
  • Curriculum Developer:  $62,460 (Bureau of Labor and Statistics)
  • Chief Learning Officer: $111,680 (Bureau of Labor and Statistics)
  • Training and Development Manager in Education: $99,040 (CollegeGrad Blog)
  • Chief Academic Officer: $132,585 (Payscale)
  • Curriculum Coordinator: $41,003 (Payscale)
  • Educational Psychology: $84,060 (Gradscale Hub)
  • Executive Director in Education: $63,694 (Payscale)

Is a Ph.D./EdD worth it?

Even though it takes grit and time to complete a Ph.D. in Elementary Education, many affordable online options aid in timely and achievable completion. The return on investment can be significant as one can expect a salary increase with this degree. Education professionals will also gain a greater understanding of their work ahead of them. This is a valuable asset as working in educational environments can have many layers that need to be navigated with great wisdom and skill. Finally, a Doctor of Education will stand out on a resume. Whether a graduate plans on staying in Elementary Education or moving on to another career path, having this PhD will stand out to any employer.

How do you get started on an online Ph.D. in Elementary Education?

  • Transfer credits: Applicants will need to transfer over their previous credits. There are usually credits from previous education that can carry over into a Ph.D. Prospective students will want to contact the admissions office to talk through this process.
  • Future students will choose a course load and schedule. It’s important to decide on and prepare a flexible course schedule. This will depend on a student’s day job and demands in their life. This can also be discussed with admissions officers.
  • Prospective students will want to make sure the dissertation lines up with their current working environments. This will assure the completion of the dissertation in a flexible and timely fashion.

 What are the requirements before applying to a school for an online Ph.D. in Elementary Education?

  • A master’s degree: An applicant is required to have a master’s degree from an accredited school. It doesn’t have to be in the same field of study but should be accompanied by 30 credit hours of advanced coursework.
  • Experience: Most universities will require at least 3-5 years of professional experience in education. This usually isn’t difficult because most applicants are already established as teachers or administrators.
  • Good-standing GPA: Most if the universities will require their prospective students to carry a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. Some schools require a 3.5 GPA or higher. There are also times when a university will substitute high standardized test scores in place of a GPA.

What is the application process for enrolling in a university for an online Ph.D. in Elementary Education?

Prospective students will be asked to fill out basic information about themselves and their background along with sending in their resume. This can be done on the university’s website by making an online account. They will be asked to send in their official transcripts from their previously attended schools. Generally, students will send in a few letters of recommendation. Some of the universities will ask for standardized test scores such as GRE scores, while some don’t require any. Lastly, sometimes there are nominal application fees ranging from $40-$70, but in many cases, these fees are waived due to being alumni, employees, service members, veterans, or military spouses.

CVO Staff


This concludes our ranking of the top 30 online doctorates in elementary education degree programs.