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Ed.D. or Ph.D.

The Crossroads Between the Ed.D. and Ph. D. Program

The school bell has rung and class is now in session

Good day or evening, depending on your time-zone. I just wanted to write a blog about Ed.D.’s and Ph.D.’s because I have had a few people, who do not have either degree, ask about the differences or whether one is better than the other.

Let me preface this by saying, years ago I started an online Ph.D. in Business Administration program but stopped after two classes because the online format was not conducive to learning for me at that time.

A few years afterwards, I applied for two other doctoral programs: an Ed.D. and D.Min.. I was accepted to both but chose the Ed.D. because it seemed to fit my career path and would allow me to teach at a university which is my second career goal. I researched and saw that the D.Min. degree did not typically secure adjunct or full-time positions in higher education because it was mostly for people working in full-time ministry. The person could teach within ministry but are not often seen teaching in universities. This may vary because they may be hired to teach in some seminary programs. Instead of pursuing the D.Min., I decided to complete a Ministerial Training Program through church, in order to increase learning in that area.

After being in the Ed.D. program for a year, I was volunteering in a Youth Entrepreneur Program through a nonprofit and University School of Business Department. I was able to work with the Dean of the School of Business and some of other professors.

My background as a teacher consisted of teaching high school business courses 9 of my 12 years in education. I taught Accounting, Personal Finance, Computer Applications, Business Management, Career Management, and Technical Math. My undergraduate and graduate degree is in Business Administration, but I also obtained a Master’s in School Administration with a principal’s license which I decided to pursue once I made Education my career choice. While conversing with the Dean, she told me if I planned to teach in a School of Business at the university level, I should consider switching from the Ed.D. to a Ph.D. in Business. I told her that I thought I could still teach in the School of Business since I had a Master’s in Business Administration. She told me that I could but would have a better chance if I had a Ph.D. in Business.

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I went on a quest, looking up Schools of Business state and nation wide just to get a marginal figure of how many of the professors had Ed.D.’s or Ph.D.’s. While there were quite a few with Ph.D.’s there were also some Ed.D.’s. The interesting thing I noted was that Ed.D.’s were in other departments as well as long as those who had a Masters in the subject they were teaching. For example, a person with a Master’s in Science or Business with an Ed.D. could also teach in the School of Science or School of Business or the School of Education.

A person with their Ph.D. would normally be placed in a department based on their subject-matter expertise. For example, if a person has a Master’s in Business or Science with a Ph.D. in Nutrition, they would normally be placed in the Nutrition Department. While this individual could still work in the School of Business or the School of Science, they typically would go into the Nutrition Department; whereas I have seen people with their Ed.D. more readily spread throughout other departments based on the majors in their Master’s Program.

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Listening to the Dean of the School of Business, I decided to apply to UNC Greensboro’s School of Business because they had a really interesting program called “Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies.” The curriculum was fascinating and the amount of research their faculty had conducted was phenomenal, so I was excited to apply. Long story short, I applied and got accepted. I was at a crossroad. One year and foot into my Ed.D. program and the other foot aching to be in the Ph.D. program. What was a girl to do? I had to make a decision and had three months to do it.

I did some soul-searching and prayed for clarification. I decided to write down some goals which at the time was:

#1 Professional goal was to reach the School Superintendent level

#2 Professional goal is to become an adjunct and/or full-time professor

If you research Ed.D. degrees, they were made for serving the K-12 grade level. It teaches the candidate the ins and out of a school system, and how to bring it together within the community it serves.  A school district is not an organization but a living organism that consist of a lot of different functions that depend on one another. It is a challenging but rewarding career and is the kind of work that never gets boring.

I asked myself this question, if I were to receive my Ph.D. from the School of Business, would I remain in the K-12 school system or would I resign and pursue something in the business field? After looking in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (shout out to my former business students) I saw that the job availability in Business was slower than average and that it would be a challenge due to lack of positions so more than likely I would have chosen to stay in education even if I were to pursue the Ph.D. in Business.

When I looked up the job availability for principal and/or school superintendent positions, it listed faster than average because of the amount of people who would be retiring in the near future.

Remaining in the Ed.D. program was beginning to look more appealing. I also sought the advice from my mentor (a retired Assistant School Superintendent/Current full-time professor) and he mentioned that if I was going to remain in K-12, the Ed.D. was a better fit with the added perk that after I retire; I could still pursue an adjunct and/or full time professorship in the School of Education or School of Business.

In conclusion, I personally do not think one degree is better than the other because it honestly depends on what your future plans are. It is pure ignorance to make a blanket statement that one-degree program is better than the other, just “because it is” without knowing the person’s career aspirations. I feel I can say this because I have experienced both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs. I was accepted into an online Ph.D., an in-person, brick and mortar, Ed.D. and Ph.D. program. I am coming from a place of understanding. I made a decision based on my research interest, current and future career goals. All of which are in accordance to personal preference.

Just remember that at the end of the day, Ed.D.’s and Ph.D.’s, will be both be called, Doctor So-And-So in the end.

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If you have any questions about Ed.D. or Ph.D. programs or need advice on any other graduate programs, leave a comment or email me on the contact page and I would be happy to get back to you. Happy Soul-Searching!

The school bell has rung, class dismissed

Wellness Tip: Clean out the pantry. Choose more natural foods and less processed foods.

“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” ~Bruce Lee

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