A Reflective Guide for Discussing Why to Consider Pursuing an Online PhD in Educational Leadership

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In the following series of articles, we will discuss the why, when and where of online degrees and, in particular, the online PhD in educational leadership. Babb and Mirabella (2007) write, “80 per cent of learners today have taken at least one class online; this number is increasing and is expected to be nearly 100 percent in the next few years.” With that in mind and with the increase in technology within the learning environment at all levels, let us look at the following questions:

  • Why should I earn a PhD in educational leadership online?
  • When should I earn a PhD in educational leadership online?
  • Where should I earn a PhD in educational leadership online?

Why Pursue a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership Online?

There are many answers to this question and many reasons for these answers. The first, of course, is career advancement and an increased earning potential. The average salary for those obtaining a PhD in this discipline is $75,000 per year. There are a number of websites available to help you see what the average earnings are. They include:

  1. PHD Salary Report,

  2. Salary Survey for Degree: Doctorate (PhD) (United States), and

  3. Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D., MBA Salaries.

Next is the flexibility and convenience of the online learning environment. Never before has education been more accessible than it is today. You no longer need to spend hours in a classroom. In addition, depending upon your time management and personal drive, earning your PhD Online can be accomplished in three years and as little as two. There are many factors involved here which we will discuss later in this series. Some of the other attractions for pursuing a doctorate degree online are as follows:

  1. Class sizes are never more than twenty-five and often less.
  2. You have personal one on one interaction with your instructor on a weekly if not a daily basis.
  3. Class goals and expectations are clearly defined in the syllabus along with grading rubrics to almost guarantee success.

The final piece to the why puzzle is cost. With new incentives laid out by the current government administration, there may never be a better time to embark on this journey. The incentives for both grants and scholarships, along with subsidized and unsubsidized loans, make financing your educational goals very attractive. Finally, the tuition cost for online PhD work is a flat fee whether you take one class or two classes or even three. While this writer does not recommend three classes at once, you can save money going this route and finish your program earlier.

In conclusion, the why to the question “why pursue a doctorate degree in educational leadership online?” comes down to personal preference and choices about where one wants to go in their educational journey. The earning potential can afford you greater economic stability. The online environment itself, while not face to face like traditional brick and mortar learning environments, comes with specific individual attention and feedback, and the format is akin to a small think tank where you get to read, write, and share your thoughts and ideas with a very diverse group both contextually and geographically. An example of this is the last class this writer engaged in where students came from California to an army base in Iraq. In the end, your ability to engage and lead in pursuit of higher education goals has never been more accessible or credible than right now. In the next article in this series, we will look at the question of when to pursue a PhD in Educational Leadership Online.


Babb, Danielle and Jim Mirabella. (2007). Make money teaching online: How to land your first academic job, build credibility, and earn a six-figure salary. Hoboken, New Jersey. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.