Education is one of the most respected professions across the world irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity, or country. The way we see and revere teachers have not changed much over the years, as they are still considered valuable members of society. Unlike other professions, teachers enjoy respect in society irrespective of the money they make or the classes they teach, because people understand how difficult it is to maintain order and decorum in a classroom and teach any age group. Becoming a teacher is hence seen as a noble profession. To become a teacher, the minimum qualification is a bachelor's degree in education. We all know that above that comes a master's degree, but what about above that? What does a Ph.D. in education signify? Most importantly, is there a purpose for the same?
What a Ph.D. in Education Entails
A person will be entitled to receive a PhD in Education only after they complete their bachelor’s, master’s, and all the necessary coursework and research required. The process of getting a doctorate in any subject is quite extensive and tiresome, so most students do not study till that level. Only those who are passionate about the subject enough to put in the effort to contribute to it will pursue a doctorate - or they could have an ulterior motive in mind, like getting a significantly higher pay raise. However, a PhD is not the only doctoral degree that one can obtain in the education space - there is also the Doctor of Education, abbreviated to EdD.
EdD vs Ph.D. in Education
The main difference that sets an EdD holder from a PhD holder is that the former is more practice-based while the latter is more theory-based. An EdD is pursued by someone who is aiming to get into educational leadership roles, while a PhD is pursued by someone who wants to focus on research and teaching roles.
An EdD is a professional doctorate that is best suited for educators with several years of experience and working professionals who want to take up leadership roles and implement change within an organization. They can work in a broad range of fields from K-12 and higher education to government, healthcare, military, and nonprofit organizations.
The difference between EdD and PhD in the field of education becomes clearly apparent when trying to delineate what they do. A PhD scholar does a literature review, and from that, tries to fill in the gaps that they find in the research they conduct. An EdD scholar, in contrast, researches their area of interest but leverages that research in such a way that it could influence the community or organization they are part of in their decision-making process.
Benefits of a Ph.D. in Education
Now that it is clear what a PhD in education means, it is time to look into the reasons behind why it would be a good idea to pursue the same. Given below are a few reasons why a PhD in education would be worth the effort.
One of the main reasons behind people looking to get a doctorate in this field is the better credentials that come with the effort. It is the highest degree that can be achieved through studying, and hence people who achieve the same are well-respected and well-recognized.
Fill in Gaps in Literature
A person who is passionate about their subject would be more than happy to contribute to it, and what better way than to do first-hand research? By way of a detailed literature review, the PhD scholar would put in the effort to find the gaps in the literature and fill it in with their research.
Only a person who is passionate about their subject would go to the length of putting in the effort to contribute to it, so in a way, a PhD in education would be a great way to pursue the person’s passions.
A PhD holder will get much higher pay compared to someone who only has a Master’s degree, simply by virtue of their degree. It is because they have the knowledge and technical expertise in the subject, that they are entitled to pay.
Positions with Greater Responsibility
Borrowing the words of Uncle Ben, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ A PhD in Education means that the person has an in-depth understanding of the subject and that kind of knowledge is priceless. People with PhDs, in general, are better suited for work that involves core subject matter, and when it comes to the field of education, the more expertise, the better.
Knowledge is power in any profession, and a doctorate means a lot. A lot of effort goes into the research, subsequently the writing of the thesis and dissertation. Whether it is a PhD or EdD, the scholars will have to do first-hand research into the subject and ultimately bring something new in the subject to the forefront. This is essential for a better understanding of the subject and ultimately better connections within the subject that opens up possibilities for interdisciplinary research in the future. Research pushes a subject forward, hence helping in its evolution over time. This is crucial to adapt any subject to modern times, and the more research that is being conducted, the closer it is to the future. Even though education is a subject that might not seem like there is a lot of research left in it, it does, and it is through such interventions that education shall evolve.
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