Working in higher education is the perfect career for anyone who values education but doesn’t want to work with kids. Working with adults to help them further their education and reach their full potential can be extremely satisfying and rewarding. Of course, you likely want to reach your full potential as well. The best way to do this is to earn your PhD in Higher Education and open up all possible opportunities for your career.
Earning any degree online can be challenging, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. Being able to work a job you love, study from home at your own pace, and earn your degree in a way that best fits you are things all college students want to do; earning your higher education degree online allows you to do just that. So, why wouldn’t you decide to pursue a PhD in Higher Education online?
Best Online PhD in Higher Education Programs
To earn a PhD in Higher Education online, there are a few requirements you will need to meet. Nearly every online doctorate program requires students to have already completed a master’s degree program in higher education or a similar major.
You will likely need to have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or higher, submit letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose. Most schools will also require you to have completed a few years of work in the field. If you meet these requirements, you should consider enrolling in one of the following programs.
In Berrien Springs, Michigan, you can enroll in Andrews University’s online PhD in Higher Education administration program. This program consists of 60-61 required credit hours with courses focusing on college student development theory and pertinent issues in educational leadership. Students finish the program by completing a dissertation.
Andrews University’s program is designed for working professionals who already have a bit of experience in higher education. This makes it easier to continue working while earning a degree, with an average completion time of five years.
Colorado State University
Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, offers an online PhD in Higher Education leadership program, designed to prepare students for senior administrative positions. While this program is online, students will need to attend a few on-campus meetings to earn their degree. Colorado State University’s program also requires students to complete a dissertation and a comprehensive final exam.
Students typically complete this online program in around five years. Throughout those five years, students learn about topics like education policy analysis, higher education law, and student development. The required coursework enables graduates to go into higher education careers or into research.
Indiana State University
Terre Haute, Indiana is home to Indiana State University’s online PhD in Educational Administration with a specialization in leadership in higher education. This program is a bit different than a typical PhD in Higher Education, as it offers a broader education in the administrative and leadership areas of the higher education field. Students enrolled in this program will learn about subjects like the foundations of modern education and organizational governance.
Though the program is composed of 72 required credit hours, most students are able to complete this fast online degree program in 2 years. To better assist students in learning how to apply their skills, the program includes required on-campus workshops and for students to complete an internship prior to graduating.
Maryville University in Saint Louis, Missouri brings an online Doctor of Education (EdD) in Higher Education Leadership to the table. This program is totally online requiring no on-campus visits and is designed to be completed in just over 2.5 years.
Students enrolled in this program are given the best possible education experience by being paired with a faculty member for more one-on-one learning. The program courses include everything from design thinking to the competitive context of higher education, preparing students for being leaders of change in their future work.
Notre Dame of Maryland University
In Baltimore, Maryland, students can enroll in Notre Dame of Maryland University’s online PhD in Higher Education Leadership for Changing Populations. This program is unique in its focus on keeping up with current times and diverse groups of people becoming more prevalent in colleges. It also offers a lot of flexibility for students by offering multiple entry dates throughout the year and no expectations of students to attend on-campus residencies.
This program requires students to complete 51 credit hours that cover linguistics, cultural diversity, and research methods, amongst other subjects. Toward the end of the program, students must complete a dissertation and comprehensive exam to graduate.
Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida offers an online program for a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership, not to be confused with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. This program is primarily online, but in order to graduate, students are required to complete one summer-long residency. Students of Nova Southeastern University’s program focuses on building skills in data analysis, financing, and student affairs.
The required 55 credit hours in this program are designed to prepare students to work in a variety of positions such as university administrators and policy analysts. For graduate students who are unsure of exactly what career they plan to go into, having this well-rounded leadership education is a fantastic goal.
University of Florida
For students interested in higher education outside of a college setting, the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, offers a unique Doctorate in Higher Education that focuses on leadership in both college and nonprofit settings. This is a great way for students to learn a bit more about how higher education actually helps adults, rather than just the theories and politics behind it.
While the program itself is online, each semester students will need to attend three weekend sessions in order to graduate. Required courses in this program cover topics like community colleges in America and student affairs administration. Even going to school part-time, this degree can easily be completed in four years.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
In Lincoln, Nebraska, students can enroll in either an online PhD or EdD in Educational Studies with a specialization in higher education through the University of Nebraska. Students enrolled in the PhD program will focus more on research in higher education while students enrolled in the EdD program focus on getting students positions in colleges and universities.
Both programs are offered as online programs, but the PhD program does require students to complete six credit hours in an on-campus setting. The time spent on-campus is dedicated to research work that will ultimately help students graduate with all of the skills they need to jumpstart their careers.
The George Washington University
In Washington, DC, students can enroll in The George Washington University’s Doctorate in Higher Education Administration, which is designed specifically for those with already stable careers who want to advance to executive positions. This program is not fully online and requires students to be on-campus for some weekends, which is a great option for anyone with a busy schedule who is still interested in an on-campus program.
The George Washington University’s hybrid program requires students to complete 53 credit hours. Students complete courses about everything from international college students to research theories. This university is a bit more strict about enrollment; students can only enroll in the fall and must submit their GRE scores.
Careers with a PhD in Higher Education
Once you have earned your PhD in Higher Education, you will be qualified for a surprising variety of positions. Many think that all you can do is teach with this degree, but in reality, that is only one of the jobs you can work. With this degree, you are able to work in college and university settings, non-profit organizations, and even elementary and high schools if you want. Some of the most popular jobs include:
The first job that comes to mind when you think of higher education is a professor at a college or university. You likely already know what professors do: they teach. You would likely earn less working in a community college than a private university, but the average salary for professors ranges from $80,000 to $100,000.
College President or Provos
As a college president or provost (vice president), you would be responsible for working with other administrative officials in the school to help support student needs and maintain academic excellence. This may include things like hashing out details of financial aid. College presidents are the very top while vice presidents aid them in their decision making, both earning between $150,000 and $270,000 per year.
Chief Learning Officer
Chief learning officers make around $150,000 per year by developing strategies to help a university reach its important business goals. They also oversee training and learning strategies, and any new technologies put into use, like online learning programs.
After all is said and done, having a degree in higher education really is a great way to earn a nice salary while aiding in the education of adult students. There are more positions available to you if you have a PhD, all of them in higher positions than you would get without a doctorate. Choosing to earn your PhD in Higher Education online through one of the top nine programs listed above is a decision you won’t regret.