Pros & Cons of a PhD in Education

Jan 29, 2022

Education is a subject that many future teachers study during their time in college. A PhD in this subject looks at the philosophical side of education. This article will take a look at the pros and cons of having a PhD in education.

Pros of Earning a PhD in Education

If you wish to earn your PhD in education, you'll find some opportunities open to you that were not available with just a master's degree. Let's take a look at some of the pros now.

More Prestigious Career Opportunities

While most principals and college leaders have EdD degrees, deans and provosts often have PhD degrees in education. The skills you'll learn with this degree will prepare you to better the education system of which you could become a head. Keep in mind, this isn't always the case, as many professors in different subjects become deans. However, with a research-based degree, you'll have the knowledge to spot weaknesses and find ways to correct these weaknesses.

Higher Earning Potential

It makes sense that as your degree increases, so would the pay. In 2014, the World Education Services completed a study that determined over the lifetime of a person who works in education, there would be a 24% increase in salary between having a master's degree and a doctorate. The study averaged that those with a master's in education would earn roughly $2.26 million over his/her lifetime, while a doctor in education would earn $2.8 million in his/her lifetime.

Cons of Earning a PhD in Education

There are never really any true cons to continuing your education. This is a personal decision that will affect your future and career. If you feel that continuing your education for another couple of years will lead you to the places you want to be, then it may be for you. However, if you want to consider reasons why earning a PhD in education may not be for you, then read on.

Research Degree

Perhaps the biggest con on the list is not really a con at all. A PhD in education is really only for research and writing purposes. So, if you would like to take on a leadership role in the education industry, you'll more likely want to earn an EdD in education, educational leadership, or curriculum & instruction. An EdD degree is more practice-based and will work better for professors, principals, and instructional designers.

Less Teaching Potential Comparatively

Many people who earn their PhDs and go on to teach in post-secondary schools have earned it in the area they wish to teach. With an education PhD, it will only allow you to teach education courses. The EdD is more likely to better prepare you for work as a professor who is able to pass on the knowledge and skills to future generations of teachers.

Additional Debt

An obvious result of attending college through a PhD program is that you will probably incur more student loans and debt. You will likely not have a full-time job while earning your degree, since the program and any included teaching practicums will take up a lot of your time. While internships and practicums may earn you a stipend or salary, your tuition and living costs will still continue to add up. Additionally, if you pursue your degree full-time, you will fall behind on gaining work experience, which may result in a longer amount of time before you earn raises and promotions.

Whether you choose to earn your PhD in education is your choice. In order to decide if it's worth it, you must decide what is critical to your future. It is crucial to consider your outlook on career opportunities, earning potential, and program focus to determine if a PhD is the right track for you.

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