Few people need to be told that the educational system in Florida (and all America) is in a state of crisis. Schools all over the state are underfunded and understaffed, and concerns over the pandemic and the question of bringing students back to the classroom vs. embracing remote learning is a source of ongoing debate. The stakes are higher than ever when it comes to education — the literal future of our country.
For the teachers and administrators working on the front lines of education, it may seem hopeless to try to make meaningful change in the way we look at (and treat) education. But for those looking to pursue higher education and obtain a doctorate, there are opportunities to take the reins of leadership and help guide policy into the 21st century.
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Ed. D Career Paths
Acquiring a doctorate in education opens the door to a variety of career paths, all of which can make a major difference in the lives of students and the overall state of education. Possible careers for EdD degree holders might include college president, chief learning officer, school superintendent, school principal, academic dean, professor, or education policy analyst. Because this last career path has such a broad application, we’re going to dig into it in slightly more detail.
What Does An Education Policy Analyst Do?
The job of an education policy analyst is to answer some of the most important questions about the future of our education system — both in Florida and across the country. As with many educational careers, the ideal is to help more students succeed and fulfill their potential, thereby securing a brighter future for everyone.
Because the questions at hand are so broad, an education policy analyst must be a big thinker with a broad skill set and the leadership skills necessary to help shape education. This means looking at the existing systems, processes, and structures of education, and figuring out whether the current legislative and institutional landscape has the students’ best interests at heart. They also work to advocate for the funding of critical programs and help create education policies that work on a grand scale — not just their local schools.
Typical job duties for a policy analyst might include:
- Researching education topics affecting their state
- Collect and analyze data from surveys of students, parents, and teachers
- Test theories and report findings on their research, giving presentations to stakeholders
- Making recommendations to lawmakers on the cost/benefit analysis of education policies
What Type Of Education Policies Can A Policy Analyst Influence?
- Becoming a policy analyst offers a wide variety of opportunities to help shape the future of education. Some of the major issues a policy analyst might work to influence might include:
- State and federal legislation
- Teaching quality/educator training
- Teacher compensation
- Social issues
- Student needs
- Diversity and cultural issues
- Education reform
- Education budgets
- Government bureaucracy
- Adult education
- Higher education
A policy analyst can also work to monitor, predict, and respond to social, economic, and political trends happening both within and without the world of higher education. Education policy analysts also don’t work exclusively in public education — many of them take work with private companies that market products and services to students.
What Does A Doctorate In Education Degree Cover?
Now that we’ve established how getting a doctorate in education can influence Florida’s education policies for the better, let’s dig into what it takes to get said doctorate.
A doctorate in education program can often be completed in as little as three years. The purpose of an EdD program is to cover areas of advocacy, professionalism, social justice, scholarship, and leadership, with an eye toward moving into an administrative career. The prerequisite for getting an EdD is a master’s degree, often with at least a 3.0 GPA.
Students in an EdD program will learn skills and theory related to leadership in higher education, administration of online programs, student and academic affairs, and trends such as data-driven decision-making. They may also take an internship with an existing higher education administrator in order to get hands-on experience in advance of starting their career.
What’s The Difference Between An Ed.D And A Ph.D.?
If you’re interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in education, you should know the difference between a Ph.D. in education, and an EdD, or doctor of education. As you might expect, the two aren’t interchangeable.
A Ph.D. in education is best for those looking to move on to teaching and research careers.
Pursuing a Doctor of Education means looking toward taking on educational leadership roles who are looking to make changes in education. EdD programs tend to be more practice-based, as opposed to the more research-focused Ph.D., and more actively focused on making their community or organization better.