The American education system needs help — your help. Whether you have labored for years as a teacher or barely struggled through classes as a student, you know well enough that the system in place does not do enough to equip any member of education with the tools they need to succeed.
To effect change in the education system, you first must learn as much as possible about education — which means you need to acquire a doctorate degree. Here is a guide to getting your PhD in Education and what to do with your degree once you have it.
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Double-check Your Qualifications
Not just anyone can enroll in a PhD program. Before you can pursue your PhD, you need the right academic and professional qualifications to ensure that your application to the program is accepted. Most PhD applicants have master’s degrees in their field, which provide them with a foundation of knowledge and demonstrate their commitment to higher earning. At the very least, you need a bachelor’s degree and plenty of professional experience in education on which you can build during your PhD program.
In addition to your school and work experience, you might consider bolstering your application with high scores on key standardized tests. Not every PhD program requires you to take exams like the GRE, but having these scores available could prove your competency in key areas of academic study and ensure your admittance to your program of choice.
Research Education PhD Programs
Not all education PhD programs are created equal. It is imperative that in applying to PhD programs, you connect only with schools and professors who share your values. Because your knowledge, skill and experience will be guided by the values of the program you enroll in, it is essential that those around you will support your vision for your academic and career achievement. Thus, you might need to spend time considering your unique reasons for pursuing an education PhD and put them into clear terms before you begin exploring your PhD program options.
Next most important, you should try to find highly reputable programs from prestigious schools. You might research the best universities for education and try to connect with current or past PhD students to gain various firsthand accounts of program quality. Using this information, you can apply only to those programs you know will benefit your cause and your career.
Understand Study Requirements
Typically, a PhD in Education will take between three and five years to complete, though the time you spend in your program will depend almost entirely on your commitment to completing your coursework and dissertation. Often, the final year of the program is entirely devoted to conducting research and writing a thesis before defending a dissertation in front of a panel of experts. If you already know what you will study during this period, and if you have the time to commit to full-time coursework at the beginning of your PhD, you might be able to breeze through your program and obtain your degree at record speeds.
Draft and Defend Your Dissertation
Most education PhD candidates focus their dissertation on issues within education that matter to them. You might draw some inspiration from the core reasons you are pursuing a PhD in Education, or you might discern a problem during the course of your classes early on in your PhD program that warrants more serious academic attention. In any case, you should be working to improve the current state of the education system through your research and find ways to apply your findings to increase positive outcomes for students and educators alike.
Find Employment That Makes an Impact
Obtaining a PhD is not the end of your journey to improve the American education system. Once you are equipped with your advanced degree, you need to apply that prestigious credential to work that makes a difference in the education system. You might function as a high-level administrator in charge of important decisions for schools or districts, or you might help run an education-oriented non-profit organization that fills in the gaps left by the education system as it currently exists. Alternatively, you might remain in academia and continue conducting research that guides other educators to greater success.
It is no secret that the American education system is in poor form. With more dedication to improvement via advanced credentials and research, we can take steps toward a brighter, better future for American education.