Study Educational Technology: Masters, PhD & Online Degree Info

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What will you learn in an educational technology program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of an educational technology degree and potential careers.
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Educational Technology Master's and Doctorate Degrees at a Glance

Whether you're a teacher who'd like to increase your use of technology in the classroom, or you desire a career designing educational media, consider a master's degree or doctorate in educational technology. Two types of doctoral degrees are commonly available in educational technology: the PhD and the EdD (Doctor of Education). The PhD and EdD are very similar, but the PhD is usually more research-oriented, while the EdD may focus on applications utilized by practitioners.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), instructional coordination jobs, which are suitable for educational technologists, are expected to grow at a faster-than-average rate of 20% between 2010 and 2020. Students who earn a master's degree could find work in this expanding field, while PhD or EdD graduates can pursue positions as university faculty members. Beyond working in schools, an educational technology degree could offer entry into fields such as corporate training.

Master's Doctorate
Who is this degree for? Educators or trainers interested in combining learning with technology People who want to work as a professor at a university
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) Experience and/or licensure may be required for some positions:
- Instructional coordinator ($59,000)*
- Community college professor ($59,000)*
A PhD may not be required for all positions:
- Postsecondary teacher (Educational teacher) ($59,000)*
- Training and development manager ($92,000)*
Time to Completion About 18 months to 2 years (full-time) About 3-4 years (full-time) after the master's
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 10-12 graduate level courses
- Master's thesis
- Portfolio
Most (or all) of the master's degree requirements, plus:
- Roughly 10-15 more graduate level courses
- Internship/practicum
- Comprehensive exam
- Dissertation
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree
- 3.0 GPA
Master's degree
- GRE or MAT
Online Availability Yes Yes, mostly EdD programs

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Master's Degree in Educational Technology

A master's degree in educational technology offers a flexible academic experience where classes are conveniently scheduled for working adults. As an educator or administrator, you'll have the opportunity to interact online, in person or both with your professional peers as you learn how to utilize technological learning tools in an elementary, middle or secondary school classroom. It's also important to note that some programs are geared toward current teachers. Admission to most master's degree programs in educational technology requires a 3.0 GPA.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • People who have earned a master's degree are typically paid higher salaries than those holding only a bachelor's degree*
  • You'll be qualified to work as an instructional coordinator, a position that is expected to see faster-than-average job growth*
  • You can teach in a community college with a master's degree

Cons

  • Many positions in higher education at the university level would require you to have a PhD or EdD
  • Most states require licensure for instructional coordinators in elementary, middle and secondary school positions
  • Some of your career options could be vulnerable to government budget cuts

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Common Courses and Requirements

Course requirements for a master's degree in educational technology frequently include educational theory, qualitative research methods and statistics. You may also complete classes focusing on teaching students with learning disabilities or other cognitive challenges. Because the students you'll be working with are likely to come from diverse backgrounds and ethnic groups, some programs may feature courses on working with multicultural children. Additionally, many programs will require you to assemble a portfolio, while others will require a thesis.

Online Degree Options

Online programs granting a master's degree in educational technology are readily available. Programs are offered in completely online formats with no residency requirement, online programs with residency requirements and hybrid or mixed programs offering some required classes online. When compared with on-site programs, the online degree programs have the same courses and graduation requirements.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Even though you're studying a technological field, there are still some ways to give your degree an edge through technology. If you're interested in working with elementary, middle or secondary school students, consider additional courses that will help you teach, develop or improve the curriculum at an online school. The number of online schools for K-12 students is increasing rapidly. You can also take advantage of opportunities to present your research at conferences for educational professionals. If your program requires a portfolio, make the most of it, and if it doesn't require one, consider assembling one anyway to showcase your skills for your current or future employer.

Doctorate Degree in Educational Technology

PhD and Doctor of Education (EdD) degree programs in educational technology are academically challenging programs featuring a combination of education and information technology coursework, quantitative and qualitative research and a dissertation. If you're pursuing a PhD, your degree program will provide the research and theoretical training in educational technology that's necessary for a career in higher education. If you've enrolled in an EdD program, you'll most likely be taking courses that are scheduled around your current position and designed to add to your skills as an education professional or help you advance in the field.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You'll be able to teach at any level in a college or university in addition to K-12
  • People with doctoral degrees earn more and are not as likely to be unemployed than those with less education*
  • Some doctoral programs - mostly for PhDs - offer financial support, such as a paid teaching assistantships

Cons

  • If you want to be a postsecondary teacher, competition could be intense for full-time tenure-track positions
  • Outside of academia, many positions in educational technology don't require a doctorate for entry
  • A doctoral degree in educational technology normally takes at least three years of study beyond a master's to complete

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Courses and Requirements

Whether you enroll in a PhD or EdD degree program in educational technology, your courses will usually include more advanced work in many of the same topics studied in a master's degree program, including qualitative and quantitative research, educational technology theory and instructional design. Additionally, some programs feature courses focusing on other topics, such as distance learning and educational media. There is also a good chance you'll complete an internship or practicum. Often, doctoral students are required to pass a comprehensive exam to demonstrate their mastery of the subject. Regardless of which type of doctoral program you choose, you'll probably be expected to write and successfully defend a dissertation based on original research.

Online Degree Options

Fully online PhD degree programs in educational technology are not common, although EdD programs are available online along with hybrid PhDs. EdD programs may have more online options because many are designed for working educational professionals, while the PhD option targets future professors with its research focus.

Get Ahead with This Degree

Check out a few of the ideas below to help your make the most of your doctorate in educational technology.

  • Consider coursework that will enable you to design and teach online or distance learning classes at a university. Many brick and mortar universities offer online courses or degrees, and as an educational technology professional, you'll be in a perfect position to adapt to different methods of course delivery.
  • In addition to online universities, the number of online programs for younger students is increasing. Look for an opportunity to concentrate on the niche created by the expansion of virtual schools for elementary, middle and high school students.
  • Respond to calls for papers that could result in publication in academic journals. If your goal is to be a professor publication will give you an advantage.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Education - Education Technology and E-Learning
      • Ed.D. - Instructional Leadership
      • PhD in Education - Instructional Leadership
      • Ed.D. - Education Technology and E-Learning
      • Ed.D. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Ed.D. - General Education
  • Morgantown, WV

    West Virginia University

  • Hattiesburg, MS

    University of Southern Mississippi

  • New York, NY

    Teachers College at Columbia University

  • Malibu, CA

    Pepperdine University

  • Bethlehem, PA

    Lehigh University

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale

  • Pocatello, ID

    Idaho State University

Featured Schools

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Education - Education Technology and E-Learning
  • Ed.D. - Instructional Leadership
  • PhD in Education - Instructional Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

West Virginia University

University of Southern Mississippi

Teachers College at Columbia University

Pepperdine University

Lehigh University

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale

Idaho State University