Earning a Doctor of Education Degree in Arizona
Arizona doctoral programs in education are offered by the big three public universities (e.g. UA, ASU, and NAU), one private Christian university (e.g. GCU), and the for-profit University of Phoenix. Our directory of school listings contains them all, including links to curricula and costs. You’ll notice that NAU is the only university to carry the CAEP badge—the other schools have simply decided not to pursue that accreditation.
Listings are just the start to this guide. You’ll also discover a discussion of Arizona’s online Ed.D. programs, details on internal funding opportunities for each school (e.g. Ed.D. scholarships), and background on administrative certificate requirements from the ADE. There’s even a large and detailed career section with state-specific job numbers, salary data, and job boards. This is also the place where you’ll find links to useful educational leadership organizations (e.g. ASA) and dates for conferences and training programs.
Online Doctor of Education Programs in Arizona
Online Ed.D. Providers in Arizona
- Arizona State University
- University of Arizona
- Grand Canyon University
- University of Phoenix
What to Know About Arizona Online Ed.D. Programs
Four Arizona universities have made the effort to develop distance learning Ed.D. programs. None of them are CAEP-accredited, but they’re all regionally accredited. They’re also offered in multiple flavors and concentrations, which gives you a surprising amount of choice.
Note: Our overview of online doctoral programs in education contains a listing of online Ed.D. programs in every U.S. state.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Arizona Public Universities
One public option comes from a heavy hitter in the world of online education. ASU’s highly ranked Teachers College has come up with a 90-credit Online Doctor of Education in Leadership and Innovation—a distance learning version of its on-campus program. The 90-credit number is a little misleading, since ASU admits 30 credit hours from your master’s. So you’ll only be tackling 60 credits at the doctoral level.
It’s got a whole lot going for it. For one, it has been shaped by the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED). For another, it’s short—7.5 weeks per course. We also like the fact that the curriculum includes a choice of three specializations (e.g. PK-12, Higher Ed, or SPARC) and an action-research dissertation. The affordable per credit tuition is the same for in-state and out-of-state students and folks with a 3.0 GPA or higher in their master’s degree can apply.
You could also consider UA’s Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the large & well-known College of Education (COE). It’s a solid choice for Arizona principals and superintendents. The COE often achieves a top 50 U.S. News & World Report ranking for its Online Master’s in Education Programs and it makes a point of emphasizing diversity in its student body.
This 60-credit doctorate is split into 3 years; each course is offered in 7.5 week terms. The curriculum includes credits in current leadership concerns (e.g. Market-Based Education Reforms, Critical Race Theory in Education, etc.) and specific state issues (e.g. Arizona Education Law, Administration of Bilingual Education Programs, etc.). In lieu of a traditional dissertation, there’s a useful Dissertation in Practice (DiP). Plus there are case studies, stimulations, group activities, and individual projects.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Arizona Private Universities
But your private option is also respectable. Grand Canyon University is a non-profit Christian university that plays an active role in AZ leadership organizations (e.g. ASA) and engages in educational initiatives such as K12 Targeted School Assistance. Its College of Doctoral Studies has developed 60-credit Online Ed.D. Programs in a large number of Organizational Leadership specializations (i.e. versions of the on-campus program) and a 60-credit Online Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning – Adult Learning.
A few things to note about GCU’s programs. You’ll work online, but you’ll get to take part in two four-day residencies. Most courses are eight weeks in length and the Ed.D. takes around three years to finish. Tuition is reasonable for a private institution and Active Duty & Active Reserve receive a small discount. We give it kudos for high admissions standards—GCU wants to see a 3.4 GPA from Ed.D. candidates (GPAs of 3.0 – 3.39 will be accepted with specifications).
Online Ed.D. Programs at Arizona For-Profit Universities
Finally, there’s the University of Phoenix’s 62-credit Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, which comes in three concentrations: Curriculum & Instruction, Educational Technology, or Higher Education Administration. We suggest you read student reviews and contact alumni to decide if an online for-profit program is the right fit.
Here’s the upshot on this online Ed.D. It includes mandatory three- to eight-day residencies in select cities. It allows you to transfer credits from previous master’s-level and doctoral work. It has an active networking group for doctoral students and it runs a number of Research Centers in relevant areas of interest (e.g. leadership studies, educational technology, etc.). But it does not lead to licensure or certification.
Doctoral Education Funding in Arizona
Internal Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
For this section, we’ve highlighted institutional aid for doctoral programs in education in Arizona (e.g. internal Ed.D. scholarships, tuition breaks, payment plans, etc.). From what we’ve seen, well-endowed universities like UA and NAU have multiple sources you can tap, including awards from the Graduate College. We should also note that the Graduate College and/or the Office of Financial Aid can assist with external aid (e.g. federal & private loans, tuition reimbursement from work, etc.).
Arizona State University
Begin with the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College (MLFTC)’s section on Paying for College: Graduates. This has links to MLFTC Scholarships and the ASU Scholarship Search, as well as advice on external loans and work-study programs.
Grand Canyon University
GCU has an all-in-one section on Tuition & Financing; the section on Scholarships & Grants has details on awards for campus-based and online students. We also recommend you check the GCU Alliances page to see if your employer is participating in (or is interested in) tuition discount programs.
Northern Arizona University
The College of Education (COE) has advice on Financial Aid and COE Scholarships (view the full list of COE awards). In particular, check out the Lyle Mullens Memorial Scholarship for graduate students in educational leadership and the Jerry Petersen Scholarship for doctoral students.
The other useful site is the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA), which has details on Graduate College and NAU Foundation scholarships. NAU offers a monthly payment plan and employee tuition reduction for NAU, UA, and ASU employees and eligible dependents.
And it participates in the Western Regional Graduate Program, which means certain out-of-state students in western states are eligible for in-state tuition. It looks like the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership is a WRGP-approved program.
University of Arizona
The College of Education (COE) has a large section on Financial Aid, with info about loans, grants, COE Scholarships (view the full list of COE awards), and more. If you’re considering the Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, check out the section on Arizona Online Financial Aid, which has useful answers to Online FAQs. UA’s Scholarship Universe can match you to awards, but it requires a student log-in.
You can also pay a visit to the Graduate College’s section on Funding and Financial Information, which has info on Graduate Assistantships and Associateships and ideas for funding opportunities. There are a lot of lucrative awards & fellowships for doctoral students—ask the program coordinator if Ed.D. students can apply.
Like NAU, UA takes part in the Western Regional Graduate Program, but we didn’t see programs in Educational Leadership or Language, Reading & Culture listed. UA employees and family members should look at the section on Qualified Tuition Reduction. And UA offers a Tuition Payment Plan.
University of Phoenix
Note: If a university name is missing from the list, we didn’t find specific examples of Ed.D. funding beyond private & federal loans and external aid.
School Administrator Certification Requirements in Arizona
- Principal, PreK-12
- Superintendent, PreK-12
- Supervisor, PreK-12
But there are also certificates for Career & Technical Education and Professional Non-Teaching roles. ADE is great at outlining certificate requirements; we’ve provided a quick summary of the principal and superintendent qualifications below.
In addition, the ADE maintains a database of approved Educator Preparation Programs in Educational Leadership. Principal certification prep programs often take the form of a master’s degree or post-degree certificate. Superintendent certification prep programs can include doctorates (e.g. NAU’s Ed.D. in Educational Leadership – K-12 Educational Leadership). When in doubt, ask the program coordinator.
Note: You’ll find more info about Certification Reciprocity at the bottom of each administrative certificate requirement.
Standard Professional Principal Certificate, PreK-12
The Standard Professional Principal Certificate is valid for 12 years. To earn it, you must:
- Hold a master’s degree or higher from an accredited institution.
- Have three years of verifiable full-time teaching experience in grades PreK-12.
- Complete a state-approved program in educational administration for principals, including at least 30 graduate semester hours based on the Professional Administrative Standards; this program should include three credit hours in school law and three in school finance.
- Complete a principal practicum or experience, either through an accredited institution or through two years of experience as a principal or assistant principal under the supervision of a certified principal in grades PreK-12.
- Achieve a passing score on the AEPA Principal Subtest I & II OR the AEPA Superintendent Subtest I & II OR provide verification of three years of full-time experience as an administrator in any state.
Superintendent Certificate, PreK-12
The Superintendent Certificate is valid for 12 years. To earn it, you must:
- Hold a master’s degree or higher, including at least 60 graduate semester hours, from an accredited institution.
- Have three years of verifiable full-time teaching experience in grades PreK-12.
- Complete a state-approved program in educational administration for superintendents, including at least 36 graduate semester hours based on the Professional Administrative Standards; this program should include three credit hours in school law and three in school finance.
- Complete a superintendent practicum or have two years of verified experience as a superintendent, assistant superintendent, or associate superintendent in grades PreK-12.
- Achieve a passing score on the AEPA Superintendent Subtest I & II OR provide verification of three years of full-time experience as an administrator in any state OR provide a passing score report from a substantially similar administrative exam from another state.
Educational Leadership Jobs in Arizona
Educational Leadership Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks job & salary data for elementary & secondary school education administrators and postsecondary education administrators in every state. The employment maps will show you—at a glance—how Arizona educational leaders are faring.
Overall, Arizona K-12 administrators aren’t doing too badly. They’re often in the second bracket for employment numbers, handily outdoing New Mexico. In fact, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ metropolitan area often has one of the highest employment levels of this category in the country.
Putting your name forward for a job in this area? ADE issues School Report Cards and publishes a huge variety of data on K-12 schools in Arizona, including accountability data and School District Employee Reports (SDER). You can use the SDER to view administrative headcounts and teachers by degree & years of experience.
When it comes to postsecondary administrators, the news is even better. Arizona universities are booming and the state is right up there with California in terms of employment levels. In fact, the Prescott AZ metropolitan area often has the highest concentration of jobs in the United States. Big juggernauts such as ASU, UA, and NAU may be contributing to this phenomenon.
Considering your options in this field? The Arizona Board of Regents posts data on ASU, NAU, and UA, including Quick Facts and Operational and Financial Reviews (OFRs) for each institution. The Reports section has even more detailed info, such as the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
Educational Leadership Salaries
The BLS’s section on State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for Arizona has firm numbers for all kinds of education administrators, including the preschool category. Arizona has a lower cost of living than, say, Massachusetts, so take these stats with a grain of salt.
- Elementary & secondary administrators in Arizona tend to be paid poorly. The state is frequently in the lowest wage bracket and occasionally the worst in the nation. Sometimes the only bright spot for salaries is around the Phoenix/southwest area. You can dig deeper by visiting the Arizona Auditor General and examining its section on Arizona School District Spending Reports. Each report lists the district’s average teacher salary (among other useful stats).
- It’s a similar tale for postsecondary administrators in Arizona—salaries simply don’t reflect the job numbers. It’s often in the lowest wage bracket, although certain metropolitan areas have possibilities. The Arizona Republic maintains an AZ Data Central Arizona Government Salary Database where you can view salaries by institution type (e.g. ASU, NAU, UA, and community colleges).
Educational Leadership Job Boards
Standard education job sites (e.g. HigherEdJobs, SchoolSpring, LinkedIn, etc.) will have employment opportunities for Arizona educational leaders and school administrators. But local job boards may get you there quicker.
- ADE runs a comprehensive Arizona Education Employment Board with a Job Search that’s organized by category (e.g. Administration).
- AZLAS has Job Postings for administrators in Arizona schools and education organizations.
- AASBO’s Career Center contains job postings for Arizona school business officials.
- ASBA runs Executive Searches for superintendents—see the Applicants section for current district-level job openings (e.g. superintendents, principals, business managers, directors, etc.)
- ASA has a Career Center, but it requires a member log-in.
- ASPAA’s Career Center contains jobs for school administrators involved in human resources.
- AASFAA lists Featured Jobs for higher education administrators and managers involved in student financial aid.
Educational Leadership Organizations in Arizona
Educational Leadership Associations
- Arizona Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (AZALAS): AZALAS provides professional development and support programs for Hispanic superintendents, school administrators, and aspiring school leaders in Arizona.
- Arizona Association of School Business Officials (AASBO): AASBO is a non-profit organization providing support and professional development opportunities for school business officials in Arizona. It also offers voluntary certification. Check out the Pete Perkins Memorial Scholarship.
- Arizona Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (AZ ASCD): AZ ASCD is a professional organization for Arizona teachers, administrators, higher education faculty, and others who are committed to improving education. It has around 400 members and it’s a state affiliate of the ASCD.
- Arizona Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (AASFAA): AASFAA is a non-profit association of professionals from post-secondary institutions and other related agencies and organizations involved in student financial aid.
- Arizona Education Association (AEA): AEA is the state’s teacher union and the largest professional association for public school employees in Arizona. It has 20,000+ members, including teachers, educators, community college professors, and more.
- Arizona School Administrators (ASA): ASA is a non-profit organization representing ~1,400 PreK-12 and higher education administrators in Arizona. Its mission is to promote and support educational excellence in school leadership. It’s an affiliate of the AASA.
- Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA): ASBA is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides training, leadership, and essential services to public school governing boards in Arizona. It works closely with many Arizona superintendents.
- Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association (ASPAA): ASPAA represents HR professionals who serve in public or private school systems, regional or state personnel agencies, colleges or universities, or who teach persons preparing for personnel work in these institutions. Members can apply for Tuition Reimbursement.
Note: Remember that state and national educator organizations often have funds and scholarships available for continuing education (e.g. Ed.D.). Check the website and ask about opportunities.
Educational Leadership Events in Arizona
Educational Leadership Conferences
- AASBO Conferences: AASBO holds five conferences over the course of the year, including its Annual Conference & Exhibition in July, a Winter Conference and Vendor/Buyer Conference in late January, a three-day Spring Conference in April, and an ASBA/AASBO/ASA Legislative Workshop in November.
- ADE Annual Directors’ Institute: This three-day event in August is organized by ADE’s Exceptional Student Services. It features national presenters and attracts ~1,600 attendees.
- ADE Leading Change: ADE’s conference is designed to meet the specific needs of local and district administrators as they improve teacher and student outcomes.
- ASA Fall Superintendency/Higher Ed Conference: ASA often hosts this event for district- and university-level administrators in mid-October. Check the calendar to learn when & where it might be held.
- ASA Summer Conference: ASA’s annual conference takes place in June. Check the calendar to learn when & where it might be held.
- ASA-ASBA Annual Conference: This celebratory conference in December attracts school board members and other district leaders in Arizona. Attendees hear from national speakers, focus on statewide education initiatives, and network and share experiences.
- ASBA Law Conference: ASBA bills this September event as the largest gathering of school board members, district leaders, and attorneys specializing in school law across the state.
- AZALAS Conference: This two-day event for Arizona’s Hispanic school leaders usually takes place in late October/early November.
- ASPAA Conferences: ASPAA runs two conferences for HR administrators and professionals: a Spring Conference in April and a Fall Conference in November.
Educational Leadership Training
- AASBO Education and Training: AASBO runs a variety of one-day training workshops and four-day education classes for Arizona school business officials. It also organizes a Business Manager Internship Program.
- Arizona ASCD Principal Leadership Academy: This eight-day program provides district and school administrators with learning and coaching skills that are needed to bring the critical functions of instructional leadership to life.
- ASA Professional Development: In addition to conferences, ASA offers workshops, institutes, training sessions, and other PD opportunities. Check the calendar for more details.
- ASPAA Academy: The Academy provides an opportunity for anyone who works in school district to learn more about the critical components of school district human resources. It consists of three sessions (two days each) held from January through to March.
- AZBSA Summer Leadership Institute: This focused event in June encourages school boards and superintendents to get away together to help expand their learning on diverse topics and current educational issues.
- GCU K-12 Educational Development Support Programs: Grand Canyon University offers a number of support programs to local administrators, including a Professional Development Directory, a Principals’ Collaborative Community, and a New Superintendent Collaborative Network in collaboration with the ADE and ASA.