Earning a Doctor of Education Degree in Florida
Florida is a land of big public Ed.D. players with deep student funding pockets. You’ll see that our school listings are dominated by familiar names from the State University System of Florida. But you will also discover a few private options that offer intriguing takes on the field. Once you’ve graduated and sorted out leadership certifications, you should find plenty of well-paying job opportunities.
In terms of reputation, Florida doctoral programs in education are fairly solid. Plenty of schools—including those offering online doctorates—are CAEP-accredited (look for the CAEP badge). At least six Florida universities have chosen to take part in the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED). And UF’s College of Education often does well enough to merit a top 25 ranking from U.S. News & World Report. If you decide to go public, you won’t have to sacrifice quality for affordability.
Online Doctor of Education Programs in Florida
Online Ed.D. Providers in Florida
- Florida State University (CAEP-Accredited)
- Nova Southeastern University (CAEP-Accredited)
- Southeastern University
- St. Thomas University
- University of Florida (CAEP-Accredited)
What to Know About Florida Online Ed.D. Programs
Here’s the deal with online doctorate of education programs in Florida. All of the schools are regionally accredited. Almost all Florida online options will include some kind of on-campus intensive (St. Thomas is an exception) and a number of them are cohort-based. The last two factors result in excellent networking opportunities.
Pay attention to the total cost. In Florida public universities, in-state and out-of-state students have different tuition rates & fees, even for online Ed.D. programs. Private schools may give you the most variety, but they may also be more expensive.
Note: If you’re worried about the prospect of distance learning, have a quick read of our guide to online Ed.D. programs.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Big Public Florida Universities
You’ve got two major choices in the public sphere: UF or FSU. Both are them are CAEP-accredited; both have developed cohort-based programs with on-campus summer sessions; both offer an affordable in-state tuition rate (out-of-state rates can be much higher); and both have chosen to participate in the CPED Initiative.
The main difference comes in their focus. For instance, UF’s highly ranked College of Education has developed three online doctorates with specialist aims:
- The Online Doctor of Education in Educational Technology is aimed at professionals who wish to conduct research in educational environments. There are three campus-based experiences (one orientation and two 4-day summer sessions). The first two years involve coursework and the third year is devoted to a dissertation.
- The Online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction – Teachers, Schools, and Society (TSS) is for educational professionals who want to address current challenges of practice. There are three week-long campus experiences during the summers and students usually finish in four years.
- The Online Ed.D. in Special Education is especially suited to service providers, school leaders, professional development providers, and advocates for individuals with disabilities.
FSU’s Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy is much more expansive in scope. Online coursework and summer sessions cover areas such as organizational systems, policy & practice, and equity. And graduates become senior-level educational leaders, policymakers, and policy researchers. We should also point out that FSU’s Ed.D. has more credits (69 vs. UF’s 60), which means a higher price tag. On the other hand, FSU also has plenty of scholarships on offer.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Big Private Florida Universities
Alternatively, you could go private with Nova Southeastern University. NSU claims to have developed the nation’s first doctoral distance education program; it is CAEP-accredited; and the Fischler College of Education offers an Online Ed.D. in 8 different concentrations. The university itself is a Doctoral/Research University Carnegie Foundation.
Just like the degrees from UF or FSU, you’ll be expected to write a dissertation and participate in two summer institutes (a.k.a. The EDGE @ Fischler Institute). NSU’s Online Ed.D. is only 54 credits, but the per credit tuition rate is almost 3 times that of in-state tuition rates for public schools. You may be able to offset these costs considerably with scholarships and tuition discounts for FL school district employees.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Small Religious Florida Universities
Your remaining online doctorate in education options come from Florida schools with a religious core. These Ed.D. programs tend to be a) fairly affordable for in-state and out-of-state students b) built for working professionals and c) not CAEP-accredited.
For example, St. Thomas University is a Catholic school that offers an accelerated, 100% Online Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation, with no on-campus requirements and multiple start dates. You will need a 2.6 GPA and a master’s degree to apply, but your major doesn’t have to be in education. And credit transfers are available if you hold a second master’s.
At Southeastern University, religion is at the forefront. The Online Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction and Online Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership are faith-based, 54-credit programs that emphasize a Christian worldview. These concentrations also feature hands-on practicums, two on-campus intensives, and multiple start dates. The super-affordable per credit tuition rate is almost on par with in-state tuition rates from public schools.
Doctoral Education Funding in Florida
Internal Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
Ed.D. program websites have a bad habit of burying their graduate funding info. So we went ahead and dug out all the relevant links to doctoral scholarships, grants, and other internal award programs. You’ll find that most schools are also happy to provide advice on external fellowships, the FAFSA, and federal & private loans.
Barry has a useful section on Graduate Scholarships & Grants that covers state aid as well as institutional aid. Students who are pursuing an advanced degree in the School of Education are eligible for a tuition discount under the Professional Recognition Scholarship Program.
Florida Atlantic University
Start with the College of Education’s giant section on COE Scholarships. It has instructions on how to apply for awards using one application packet and answers to FAQs. In addition, you’ll find all kinds of:
- General Education Scholarships
- Exceptional Student Education Scholarships
- Educational Leadership Scholarships
Florida Gulf Coast University
In FGCU’s Paying for Graduate Studies, you’ll discover details on:
- In-State (IS) Graduate Student Tuition Support
- Out-of-State (OS) Graduate Student Tuition Support (Graduate Fellowship)
- Graduate Studies (GS) Scholarship
- Latin American & Caribbean (LAC) Graduate Scholarship
- FGCU Foundation Scholarship
As well as links to advice on Graduate Financial Aid.
Florida International University
Although the majority of Graduate Fellowships are reserved for Ph.D. students, there are a couple that may suit your situation (e.g. UGS Veteran’s Fellowship). FIU also has info on External Funding sources for doctoral students.
- If you’re eyeing the Ed.D. in Exceptional Student Education, check out the Department of Teaching & Learning Opportunities page. This has links to relevant internships, scholarships (the School of Education has plenty!), and graduate assistantships.
- If you’re interested in the Ed.D. in Adult Education & HR Development, visit the Department of Educational Policy Studies Opportunities page, with similar links to internships, scholarships, and graduate assistantships. Be sure to see if you qualify for any School of Education scholarships as well.
The LACC Education Internship Mini-Grant is just one example that applies to both categories. This provides funding for an internship abroad with a focus on Latin America or the Caribbean.
Florida State University
FSU is loaded with funding opportunities for doctoral students. Important pages to bookmark are:
- The massive section on Graduate School Funding & Awards, which has details on Fellowships & Grants, Student Awards & Grants (e.g. dissertation research grants), Financial Support (e.g. conference grants & assistantships, and Tuition Waivers & Fees (e.g. state employee waiver).
- The College of Education’s section on Scholarships & Aid, including info on College of Education Foundation Scholarships.
- The Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards, which gives advice on external fellowships, scholarships, grants, and awards.
Considering the Ed.D. in Higher Education? Have a look at the section on Scholarships & Aid. It contains useful details on graduate assistantships and specific fellowships. Considering an Ed.D. in an art education topic? The Department of Education has a section on Assistantships & Funding.
Lynn provides tuition discounts to a number of candidates, including teachers and corporate/education partners. What’s more:
- The Ed.D. Grant takes 15% off each credit hour.
- In the Graduate Assistant Program, assistants are eligible to receive a scholarship equal to, or greater than, 70% of the cost of graduate tuition. Doctoral students can apply.
Be sure to investigate the Financial Aid page to see if you qualify for any other scholarships, grants, or loans.
Nova Southeastern University
NSU’s Scholarships section has links to institutional, international & external graduate scholarships. Relevant NSU awards include:
- Multiple Changing Lives Scholarships
- Jewish Educators Scholarship Fund (JESF)
- Lilian Rose Scholarship (FLRE)
- Sara Berkowitz Scholarship Fund (SBS)
Finally, NSU offers a tuition discount to first-time NSU/FCE students, as well as FCE alumni, who are employees of its Educational Partners. A large number of FL School Districts qualify as partners.
Because Southeastern’s online tuition rate is already discounted, it doesn’t offer additional internal scholarships to distance learners. It does, however, offer a monthly payment plan.
St. Thomas University
All students who are new to the Ed.D. program qualify for a $5,000 scholarship, which reduces the total tuition price.
The University of West Florida
Start with the College of Education & Professional Studies (CEPS) Scholarships section. This has details on college-wide and departmental awards, including:
- Teacher Education and Educational Leadership Scholarships
- Instructional Design and Technology Scholarships
- Educational Research and Administration Scholarships
Then visit the Graduate School’s section on Graduate Funding Opportunities (e.g. assistantships, general scholarships, tuition waivers, travel funds, etc.). UWF’s Doctoral Support Center can provide even more personalized advice.
University of Central Florida
UCF offers plenty of financial support. The College of Graduate Studies provides Funding resources for doctoral students, including info on:
- Graduate Fellowships—there are many doctoral fellowships up for grabs!
- Graduate Assistantships
- Graduate Teaching Assistantships
- Other Funding Resources (e.g. doctoral research support, travel funding, external fellowships, etc.)
But wait, there’s more. UCF’s A20 Scholarship Database has general scholarships. And the Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education (ELHE)’s Scholarships page lists awards that pertain to the Executive Ed.D. in Educational Leadership or Higher Education Administration.
University of Florida
Tossing around the idea of an online Ed.D. from UF? The Graduate School has a section devoted to multiple Funding categories, including:
And more! The College of Education also has a well-organized list of Graduate Scholarships. Online students qualify for institutional aid, but it’s best to check with UF about award specifics.
University of Miami
Begin with the section Graduate Professional Financial Assistance. This has info on graduate loans and fellowships, including external funding ideas. According to UM, scholarships are available for college administrators in the Executive Ed.D.
University of North Florida
- Graduate Research Grant
- Graduate School Grant (based on merit & financial need)
- Auzenne Fellowship (for graduate disciplines and professional programs where minority graduate students are disproportionately under-represented)
University of South Florida-Main Campus
USF has a lot of money on offer! Start with the Office of Graduate Studies’s section on Funding, which includes details on:
- Graduate Fellowships & Scholarships
- Graduate Assistantships
- Research Funding (e.g. conference grants)
- USF Foundations Scholarship (e.g. awards for women, Latinos, African Americans, etc.)
And be sure to take a look at the College of Education’s Scholarships Information Guide. Each year, the College awards more than $400,000 in scholarships through private funding. There are tons of great graduate awards up for grabs, but check the descriptions for subject-based awards. Some of the Educational Leadership funds are limited to the M.Ed., Ed.S., or Ph.D. in Educational Leadership program.
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.
Educational Leadership Certification Requirements in Florida
Educational Leadership Certifications
- Level 1: Educational Leadership Certification
- Level 2: Principal Certification
We talk more about them below. However, FLDOE also administers a couple of other administrative certifications that we wanted to mention, namely:
- Administration of Adult Education (Adult)
- Local Director of Career and Technical Education (Career and Technical)
Level 1: Educational Leadership Certification
Educational Leadership Certification is aimed at aspiring teacher leaders, assistant principals, intern principals, and interim principals in Florida public schools. Certification requirements are laid out by the FLDOE. To apply, you will need to:
- Hold a master’s degree from an accredited university or college.
- If you didn’t major in educational administration, administration & supervision or educational leadership, you will need to take extra coursework to ensure you’ve covered the topics in the Florida Educational Leadership Core Curriculum. This is often done through a university certification prep program or another state-approved training program.
- Pass the Florida Educational Leadership Examination (FELE).
A large number of Florida universities in our school listings offer Level 1: Educational Leadership Certification programs that are designed to prepare you for the FELE exam and get you up-to-speed in necessary coursework. FLDOE also provides a full list of approved program providers in its Educational Leadership section.
Level 2: Principal Certification
- Hold a valid professional certificate covering educational leadership, administration, or administration & supervision (e.g. Level 1: Educational Leadership).
- Document your successful performance of the duties of the school principalship.
FLDOE spells out those exact duties in its certification requirements. They include being a full-time employee in a Florida public school in a leadership position, taking part in a formally planned professional development program, and more.
Educational Leadership Jobs in Florida
Educational Leadership Career Outlook
Unfortunately, Florida data doesn’t always appear in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)’s profiles of elementary & secondary school education administrators and postsecondary education administrators. However, BLS data for education administrators, all other paints a fairly positive picture for educational leaders in Florida. It’s a big state with the fourth largest school system in the country.
If you’re interested in PreK-12 administrative careers, Florida’s PK-20 Education Information Portal from the FLDOE provides hidden insights into the territory (e.g. district report cards, teacher shortage areas, etc.). You may also want to check out FLDOE’s Financial Profiles of School Districts. According to EdWeek, Florida has 76 public school districts and 4,517 public schools.
In addition, the U.S. government’s College Scorecard will give you a quick overview of Florida colleges & universities in your chosen zip code. The largest degree-granting colleges & universities in Florida (by enrollment) are public ones: UCF, Miami Dade College, Florida International University, and the University of Florida. According to the NCES, these are also some of the biggest in the country.
Educational Leadership Salaries
Planning for a district-level job? Start with the FLDOE’s reports on Florida District Staff Salaries of Selected Positions. This lists average salaries for superintendents, deputy/associate/assistant superintendents, and school board members by FL district.
Another useful resource is the AASA’s Superintendents Salary and Benefits Survey. This annual survey is published with a summary of major findings in the AASA’s Research Papers section.
For other jobs, have a look at Payscale’s cumulative data for all holders of the Doctor of Education (EdD) Degree. This allows you to compare salary data by job title (e.g. Elementary School Principal vs. Academic Dean).
Educational Leadership Job Boards
Major job sites can get you started (e.g. Indeed, HigherEdJobs, SchoolSpring, LinkedIn, etc.). But we also wanted to highlight a few FL-specific job boards and resources for educational leaders & administrators, including:
- FASA’s Career Center for school administrators.
- NAESP’s career section on Florida, with opportunities for elementary school principals.
- Career opportunities with members of the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS).
Educational Leadership Organizations in Florida
Educational Leadership Associations
- Florida Association of District Instructional Materials Administrators (FADIMA): FADIMA is focused on providing info, advice, and networking opportunities to instructional materials administrators. Check out its list of members.
- Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS): FADSS assists & supports FL superintendents through leadership development programs, partnerships with business and governmental leaders, and communication and networking services.
- Florida Association for the Education of Young Children (FLAEYC): FLAEYC is a membership organization that provides leadership, advocacy, and professional development for early childhood professionals, including childcare directors and higher education administrators involved in running ECE programs.
- Florida Association of Professors of Educational Leadership (FAPEL): Through its institutional members (e.g. FAU, FSU, UCF, etc.), FAPEL promotes the education and training of Florida educational leaders through teaching, research, and service.
- Florida Association of School Administrators (FASA): This is the one to bookmark! FASA supports administrators in providing high-quality education to the students of Florida. It’s the second largest and fastest growing-education association in the state, with a membership of nearly 5,500 superintendents, principals, assistant principals, and district-level administrators.
- Florida Association of School Business Officials (FASBO): FASBO is a professional association of Florida school business management professionals. It represents around 300 school business officials employed in public and private school entities, as well as community and junior colleges and state departments of education.
- Florida Association of School Personnel Administrators (FASPA): FASPA members are school administrators who have roles and responsibilities associated with personnel operations, and college/university personnel who are responsible for teacher training and certification.
- Florida School Boards Association (FSBA): FSBA is a non-profit corporation representing the elected school boards in Florida.
- Florida School Finance Officers Association (FSFOA): FSFOA exists to help secure uniform accounting and reporting, improve business management practices, and more. Voting members include Finance Officers from school districts in the State of Florida.
- Florida Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (FL-ALAS): FL-ALAS was founded in 2012 (originally as South Florida ALAS), by a group of Latino educational leaders in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties as an organization devoted to collaboration and advocacy.
Educational Leadership Professional Groups
- Adult and Community Educators of Florida, Inc. (ACE): ACE is composed of a group of educational leaders who are committed to improving—and expanding—adult & community education programs and services throughout Florida.
- Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS): CGCS is an organization of the nation’s largest urban school systems, including a number in Florida (e.g. Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, etc.).
- Florida Council of Instructional Technology Leaders (FCITL): FCITL promotes the enhancement of the instructional process through the effective use and integration of technology. Members include personnel from Florida public school districts who have district-wide responsibilities.
- Florida Education Legislative Liaisons (FELL): FELL supports & assists school boards and superintendents by impacting education legislation and providing leadership & training.
- Florida Education Negotiators (FEN): FEN is a statewide group that helps its members in assisting school boards in all matters related to employee relations. FEN is comprised of Chief Negotiators and school board bargaining team members.
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 Florida
Educational Leadership Conferences
- Annual Joint Conference: This event is a collaboration between FSBA, FADSS, FELL, the Florida Educational Risk Management Association (FERMA), the Florida School Board Attorneys Association (FSBAA), and the Sunshine State School Public Relations Association (SUNSPRA).
- FADIMA Conference: Aimed at instructional materials administrators, FADIMA’s 4-day event takes place in the late fall. It also runs a Cost Analysis meeting in May. The FADIMA Cost Analysis has historically been used by the Florida Legislature to determine the instructional materials categorical budget.
- FASA Discover Conference: FASA’s annual spring conference in June attracts Florida administrators, support staff, and educators. It also runs an Advocate Conference in February.
- FASBO Annual Conference; Joint Meeting with FSFOA: This annual event takes place in November, and features professional development sessions presented by state & national experts. 100+ attendees usually go.
- FLAEYC Annual Conference: Open to FLAEYC members and Florida early childhood educators, this event attracts around 1,000 attendees.
- FSBA/FADSS Annual Summer Conference: The June conference helps school board members, superintendents, district staff, and others gain insight into the issues and events impacting education and access valuable professional development opportunities.
- FSFOA Annual Conference: FSFOA’s June conference is targeted at Florida School Finance Officers.