Earning a Doctor of Education Degree in Michigan
In Michigan, the landscape for doctoral programs in education is dominated by large public universities; Andrews University is the sole private option in our school listings. That’s good news for budget-watchers. In addition to offering in-state tuition rates, and online Ed.D. programs, Michigan public schools also have a lot of Ed.D. fellowships & scholarships.
We’re also pleased to report that a number of public programs lead to the School Administrator Certificate (usually with the CO Endorsement)—MSU is one example of this phenomenon. MSU’s College of Education also happens to be highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report and participating in the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED).
The best news? Michigan has a healthy ecosystem of K-12 schools and colleges & universities. Employment and salary data for MI school administrators are uniformly positive; educational leadership associations such as MASA and MEMSPA are highly active; and professional development opportunities (with SCECH credits) abound.
Online Doctor of Education Programs in Michigan
Online Ed.D. Providers in Michigan
- Andrews University (CAEP-accredited)
- Central Michigan University (CAEP-accredited)
- Cornerstone University (CAEP-accredited)
- University of Michigan – Flint (CAEP-accredited)
What to Know About Michigan Online Ed.D. Programs
You have four choices in Michigan for online doctoral programs in education: two public universities or two private. All of them hold regional and CAEP accreditation, so it’s down to choosing the right fit. You can opt for a degree that builds on your Ed.S. (UMF), one with certification training (CMU), or one from a religious school (Andrews or Cornerstone).
Michigan public universities offer the lowest tuition rate on online Ed.D. programs (i.e. around half of Andrews), but UMF does have separate in-state and out-of-state rates. In addition, CMU and UMF are going to expect solid GPAs and at least three years of relevant experience.
Note: If you’d like to expand your options, our overview of online Ed.D. programs has a directory of programs in every state, as well as our 2020 rankings of the nation’s best online Doctor of Education programs.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Public Michigan Universities
CMU’s 63-credit Online EdD in Educational Leadership comes in two concentrations: Higher Education Leadership and K-12 Leadership. K-12 will help you earn the School Administrator Certificate with a Central Office Endorsement and take the Praxis SSA. Because in-state and out-of-state tuition is the same, it’s a pretty good deal for all. The cohort-based program includes four on-campus meetings in the summer, an internship, and synchronous (i.e. live) online classes on Saturdays. You can even transfer credits from an Ed.S. One caveat—Georgia residents are not permitted to apply.
In contrast, UMF’s cohort-based, 34-credit Hybrid Doctor of Education in Executive Leadership or Curriculum Leadership is only for folks who have already earned an Ed.S. It’s a flexible, part-time option that includes a monthly Saturday campus residency and input from Genesee County administration experts. With hard graft, you can finish it in 20 months.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Religious Michigan Universities
Cornerstone University has developed a 60-credit Online Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership and Development with a Christ-centered foundation. It’s primarily online, though you will need to attend campus for three residencies (three days each). It’s a well-built program that includes a comprehensive Capstone Project, short eight-week courses, and relevant coursework. Be sure to check out the Ed.D. scholarship for this program.
Your final possibility is Andrews University, the flagship university of the Seventh-day Adventist school system. Here you’ll find distance learning options such as:
- The 60-credit Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, which will prepare you for North American Adventist (NAD) administration certification and endorsement.
- The 60/61-credit Online Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration, which aims to train diverse scholar-practitioners who are committed to Christian values and high professional standards. (This program is offered on-campus as well).
Andrews has also developed an intriguing program for mid-careerists—the 54-credit Online Doctor of Leadership (D.Lead). We call it intriguing because it’s competency-based, highly customizable, networking-friendly, and dissertation-free (see below). You’ll be expected to visit campus for an annual Leadership Conference and Roundtable and a two-week orientation during the first summer. Plus you’ll have the option to attend boot camps, workshops, and retreats.
No Dissertation Ed.D. Programs in Michigan
You’ll have noticed that Cornerstone University’s Online Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership and Development has replaced the dissertation with a practical Capstone Project. This follows the guidelines for either an action research or program evaluation. Having said that, it will still require 100-200 pages of text, including a literature review, and a critical analysis.
Andrews University’s Online Doctor of Leadership (D.Lead) is also practice-based. Instead of the dissertation, D.Lead students are expected to complete:
- A professional portfolio that demonstrates the competencies that they’ve tackled throughout the degree. This portfolio is presented to a faculty team at the end of the program.
- A doctoral research project that includes data collection, analysis, and application (i.e. a demonstration of research competencies).
- A research-based article for an appropriate professional publication, in collaboration with their faculty supervisor/s.
It’s a no-brainer to say that all three are going to look good on an administrative résumé.
Doctoral Education Funding in Michigan
Internal Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
Michigan schools are fairly generous in funding the doctorate in education. In our list of internal funding opportunities, you should discover at least one award that suits your circumstances. The Office of Financial Aid or Graduate School will also be able to help you with external funding (e.g. federal loans, privately endowed education fellowships, etc.).
One important note—all of the public universities in this list receive MI state funding for the King-Chávez-Parks (KCP) Future Faculty Fellowship, which aims to increase the pool of academically or economically disadvantaged candidates pursuing faculty teaching careers in postsecondary education. The fellowship provides an annual stipend for one year, and KCP fellows are eligible to reapply for up to three years or a maximum of $35,000.
Start with the sections on Student Financial Services and Graduate Scholarships. Andrews offers a tuition-reduction scholarship—based on GRE or GMAT scores & GPA—to new master’s and doctoral students (including the Ed.D.). The higher your scores, the higher the tuition discount. Andrews also has a variety of payment plans.
Central Michigan University
CMU’s Ed.D. programs are offered through CMU Online, which has sections on Graduate Financial Aid and Scholarships. Active duty military, reservist, and guard members, as well as spouses & dependents, may qualify for discounted graduate tuition rates.
Cornerstone offers a generous Diversity Scholarship to two Ed.D. students each year. It’s open to minority applicants.
Ferris State University
FSU has a comprehensive Financial Information section for its Doctorate in Community College Leadership, with info on DCCL tuition & fees (there are no additional fees), financial aid, payment plans, and scholarships. DCCL students are eligible for a number of great doctoral awards—including the King-Chávez-Parks (KCP) Future Faculty Fellowship— and an emergency loan fund.
The Graduate School has a section on Scholarships and Awards for folks who are studying half-time or more. Check with the Ed.D. program coordinator to see if you can apply.
Michigan State University
For the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, check out the Resources section in the Ed.D. handbook and the College of Education’s section on COE Graduate Student Scholarships & Fellowships, where there are a large number of awards listed (e.g. Richard L. Featherstone Scholarship for advanced doctoral students in the Department of Educational Administration). The department also offers conference support funds.
Then you can visit the Graduate School’s section on Funding, with sub-sections on Graduate Assistantships, Research Support, Travel Funding, and MSU Graduate School Fellowships (e.g. the King-Chávez-Parks (KCP) Future Faculty Fellowship). Finally, the Office of Financial has a section for Graduate Students, with details about external aid.
OU has a section on Financial Aid for Graduate Students, which includes a lot of info on scholarships, graduate assistantships, external aid, and the King-Chávez-Parks (KCP) Future Faculty Fellowship.
Oakland University also offers a discount to current OU employees. After 1 year of full-time employment, Ed.D. students can take up to 8 credits per semester or 16 credits per fiscal year at no cost.
University of Michigan-Dearborn
Start with the College of Education, Health, and Human Services (CEHHS)’s section on Tuition, Scholarships & Financial Aid for education students. Then visit Graduate Student Scholarships, which includes details on university awards.
You may also want to look into scholarships for UM employees, the King-Chávez-Parks (KCP) Future Faculty Fellowship, and Campus Grants for graduate student research and travel-related expenses. UMD has also instituted a small Ed.D. Alumni Scholarship Fund, which will be available in 2023-2024.
University of Michigan-Flint
UMF has a comprehensive section on Tuition & Financial Aid for graduate students, including opportunities for:
- UMF Graduate Student Grants
- Graduate Scholarships
- King Chávez Parks (KCP) Future Faculty Fellowship
- Rackham Fellowship (Rackham is the name of the Graduate School)
- Graduate Student Research Assistantships
Wayne State University
College of Education Scholarships are available to qualified graduate students who have a cumulative minimum GPA of 3.0. Internal awards for COE students include the Graduate Professional Scholarship. Better yet:
- WSU’s Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) has more info on external aid (e.g. loans) and WSU Private Scholarships for doctoral students (e.g. William and Frances LaPlante-Sosnowsky Endowed Scholarship for the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies).
- The Graduate School can help with details on travel awards, Dean’s Diversity Fellowships, the King Chávez Parks (KCP) Future Faculty Fellowship, and graduate assistantships.
Western Michigan University
The College of Education and Human Development has a section on Scholarships. You can look into general CEHD Graduate Scholarships, but we didn’t see any Special Education and Literacy Studies departmental funds for Ed.D. students.
In addition, WMU’s Graduate College has details on internal fellowships & grants for doctoral students, as well as research and travel grants, assistantships, and external funding opportunities. Visit the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships for assistance with the FAFSA.
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 Administration Certification Requirements in Michigan
School Administrator Certification
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is responsible for school administrator certification in the state. School administrators who administer instructional programs at public or private schools must hold a valid School Administrator Certificate or be placed under a valid School Administrator Permit. (The permit is intended to give working school administrators time to complete an education preparation program.) The certificate lasts for five years, with unlimited renewals.
There are two important endorsements for the School Administrator Certificate:
- Elementary & Secondary Administrator K-12 (ES): Intended for principals and building-level school teachers.
- Central Office (CO): Intended for superintendents and other central office administrators.
In the searchable database of approved Education Preparation Programs, you’ll notice that many traditional colleges & universities in Michigan have developed programs for these two endorsements (e.g. CMU, MSU, UMD, etc.).
Note #1: There are various pathways you can take to earn the administrative certificate, which MDE outlines on its website, including Traditional, Alternative, and Experience-Based routes. We’re going to cover the traditional steps, but we wanted to let you know that there were other options available.
Note #2: As of 2019, Praxis tests were not required for certification in Michigan, except for alternative route certification of Principals (i.e. K-12) and Central Office Administrators (i.e. CO). Check the ETS’s section on Testing Requirements for the latest info.
School Administrator Certificate – Elementary & Secondary Administrator K-12 (ES) Endorsement (Standard/Traditional Route)
To earn a School Administrator Certificate with an Elementary & Secondary Administrator K-12 (ES) endorsement, you must:
- Hold a master’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university
- Complete an approved school administrator preparation program (e.g. MA, graduate certificate, etc.) in educational leadership or administration
School Administrator Certificate – Central Office Endorsement (Standard/Traditional Route)
To earn a School Administrator Certificate with a Central Office (CO) Endorsement endorsement, you must:
- Hold a master’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university
- Complete credit hours at the post-master’s degree level in an approved preparation program in educational leadership or administration (e.g. Ed.S., Ed.D., etc.) and be recommended by the program provider
In the database of approved Education Preparation Programs, you’ll also see a few specialty endorsements for school administrators. These can be achieved through a program with a Michigan educational leadership association. Specialties/enhancements are in the realm of continuing professional development and include:
- Building Level Leadership Improvement (EB): Achieved through MEMSPA’s Leadership Matters Specialty Endorsement Program.
- District Level Curriculum & Instruction (AI): Achieved through Michigan ASCD’s Curriculum Leaders Institute (CLI).
- Central Office Enhancement (CS): Achieved through MASA’s Horizon Leadership Academy (the Horizon Academy also offers the CO Endorsement).
Educational Leadership Jobs in Michigan
Educational Leadership Career Outlook
To learn how Michigan educational leaders are faring, start with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The government tracks employment & salary data for elementary & secondary school education administrators and postsecondary education administrators in each state. In general:
- Michigan employs a great deal of education administrators—postsecondary employment is often right up there with states like California, Massachusetts, and New York.
- The Balance of Lower Peninsula of Michigan area is home to a large number of both types of administrators.
- Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Detroit-Warren-Dearborn are metropolitan hotspots for postsecondary leaders.
You can see these trends reflected in MI Schools Data. Here you’ll find info on every level of school—from Early Childhood through K-12 and into Postsecondary. You’ll be able to examine financial reports, outcomes, enrollment numbers, success rates, and more.
Educational Leadership Salaries
Michigan pays its elementary & secondary school education administrators well, but it pays its postsecondary education administrators even better. If you look at the BLS mean wage maps, you’ll notice that Michigan postsecondary administrators are often in the top wage bracket for this profession (i.e. it helps to have UM, WMU, and MSU in your state).
Exact salary numbers can be found in BLS’s section on State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for Michigan. Mackinac also tracks MI public employee salaries (e.g. superintendents, principals, etc.) in its Michigan Government Salaries Database.
You can compare these numbers with:
- The AASA’s Superintendents Salary and Benefits Survey, which is published with a summary of major findings in the AASA’s Research Papers section.
- Payscale’s cumulative data for all holders of the Doctor of Education (EdD) Degree. This allows you to view salary data by job title (e.g. Elementary School Principal vs. School Director).
Educational Leadership Job Boards
Traditional job sites (e.g. LinkedIn, HigherEdJobs, SchoolSpring, etc.) will have postings for Michigan administrators. But we also wanted to point you toward state job boards.
- MASA Jobs and Michigan ASCD Job Postings and MASB Jobs and MAISA Jobs and MASSP Jobs are sharing the exact same database from MiStaff. This database includes openings for district-level and school-level administrators in Michigan.
- MSBO has a separate Job Opportunities board for school business officials. However, it features openings for MI principals, school administrators, and superintendents.
Educational Leadership Organizations in Michigan
Educational Leadership Associations
- Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA): MAISA is comprised of superintendents and administrators who represent the 56 Intermediate School Districts (ISDs) in the State of Michigan. It has all kinds of programs and projects in play.
- Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA): One to bookmark. MASA serves public school leaders in nearly 600 public school districts and intermediate school districts across the state. It runs professional development programs, hosts events, and works on legislative issues.
- Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB): MASB is a voluntary, non-profit association that represents 600+ local and intermediate boards of education located throughout the state of Michigan.
- Michigan Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Michigan ASCD): Michigan ASCD is the state affiliate of the ASCD and an advocate for quality teaching & learning in Michigan. It runs all kinds of professional development programs and partners with a number of organizations in its efforts (e.g. MEMSPA).
- Michigan Association of School Personnel Administrators (MASPA): MASPA is dedicated to the support and development of K-12 public education personnel/human resource professionals.
- Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP): MASSP represents Michigan administrators who are secondary school principals or aspiring to become one.
- Michigan Education Association (MEA): MEA is a self-governing education association dedicated to advocating for quality public education. It represents about 125,000 teachers, education support professionals, and higher education employees throughout the state.
- Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association (MEMSPA): MEMSPA is a membership organization of Michigan principals. It acts as a voice for building level professionals and provides a variety of member benefits (e.g. career help, legal assistance, resources, updates on legislative actions, conferences, etc.).
- Michigan School Business Officials (MSBO): MSBO works to improve the leadership of—and management in—school business and operational services, while enhancing the lives and careers of its members.
Educational Leadership Events in Michigan
Educational Leadership Conferences
- EdCon: EdCon is MASSP’s annual three-day event held in June. It attracts building-level administrators (e.g. principals), SD & Central Office staff, Deans of Students, university & college faculty, and more.
- MAISA Summer Conference: This three-day conference attracts education administrators who work in—and collaborate with—Michigan’s ISDs.
- MASA Conferences: MASA hosts a three-day Fall Conference in September and a three-day Midwinter Conference in February. The third day of the Midwinter Conference has been held in conjunction with MASB.
- MASA Women in Leadership Conference: The annual two-day conference in May is designed for women who want to grow in their careers, network with professionals, and share their own expertise and insights.
- MASB Annual Leadership Conference: MASB’s flagship event takes place over four days in November.
- MEMSPA Events: MEMSPA hosts an Annual Conference in December, a Middle Level Conference in February, and various Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) events.
- MSBO Annual Conference: MSBO’s seminal event for school business officials takes place over three days in late September/early October.
Educational Leadership Training
- Curriculum Leaders Institute (CLI): Graduates of this two-year institute from Michigan ASCD can earn SCECHs and work toward a Specialty: District Level Curriculum & Instruction Enhancement on their School Administrator Certificate.
- Horizon Leadership Academy: MASA’s Horizon Year 1 and Horizon Year 2 programs allow superintendents and aspiring superintendents to earn either a Central Office Endorsement (CO) or a Central Office Enhancement (CS).
- Instructional Leadership Institute (ILI): The four-part ILI from Michigan ASCD is aimed at new and seasoned instructional leaders, teacher leaders, and content consultants.
- Leadership Matters Specialty Endorsement Program: Run by MEMSPA, this cohort-based program leads to a Building Level Leadership Improvement (EB) Endorsement for principals.
- MASSP Professional Development: MASSP runs all kinds of useful administrator programs, including the Path to Leadership alternative route for the PK-12 endorsement, an Adaptive Schools Seminar, Mentoring & Executive Coaching, and more.
- New Superintendents Leadership Academy: Run by MASA, this is a four-session academy that aims to help new superintendents gain insights and skills. MASA also offers a MASA Mentor Coaching program for superintendents and Microcredentialing for Administrators, worth 30 SCECH credits.
- State Continuing Education Clock Hour (SCECH) Catalog: According to the MDE, education personnel must have accrued 150 clock hours of Education-Related Professional Learning for every five-year renewal cycle of their certificate.
- Summer Leadership Institute: This two-day event is hosted by MEMSPA and attracts practicing and aspiring principals as well as teacher leaders. Participants may earn up to 9 SCECH credits.