Earning a Doctor of Education Degree in Mississippi
Mississippi doctorates in education cover the gamut. In our school listings, you’ll find Ed.D. offerings from CAEP-accredited public names (e.g. UM, USM, and DSU) and private Christian ones (e.g. Mississippi College and William Carey University). There are Ed.D. programs that are 100% online, programs that contain capstone projects instead of dissertations, and programs with specific scholarships for educational leadership.
You can explore all of them by following the cost & curriculum links in our listings. We’ve also provided a rundown of requirements for Mississippi administrator licenses. If you’re starting to put together a career plan, you may wish to glance at our section on job & salary data for MS educational administrators, which contains links to state-specific job boards. If you’re ready to network, you may even want to join a local educational leadership organization (e.g. MASA) and attend one of their conferences.
Online Doctor of Education Programs in Mississippi
Online Ed.D. Providers in Mississippi
- University of Southern Mississippi (CAEP-accredited)
- William Carey University (CAEP-accredited)
What to Know About Mississippi Online Ed.D. Programs
In Mississippi, you have two choices for 100% online doctoral programs in education: one public, one private. Both hold CAEP accreditation, so your pick may come down to background and goals. We profile your options below.
Keep in mind that some so-called “campus” Ed.D. programs in Mississippi are technically blended. One example of this phenomenon is UM’s Hybrid Doctor of Education in K-12 Educational Leadership (open to current administrative license holders). For this program, seven of the courses—including the research courses—are taught online and seminar sessions are held throughout the region.
Note: Our overview of online doctoral programs in education contains a listing of online Ed.D. degrees in every state.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Public Mississippi Universities
USM has two 100% online offerings for PreK-20 administrators—the 54-credit Online Ed.D. in Educational Administration – P-12 and the 54-credit Online Ed.D. in Higher Education. USM is a public research university, but its low tuition rates are exactly the same for in-state and out-of-state residents. Plus Ed.D. programs contain a capstone instead of a dissertation (see our discussion). But there are slight differences. For example:
- The Online Ed.D. in Educational Administration – P-12 is a part-time program that contains a mandatory practicum as part of the curriculum. It will accept up to 6 hours of transfer credit and it takes around three years to complete.
- The Online Ed.D. in Higher Education is a part-time or full-time program. There’s no practicum component, but students can choose from a number of electives. It takes around nine academic semesters to complete.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Private Mississippi Universities
The alternative to USM is William Carey University’s 63-credit Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. The 63-credit stipulation is a little misleading—WCU expects candidates to have a specialist degree and a 3.25 GPA. Once the Ed.S. or similar is applied, the Ed.D. program is only around 33 credits.
This is a part-time, cohort-based, 100% online program. Courses are completed in five-week terms; this expands to ten weeks once you start the research portion. That means it’s quick—around 2.5 years. It’s also quite affordable. WCU’s per credit tuition rates are lower than some public options in Mississippi.
No Dissertation Ed.D. Programs in Mississippi
Doctoral Research Projects & Capstones
Not all Mississippi universities have gone the way of an Ed.D. dissertation. USM’s Online Ed.D. in Educational Administration – P-12 and Online Ed.D. in Higher Education use a field-based capstone project instead. Students in the program tackle a real-world problem of practice that they’ve encountered in the workplace.
USM doesn’t provide any examples of alumni projects (that we could find), but many other universities do. You can also ask the Ed.D. program coordinator for sample titles.
Doctoral Education Funding in Mississippi
Internal Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
For this section, we chose to focus on institutional aid for the Ed.D. (e.g. internal scholarships, tuition breaks, etc.). Because there isn’t a great deal of it, you’ll probably need to supplement these sources with external aid (e.g. federal & private loans, tuition reimbursement from work, etc.). The Graduate School and/or the Office of Financial Aid can offer advice on procedures. You should also feel free to ask the Ed.D. program coordinator how most doctoral students are funded.
Delta State University
DSU’s Graduate and Continuing Studies has a section on Funding Opportunities, with details on graduate assistantships, external awards, the Mississippi Community College Tuition Remission Program for public community college staff and faculty (check to see if the Ed.D. counts as an academic program), and Delta Dollars for folks with significant financial need.
University of Mississippi
Begin with the School of Education (SOE)’s section on Scholarships. School district administrators should check out the North Mississippi Education Consortium (NMEC) Graduate Leadership Scholarship. There are also smaller graduate awards (e.g. R.H. Price Memorial Scholarship).
Then visit the Graduate School’s section on Financial Aid Information, which has details on doctoral fellowships, assistantships, and loans. The Ed.D. Student Handbook (on the program page) also contains advice on general Financial Aid opportunities.
University of Southern Mississippi
USM maintains a database of internal scholarships. Ed.D. candidates should check out the Gibbes-Liberto Lifelong Learning Scholarship and the Nancy Whitten New Family Educational Leadership Graduate Scholarship.
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 Licensure Requirements in Mississippi
The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) handles licensure for K-12 administrators in Mississippi public or parochial schools. There are two major types of license: Administrator K-12 and District Superintendent. We’ve provided a brief summary of requirements, but the Administrator Licensure section has a lot more detail.
Wondering what degree to earn? For the Administrator License, you can pursue a traditional degree program (i.e. master’s, specialist, or doctorate in educational leadership/administration) or take the Mississippi Alternate Path to Quality School Leadership (MAPQSL) program, which is an approved alternative pathway. Mississippi administrative licensure programs from universities are often Ed.S. degrees. MDE maintains a list of state-approved education preparation providers.
Note: MDE has a separate section on the Reciprocity License for out-of-state applicants who already hold a comparable license.
Entry-Level Administrator License
There are three tiers of Administrator License: Non-Practicing, Entry-Level, and Career. Non-Practicing licenses are issued to educators who aren’t currently employed; Entry-Level licenses are issued to educators employed as a beginning administrator.
To earn an Entry-Level Administrator License in Mississippi, you must:
- Hold a five-year educator license.
- Complete an approved master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree in educational administration/leadership from a state-approved education preparation provider or regionally/nationally-accredited institution of higher education and receive institutional recommendation.
- Have three years of experience.
- Receive a qualifying score on the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA) test from ETS.
- Obtain employment as an administrator.
You’ll be allowed to earn the Career-Level license after you have earned School Executive Management Institute (SEMI) professional development credits. See the Administrator Licensure section for specifications.
Initial District Superintendent License
There are two tiers of District Superintendent License: Initial and Standard. To earn an Initial District Superintendent License in Mississippi, you must:
- Hold a master’s degree or higher from an accredited institution of higher education.
- Have a minimum of six years of documented successful leadership experience, as determined and verified by the appointing local school board. This can include experience outside of the school system (e.g. non-profit organizations, state agencies, etc.)
- Obtain a position as district superintendent and submit local board resolution of appointment to that position.
You’ll be allowed to earn the Standard license after you have completed state-approved professional learning activities, demonstrated district accountability, and earned a successful evaluation rating. See the Administrator Licensure section for specifications.
Educational Leadership Jobs in Mississippi
Educational Leadership Career Outlook
You can get a “10,000-foot-view” of Mississippi’s administrative career landscape by visiting the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It tracks employment & salary data for elementary & secondary school education administrators and postsecondary education administrators in every state. The maps are especially helpful.
Overall, Mississippi has low number of K-12 administrators when compared to other states. But it has a very high concentration of jobs—it’s often up there with states like Vermont and Louisiana. If you’d like to view more specific numbers, the MDE’s Bureau of Public Reporting publishes school Report Cards, accountability results, student assessment data, and district & school data. In particular, the Superintendent Annual Report will tell you a great deal about K-12 school districts and their instructional personnel.
It’s a similar story for postsecondary education administrators. Like Arkansas and Louisiana, Mississippi doesn’t have a lot of jobs in this category. But it’s not far from states like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Iowa when it comes to job concentrations. Northeast Mississippi is often an employment hotspot—the presence of UM in Oxford (i.e. Lafayette County) may have something to do with this statistic!
The Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL)’s Office of Strategic Research (OSR) is a useful all-in-one resource for data on Mississippi public institutions. Have a look at Employee Characteristics in the Interactive Data Portal (filter by Executive, Administrative, Managerial). You’ll notice that the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMC) is far and away the biggest employer of higher education administrators, with MSU in a distant second.
Educational Leadership Salaries
Exact employment & wage numbers for educational administrators can be found in the BLS’s section on State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for Mississippi. It’s common knowledge that Mississippi doesn’t pay its educators very well. Annual mean wages for elementary & secondary school education administrators and postsecondary education administrators are among the lowest in the country. Granted, the cost of living is also better than, say, California.
Want to dig deeper? MDE’s Office of School Financial Services (OSFS) posts Teacher Salary Schedules. But the Superintendent Annual Report is much more nuanced—it has headcounts and average salaries of Mississippi Instructional Personnel by District (e.g. principals, assistant principals, and supervisors).
IHL’s OSR also publishes regular reports on Mississippi public university Employees. Here you’ll find faculty salary data. Individual public universities often publish more specific statistics (e.g. UM’s Faculty and Staff Data and MSU’s Faculty Profiles with average salaries by rank).
Educational Leadership Job Boards
Conventional job sites (e.g. LinkedIn, SchoolSpring, HigherEdJobs, etc.) will have postings for educational leadership jobs in Mississippi. But state administrator organizations also maintain job boards.
- MASA posts Career Opportunities for education administrators in public schools and districts.
- MASS maintains a database of Available Administrative Positions, including K-12 openings for superintendents, directors, business managers, deans, principals, and more.
- MASBO lists Job Postings for Mississippi school business officials and administrators (e.g. CFO).
- MSBA conducts Superintendent Searches for Mississippi school districts.
- The IHL has a section on Employment Opportunities, with links to job sites/HR departments at Mississippi public universities.
Educational Leadership Organizations in Mississippi
Educational Leadership Associations
- Mississippi Association of Educators (MAE): MAE is the state’s teachers’ union. Members include Mississippi elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty and staff, educational support professionals, retired educators, and college students preparing to become teachers. It’s a state affiliate of NEA. An alternative is the Mississippi Professional Educators (MPE), which is not a union.
- Mississippi Association of School Administrators (MASA): MASA is the oldest and most well-known administrator association in Mississippi. It’s a state affiliate of AASA. Check out the Roger McDaniel Scholarship for advanced degrees.
- Mississippi Association of Elementary School Administrators (MAESA): MAESA represents elementary school principals and leaders in Mississippi. It often works closely with MASSP and it’s a state affiliate of NAESP.
- Mississippi Association of School Business Officials (MASBO): MASBO represents & supports Mississippi school business officials. It’s a state affiliate of ASBO. Check out the Paul Franklin Scholarship for continuing education.
- Mississippi Association of School Personnel Administrators (MSASPA): MSASPA serves as an advocate for—and promotes the professional development of—personnel administrators in Mississippi. It’s an affiliate of AASPA.
- Mississippi Association of School Superintendents (MASS): MASS is a non-profit association whose membership is made up of 141 public school superintendents across the state of Mississippi.
- Mississippi Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP): MASSP membership is open to Mississippi principals, assistant principals, or administrators who are engaged in the practice or supervision of middle school and/or high school administration. It’s a state affiliate of NASSP.
- Mississippi School Boards Association (MSBA): MSBA is a professional, non-profit association that represents all public school boards of education in Mississippi.
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 Mississippi
Educational Leadership Conferences
- MASBO Fall Conference: This three-day event for Mississippi school business officials usually takes place in September.
- MASA Annual Women in Leadership Forum: This is a one-day event that aims to bring together Mississippi women in educational leadership positions.
- MASA Conferences: MASA hosts a Spring Leadership Conference in April and a Fall Meeting & Leadership Conference in October. OSLs, SEMIs, and CEUs are usually offered at both events.
- MASS/Alliance Conferences: MASS organize two conventions each year: a week-long Summer Convention in July and a shorter, four-day Winter Conference in January.
- MASSP/MAESA/MSASPA Summer Conference: This annual conference for K-12 school principals and administrators usually takes place over four days in June.
- MSBA Annual Conference: This three-day event in February attracts school board members and education leaders (e.g. superintendents) from across the state.
- MSBA Fall Leadership Conference: MSBA organizes a short two-day conference for school board members in November.
- MSBA Legislative Update & School Law Review: MSBA hosts this two-day session in April for school leaders who want to find out about decisions of lawmakers in the Mississippi Legislature, recent court rulings, and changes in federal/state guidelines.
- Southern Region Leadership Conference (Arkansas, Louisiana & Mississippi): Usually organized by one of the state’s school board associations, this three-day conference in July is an opportunity for board members, superintendents, and school personnel to discuss leadership issues.
Educational Leadership Training
- MASA Aspiring Superintendent Academy: Co-sponsored by AASA and MASA, this is a 9-month blended learning experience for aspiring superintendents in Mississippi.
- MDE Professional Development: MDE’s Office of Professional Development provides a variety of PD programs to K-12 educators & leaders. Administrators can request face-to-face professional development and coaching support. You may also wish to look at MS RESAs Conferences & Workshops.
- MSBA Prospective Superintendent Leadership Academy: MSBA’s academy is a year-long program designed to prepare potential candidates for superintendent positions in Mississippi’s public schools. Candidates who are currently Mississippi administrators and are recommended by their employing school district will be given preference.