Earning a Doctor of Education Degree in Missouri
In Missouri, you can have your pick of doctoral programs in education. In our school listings, you’ll see choices from UM juggernauts, private universities, and faith-based schools. A number of publics are also taking part in the University of Missouri Statewide Collaborative Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, a program that draws on Mizzou’s reputation (see the College of Education’s high ranking) and the expertise of partner universities.
But there’s plenty more beyond that! You may wish to explore online programs in educational leadership & higher education. Or opt for an Ed.D. with a capstone project in lieu of a dissertation. Or one that has the best internal funding. Or one that will lead to administrator certification. You may even want to consider career options after graduation. Our job & salary section has links to job boards, followed by info about leadership associations (e.g. MASA) and dates for conferences & training events (e.g. AMP).
Online Doctor of Education Programs in Missouri
Online Ed.D. Providers in Missouri
- A. T. Still University of Health Sciences
- Evangel University
- Maryville University (CAEP-accredited)
- Missouri Baptist University (CAEP-accredited)
- University of Missouri-Columbia (CAEP-accredited)
What to Know About Missouri Online Ed.D. Programs
When it comes to online doctoral programs in Missouri, you have the luxury of doing side-by-side comparisons. We found two distance learning programs in educational leadership, two in higher education leadership, and two quirky outliers.
Almost all of them are CAEP-accredited—and Evangel is approved as a prep program for superintendent certification—so you’re also starting with strong foundations. Generally speaking, online Ed.D. programs from Missouri public schools tend to be cheaper than private ones, but check the fine print on the tuition page. Fees can add up.
Note: If you’d prefer more choices, our overview of online doctoral programs in education has listings for all 50 states.
Online Ed.D. Programs in Educational Leadership
We’ll lead off with Mizzou’s 46-credit Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. This is an online version of the Statewide Collaborative offering, so it comes with solid credentials, input from the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED), and a cohort-based structure. Better yet, the relatively affordable tuition rate is the same for in-state and out-of-state students.
A few things to note if you’re considering it. There are on-campus components— an in-person orientation in late spring and visits during the first two summers. GPA admissions requirements are high (i.e. 3.5 GPA for your master’s). And it takes around four years to complete. It’s also not a program that leads to administrator certification.
If you need that, take a look at Evangel’s 50-credit Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, Curriculum & Instruction. This is a state-approved preparation program for superintendents, but it’s also open to aspiring curriculum specialists, building-level or central office school leaders, university professors, and administrators.
It has some definite pluses. It’s cohort-based. You can choose 100% online or blended coursework. The curriculum includes a leadership internship and a strong emphasis on technology as an instructional tool. The per credit tuition rate is reasonable for a private Christian university. And there’s a discount for members of church education partners.
Online Ed.D. Programs in Higher Education Leadership
In the realm of higher education, you have two choices of online doctorates in education, both from private universities. Maryville’s 48-credit Online Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership is a cohort-based program that can take just 32 months to complete.
You’ll be required to tackle a research residency, but this can be done online or on-campus. We also like the fact that dissertation work starts pretty much on day one and graduates emerge with a portfolio of work.
You can compare this program with Missouri Baptist University’s 45-credit Online Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership. It has a similar feel to Maryville. The doctorate in education takes around 2.5 years to complete. You can choose to go 100% online or blended. And you’ll begin work on the dissertation immediately.
But there are some differences. MBU’s Ed.D. program includes a required field-based research project and an elective internship—two factors that look good on a résumé. It also has a slightly higher GPA requirement for admissions (3.25 vs. Maryville’s 3.0) and a lower per credit tuition rate.
Online Ed.D. Programs in Specialist Subjects
And then there are the “out-of-the-box” choices. For example, UMSL’s cohort-based, 80-credit Online Doctor of Education in Educational Practice – Heritage Leadership for Sustainability, Social Justice, and Participatory Culture is a real innovation. It’s a three-year Ed.D. program focusing on humanity. The 80-credit number is a little misleading—applicants have the ability to apply up to 33 credits from a master’s or Ed.S.
UMSL is part of the CPED initiative, so there’s an emphasis here on application. Ed.D. students collaborate together in Learning Community of Practice Seminars and apply their knowledge in Laboratories of Practice and a group-based Dissertation in Practice. Plus, according to UMSL (and we’ll trust them on this), students are charged UMSL’s fairly affordable in-state tuition regardless of where they live.
The second outlier is A.T. Still University of Health Sciences’s 55-credit Online Doctor of Education in Health Professions. As the name suggests, this 100% online program is aimed at practicing clinicians, healthcare educators, leaders, and directors. It favors experience-based teaching over research-based teaching. Students tackle a doctoral research project and emerge with a publication-ready manuscript (see our discussion below). Per credit tuition costs are reasonable—not super low or super high—and no travel is involved.
No Dissertation Ed.D. Programs in Missouri
Doctoral Research Projects & Capstones
Not all Missouri universities have stuck to the traditional dissertation model. For example, Maryville has developed a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and a Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership that end with a research-based capstone project, portfolio, and internship instead. Students work on improving practices and instituting procedures that will increase student achievement. This project is expected to have a practical and positive impact for the school level or district.
Meanwhile, Saint Louis University takes a collaborative approach. In the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership with an optional Catholic Education Concentration, Ed.D. students work together as a team on their doctoral project. Similar to other capstones, this addresses a problem of practice. Each student is expected to prepare an individual report and pass an oral exam regarding the project.
And then there’s A.T. Still University of Health Sciences and its Online Doctor of Education in Health Professions. Ed.D. students in this program tackle a Doctoral Research Project (DRP). The aim of the game is to advance practical knowledge in health professions education based on research and analysis. In the end, students emerge with a manuscript that can be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication.
Doctoral Education Funding in Missouri
Internal Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
Doctoral funding can be hard to find on university websites. So we did a little digging! Here you’ll find links to institutional Ed.D. aid (e.g. internal scholarships & fellowships, tuition breaks, travel awards, etc.). The Office of Financial Aid and/or the Graduate School will also be able to help with advice on external aid (e.g. federal or private loans, FAFSA, etc.).
We noticed a few things in our research. Small private schools may have little or no internal doctoral funding available, but UM schools and big names (i.e. SLU) appear to have quite a bit. Missouri is also full of intriguing Ed.D. tuition discounts—check out Fontbonne’s breaks for current educators; Evangel’s deals for church education partners & online students; and Webster’s discount military & first responders rate.
The Office of Financial Aid has a helpful section on Graduate Scholarships & Grants, with info on departmental awards and discounts. Evangel offers tuition breaks on graduate programs to local Assemblies of God affiliate employees and business/organizational partners. Members of church education partners are eligible for a 10% discount on online degree programs.
According to Fontbonne, educators who are employed at least half-time in a school setting—preschool through higher education—are eligible for a 15% Educator’s Discount on graduate tuition (that includes the Ed.D.). Fontbonne alumni who graduated with a bachelor’s degree are eligible for a 15% Alumni Discount. Fontbonne also offers tuition discounts to employees of corporate partners, but it’s unclear whether Ed.D. students qualify. Check with the program coordinator.
Saint Louis University
The Office of Graduate Education has a section on Financial Aid for Education Degrees, with details about Graduate Scholarships, Fellowships, and Assistantships. In particular, check out the Diversity and Presidential Fellowships. The Graduate Student Association also provides funding for conference travel. And emergency loans are available from the Office of Graduate Education.
University of Missouri-Columbia
Start with the College of Education’s section on Graduate Financial Assistance, which has info on applying for financial aid and scholarships. Then visit the Graduate School’s section on Funding, which has details on:
- Federal Aid for Domestic Students
- Graduate Fellowships
- Travel Scholarships
- Graduate Assistantships and Tuition Support
University of Missouri-Kansas City
The Graduate School also has advice on Funding Your Graduate Education, with details on assistantships and fellowships. Ed.D. students are eligible for some awards (e.g. School of Graduate Studies Graduate Opportunity Fellowship). The Graduate School also offers travel grants and other awards.
University of Missouri-St Louis
The College of Education has a section on Financial Aid, with a rundown of Education Scholarships. The Graduate School can also provide info on Funding Graduate School through assistantships and fellowships.
In addition, UMSL offers reduced tuition rates to students in nearby states through the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP) and in-state tuition to residents of certain Illinois counties through the Metropolitan Rate Program. According to UMSL’s tuition information, Ed.D. students in the online program (i.e. Heritage) pay the same in-state tuition rate regardless of residency.
The School of Education has a section on Financial Aid & Scholarships, though awards are primarily for teachers and master’s students. However, Webster offers a significantly reduced tuition rate on the Ed.D. for Military and First Responders.
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.
Administration Certification Requirements in Missouri
The Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) handles certification for administrators in public schools. Administrator certificates are available for:
- Principal (Grades K-8; Grades 5-9; and Grades 7-12)
- Special Education Director (Grades K-12)
- Career Education Director
- Superintendent (Grades K-12)
There are three major types of Administrator Certificates: Initial, Transition, and Career. Initial Administrator Certification Requirements are listed in the Code of State Regulations (i.e. CSR 20-400.160). You can also read about the progression from Initial to Career in the DESE’s section on Administrator Upgrade Requirements.
Because Initial is the first step, we’ve outlined those requirements for principals & superintendents below. However, we recommend you check the CSR 20-400.160 section for full details. The CSR section also contains requirements for Career Education and Special Education Directors.
Or you can talk to the Ed.D. program coordinator about your certification goals. The DESE maintains a database of state-approved preparation programs; many Missouri universities in our school listings are in it. Folks often pursue an Ed.S. or Ed.D. in order to become a superintendent or upgrade their existing certificate to Career Administrator.
Note: The DESE’s section on how to Become Certified as an Administrator contains instructions for out-of-state applicants.
Initial Administrator Certificate: Principal
For the Initial Administrator Certificate to “teach” as a principal at building level, you must:
- Hold a baccalaureate degree or higher from a state-approved teacher preparation program
- Submit verification of teaching certification or licensure directly to the DESE
- Complete a state-approved master’s program or higher in educational leadership for the preparation of principals
- Possess two years of teaching experience
- Achieve a qualifying score on the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessment: Building-Level Administrator
Initial Administrator Certificate: Superintendent
For the Initial Administrator Certificate to “teach” as a superintendent at a district level, you must:
- Hold a baccalaureate degree or higher from a state-approved teacher preparation program
- Submit verification of teaching certification or licensure directly to the DESE
- Complete a state-approved educational specialist or advanced degree program for the preparation of superintendents
- Achieve a qualifying score on the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessment: Superintendent
- Have served one year as a building- or district-level administrator at a public or accredited non-public school
Educational Leadership Jobs in Missouri
Educational Leadership Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) keeps a close eye on employment & salary data for elementary & secondary school education administrators and postsecondary education administrators in every state. That means you can see—at a glance—how Missouri is doing in the national stakes.
For example, Missouri typically has a high level of employment for elementary & secondary school education administrators, much like its neighbor Illinois. If you’re thinking of K-12 for your career path, check out the DESE’s giant section on School Data. It includes reports on school performance & accountability.
Employment for postsecondary education administrators in Missouri is usually fairly healthy (and similar to Iowa), but the state can’t compete with all the universities in Illinois. The Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) has some fascinating insights into the state’s higher education landscape in the Research and Data section.
Educational Leadership Salaries
You’ll find annual mean wages for all types of education administrator—including PreK, K-12, and postsecondary—listed in the BLS’s section on State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for Missouri.
In general, Missouri does not compensate its elementary & secondary school education administrators very well; MO public school teachers are also notoriously underpaid. In the annual NEA Missouri Salary Benchmarks and Rankings report, you’ll see this play out in the data on school district salaries and benefits for certified staff.
In contrast, mean wages for Missouri postsecondary education administrators are better (and similar to Iowa). Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO is often a top paying metropolitan area—this is the land of Missouri State University, Drury University, and Evangel University. If you’d like to know how much the top echelon earns, the MDHE also publishes an annual President & Chancellor’s Compensation Survey.
Educational Leadership Job Boards
National job sites (e.g. HigherEdJobs, Indeed, LinkedIn, SchoolSpring, etc.) will post openings for Missouri school administrators and educational leaders. But we also wanted to direct you toward useful state-specific websites.
- Missouri Admin Jobs is a career/job hunting service offered free of charge by the following associations: MAESP, MASA, MoASSP, MoASBO, and MARE.
- MOReap’s Job Search lists openings for K-12 administrators in public schools across Missouri.
- The Job Search on Missouri Teaching Jobs also includes jobs for K-12 school administrators (e.g. principals, assistant principals, superintendents, and directors.)
- In Job Openings in Education, MO.gov has listed links to higher education staff positions in Missouri universities & colleges.
- The UM System has a section on Careers, with links to HR sites for many of its campuses.
- MACTE posts Higher Education Jobs in Teacher Education (e.g. Associate Professor of Education Leadership).
Educational Leadership Organizations in Missouri
Educational Leadership Associations
- Missouri Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Missouri ASCD): Missouri ASCD is a statewide organization of public and non-public teachers, university faculty, administrators, and college students. It’s a state affiliate of ASCD.
- Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP): MAESP is a statewide organization representing ~1,100 elementary and middle school principals and assistant principals in Missouri. It’s an affiliate of NAESP.
- Missouri Association of Rural Educators (MARE): MARE is a non-profit service organization that addresses the needs and concerns of rural education in Missouri.
- Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA): MASA is a statewide professional association that serves the needs of school superintendents and central office administrators with an interest in the superintendency. Members include 600+ school superintendents and school administrators.
- Missouri Association of School Business Officials (MoASBO): MoASBO is a professional association comprised of nearly 700 school district officials and employees in the area of school business administration. It runs a voluntary School Business Specialist (SBS) Certification Program.
- Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals (MoASSP): MoASSP is committed to improving secondary education through positive leadership and the enhancement of student performance. It’s a state affiliate of NASSP.
- Missouri Council of Career & Technical Administrators (MCCTA): MCCTA is the administrative division of the Missouri Association of Career and Technical Education (MoACTE). It promotes career and technical education, assists in legislation, works to improve instructional standards, and supports leadership in the field.
- Missouri Council of School Administrators (MCSA): MCSA is the umbrella organization for MASA and MAESP.
- Missouri National Education Association (Missouri NEA): Missouri NEA is an affiliate of the national NEA. Its 35,000 members include public school teachers, librarians, counselors, coaches, school psychologists and psychiatrists, administrators, and faculty in colleges and universities.
- Missouri Professors of Educational Administration (MPEA): MPEA members include faculty from 17 Missouri universities who have programs for preparing educational administrators, as well as individuals who are interested in the preparation of school and district administrators.
- Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA): MSBA serves as the unified voice of Missouri school board members. It often works closely with MASA and superintendents.
- Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA): MSTA is an independent association representing ~47,000 educators. It’s the state’s largest and oldest education association.
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 Missouri
Educational Leadership Conferences
- MAESP Annual Leadership Conference: This is MAESP’s flagship professional development event for elementary and middle level principals in Missouri. It often occurs in late February/early March.
- MAESP/MoASSP New Principals Conference: This co-sponsored, two-day event for new K-12 principals in Missouri usually takes place in July.
- MASA/MOSPRA Spring Conference: This is a three-day joint event in March. It brings together school administrators, superintendents, and public relations practitioners.
- MoASBO/MASA Leadership Summit: This three-day summit for Missouri school business officials and administrators is typically held in November. MoASBO also runs other conferences & institutes.
- MoASSP Spring Conference: This is MoASSP’s flagship three-day conference for Missouri secondary school principals & assistant principals. The late March/early April event includes keynote speakers, breakout sessions, networking, and more.
- MoASSP/MCCTA Fall Conference: This joint event attracts secondary school principals/leaders and career and technical education administrators in Missouri. It’s held in late September/early October.
- MCCTA Spring Conference & Legislative Day: MCCTA’s event for career & technical education administrators addresses current issues of concern. MoACTE/MCCTA legislative activity is blended into the program.
- MPEA Spring Conference: This one-day event for educational administration faculty and graduate students usually takes place in April.
- MSBA Conferences: MSBA organizes a number of events for administrators and school board members, including the MSBA Leadership Summit in June, and the popular MSBA Annual Conference for educational leaders—which is held in cooperation with MASA—in September.
Educational Leadership Training
- DESE Workshops: The DESE offers workshops on topics of importance for new administrators (e.g. school finance, data reporting, educator quality, etc.).
- MAESP Professional Development: MAESP organizes a variety of one-day workshops for elementary school principals that take place in Columbia, MO.
- MASA Administrator Mentoring Program (AMP): MASA’s program pairs new superintendents with veteran superintendents. (New K-8 superintendents go through AMP for Principals, unless they have previously served as a principal.)
- MASA Superintendent Training Programs: MASA runs a Missouri Superintendents Academy and a First-Year Superintendent Support Program.
- MASA Workshops: MASA also hosts a number of professional development workshops for administrators (e.g. finance, communications, legislative affairs, etc.).
- MoASBO Professional Learning: In addition to conferences, MoASBO organizes webinars, workshops such as the Administrative Leadership Development Program, and regional meetings for Missouri school business officials.
- MSBA In-District Board Training: MSBA provides research-based professional development workshops that are specifically designed for board members and superintendents.