Earning a Doctor of Education Degree in North Carolina
There’s a lot to love about doctoral programs in education in North Carolina. A number of universities have chosen to participate in the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED). UNC Chapel Hill often does well in U.S. News & World rankings for Best Education Schools. Public universities are happy to offer internal fellowships & scholarships. And plenty of Ed.D. concentrations are geared toward NC DPI administrative licensure requirements.
To sort these programs into a customized shortlist, start with our school listings. Here you’ll find links to Ed.D. specialties, curricula, and tuition costs. Once you’re through looking at funding options for your chosen schools, you may want to assess your long-term career goals. Along with employment & salary data for North Carolina administrators, we’ve assembled a list of local job boards, details about leadership associations (e.g. NCASA, NC PAPA, etc.), and ideas for conferences and professional development events.
Online Doctor of Education Programs in North Carolina
Online Ed.D. Providers in North Carolina
- Appalachian State University (CAEP-accredited)
- University of North Carolina at Greensboro
What to Know About North Carolina Online Ed.D. Programs
When it comes to doctorate in education programs, the majority of North Carolina universities have opted out of the online game. But this could change. During our research, we found that NC schools are increasingly moving toward a hybrid model. For example, UNC Greenboro’s Ed.D. is a mixture of on-campus classes during weeknights and Saturdays (with options for online), and online classes during the summer.
So watch this space. As North Carolina schools learn to adapt their formats to suit working professionals, you may see more opportunities to study from a distance.
Note: If ASU doesn’t suit your needs, our overview of online doctoral programs in education has scores of listings for online Ed.D. programs in other states.
Online Ed.D. Programs in Leadership
Appalachian State University has developed a 60-credit Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, a distance learning version of its traditional Ed.D. It’s a cohort-based program that can be taken in an online or hybrid form, and it comes in multiple concentrations (e.g. higher education, educational administration, IT leadership, etc.).
It’s also deeply affordable for NC residents, with some of the best in-state per credit tuition rates we’ve seen in the country! Better yet, up to 30 hours of the program may be waived for Appalachian EdS graduates. Just keep in mind that the online version includes two on-campus, multi-day residencies.
Online Ed.D. Programs in Specialist Topics
The other distance learning Ed.D. option in North Carolina is UNC Greensboro’s 54-credit Online Ed.D. in Kinesiology. As you might expect, this is targeted at practicing professionals who have a minimum of three years of professional experience in kinesiology or related fields. The four-year program is cohort-based and includes three on-campus summer visits. Graduates proceed to jobs as associate deans & assistant professors, program directors, and chairs for athletic training.
Doctoral Education Funding in North Carolina
Internal Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
North Carolina universities sometimes hide their institutional (i.e. internal) aid in strange places. To save you time, we’ve highlighted opportunities for doctoral students. Most schools will also be able to help you with financial aid advice (e.g. taking out a federal loan) and direct you to external funding. Ed.D. students often cobble tuition together from a large number of sources (e.g. loans, personal savings, awards, etc.).
Appalachian State University
ASU has a separate section on Ed.D. Financial Assistance. A limited number of doctoral research assistantships are available; they provide employment, but they do not carry a tuition waiver. In the category of Scholarship & Grant Opportunities, ASU also offers:
- Reich College of Education graduate scholarships for doctoral students (e.g. Blue Ridge Electric Doctoral Student Scholarship)
- Graduate School Research & Travel Award funding
- A Doctoral Student Enrichment Grant for research or travel expenses
East Carolina University
The College of Education (COE) offers a number of general COE scholarships that apply to both master’s and doctoral students (e.g. Dr. James W. Batten Research Fellow Scholarship), as well as specific awards for Ed.D. students in Educational Leadership. In ECU’s Internal Scholarships database, check out the:
- Dianne and Chip Linville Doctoral Fellowship Endowment Fund
- Mack and Margaret Coble Doctoral Fellowship
- Ralph Brimley Enrichment Fund
- Smith Gardner Education Leadership Fellowship
Gardner-Webb’s School of Education has a significant section on Costs & Financial Aid for graduate students. Under the Scholarships sub-section, the university states that assistantship awards are available on a limited basis.
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
For the Ed.D. programs in Community College Leadership and Educational Leadership, start with the College of Education’s excellent section on Financing Graduate Education. Doctoral students are eligible to apply for:
- Provost’s Fellowships: One-year awards that cover tuition (including the out-of-state portion) & health insurance
- Graduate Research Assistantships
- Graduate Teaching Assistantships
- Wilcox Hodnett Doctoral Fellowship
- ELPHD Scholarships & Grants
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The School of Education has a great section on Financial Aid & Funding – Graduate Students. When it comes to internal funding, graduate students are eligible for:
- School of Education Fellowships, Scholarships & Awards
- School of Education Graduate Assistantships
- University Fellowships & Assistantships
- Work-Study Assistantships
- Departmental Assistantships
There are a number of awards open to doctoral students in Educational Leadership and Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement and at least one for folks who are interested in Curriculum & Instruction (i.e. Barbara Holland Chapman and John Franklin Chapman Graduate Fellowship).
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
UNC Charlotte has devoted a section to Costs and Funding for the Ed.D. In addition to traditional financial aid sources (e.g. loans), doctoral students are eligible for the:
The Graduate School even offers a a Fellowship Application Incentive Program (FAIP) that pays $500 to eligible doctoral students just for applying to an allowable fellowship.
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Thinking about the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership? The School of Education (SOE) has a few SOE scholarships that are open to graduate students, but we suggest you check with the program coordinator to see if doctoral students qualify. Traditional financial aid is open to students who register for at least half-time (4.5 or more credits) per semester. Ed.D. students typically take at least 6 credits per semester.
University of North Carolina Wilmington
- Dr. Ralph W. Brauer Fellowship
- Alumni Association Scholarships
- Jane Logan Lackey Fellowship
- Sylvia and B.D. Scwartz Graduate Fellowship
- Lacy C. and Doris L. Sidbury Fellowship
Department of Educational Leadership staff can also direct you to ideas for external funding (e.g. ACPA General Grant).
Western Carolina University
The Graduate School’s section on Tuition & Funding has details about tuition rates, graduate assistantships, scholarships, and fellowships. In particular, potential Ed.D. students should check out the:
- Invest in Teachers Award, which provides support to educators seeking to advance professionally and positively impact students and their field.
- Morrill Family Fund for Research in Education, which supports research in the improvement of teaching at any educational level.
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.
Administrator License Requirements in North Carolina
Administrator & Special Service Personnel License Areas
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI), under the auspices of the State Board of Education, handles licensure for NC teachers and administrators. There are all kinds of administrative license areas for administrators & special service personnel. We cover NC principal and superintendent requirements below, but you’ll also see plenty of other categories (e.g. career-technical director, curriculum instructional specialist, etc.) in the license area list.
Here’s the most important point: all administrators and special service personnel must hold a valid Professional Educator’s Continuing License (SP2), which requires at least three years of teaching experience, as a baseline standard.
Wondering what degree you need? NC DPI maintains an updated list of state-approved education programs for NC administrative licensure. You’ll find many of the same names in our school listings. Doctoral programs in education often include licensure concentrations (especially for superintendency). Feel free to ask the Ed.D. program coordinator about the licensing process.
School Administrator – Assistant Principal License
In addition to obtaining a Professional Educator Continuing License, North Carolina administrators who wish to serve as assistant principals must:
- Complete an approved program in school administration at the master’s level or above.
NC DPI notes that provisional principal’s licenses can be issued for service as an assistant principal if the local board determines there is a shortage of individuals with principal licensure. Affiliation with a master’s school administrator program must occur before the expiration of the provisional license, which lasts for three years.
School Administrator – Principal License
In addition to obtaining a Professional Educator Continuing License, North Carolina administrators who wish to serve as principals must:
- Complete an approved program in school administration at the master’s level or above.
School Administrator – Superintendent License
In addition to obtaining a Professional Educator Continuing License, aspiring North Carolina superintendents must:
- Have a minimum of one year of experience (or the equivalent) as a principal.
- Hold an advanced graduate level (sixth-year degree) in school administration OR at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and five years leadership or managerial experience considered relevant by the employing local board of education.
NC DPI also notes that eligibility to serve as a superintendent must be verified by the State Board of Education prior to election by a local board of education.
Educational Leadership Jobs in North Carolina
Educational Leadership Career Outlook
Careers for North Carolina educational leaders look healthy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) keeps close tabs on employment & wage data for both elementary & secondary school education administrators and postsecondary education administrators. When you examine the employment maps, you’ll notice that:
- Compared to the rest of the country, North Carolina has high employment levels of elementary & secondary school education administrators. Not enough to beat massive states (e.g. CA, TX, NY, etc.), but still very strong.
- Greenville is usually a concentrated hotspot for postsecondary education administrators (think East Carolina University). Outside of the big cities, the Mountain North Carolina non-metropolitan area often has some of the highest employment levels for—and concentration levels of—administrators in the country. This may be due to Appalachian State University, Western Carolina University, and a number of smaller private colleges that live in those counties.
You can break the PreK-12 data down even further by consulting the NC DPI’s section on Reports & Statistics for North Carolina public schools. This contains school report cards, stats on budgets & expenditures, details on the number of administrative personnel employed in each county, and much more. See the Statistical Profile Online for an overview.
If you’re preparing for positions in higher education, you may wish to consult the U.S. government’s College Scorecard, which will give you a quick overview of North Carolina colleges & universities in your chosen zip code. According to the NCES, the biggest player in the state is North Carolina State University at Raleigh.
Educational Leadership Salaries
North Carolina doesn’t do as well on the salary front for educators (but what you give up in money, you may recoup in quality of life). Mean wages for elementary & secondary school education administrators can be some of the lowest in the country; wages for postsecondary education administrators are more respectable.
You can learn more about NC public school salaries by browsing through the NC DPI’s Salary Guides, which include salary schedules that are determined by the State of North Carolina. (In addition to the state salary, a local supplement may be provided by the school system.) The DPI also posts information on public school educator benefits.
Two other useful resources to consult for ballpark salary figures include:
- 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, which allows you to compare salary data by job title (e.g. Elementary School Principal vs. School Director).
Educational Leadership Job Boards
National sites are guaranteed to have postings for North Carolina education jobs (e.g. Indeed, HigherEdJobs, SchoolSpring, LinkedIn, etc.). But we also wanted to highlight a few NC-specific job boards for educational leaders & administrators.
- NCASA hosts a Job Search for aspiring superintendents, principals, directors, etc.
- The North Carolina Schools Job Board allows you to search for public jobs by district, school name, or city.
- NCSBA posts North Carolina Superintendent Vacancies and provides links to other State Association Vacancies.
- NCAIS has a Job Board that lists administrative openings in independent schools.
- NCAPCS has a Job Board that lists administrative openings in public charter schools.
- NC Community Colleges posts administrative Job Openings in North Carolina public community colleges (sort by job type).
Educational Leadership Organizations in North Carolina
Educational Leadership Associations
- North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE): NCAE serves as a professional development and advocacy organization for its ~60,000 members. It represents the concerns of members and students and works to advance public education.
- North Carolina Association of Principals and Assistant Principals (NC PAPA): NC PAPA is the state affiliate of the NAESP and NASSP. It’s an independent association that represents principals and assistant principals.
- North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA): This is the one to bookmark. NCASA represents the interests of central office administrators, principals, assistant principals, and higher education professionals. It provides benefits, hosts conferences and PD events, reports on legislative activity, and more.
- North Carolina Association of School Business Officials (NCASBO): NCASBO represents 800+ North Carolina members who are employed in various areas of school business.
- North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA): NCSBA is a member-driven association that represents local boards of education in North Carolina.
- North Carolina School Superintendents Association (NCSSA): NCSSA is a core affiliate of NCASA; one rate includes membership privileges in both organizations.
Educational Leadership Professional Groups
- North Carolina Alliance for School Leadership Development (NCASLD): NCASLD provides school administrator programs that are aligned to research-based NC performance evaluation standards and competencies for highly effective school leadership. It often partners with NC PAPA and NCSSA (see our Training section below).
- Professional Educators of NC (PENC): PENC is a non-partisan, independent professional organization that provides a voice for educators in policy-making, a forum for developing professional relationships, and advocacy for improved learning environments.
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 North Carolina
Educational Leadership Conferences
- NCASA Conference on Educational Leadership: This popular two-day conference for school administrators is held in March. NCASA also organizes a School Law Symposium featuring education attorneys and policy experts and a full CEU credit workshop called the School Safety Symposium.
- NCASBO Annual Conference: This four-day event for school business officials usually occurs in February.
- NC PAPA Annual Conference: NC PAPA’s annual meeting in March often takes place in conjunction with the NCASA Conference on Educational Leadership.
- NC PAPA Fall Instructional Symposium: This two-day event in November is a great networking opportunity for principals. The theme changes yearly.
- NCSBA Conferences: NCSBA organizes multiple events throughout the year, including its Annual Conference, district meetings, a Law Conference, a Public Policy Conference, and Summer Leadership Seminars.
Educational Leadership Training
- NCAE Professional Development Catalog: NCAE organizes a variety of workshops and training sessions for administrators. Short sessions are between 2-5 hours. Longer sessions can last two days.
- NCASBO School Business Management Academy: NCASBO’s academy develops future school business leaders through a comprehensive training program in the area of school finance. Certifications are available.
- NC PAPA Professional Development Programs: NC PAPA runs several programs for principals, including Distinguished Leadership in Practice (DLP), a year-long cohort program; Leadership in Personalized & Digital Learning Principal Cohorts (LPDLP); various seminars; and Future-Ready Leadership (FRL), a year-long cohort program designed for assistant principals.
- NCSSA Professional Development: NCSSA offers a Summer Leadership Retreat and Winter Leadership Retreat, as well as a number of programs in partnership with NCASLD, including an Aspiring Superintendents Program, a Digital Leadership Institute for NC Superintendents, and a Next Generation Superintendent Development Program.
- PENC Workshops: PENC workshops cover topics such as National Board Certification, Literacy, Financial Planning, Retirement Planning, and Professional Development.