Earning a Doctor of Education Degree in North Dakota
In the world of North Dakota doctoral programs in education, it’s the battle of the titans. You’ll see two public research universities in our school listings: North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota. Both have their merits.
- NDSU is part of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED). Its Ed.D. is relatively inexpensive for North Dakota residents. And its concentrations could appeal to educational leaders outside of the K-20 arena.
- UND has developed a 100% online Ed.D. program. It appears to have more doctoral scholarships than NDSU. And it may be able to help you earn administrative credentials.
Weighing up your options post-graduation? Take a quick look at our career section. It contains a discussion of North Dakota’s PK-20 employment market, links to resources for administrative job & salary data, and ideas for job hunting. You can decide whether you wish to join educational leadership associations such as NDCEL or register for relevant conferences & training programs.
Online Doctor of Education Programs in North Dakota
Online Ed.D. Providers in North Dakota
- North Dakota State University-Main Campus (CAEP-accredited)
- University of North Dakota (CAEP-accredited)
What to Know About North Dakota Online Ed.D. Programs
First off, UND is the sole university in North Dakota to offer a 100% online program. The 90-credit Online Ed.D. in Educational Practice and Leadership is built for working professionals, comes in various specializations, and takes around three years to complete. (30 credits can be transferred from your master’s). We especially like the fact that:
- The final project is a dissertation in practice—in other words, a dissertation that has direct relevance to a challenge in your workplace.
- The curriculum includes internship options for the School Leadership and Special Education specializations.
- Online tuition rates are the same for in-state residents and out-of-state residents.
- UND wants to see candidates with a 3.5 GPA or higher on all previous graduate work—that means your fellow students will be smart & motivated.
If you don’t mind a few trips to campus, you can also consider NDSU’s 90-credit Online/Hybrid Ed.D. in Adult and Community Education, Institutional Effectiveness, or Organizational Learning and Leadership. Credits can be transferred from your master’s or post-master’s coursework to bring the credit total down to ~50-60 credits.
A few more things to note about NDSU’s program:
- It’s mostly online—courses are delivered whenever possible using the Interactive Video Network (IVN)—but a few courses will require travel to campus for in-person class meetings, usually on weekends.
- The Ed.D. has been shaped by the CPED initiative, which tends to favor practical coursework and applied learning.
- Per-credit graduate tuition rates are lower for North Dakota residents and WRGP state/territory residents. Minnesota residents also get a break.
Note: Our overview of online doctoral programs in education has a complete list of online Ed.D. degrees in every state.
Doctoral Education Funding in North Dakota
Internal Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
This section focuses primarily on institutional aid—internal awards & discounts offered by North Dakota universities. The Office of Financial Aid and the Graduate School will have more advice on external aid (e.g. federal & private loans, national fellowships, etc.).
North Dakota State University-Main Campus
Feel free to ask the Ed.D. program coordinator about any scholarships listed in NDSU Academic Works—we didn’t find any doctoral awards for education, but there are may be graduate funds on tap. In addition, the Graduate School has a separate advice section on Funding Your Education, with details on graduate assistantships and external funding opportunities. You may also want to check the section on Waivers and Tuition Discounts (e.g. NSDU faculty/staff waivers).
University of North Dakota
We’re pleased to report that the UND Academic Works database contains a number of awards for doctoral students in educational leadership disciplines (e.g. Boschee Educational Leadership Scholarship). Ask the Ed.D. program coordinator if/how you can apply. UND also offers Employee and Family Member Tuition Waivers, but it’s best to see if the online doctorate qualifies under the statutes.
School Administration Credential Requirements in North Dakota
Types of Administrator Credentials
The North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board (NDESPB) handles licensure procedures for North Dakota’s public school educators. However, it’s the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) that issues additional credentials for administrators. There are five main types of credentials:
- Principal (Elementary; Secondary; K-12)
- Library Media
- School Counselor
- Special Education Director
The NDDPI has a comprehensive section devoted to all of its Credentials. We’ve also provided a brief rundown of principal & superintendent credential requirements below. In addition, NDCEL has useful tips on credential renewal requirements.
In its Ed.D. in Educational Practice & Leadership program description, UND states that students in the School Leadership (SL) specialization will complete many, if not all, of the coursework requirements for the administrative credential. We recommend you ask UND’s Ed.D. program coordinator for more details.
Principal Credential: Level I
To earn a principal credential at the elementary or secondary school level, you must:
- Hold a valid North Dakota educator’s professional teaching license.
- Hold a master’s degree in educational administration from a state-approved program (see Administrative Rule 67-11-21 for coursework specifications) OR a master’s degree with an approved major and 20 semester hours of credit from a state-approved program that includes specified coursework.
- Have at least three years of teaching or administrative experience or a combination at the appropriate level (e.g. K-8 or 5-12).
In addition, a K-12 principal credential may be issued to any individual who meets the requirements of both the elementary principal credential and the secondary principal credential.
Note: Administrative Rule 67-11-21 contains instructions for earning a provisional principal credential while you work on fulfilling requirements for graduate coursework or experience.
To earn a superintendent credential in North Dakota, you must:
- Hold a valid North Dakota educator’s professional teaching license.
- Have completed the requirements for the Level I Elementary or Secondary Principal Credential and eight additional hours of coursework. See Administrative Rule 67-11-07 for details.
- Have at least three years of teaching experience.
- Have at least two years of administrative experience comprised of at least half time as an elementary or secondary principal, a central office administrator, or an administrator of an approved school with a twelve-year program.
Note: Administrative Rule 67-11-07 contains instructions for earning a provisional superintendent credential while you work on fulfilling requirements for graduate coursework or experience.
Educational Leadership Jobs in North Dakota
Educational Leadership Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks employment & salary data for elementary & secondary school education administrators and postsecondary education administrators in every state. We’re a big fan of the employment maps, since they provide a bird’s-eye-perspective on the state and its regions. Hover over an area to view the actual data points.
North Dakota isn’t a state with a lot of people, so it makes sense that the employment market for K-12 administrators is fairly low. It’s often on par with South Dakota in this category. Bismarck accounts for ~15% of these jobs.
You can peer into the heart of individual schools and districts using NDDPI Data. This section contains highly detailed Administrative & Instructional Personnel Reports, Enrollment Heat Maps, School Finance Facts, and a whole lot more. Insights.nd.gov will supply you with school & district report cards.
The employment story for North Dakota postsecondary education administrators is similar to K-12. In other words, very low. Bismarck and Fargo can be bright spots, probably in part due to NDSU’s location.
If you’re considering a job in a public college or university, the North Dakota University System (NDUS) has a section devoted to Institutional Research. This contains annual Enrollment Reports, data on retention & graduation rates, and links to other resources. In recent years, North Dakota has been making budget cuts that have lowered employment numbers at these institutions.
Educational Leadership Salaries
Annual mean wages for four types of North Dakota education administrator, including preschool administrators, are recorded in BLS’s section on State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for North Dakota.
Overall, mean wages for North Dakota K-12 administrators are very good—far greater than South Dakota and even better than Montana. Administrators in Bismarck and the western part of the state tend to be paid more than those in the eastern part.
- NDDPI posts Employee Compensation reports for North Dakota teachers & administrators in the section on Teacher Compensation.
- The annual Administrative & Instructional Personnel Reports also contain sections on average salary by level of education, average salary by major assignment (e.g. superintendent), and individual district averages.
Meanwhile, wages for postsecondary education administrators are nothing short of spectacular for a state that’s so far from the coast. According to the BLS, North Dakota is often in the top wage bracket in this category for the country, right up there with California and New York. Having said that, we suggest you do a cross-check with other sources:
- The North Dakota State Government’s Office of Management and Budget maintains an Employee Compensation Dashboard where you can view university salaries (filter by Agency and Position Description).
- The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes summaries of Faculty Salaries at North Dakota public & private universities. NDSU and UND are invariably at the top of the list.
Educational Leadership Job Boards
Standard job sites (e.g. Indeed, SchoolSpring, HigherEdJobs, LinkedIn, etc.) will advertise openings for educational leaders and PK-20 administrators. But there are a few local sources that are also worth knowing about.
- NDCEL runs EdJobsND, a centralized database for K-12 educational leadership jobs. It contains official postings of North Dakota schools.
- NDSBA conducts superintendent searches and publishes a lot of useful Personnel Documents (e.g. school administrator job descriptions, contract terms, candidate forms, etc.).
- NDUS provides links to Campus Employment Opportunities in all of its member institutions (i.e. North Dakota public universities & colleges).
Educational Leadership Organizations in North Dakota
Educational Leadership Associations
- North Dakota Association of School Business Managers (NDASBM): NDASBM provides training and professional growth opportunities to individuals who are employed as the business manager for a public school district, special education cooperative, or vocational/technical education center. It’s an affiliate of NDSBA.
- North Dakota Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NDASFAA): NDASFAA acts as the voice of student financial aid administrators in North Dakota higher education institutions.
- North Dakota Council of Education Leaders (NDCEL): NDCEL is the state’s primary professional association for North Dakota educational leaders. It oversees ten affiliate associations (see below) and provides a wide range of services to members. It also offers small NDFEL Scholarships for doctoral work.
- North Dakota School Boards Association (NDSBA): NDSBA seeks to empower all North Dakota school boards to be effective leaders of their districts and strong advocates for public education. In conjunction with NDASBM, it offers the North Dakota School Business Managers Certification Program (NDSBMCP).
- North Dakota United (ND United): ND United was created by the merger of the North Dakota Education Association (NDEA) and the North Dakota Public Employees Association (NDPEA). It services a united voice for public employees and educators.
NDCEL Affiliate Associations
- Educational Secretaries Association of North Dakota (ESAND): ESAND membership is open to secretaries, business managers, higher ed office professionals, and state department personnel.
- North Dakota Association of County Superintendents (NDACS): As the title suggests, NDACS serves as the voice of North Dakota’s county superintendents.
- North Dakota Association of Elementary School Principals (NDAESP): NDAESP members include elementary principals and middle level principals engaged in administration and supervision, as well as educators who are involved in the professional education of elementary and middle school personnel.
- North Dakota Association of School Business Officials (NDASBO): NDASBO represents North Dakota school leaders who are involved in the business management side of education.
- North Dakota Association of Secondary School Principals (NDASSP): NDASSP membership is open to any person who is a certified administrator and acts in an executive capacity in a North Dakota secondary school.
- North Dakota Association of School Administrators (NDASA): NDASA represents North Dakota superintendents and persons who are engaged in educational administrative positions.
- North Dakota Association of Technology Leaders (NDATL): NDATL acts as the voice of professionals engaged in educational technology leadership and support in North Dakota.
- North Dakota Career/Technical Education Association (NDCTEA): NDCTEA represents administrators & supervisors of career and technical education in public school systems, high schools or career centers, area career & technical schools, as well as career tech department heads in universities and state entities.
- North Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NDIAAA): NDIAAA members are responsible for directing, coordinating, or supervising an interscholastic athletic program in a North Dakota accredited school.
- North Dakota Regional Education Association (NDREA): NDREA members assume major responsibility for the administration and supervision of Regional Education Association (REA) programs and goals.
- North Dakota Special Education Council (NDSESC): NDSESC represents North Dakota special education directors.
Note: State and national educator organizations often have funds & scholarships available for continuing education (e.g. Ed.D.). Check the website and ask about opportunities.
Educational Leadership Events in North Dakota
Educational Leadership Conferences
- Aspiring Administrators Conference: Run by NDCEL, this two-day professional development event is typically held in June.
- NDAESP Midwinter Conference: North Dakota elementary & middle level principals typically attend this three-day conference in February.
- NDASA Midwinter Conference: This annual two-day conference for school administrators features mini-sessions on school improvement issues, legislative issues, panel discussions, committee reports, and more. It takes place in February.
- NDASFAA Spring Conference: NDASFAA hosts its annual three-day conference for student financial aid administrators in early April.
- NDASSP Midwinter Conference: This three-day conference for North Dakota secondary school principals & administrators takes place in late January/early February.
- NDATL Fall Conference: NDATL’s flagship event for North Dakota education technology leaders occurs over two days in late October.
- NDCEL Conference: NDCEL hosts a three-day Fall Conference in October and a three-day Summer Conference in June.
- NDSBA Annual Convention: This two-conference for school board members, superintendents, and educational leaders occurs in late October/early November. The New Member Seminar and School Law Seminar are often held concurrently.
Educational Leadership Training
- NDCEL Professional Development: NDCEL’s offerings for North Dakota educational leaders include a week-long North Dakota Innovation Academy, two-day workshops, and a week-long Instructional Leadership course.
- NDDPI School Administrators Workshop & NDCEL Bootcamp: This annual training program/conference includes breakout sessions and a keynote speaker.
- ND United Professional Development Course Catalog: ND United offers courses, in-person training, and NEA micro-credentials to North Dakota educators.