Earning a Doctor of Education Degree in Texas
Texas should really be called the Education State. It’s packed with schools, districts, colleges, universities—and Ed.D. programs (check out the school listings). Whether you’re an aspiring PreK-12 principal, a curriculum developer, a community college leader, or the next superintendent of Dallas ISD, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
You’re also going to run into plenty of quality markers. Judging by their efforts, Texas Colleges of Education appear to be working very hard to improve the practicality and relevancy of their Ed.D. programs.
- CAEP accreditation is common among Texas schools, including those offering online doctorates in education (look for the CAEP badge in our listings—you’ll notice that Texas A&M University is one of the outliers).
- Plenty of Texas universities have chosen to become member institutions of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED), including Baylor, Lamar, Tarleton, TAMU College Station, TAMU Corpus Christi, Texas Tech, UH, UTRGV, and UNT.
- Doctorate in education programs are often geared to prepare you for Texas Principal and Superintendent Certification.
- There are some excellent fellowships & scholarships on offer, especially from campuses in the big public university systems.
We’re also pleased to report that professional associations like TASA are active & vibrant, conferences & training academies happen almost every week, and there is a lot of good news on the jobs & salaries front.
Online Doctor of Education Programs in Texas
Online Ed.D. Providers in Texas
- Baylor University
- Lamar University (CAEP-accredited)
- Sam Houston State University (CAEP-accredited)
- Texas A&M University – College Station
- Texas A&M University – Commerce
- Texas Tech University (CAEP-accredited)
- University of Houston (CAEP-accredited)
- West Texas A&M University
What to Know About Texas Online Ed.D. Programs
Texas universities have really bought into Ed.D. distance learning options. There are tons of affordable online doctoral programs in education available, in a variety of disciplines. All of the providers we’ve mentioned are regionally accredited; some of them are also CAEP-accredited.
When it comes to cost, online Ed.D. programs at Texas public universities are universally cheaper than private options. The best per credit tuition rates we’ve seen come from Texas A&M schools (e.g. under $400 per credit hour). But the University of Houston and Texas State Universities aren’t too shabby, either. Be sure to check our Funding section for extra deals.
Another aspect to consider is your time. Some Texas programs have a hybrid feel, with summer institutes, internships, and on-campus immersions (e.g. Baylor, Texas Tech, etc.). These kinds of online Ed.D. programs provide excellent networking opportunities, but they do come with travel costs.
Note: If you’re still not sure about the feasibility of an online degree, have a look at our overview of online doctoral programs in education.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Texas A&M Universities
TAMU has decided to play up its assets. If the College of Education is strong in a certain area, then the online program tends to follow suit. For example, TAMU Commerce’s super-affordable (and rigorous) Online Doctor of Education in Educational Administration (EDAD) is targeted at K-12 public school administrators, including folks who want to take courses for Superintendent Certification.
At TAMU College Station, the cohort-based Online Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction is primarily designed for mid-career PreK-12 teachers & administrators with at least 5 years of teaching experience. So it includes 300 hours of professional internships. This is one of the programs being shaped by the CPED Initiative.
Meanwhile, WTAMU has developed an Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, with two tracks (Educational Leadership & Leadership in Higher Education) and strengths in rural school leadership. It includes practical immersion experiences, superintendent certification prep, and an optional international experience in Mexico.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Texas State Universities
You could also consider online Ed.D. options in the Texas State University System. These are leadership-focused programs that come from CAEP-accredited schools like Lamar University and Sam Houston State University.
They’ve got a practical feel. For example, Lamar’s accelerated Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership: Concentration in Global Educational Leadership requires no residency or travel. It’s part of the CPED Initiative and it boasts a 100% graduation rate and 99% employment rate.
Over at SHSU, you’ll find:
- The interdisciplinary Online Ed.D. in Developmental Education Administration, which is aimed at administrators who are seeking to develop and run programs for underprepared community college and university students.
- And the 100% online Online Ed.D. in Instructional Systems Design and Technology for aspiring IT leaders, which blends expertise from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Computer Science Department.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Flagship Public Texas Universities
Your remaining public options will come from CAEP-accredited research universities that are the flagship schools for their systems. Texas Tech is worth investigating—especially if you’re preparing for principal, superintendent, or presidential positions.
- The Online Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration comes in two areas of emphasis (Community College Administration and Higher Education College/University Administration) and it includes summer immersion sessions where you can network with peers.
- The alternative option is the Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, which is ideal for PreK-12 leaders who are interested in optional doctoral summer institutes. Both programs are being shaped by the CPED Initiative.
Because they live in the Department of Curriculum Instruction, UH’s online education doctorates have more of a “specialist” feel. And they’re engaging. In the cohort-based Executive Online Ed.D. in Professional Leadership – Literacy Education Emphasis or Social Studies/Social Education Emphasis you’ll take part in practical lab activities and “flipped” courses (you do traditional lecture/absorption before class).
Online Ed.D. Programs at Private Texas Universities
But we can’t forget Baylor. This private Christian university is more expensive than the public offerings, but it also offers ways to mitigate costs (see our Funding section below). And it’s participating in the CPED Initiative.
Designed for experienced educators and professionals, the Online Ed.D. in Learning and Organizational Change has a hybrid feel. For instance, the curriculum includes live weekly online learning sessions and two immersions that take place on the Baylor campus.
No Dissertation Ed.D. Programs in Texas
Doctoral Research Projects & Capstones
We found a couple of Texas online doctorate in education programs that have nixed the dissertation requirement. They’re both offered by TAMU offshoots. But they still include a writing-based final project.
- Students in TAMU College Station’s Online Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction must complete a mandatory “Record of Study.” This is a problem-based research project (e.g. piloting & testing a curriculum development project) that includes various measurements, observations, and analysis. Findings from these studies can be published.
- WTAMU has taken a similiar approach. In the Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, students are required to write two publication-ready articles that address specific problems of practice. Provided you can have them published, your educational résumé is going to look mighty fine upon graduation.
Doctoral Education Funding in Texas
Internal Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
We’ve got a real soft spot for the Lone Star State—primarily because Texas universities go out of their way to help Ed.D. students find funding. For this section, we’ve highlighted institutional awards, scholarships & discounts. But the Office of Financial Aid or the Graduate School should also provide advice on federal & private loans, outside scholarships & fellowships, and loan forgiveness programs.
Students in Baylor’s Ed.D. in K-12 Educational Leadership pay approximately 50% of the regular per-course-hour Baylor tuition rate, a rate which is listed on the Graduate Tuition & Fees page. You should also take a quick look at the Graduate School’s Awards and Funding Opportunities (e.g. dissertation and travel awards).
Considering distance learning? Monthly payment plans are available to online Ed.D. students, part-time or full-time.
Dallas Baptist University
DBU’s School of Leadership offers an assortment of faith-based Scholarships to students, as well as a couple of Matching Gift Programs (e.g. DBU matches up to $3,500 per academic year given on a student’s behalf from his/her local church).
Sam Houston State University
The Department of Educational Leadership grants a special Dr. Joe Kortz Spirit of Leadership Award to an outstanding doctoral student. SHSU’s Scholarships database is also worth investigating. For example, we found the:
- Higher Education Leadership Doctoral Scholarship
- Educational Leadership Doctoral Scholarship
- Instructional Systems Design & Technology Doctoral Scholarship
- Educational Leadership Doctoral Alumni Scholarship
- And more!
These tend to be modest awards given to current students, but every little bit helps.
Stephen F Austin State University
SFA has a few small scholarships on offer. The Sandra Lowery Scholarship in Educational Leadership awards up to $1,250 to a current student in the doctoral program for Education Administration who maintains a 3.0 GPA. And the Malcolm and Lawanda Rector Scholarship awards up to $600 to a student earning a graduate degree in Educational Leadership.
Tarleton State University
Tarleton’s College of Education offers the:
- John & Alene Palmer Scholarship, which is granted to deserving students majoring in elementary or secondary education and/or educational administration who have demonstrated their desire to become professional educators (award amounts vary).
- Crystal Apple Society Scholarship, which is given to doctoral, graduate, or undergraduate education students that are recommended by the respective Department Head. Recipients must maintain a 3.0 GPA.
The College of Graduate Studies also has a COGS Masters/Doctoral Scholarship, granted to first-time master’s and doctoral students, and the Davidson Presidential Scholarship, which is given to outstanding doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students.
Texas A & M University-College Station
TAMU has a couple of lucrative doctoral fellowships. They are the:
- Doctoral Diversity Excellence Fellowship, which provides four years of funding to domestic doctoral students enrolling for the first time in a doctoral program.
- Pathways to the Doctorate Fellowship, which is open to U.S. citizens who have received their bachelor’s degree from a TAMU System Institution other than TAMU College Station.
The Office of Graduate and Professional Studies (OGAPS) can also assist with info on Graduate Assistantships.
Texas A & M University-Commerce
From what we’ve seen, TAMU Commerce has plenty of funding options for doctoral students:
- The Department of Higher Education and Learning Technologies, which runs the Ed.D. in Higher Education, has a number of small Scholarships that are open to doctoral students.
- The Department of Educational Leadership, which runs the Ed.D. in Education Administration, has plenty of Scholarships for Ed.D. students.
There are also general scholarship opportunities for students in the Graduate School, such as the Doctoral Student Scholarship, the Jerry and Marilyn Morris Endowment, and the Nancy Ruth Lenoir Memorial Endowment. The Graduate School can also help with info on Graduate Assistantships.
Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi
TAMU Corpus Christi’s College of Graduate Studies has details on Graduate Assistantships and Graduate Scholarship applications. There are a few specific education awards offered by the College of Education and Human Development, but you’ll also be considered for general scholarships with your application.
Texas A & M University-Kingsville
TAMU Kingsville’s College of Graduate Studies offers a:
- New Graduate Student Scholarship every semester to new incoming domestic and international graduate students (including doctoral students).
- B.C. and Addie Brookshire Kleberg County Scholarship to newly recruited graduate students who want to pursue a degree at the master’s or doctoral level at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Applicants must be originally from Kleberg County or must have graduated from a Kleberg County high school.
Graduate Teaching Assistantships may also be available.
Texas A&M University-Texarkana
Texas Christian University
TCU’s College of Education has a comprehensive section on COE Financial Aid, with details about:
- The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), which pays one-third to one-half tuition for up to six hours per semester.
- College of Education Graduate Scholarships (there are quite a few!)
- Teaching, Graduate, and Research Assistantships
- Graduate Instructorships
As well as links to other resources (e.g. Graduate Financial Aid).
Texas State University
Texas State’s Graduate College has comprehensive funding sections devoted to:
- Graduate/Doctoral Assistantships
- Graduate Scholarships, including a Texas State Doctoral Merit Fellowship for new students and a Graduate College Doctoral Research Support Fellowship for continuing students
- Graduate Student Travel Funds
Texas Tech University
The best place to start is the College of Education’s section on Funding for Graduate Students. This has info on—and links to—:
- The Helen DeVitt Jones Fellowship, which is given to two outstanding new doctoral students each year
- General Fellowships available through the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellowships (OGPF)
- Research Assistantships
- Summer Scholarships
The University of Texas at Austin
The Department of Educational Leadership & Policy at UT Austin devotes a section to Financial Support. Assistantships are available, as are:
- Graduate Fellowships, including the Harrington Doctoral Fellowship for new recruits
- College of Education Fellowships, which primarily support teachers, but the Alexander Caswell Ellis Fellowship in Education may apply to your circumstances
- Graduate Student Awards
The University of Texas at El Paso
Start with the Internal Funding section created by UT El Paso’s Graduate School. This has details on:
- Travel Grants
- Dodson Research Grants, which can help with dissertation work
- Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition, which is open to Ed.D. students
- Summer Research Grant
- Outstanding Teaching Award
- UTEP Graduate Scholarship
Note: The Doctoral Excellence Fellowship and Natalicio Dissertation Fellowship only apply to PhD students.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
UT Rio Grande Valley’s Graduate College maintains a section on Financial Aid. This includes a list of Graduate Scholarship opportunities, including the $1,000 Graduate Dean’s Scholarship (open to doctoral students). We also recommend you search the general UTRGV Scholarships Database, since we found a number of College of Education awards that apply to graduate students.
Current UTRGV full-time employees can take advantage of the Employee Tuition Assistance Program (ETAP), which covers the cost of one course per semester. UTRGV also offers an Emergency Tuition and Fee Loan.
University of Houston
UH’s College of Education has created a solid section on Financial Aid & Scholarships for all of its education students (undergraduate and graduate). Here you’ll find a comprehensive list of General & Graduate Scholarships and answers to Scholarship FAQs. There are also specific departmental awards, including scholarships for students interested in educational leadership.
The section on Graduate Financial Information has further details on assistantships, fellowships, grants, and loans.
University of Houston-Clear Lake
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
Financial info for graduate students at UMHB can be a little tricky to source, but we did find some funding opportunities listed in the Graduate Catalog:
- Graduate Scholarships are available for $50 per credit hour to students enrolled in general UMHB graduate programs.
- Students enrolled in the Doctor of Education automatically qualify for the Ed. D. Fellowship scholarship, which pays $100 per credit hour.
- Graduate assistantships at the master’s and doctoral levels are available in a number of graduate programs.
University of North Texas
Students in UNT’s Ed.D. program are eligible for two special scholarships. The:
- The Donald A. Buchholz Scholarship, which is intended for doctoral students enrolled in Educational Leadership.
- The Southwest Securities Superintendent Certification Scholarship Program, which supports school leaders seeking certification and provides high quality, research-based preparation for outstanding school leaders.
West Texas A&M University
Scholarship info for Ed.D. students is outlined in the Scholarship Information section. Every doctoral candidate seeking financial assistance at WTAMU is required to complete a competitive scholarship application.
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 Certificate Requirements in Texas
Administration Certification in Texas
There are two major educational leadership certifications for PreK-12 school leaders in Texas: the Principal Certificate and the Superintendent Certificate. Both of them are administered by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). You do not need a doctoral degree to earn either of them—only a master’s is required.
Having said that, a number of Texas universities in our listings offer certification preparation programs. Many will even incorporate preparation into the Ed.D. (e.g. Baylor, SMU, SFA, Tarleton, etc.). You can also find a certification prep program by searching TEA’s map of Approved Educator Preparation Programs in Texas and sorting by Principal (Grades EC-12) or Superintendent (Grades EC-12).
To apply for the Principal Certificate, candidates must:
- Hold a master’s degree from a university that is accredited by an accrediting agency (e.g. SACS) that has been recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)
- Hold a valid classroom teaching certificate
- Have two years of creditable teaching experience as a classroom teacher
- Complete an approved principal educator preparation program
- Complete the required exam
Aspiring superintendents in Texas must:
- Hold a master’s degree from a university that is accredited by an accrediting agency (e.g. SACS) that has been recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)
- Hold a principal certificate (or the equivalent issued by the TEA, another state, or country) OR have completed TEA’s superintendent certificate application and been approved to substitute managerial experience in lieu of a principal certificate
- Complete an approved superintendent educator preparation program
- Complete the required exam
Educational Leadership Jobs in Texas
Educational Leadership Career Outlook
Texas is an excellent pick for job placement, especially if you’re interested in a PreK-12 setting. You can decide whether you’re aiming for a big urban challenge or life in a unique rural community. According to TEA data on school districts:
- 20 school districts in Texas are serving 50,000+ students. Houston ISD and Dallas ISD are some of the largest in the country.
- Conversely, on the rural front, more than 50% of the school districts in Texas serve fewer than 1,500 students.
- In 2017, Texas school districts were made up of more than 8,700 schools.
There are also plenty of opportunities for aspiring academic administrators, college professors, deans, department chairs, and presidents. Texas Higher Education Data notes that Texas plays host to:
- 37 public universities
- 38 independent institutions
- And 50 districts of Community Colleges with multiple campuses
You can see how this affects Texas jobs by examining data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For instance, in 2018, Texas employed the largest number of elementary & secondary school education administrators (e.g. principals) in the country. Full stop.
Educational Leadership Salaries
Better yet, Texas pays well, especially at the higher education level. If you browse through BLS wage data for Education Administrators, Postsecondary you’ll notice that TX administrators in urban centers were reaping benefits. In 2018, Lubbock was a particularly high-paying area.
We recommend you compare these stats with Payscale’s cumulative data for all holders of the Doctor of Education (EdD) Degree. Here you can get a quick glance of salary data by job title.
You might also check out the AASA’s Superintendents Salary and Benefits Survey. This is published annually, with a summary of major findings, in the AASA’s Research Papers section.
Educational Leadership Job Boards
To begin with, you can try the usual suspects (e.g. Indeed, HigherEdJobs, SchoolSpring, etc.). But we also wanted to highlight a few TX-specific job sites that target educational leaders & administrators:
- TASA Career Center lists jobs in multiple settings, including colleges & universities, PreK-12 schools, charter schools, and more.
- TASB Executive Search Services helps fill superintendent & key administrator job vacancies.
- TASSP maintains a list of Job Postings for middle & high school principals, as well as director and assistant principals.
- TEA provides links to Employment Pages for 20 Texas Education Service Centers (ESCs) in its section on Texas Educator Job Sites.
- Texas Charter Schools Association has a section for Texas Job Seekers who are interested in TSCA member school positions.
- TASBO lists Job Postings for school business officials and support services positions for school districts, charter schools, and Education Service Centers.
Educational Leadership Organizations in Texas
Educational Leadership Associations
- Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (TALAS): TALAS is a state association devoted to the identification, recruitment, development, and advancement of Latino school administrators in order to improve public education, with an emphasis on improving the educational and career opportunities of Latino youth.
- Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA): Bookmark this one! TASA provides a host of networking and professional learning opportunities to superintendents and other public school leaders, and supports them through legislative advocacy and targeted communications.
- Texas Association of School Boards (TASB): TASB is a voluntary, nonprofit, statewide association that serves and represents local Texas school boards.
- Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO): TASBO is a non-profit professional association supporting business and operations professionals in K-12 schools.
- Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators (TASPA): TASPA is an organization designed to serve Texas public school human resources (HR) administrators and support staff.
- Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP): Established in 1922, TASSP provides support, professional development, best practices, and more to Texas principals and assistant principals.
- Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA): Found in 1917, TEPSA is a member-owned, member-governed association that serves PreK-8 school leaders in Texas.
Educational Leadership Professional Groups
- Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS): CGCS is an organization of the nation’s largest urban school systems, including a number in Texas (e.g. Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, etc.).
- Future-Ready Superintendents Leadership Network (FRSLN): FRSLN is a superintendent-designed and superintendent-led group of Texas school leaders who gather together for leadership learning experiences. It’s supported by TASA. Members are nominated.
- Texas Alliance of Black School Educators (TABSE): TABSE is an affiliate of the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE). It’s committed to improving the educational achievement of African-American students in the state of Texas.
- Texas Council of Women School Executives (TCWSE): TCWSE is a community of professional educational executives devoted to promoting equity and quality in leadership through renewal, mentoring, and career advancement support.
- Texas K-12 CTO Council: This is the primary organization for Chief Technology Officers in Texas schools. It’s also the state chapter of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN).
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 Texas
Educational Leadership Conferences
- Making Middle School Matter Symposium: Run by TASSP, this event is open to all middle grades administrators and educators. It focuses on research-proven practices that can be implemented school-wide.
- TASA Midwinter Conference: One to stick on your calendar. TASA bills this as the most popular conference of the year for Texas school leaders.
- TASA/TASB Convention: Geared toward educational leaders in Texas public schools, this well-known event is packed with sessions, workshops, field trips, seminars, and more.
- TASA/TASB Legislative Conference: This co-sponsored, one-day event is meant to help school board members and superintendents communicate local district needs and priorities to legislators.
- TASBE Annual State Conference: TASBE’s conference, with its professional development sessions and educational workshops, attracts 700+ educators per year.
- TASSP/LYS Fundamental 5 Summit: Co-hosted by Lead Your School (LYS), this event is centered around instructional practices that help make learning stick.
- TASSP Summer Workshop: TASSP’s annual event attracts 2,500+ principals, assistant principals, directors, professors, aspiring administrators, teachers, counselors, and students.
- TCWSE Annual Conference: Aimed at women administrators, this conference features sessions, career panels, résumé reviews, mentoring discussions, and more.
- TESPA Conferences: TESPA hosts an annual Summer Conference, an Assistant Principals Conference, and a Grow Leadership Conference for PreK-12 school administrators.
- Texas Assessment Conference & TACTP Annual Conference: This joint event is dedicated to providing the latest information on assessment, testing, and accountability in education—elementary, secondary, and post-secondary.
- Texas Charter Schools Conference: Run by the TCSA, this event gives public charter school leaders a chance to talk about advancing the quality of public charter schools and improving student achievement.
- UT/TASA Summer Conference: This two-day annual meeting is co-sponsored by the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin.
Educational Leadership Training
- Academy for Transformational Leadership: This year-long, four-part academy is designed for Texas superintendents and other district and campus leaders who are passionate about the transformation of public education in Texas.
- Administrative Leadership Institute (ALI): ALI is a one-day conference for public school district leaders. It’s co-hosted by TASA and the Texas A&M University, Department of Educational Administration & Human Resource Development (EAHR) in partnership with the A&M Education Leadership Research Center (ELRC).
- Assistant/Aspiring Principal Workshop: Run by TASSP, this is a 3-day training event aimed at assistant principals—elementary through secondary—and teacher leaders who are looking to become campus administrators.
- Budget Boot Camp: As the title suggests, this one-day boot camp (often held at the TASA Midwinter Conference) is designed to give administrators training in state funding, planning, and school finance concerns.
- First-Time Superintendents Academy: TASA’s staggered, 4-session training program is designed around the most important learning outcomes for first- and second-year Texas superintendents.
- New Principal Academy: TASSP has put together a 4-day, hands-on training event geared at any grade-level new principal (0-3 years) or aspiring principal.