It’s no secret that the nature of education is evolving, and in many ways, must keep up with the ever-changing world of technology. The reality is that the need for more trained experts in the field of online teaching and other related concentrations is in high demand. In this ranking, we explore the top 9 most affordable online doctorate degrees in Online Teaching, simply ranked in order of out-of-state graduate tuition according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
#9 North Carolina State University
Online Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences
Graduate Enrollment: 10,282
Located in the beautiful Raleigh, NC, North Carolina State University is a research university rooted in their innovative and strong programs in science, technology, math, and engineering. Through the College of Education, North Carolina State University offers a 60-credit affordable online teaching doctoral program that results in a PhD in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences. The goal of this program is for students to analyze existing research and, as a result, create solutions for important educational issues. The three main areas this curriculum will explore are intentional designs in technology-enhanced learning environments, innovative curricula and instructional methods, and innovative educational policy. A concentration in distance education is available, as well as instructional design, game/educational software design, digital media design, and technology in the disciplines. Interested students can apply for a Doctoral assistantship, which will aid in tuition costs in exchange for 20 hours of work per week. The US News and World Report ranked NCSU’s online Graduate Education Programs #15 for 2018. North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Out-of-State Tuition: $23,967
#8 Boise State University
Online Doctor of Education in Educational Technology
Graduate Enrollment: 3,377
Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), Boise State University offers a 66-credit cheap online doctorate in online teaching. Graduates will receive an online EdD in Educational Technology. The program will explore emerging educational technologies and how those relate to the teaching practice. The curriculum will concentrate on aspects of online education like educational software development, online teaching and learning, educational games, and technology integration, among other areas. While all coursework can be completed fully online, there will be some synchronous classes required. This means you must attend the virtual class at a specific time. No out-of-state tuition is charged for online doctoral students in this program, and there is no distinction between an online degree or in-person degree. The word “online” will not appear on your diploma. Boise State fully supports online students by providing services like academic coaching, online tutoring, success workshops, and online writing consultations.
Out-of-State Tuition: $21,787
#7 Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, FL
EdD with a concentration in Instructional Technology and Distance Education Online
Graduate Enrollment: 16,296
Offered through the Abraham S. Fischler College of Education, the low-cost online doctorate in online teaching at Nova Southern University is an EdD with a concentration in Instructional Technology and Distance Education. This affordable online EdD in online teaching is unique because it merges the principles of Instructional Technology and Distance Education to create a program that models best practices within the distance education field. Students will be prepared to work in both educational and training environments, with the goal of improving learning and teaching through the use of instructional technology. Within the 54-credit program, students will take courses like Principles of Distance Education, Digital Media for Instructional Technology and Distance Education, Instructional Media, and Systems Analysis and Design. Students will be required to complete a doctoral orientation, a residency, all the required coursework, and a written dissertation. The recommended time-frame for completion is three years. Nova Southeastern University is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and the College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
Out-of-State Tuition: $18,932
#6 University of West Georgia
Online EdD in School Improvement with a concentration in K-12 Online Teaching
Graduate Enrollment: 2,291
The University of West Georgia offers an affordable online EdD in School Improvement with 12-credit hour specialization in K-12 Online Teaching. Though the coursework is delivered asynchronously and fully online, a 2-day in-person orientation on the Carrollton, GA campus is required during the first summer of enrollment. Sample coursework in the K-12 Online Teaching concentration includes Instructional Design, Introduction to Distance Education, Implementation, Assessment, and Evaluation of Online Learning, and Leadership and Administration of Online Learning and e-Learning. Students will devote 12-credit hours to writing their dissertation, with the guidance of a dissertation mentoring course. While most students complete the program in about four years, a full-time student can complete their EdD degree in as little as three years. Graduates will be prepared to work within the K-12 education framework as experts and change makers in their field. UWG is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC).
Out-of-State Tuition: $15,876
#5 City University of Seattle
Online EdD in Leadership with a Specialized Study in Adult Education and Online Learning
Graduate Enrollment: 1,271
The affordable online doctorate in online teaching at the City University of Seattle is an online EdD in Leadership with a specialized study in Adult Education and Online Learning. Students will complete the core courses, and then design their concentrated study in Adult Education and Online Learning. Other areas of focus include Organizational Leadership, Higher Education Leadership, Non-profit Leadership, Strategic Innovation, and Decision Making, among others. The curriculum is divided into Leadership Core Courses, Research Core Courses, Comprehensive Exams, Dissertation, 3 Residencies during the summer, and 24-credit hours of a specialization. Sample core courses include Cultural Competence in a Diverse Society, Strategic Thinking, Socially and Environmentally Responsible Leadership, and Developing Leaders of the Future. All students will complete an orientation, but students can choose to take the course fully online or on-campus in Seattle, WA. The City University of Seattle is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Out-of-State Tuition: $15,264
#4 University of Wyoming
Online EdD degree in Education with a Concentration in Learning, Design, and Technology
Graduate Enrollment: 2,606
Through the School of Counseling, Leadership, Advocacy, and Design, the University of Wyoming offers an 81-credit low-cost online EdD degree in Education with a focus in Learning, Design, and Technology. The program will expand on foundational concepts like distance education and instructional design, but will also provide advanced research and application methods of those educational principles. In addition, the core curriculum focuses on three core areas: (1) instructional design, visual literacy, and change; (2) media development and production; (3) instructional management, implementation, and technology integration. Although all of the coursework can be taken online, there are two required in-person orientation sessions. Course offerings include Introduction to Online Teaching, Communication in Distance Education, Interactive Learning Systems, and Design/Development of Instructional Systems. Next, students will take a research course, writing courses, dissertation courses, and 15-credit hours of electives. The University of Wyoming is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Out-of-State Tuition: $13,500
#3 University of North Texas
Online PhD in Learning Technologies
Graduate Enrollment: 6,828
The cheap online doctorate in online teaching offering at the University of North Texas is an online PhD in Learning Technologies. The coursework is available fully online for those students who cannot attend the Texas campus, but one in-person meeting is required every year in the fall semester. Among the 69-credit curriculum are 15-credit hours of core courses, 21 credit hours of Topic, 12 credit hours of Research, nine credit hours of Tools, and 12 credit hours of Dissertation classes. Sample courses topics include advanced instructional methods design, distributed learning systems, and data management and analysis. Students can opt to add a minor for 12 additional credits or a cognate for six additional credit hours. Graduates will be prepared to pursue careers as Directors of Distance Education, Instructional Designers, Faculty, Online Teachers, or Corporate Trainers, among others. The University of North Texas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC).
Out-of-State Tuition: $12,920
#2 Sam Houston State University
Online Doctor of Education in Instructional Systems Design and Technology
Graduate Enrollment: 2,522
With start dates every fall, Sam Houston State University offers a 60-credit fully online affordable doctoral program in online teaching that results in an EdD in Instructional Systems Design and Technology. The program is designed for graduates to implement their knowledge of instructional technology into an educational curriculum. Therefore, the program is offered collaboratively between the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Department of Computer Science. Graduates seek jobs in various technological fields, including instructional design, assessment of learning/management systems, networking, and assessment/implementation of instructional software. Students who graduate from the program will have the same degree as students on-campus; the degree will not say “online degree” on it. Sam Houston State University is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education has recognized SHSU as both a “Doctoral Research University” and a “Community Engaged” institution; an honor only awarded to 311 universities around the nation.
Out-of-State Tuition: $12,861
#1 Regent University
Virginia Beach, VA
Graduate Enrollment: 5,209
The affordable online doctoral program in online teaching offering at Regent University is perhaps the most flexible on this rankings list, as it offers three degree options: a PhD in Education with a focus in Educational Technology and Online Learning, an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Online Learning, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Online Learning. In these 66-credit low-cost online doctoral degrees in online teaching, students can take the coursework completely online but will be required to participate in a 4-day on-campus residency. Courses are delivered in 8-week formats, and sample courses include Advanced Online Learning, Instructional Design for Online Learning, Trends in Educational Technology, and Data-Driven Decision Making. Graduates will be prepared for careers like Online Course Designers, Technology Administrators, Program Executive Leaders, or University Faculty members. Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Out-of-State Tuition: $12,726
What degrees are available for an affordable online doctorate in Online Teaching?
There are two main degrees students can get through an affordable online doctoral program in Online Teaching: a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or a Doctor of Education (EdD). While the degree paths are similar, it is important to think about what you plan to do after graduation, because that will determine which degree you should pursue. A PhD degree will lead you to an academic path, where you will develop new research in the field and possibly pursue a career at universities and colleges. An EdD will utilize existing research and case studies to help you improve the business organization you work for and will lend itself to jobs in the corporate business setting. While nothing is ever finite, deciding if you prefer to research and teach or if you want a more hands-on education career will help you choose the path that will ultimately help you build the career and life you desire.
What are some common concentrations or specializations within the Online Teaching field?
The field of Online Teaching is vast, and you can take many paths after graduation. You could be prepared to teach online classes, or you could be involved in creating new technologies and curriculum for the ever-changing ways in which education is delivered to students. Choosing a concentration in the field that excites you could help determine your future career. Below are some common specializations you might find in online doctorate degrees in Online Teaching:
- Educational Technology and Online Learning: The study of Educational Technology refers to the development of technological tools like software and materials that will advance education. This specialization will be a great fit if you love developing technology and processes over teaching students.
- Instructional Systems Design and Technology or Learning, Design, and Technology: This area of focus will examine current systems and processes in education, identify issues or problems within them, and seek to provide solutions and better outcomes. The ultimate goal would be to improve performance in educational settings.
- Adult Education and Online Learning: This concentration will focus on strategies of online teaching as well as teaching specifically to adults. This area of study will lean more towards a hands-on teaching career, rather than a research-based or technological one.
- Teacher Education and Learning Sciences: This specialization will focus on helping classroom teachers learn effective and innovative teaching strategies so they can become the best teacher they can be.
- Instructional Design and Distance Education: This area of study will focus on planning, developing, and implementing educational materials intended for students learning at a distance.
Q: Do I need a Master’s degree for admission to an affordable online doctorate in Online Teaching?
A: Yes, you will. Admission to doctoral programs requires both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in a related education or technology field.
Q: How long does it take to complete a cheap online doctorate in Online Teaching?
A: Doctoral degree programs are more intense than Master’s degree programs and for good reason. By getting the highest degree possible, you become an expert in your field, and that doesn’t happen overnight. You can find some programs, that when taken on a full-time basis, that can be completed in as little as 3 years. Other programs can take 4, 5, or even 6 years to complete, depending on your course load. Some programs allow up to 7 or 8 years for you to complete your terminal doctoral degree in online teaching. It is important to check the details of your program prior to admission to make sure the parameters would for you.
Q: What will I study in my low-cost online doctoral degree in Online Teaching?
A: The answer to this question will largely be determined by the specific program and concentration you choose. But generally, you will study principles of online teaching, whether from a perspective of the teacher, the designer, or the solution-maker. In any path, the curriculum will largely focus on how technology works in distance educational settings, or education in general. Choosing which aspect of online teaching interests you will guide you to find the right degree for you.
Q: Are online doctoral degrees respected?
A: While some students may be concerned that an online degree may not hold the same weight as a traditional degree, as culture changes, employers are thinking less about the nature of the degree and more about the total package of the applicant. In fact, most online doctoral Online Teaching programs are geared toward working professionals, so employers 100% understand that students are juggling work and school at the same time, which could most likely say a lot about your ability to manage schedules and work under pressure. And because online education requires a high amount of self-discipline, completing the degree can be a sign of a hard worker that would be an asset to any business’ staff. In addition, most degrees do not reveal that the degree was taken online, and therefore, the only way a potential employer would know if you completed your degree online was if you told them yourself.
Q: Are there any low-cost doctorate programs in Online Teaching that do not require a dissertation?
A: While there could possibly be a program available that does not require a dissertation, most programs do, especially all on this rankings list. As a student seeking a terminal doctoral degree in Online Teaching, you will be required to research, write, and defend your dissertation. While the process will be arduous and at times, tedious, it will lead you to become an expert in your field of study. Don’t be scared by the daunting task—most online programs in Online Teaching have support for your research and writing process like mentorships and online workshops.
Q: How much do affordable online doctorate degrees in Online Teaching cost?
A: In this rankings list, the tuition for the programs range from $12,000-$24,000 per year (out of state tuition). You could potentially find a cheaper online doctorate program, but you’ll want to make sure it fits within your criteria and holds accreditation from a reputable institution. However, some schools go all the way up to $40,000 per year.
Q: How can I pay for my cheap online doctorate in Online Teaching?
A: Making room in your budget for school costs can be daunting. But luckily, there are many scholarships and financial aid options available. Most schools have information on their website to help guide you in that process. For military service members, many schools have tuition discounts or special scholarships available, so make sure to look for those in your search. Another option is to talk to the institution where you currently work. Some have tuition reimbursement programs, where they will pay for your education, and you can pay them back through working contracts. Some schools have options for students to become Teaching Assistants, which could help with tuition costs. Other schools like North Carolina State University offer Doctoral Assistantships where students will work for 20 hours per week in exchange for lesser tuition costs.
Q: Can I work while I pursue my low-cost online doctorate in Online Teaching?
A: Yes, absolutely. Most programs are designed with working professionals in mind, and because classes are typically delivered in asynchronous formats, you’ll be able to complete your coursework when it’s convenient for your schedule. Some programs, however, do incorporate synchronous classes, which means you’ll need to log-on at certain times. Either way, it’s important to consider that the coursework will not be easier or lighter because you are taking your classes online. In fact, most work is identical to on-campus programs, and the classes are taught by the same faculty. Even though you could technically work, you may not want to, or you may want to back off your hours at work while you are pursuing your degree. Though it might take some figuring out, hopefully, you can find a balance that will work for you.
Q: Does the location of the school matter for my affordable online degree in Online Teaching?
A: If you are taking a 100% online doctorate Online Teaching program, the location of the school will not matter, as all coursework will be submitted online and any field experiences can be completed in your regional location. However, you might find some degree programs like Regent University’s that offer blended options or have mandatory orientation or seminar requirements, so make sure to check the details of your program before fully committing. Other students might prefer to live geographically close to their chosen school for support in advising or practicum placements. That decision will be completely up to you and what you prefer. Note that many schools do have online advising and student support, as well as video/Skype capabilities with faculty and mentors. But if face-to-face support is important to you, choosing a school near to you might be a wise choice.
Q: What kind of careers can I pursue with an affordable Online Teaching doctorate online degree?
A: While many people may assume that a degree in online teaching will land you in the classroom, there are actually many jobs you can get. For example, you could work in schools, yes, but you could also work in the corporate business world, for the government, or as a freelance consultant, among other options. Some examples include:
- Distance Education Curriculum Developer/Instructional Coordinators
- Instructional Design Director
- Chief Learning Officer
- Adjunct Faculty/Professor
- EdTech Curriculum Developer
- Worldwide Training Director
- Designer of Training Materials
- Learning and Development Director
Q:What kind of salary will I earn with a low-cost doctorate degree in Online Teaching?
A: Your salary will vary based on your chosen career, but one thing is for sure; you will certainly make more money with a doctorate degree than any other degree. Your potential for growth in your career is substantial, too. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, some sample salaries include:
- Instructional Coordinator: $66,680 (mean annual wage for 2017)
- Adjunct Faculty/Professor: $76,000 (mean annual wage for 2017)
- Training and Development Manager: $108,000 (mean annual wage for 2017)
Q:Are there any professional organizations available for professionals in the Online Teaching field?
A: Yes! Just as careers in this field are widespread, so are the professional organizations. The ones you choose to become a member of will be determined by your specific goals, professional needs, and career aspirations. A few options include:
- Online Learning Consortium (OLC)
- Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT)
- The eLearning Guild
- International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)
- United States Distance Learning Association
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