Two education professionals sit and have a discussion together.

Administrative Leadership Degree: Ed.S. vs. Ed.D.

Do you want to serve your community as a change agent and champion of educational equity? Read more about accelerating educational systems with curriculum and instructional design, teaching, and learning best practices through Ed.S. in Administrative Leadership or Ed.D. in Administrative Leadership degrees.

What is Administrative Leadership?

At its very essence, administrative and educational leadership is the bedrock of collaboration and unification of all stakeholders: students, parents, families, community advocates, administrators, teachers, related service providers, and support personnel.

It is the driving force for enhancing a high-quality and accessible education system for children  of all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. When communities of stakeholders merge  missions, visions, and goals, we collectively transform administrative leadership, policies, and protocols.

 Qualities of Exceptional Administrative Leaders

  • Goal chasers
  • Education champions
  • Forward-thinkers
  • Policy advocates
  • Community liaisons
  • Visionaries
  • Instructional leaders
  • Curriculum design experts
  • Strategic problem-solvers
  • Teacher supporters
  • Positive school climate boosters

Administrative and educational leaders design instructional frameworks aligned with evidence-based practices and state standards, apply practical knowledge for decision-making and consider the diverse needs of both students and educators for successful technology integration and innovative instructional ideas and practices. Additionally, they adhere to local, state, and federal mandates along with leveraging financial data and complex budgets.

How Do Administrative Leaders Excel?

To excel as an administrative leader, you have to incorporate long-term viability strategies and adapt to unforeseen changes as they arise.

Leaders remain current with cutting-edge and evidence-based approaches to curriculum development, effectively allocate classroom resources, proactively invest in teacher and staff professional development, and advance academic performance with stakeholder input.

Most importantly, administrative/educational leadership is grounded in rapport-building and strong relationships. Early on in my career, I embraced the power of cultivating stakeholder connections, and maintaining open lines of communication.

Every stakeholder’s voice matters, and gaining perspective on their actionable ideas is vital. With this growth mindset, we can collectively recruit more stakeholders in our strategic missions, visions, and goals.

Furthermore, administrative leaders are lifelong learners and enrich their abilities with professional development opportunities. As an administrative/educational leader, I strive to lead by example and persistently engage in self-assessment and reflection, promoting change with the status quo, and advocating for institutional policies that significantly impact high academic excellence standards.

What are the Differences Between an Ed.S. and Ed.D. Administrative Leadership Program?

When I initially enrolled in Carson-Newman University’s Ed.D. in Administrative Leadership program, I vowed to enrich my theoretical and research foundation in social and emotional learning and psychosocial development.

Prior to enrolling in my first dissertation course, I received an unexpected email regarding meeting all of Ed.S. administrative leadership requirements and earning the optional degree. While working on my doctorate degree, I never thought that an Ed.S. and an Ed.D. would be affordable and accessible. That is the power of divine intervention and attending a Christian university.

By purposefully understanding psychosocial development, educational leaders are better equipped to institute trusting relationships, positive reinforcement of competencies, emotional regulation practices, and conflict resolution with students, parents, and families.

While pursuing an advanced graduate degree at Carson-Newman University, you will take the same courses with your Ed.S. and Ed.D. colleagues. Ed.D. students are required to complete quantitative and qualitative research design, critical analysis and research design, professional composition studies, and 12 hours for the doctoral dissertation.

What are the Benefits of an Ed.S. and Ed.D.?

The Ed.S. is an excellent option for earning your degree in a shorter duration of time, acquiring state-specific educator licenses, certifications, and endorsements, and achieving advanced proficiency in an educational leadership role. Along the way, you can take advantage of an Ed.D. degree completion program.

With an Ed.D., you can be an invaluable asset for the highest level administrator and educational leadership positions (i.e., dean, provost, vice president, and president), apply research to practice and solve real-world problems, and brand yourself as a creditable practitioner in the field. The dissertation offers a noteworthy opportunity to contribute current knowledge to educational research.

What is the Focus of an Ed.S. Administrative Leadership Program?

Ed.S. administrative leadership programs focus on integrating pedagogical practices, research and theory, and practical application in real-world settings.

Throughout the program, you will systematically develop the key skills for resolving school-wide and district-wide challenges, implementing evidence-based instructional practices for diverse learners, and developing academic performance plans aligned with school and system-level goals and objectives.

Additionally, you will learn to evaluate the school’s or district’s financial operations and propel data-informed decision-making.

Which Advanced Graduate Degree is Right for My Career Goals?

Enrolling in an Ed.S. or Ed.D. program is a career-defining decision. If you are finding yourself at a crossroads, reflect on the following:

  • What is my purpose for earning this advanced graduate degree?
  • Which degree aligns best with my career aspirations?
  • In what ways could an Ed.S. or Ed.D. be advantageous for achieving a K-12, college and university, nonprofit, or civic service educational leadership role?
  • How would a superintendent, chief academic officer, or college and university role (i.e., dean, provost, vice president, or president) elevate my career path?

With an Ed.S., you can acquire content-specific knowledge within a new discipline and apply your educational leadership skills in the workplace. Regarding an Ed.D., you can pursue more applied research and theory opportunities and integrate educational leadership practices into real-world experiences. For an Ed.S., the timeframe for completion is typically one to two years. Generally, an Ed.D. may be completed in three to seven years.

While finalizing your decision, consider these five components:

  • Affordability
  • Accessibility
  • Time commitment
  • Degree recognition
  • Career aspirations