A doctoral degree in education is an incredibly challenging, yet highly rewarding and beneficial, level of study. The curricula builds upon your previous experience and knowledge and introduces new concepts, theories, and techniques to further advance your standing and abilities in areas of education. Most programs require you to have several years of experience as a teacher prior to entering into the doctoral program, and many professionals continue in their scholastic positions of employment throughout their program. In this way their work and their study influence one another and create a more sound learning experience that develops concrete skills.
Not all, but some doctoral degrees in education will require you to complete an internship or an advanced internship to graduate. Internships involve real-world experiences that put techniques learned in the classroom to use in a way that teaches practical applications of complex theories. Internships are based in a business, school, or organization within one’s community and require a certain amount of time, anywhere from 30-100 hours, to complete. There are a huge number of types of internships associated with this degree, and, depending on whether a student is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Education or a Doctorate in Education, they will be place either in a college or university, or in an administrative environment within the school system or a private firm.
As an intern, you will be placed alongside a professional within the industry—a teacher, administrator, dean, superintendent, executive educator, etc. You will shadow this individual in their work and observe the way in which they employ the educational methods that you have been learning in class. The person or persons whom you are interning with will ask you to engage in certain tasks that are crucial to the job so that the practical and theoretical applications can be put to use in a way that is more hands-on and understandable. An internship will also involve a class that typically meets infrequently, about once a week. In this class you will discuss experiences in the internship with a professor and classmates undergoing the same process, as well as write papers illustrating what you’ve learned. This is an environment for you to be able to talk about how certain educational methods (such as curriculum design, faculty management, grant writing, and more) have been successful or unsuccessful, as well as other areas of the discipline that you have experienced or seen as they apply to the real-world.
Educational internships are an excellent way for students to understand how certain skills are employed successfully, rather than just studying their legitimacy from a book or a lecture. Some students are already employed and can apply such methods to their current position, but other programs, that are more specialized for example, may require students to complete, say, a superintendent internship that puts a student alongside someone very high up in the school system. Students will gain outstanding advantages in their internships, and will make supremely beneficial networking connections that greatly support their careers.
For more information about doctoral degrees in education, navigate to our list of the Best Online Doctoral Degrees in Education Programs.