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Educational Leadership: All You Need to Know

Do you find that your conversations with friends and family always veer toward the current state of education in America? Do you also want to enhance leadership in schools to mold and shape the future of that education as a school leader?

If so, educational leadership and management is a growing field for change agents in educational organizations. These individuals seek to guide and positively influence the next generation of transformational educators.

But what is educational leadership, exactly?

The Basics: What Is Educational Leadership?

An EdD degree is a Doctorate of Education is a  graduate studies program designed to promote educational leadership; it produces the next generation of academic leaders. Once the coursework is completed, graduates will be prepared to help guide educational institutions, corporate organizations, and public-sector offices of education as they seek to achieve their goals and improve the quality of education, propelling students’ academic success.   

This type of program teaches students how to prioritize organizational and research skills, ethical values, and leadership, empowering them to:

  • Foster organizational change in a diverse society
  • Create a compassionate and cooperative learning environment
  • Implement efficient administration and technology strategies
  • Assess educational contexts at the individual, organizational, and societal levels
  • Align best practices with modern digital classrooms and technologies 

Ideal candidates are aspiring school leaders with a background in and passion for education, such as school principals, district administrators, experienced teachers, or college administrators. To be effective in the role, they must possess excellent communication, organizational, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills. 

Coursework for an Educational Leadership Program

The specific coursework for an educational leadership program will vary from one university to the next. For instance, at the California School of Education at Alliant International University, we offer:

  • EdD in Educational Leadership & Management (Masters) – A program tailored for those holding a master's degree. This shorter, more specialized program includes two new specialization tracks: Social Justice Studies and K-12/Charter School Studies. With only 46 credits required, it shortens the path to an EdD by almost a full year.

Throughout the program, you’ll learn how to adapt to dynamic environments and effectively guide students in their educational journey. Program highlights include: 

  • Research tools and application to practice – Acquire essential research skills needed for success as an educational leader.
  • Educational philosophy in a global society – Delve into the historical and philosophical roots of educational policy and practice.
  • Leadership and learning organizations – Investigate the impact of learning theories on instructional leadership within complex organizations.
  • Laws, ethics, and equity – Develop a strong understanding of the ethical and value-based dimensions of educational leadership.
  • Policy development and politics in higher education – Explore the intricate connections between policy development and political influences in the educational landscape.
  • Leadership, diversity, and inclusivity in American education – Examine the crucial roles of leadership, diversity, and inclusivity in American education.
  • International comparative educational practices – Investigate and compare educational practices and policies across different countries.
  • Leading organizational change and development – Analyze various leadership styles and strategies for fostering organizational change and development.
  • Financial and business management of the college – Effectively manage resources, including grants, to achieve organizational goals in light of ongoing trends and funding issues.
  • Research seminar – Enhance your data analysis skills for dissertation research through advanced techniques.
  • Literature review – Conduct an in-depth literature review to support your dissertation topic.
  • Dissertation proposal – Craft and present a compelling dissertation research proposal.
  • Quantitative research design and analysis – Master data-driven decision-making through quantitative research design and analysis.
  • Qualitative research design and analysis – Gain expertise in qualitative research methods and apply them in a small-scale field study.
  • Program evaluation – Develop proficiency in quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods for education programs.
  • Dissertation defense – Complete and defend the dissertation research project.

Career Pathways for EdD Graduates 

What a graduate does with an EdD degree depends on their interests, skill sets, and previous experiences. That said, students may apply their degree toward one of the following broad sectors: 

  • Lower educational leadership roles – EdD graduates are poised to serve as educational leaders within educational institutions—positions that require individuals to set goals, develop strategies, and ensure that schools and districts are meeting educational standards. Common roles include: 


    • Postsecondary teacher
    • School principals
    • Superintendents
    • District administrators 
  • Higher education pathway – For candidates who prefer higher education, plenty of roles that involve oversight of academic programs, faculty, and staff, strategic planning, and budgeting. Potential career paths include:
    • Chief academic officer
    • Educational administrator 
    • College dean
    • University provost
    • University president 
  • Corporate and nonprofit professional pathways – If you prefer to work in the private sector, there are countless organizations, agencies, think tanks, and nonprofits that seek to shape learning, technology, and educational policies. You can conduct research and advise organizations while pursuing a career as a:
    • Chief learning officer
    • Training and development manager 
    • Instructional designer
    • E-learning specialist
    • HR development specialist
    • Organizational development consultant

Pursue Educational Leadership at Alliant International University

If you want to build upon your existing skills and pursue a deeper career in education, consider our Educational Leadership and Management programs. 

The EdD in Educational Leadership and Management program at Alliant is designed for those who want to inspire change while guiding the next generation of transformational educators. We offer online courses, talented educators, and state-of-the-art facilities you need to drive your educational career forward. 

Contact us today to learn more about our EdD program. 


  1. Alliant International University. “Educational Leadership and Management: Doctor of Education (EdD).”… Accessed April 16h, 2023.

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