Human beings are learners; it's a basic principle of psychology, and especially of the subfield known as educational psychology. None of human progress or development – whether as individual people, or a cultures and societies – would be possible if we could not learn from others, from experience, and from mistakes. And from the internet, of course, which is why students who are considering an educational psychology PhD, or already in an educational psychology PhD program, may want to learn what they can do with an online Educational Psychology PhD.
What is Educational Psychology?
To back up, what is educational psychology all about? The short version is this: educational psychology is the scientific study of how human beings learn (for your next trivia night – the philosophical study of how people learn is "epistemology"). Educational psychologists use the scientific method to understand complex questions like how people process and internalize new ideas, how our ability to learn changes with age, how mental illness or disability affects learning, and how technology can improve or alter learning.
On that last score, modern technology has radically changed learning – including how educational psychologists are educated. With increased demand for educational psychology jobs, colleges and universities have been developing programs to help school counselors, teachers, and psychology professionals specialize in educational psychology at the highest level. Online Educational Psychology PhD programs are becoming much more common, allowing working professionals in the field to earn their doctorate without leaving their current jobs. And as programs become more common, online doctoral programs are becoming more respected and accepted – especially when they come from a nationally-recognized university.
For professionals who are already in some field related to educational psychology, the ability to keep their career active is essential – not only because working adults need to get paid, but because the work of educational psychology is so important. As our awareness of dyslexia, ADHD, autism, and other disabilities that affect learning grows, it becomes more evident that expert knowledge of learning is crucial not just to the lives of individual students but to society as a whole.
What Kinds of Educational Psychology Jobs are Available?
Educational psychology, because of its area of focus, is very oriented toward educational settings. That means that educational psychology jobs are primarily found in fields with students – primary, middle, and high schools, colleges and universities, community learning centers, and the like. But education does not just happen in schools; adult learning is becoming a much more important area of interest, and educational psychologists may find jobs in private industry, in consulting firms, or as independent consultants, helping businesses learn how to train their employees in ways most effective for adult learners.
Educational psychologists are primarily educated a scientist-practitioners, meaning that, while they do research, most educational psychology jobs are focused on applying research to real situations. So while educational psychologists may work, for example, as researchers for government agencies or private think tanks, most educational psychology jobs work directly with learners. An educational psychology PhD can also qualify professionals for leadership positions, where they will be developing learning plans, curricula, and assessments, and managing other professionals in clinical or educational settings.
An educational psychology doctorate degree – whether it's an EdD in School Psychology, a Doctor of Psychology, or a PhD in Psychology – is almost certainly guaranteed to increase your professional pay, and to open up doors to advancement in the field. With the affordability and convenience of many online educational psychology doctorates, the return on investment can be significant – and the difference you make in learners' lives even more so.