Do you already have a background in education, organizational leadership, or management? Are you interested in helping improve job performance in an organized setting? If so, getting a low-cost online doctorate in training and development might be your next step. Practitioners in the training and development field play a crucial role in educating, developing, and training today’s workforce, and you can be a part of that change. Graduates of these programs are ready to pursue careers in higher education, human resource development and training, non-profit organizations, corporate businesses, or government agencies. In this ranking, we explore 4 of the most affordable training and development doctoral programs that are available fully online. The programs are simply ranked by their out-of-state tuition cost (unless otherwise noted), according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, with #4 being the most expensive and #1 being the least expensive. Originally, only programs with an out-of-state tuition under $25,000 per year made our cut.
Looking for more information on online doctorates in the field of education? Take a look at our online doctorate in education ranking here .
#4 University of Idaho
PhD in Education with a Specialization in Adult, Organizational Learning and Leadership Online
Graduate Enrollment: 2,273
Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the University of Idaho serves almost 12,000 students across five campuses, 42 overseas extension campuses, and distance education. The university is a national leader in student-centric education and strives to prepare its graduates to excel in their careers and respective communities by learning to solve real-world problems.
The affordable online doctorate in training and development at the University of Idaho results in a PhD in Leadership and Counseling with a focus in Adult, Organizational Learning and Leadership. The program is designed specifically with the flexibility and convenience needed for working adult learners. This degree prepares students to become proficient in teaching and leading training and development programs in various career fields such as government, non-profit organizations, business, and education. Within the 84 credits in the program, the academic plan is broken up into Doctoral Core (8 credit hours), Research Core (15 credit hours), Research Electives (3 credits hours), and a Specialization (18 credit hours). Students then complete six credit hours of an internship and 18-21 credits of doctoral research and dissertation.
Out-of-State Graduate Tuition: $26,990
#3 University of Arkansas
Online Doctor of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education
Graduate Enrollment: 4,392
Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the University of Arkansas prides itself on providing quality education, but also on its commitment to all students, both traditional and non-traditional. Online students receive the same exact degree as on-campus students and will also get their name carved in the Senior Walk, a 3-mile long road that pays tribute to Arkansas’ 175,000 graduates.
Among the University’s many online degrees is an online Doctor of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education. The program explores advanced topics in the human resources field, including training, management development, customer service, and total quality management. Note that the GRE must be taken prior to admission. The University of Arkansas’ Global Campus utilizes a self-paced online model, where students can set the timetable for their education. This also means that there are no semester parameters, with students taking classes when they can. With 20 start dates per year and a 12-week course length, the University of Arkansas’ self-paced structure provides maximum flexibility for today’s non-traditional graduate student. Students enrolled in online degree programs may be eligible to pay in-state tuition.
Out-of-State Graduate Tuition: $21,032
#2 Northcentral University
La Jolla, CA
Doctor in Education with a Specialization in Global Training and Development Online
Graduate Enrollment: 10,465
Because Northcentral University is strictly an online graduate university, they have the opportunity to hone in on specific groups of studies and provide a quality, innovative education that prepares passionate professionals to excel in their respective careers. Accredited by the Senior College and University Commission, Northcentral University offers an online Doctor in Education with a specialization in Global Training and Development. The program merges theory, research, and real-world application to create a curriculum that will propel graduates into careers in training, international training, education, or consulting. Students in the program will learn how to design programs that effectively improve performance in the workplace. With 54 credits in the program, students will take 18 courses and can expect to complete their degree in 40 months.
The program utilizes an applied experiential learning method through case studies and real-life situations. Of all the programs on this list, Northcentral University’s is perhaps the most flexible, as it offers start dates every Monday and a one-to-one learning model that provides support for all online students. Note that there are no GRE or GMAT test requirements for admission.
Graduate Tuition: $16,983
#1 Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Online Doctor of Education in Adult Learning and Development
Graduate Enrollment: 1,087
Among its 40+ online degrees and certificates is Northwestern State University of Louisiana’s online Doctor of Education in Adult Learning and Development with a specialization in Adult Learning and Workforce Development. Within the curriculum of this program, students will be well-rounded in the following areas: teaching and learning, curriculum and instructional design, adult development, workforce development, program management and planning, organizational change, and community college leadership. While students will be equipped to take on various careers, the areas of focus that pertain to this ranking include leadership roles in workforce development, post-secondary education, and adult learning and development.
eNSU now offers flat-rate tuition for online learners, which could make getting a cheap online doctorate in training and development more attainable. Online students will also pay in-state tuition rates. Ranked as one of the nation’s best online schools for military veterans, NSU of Louisiana is considered a military friendly university and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
In-State Graduate Tuition: $5,738
Out-of-State Graduate Tuition: $16,526
What degrees are available for an online doctorate in training and development?
There are two main degrees you can get through an affordable online doctoral program in training and development: a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education or a Doctor of Education (EdD) in Training and Development. 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 direction will lead you to an academic path, where you will develop new research in the field and possibly pursue a career in higher education. An EdD will utilize existing research and your personal knowledge base to find solutions for problems in the educational setting as administrators and trainers. PhD is for students who desire to research and teach at a high level, while the EdD is for students with a goal to understand the world.
What are some common concentrations or specializations within the training and development field?
In this ranking, we explore four different specializations within the training and development field:
Global Training and Development: This concentration focuses on the educational programs and initiatives that businesses implement to streamline training and development within an organization. This could include the processes of training a new employee, creating new programs or revitalizing old programs in order to increase job performance and productivity, or train employees in areas such as new processes or equipment.
Human Resource and Workforce Development Education: This concentration is similar to the Global Training and Development specialization, as it focuses on programs, initiatives, and integrated training that will increase job performance, and ultimately improve the overall effectiveness of an institution.
Adult, Organizational Learning and Leadership: This concentration focuses on teaching graduates to lead, manage, and develop employees in the workplace, with the main goal of provoking change.
Other concentrations may include:
While these concentrations are not on our list, you can find them as part of other programs that did not fit in our criteria. However, if any of these paths interest you, they might be worth checking out.
- Human Development
- Learning and Development
- Organization Development
- Workplace Learning and Performance
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is an affordable online doctorate in training and development?
A: An online doctorate in training and development is the highest degree level you can get in your discipline and is the next step in education for students holding a bachelor’s and master’s degree in a related field. Though students entering these programs might have a variety of educational backgrounds, it is common for applicants to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education, human resources, or business administration. Before you get started, though, you’ll want to think about what you want to do with your career. Do you want to teach at the university level? Do you want to conduct research on training and development? Do you want to oversee and plan educational programs? Do you want to manage workforce training? The answers to these questions will determine which direction you should go. Keep in mind that your educational background might play a role in what program you can consider.
Q: How long will it take to get my low-cost online doctorate in training and development?
A: While the time it will take to get your doctorate will vary from program to program, it is more time consuming than a majority of master’s degree programs. Depending on how much coursework you take at a time, you’ll need to prepare anywhere from 3-6 years to complete your online PhD or EdD in training and development. It might be wise to take a survey of your life and ask a few questions before getting started: Am I ready to commit several years of my life to this endeavor? Will I be able to make time in my work/family life to pursue this higher degree? Do I have enough self-motivation to complete this degree entirely online? Will it progress my career or enable me to take positions I wouldn’t be able to without the degree? If you answer YES to most of these questions, then you know you are on the right path.
Q: Is getting my online doctorate in training and development worth it?
A: With such a significant time and money commitment in front of you, it is natural to wonder, “Is getting my online doctorate in Training and Development worth it?” Depending on what career path you are seeking, you might even be required to have a doctorate. So this feels like the next step. And now, with so many online programs popping up, getting a degree online, even a doctorate, is easier than ever. Most programs are designed for working professionals and allow you to take your classes asynchronously, or on your own time. Having flexibility is great, but what might make this degree worth it the most is the pay increase you will see on your paycheck. The average salary for one of the most popular careers, training and development manager, is $113,350 per year (taken from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ). In general, you will make more money in senior-level positions, whether in academia or the business world, which an affordable online doctorate in training and development will help you achieve.
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 Training and Development 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 training and development that do not require a dissertation?
A: While almost every doctorate program requires a dissertation, you can find some programs that do not require them, especially in some hands-on fields like sports. The thought process here would be that these programs are designed specifically for professionals in the given field, and therefore, the dissertation is replaced with research or capstone projects. However, you will want to consider what your goals are. Is it important to your career aspirations to have a well thought out and targeted dissertation? Does that give you merit or specific credit in your desired field? Do you feel like your degree will be taken seriously if you don’t have a completed dissertation? There isn’t a right or wrong answer here; in most situations, people understand that the nature of education is changing. The decision is up to you!
Q: How do the online doctorate programs in training and development work?
A: Typically, you will spend 2-3 years on core coursework. Once you complete those general requirements, you will have one year of planning and researching your dissertation. The following year will be a writing year, followed by graduation. In some cases, you may be required to orally defend your research before a committee in order to graduate. Check your program details before starting so you can get a better idea of what your specific program will entail.
Q: How much do affordable online doctorate degrees in training and development cost?
A: In this rankings list, the tuition for the programs range from $15,000-$23,000 per year (out of state tuition). However, with Northwestern State University of Louisiana offering in-state tuition to online learners, you could pay much less. Also, 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 degree in Training and Development?
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 websites to help guide you in that process. For military service members, many schools have tuition discounts or special scholarships available, so make to sure to look for those in your search. The Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers flat-rate tuition, which could help you know exactly what your costs will be. Other schools, like the University of Arkansas, allow online students to pay in-state tuition, which can save students tens of thousands of dollars per year. 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.
Q: Can I work while I pursue my online doctorate in Training and Development?
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 schools like the University of Arkansas provide maximum flexibility. They utilize a self-paced online model, where students can set the timetable for their education. This also means that there are no semester parameters, with students taking classes when they can. But, 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 training and development degree?
A: If you are taking a 100% online doctorate training and development program like the schools listed in this ranking, the location of the school will not matter, as all coursework will be submitted online and any practicums can be completed in your regional location. However, you might find some degree programs that offer blended options or have mandatory orientation or seminar requirements, so make sure to check the details of your program before fully committing. Note that all of the programs on this list are offered 100% online. 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: Are all online doctorate programs in Training and Development accredited?
A: No, not all online doctoral programs are accredited. However, every program on this low-cost online training and development doctorate rankings list is accredited. While it may not be a requirement to attend an accredited school for your future job plans, it is something to consider when finding the right program. Accredited institutions have standards to adhere to and the accreditation mark certainly vouches for the validity of the program. Programs on this list are accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC), Senior College and University Commission, and Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Q: Are there online training and development programs with no prerequisites?
A: No, all online and traditional doctoral programs require both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. In most cases, schools require the degrees to be in a related education or human resources field. A degree in business administration might also be accepted, depending on your aspirations. Double check the details of your program to make sure your current degrees will be the right fit for admission.
Q: Are there any training and development programs that do not require a GRE/GMAT for admission?
A: Yes, there are some online training and development programs that do not require a standardized test like the GRE or GMAT for admission. One such school on this rankings list is Northcentral University. If that is an important detail to you, consider Northcentral, or explore the application process of the program you are interested in to double check. It may be important to remember that most master’s degree programs require the GRE, so if you’ve already taken the test for admission to that program, you might be eligible to use that score towards admission to a doctoral program.
Q: Are there any affordable doctorate training and development programs that are accelerated?
A: Doctoral programs are much different from master’s degrees, and some bachelor degree lengths. Because of the in-depth study required of doctoral students, you won’t find many accelerated programs. Typically, the quickest program length for this type of terminal degree is about 3 or 3.5 years. Keep in mind that the doctorate is the terminal level you can achieve within this field and will yield you an expert. Becoming an expert takes time!
FAQ Career Questions
Q: What kind of careers can I pursue with an affordable training and development doctorate online degree?
A: With a doctoral degree in training and development, you’ll have many paths to choose from, including careers like:
- Cognitive Performance Coach
- Human Capital Analyst
- Learning and Development Consultant
- Academic Researcher
- HR Manager
- Training and Development Manager
- Corporate Trainer
Q: What kind of salary will I earn with a doctorate degree in Training and Development?
A: Because the career options in this field are so vast, the salary ranges will be as well. However, one thing you can bank on is that getting your doctorate degree will definitely increase your annual salary. Below, we’ve shared some common jobs in this field and shared the average annual salary (according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics).
- Training and Development Manager: $113,350 per year (average annual pay)
- Post-secondary Teacher: $79,540 per year (average annual pay)
- Human Resources Manager: $129,570 (average annual pay)
- Instructional Coordinator: $66,290 per year (average annual pay)
Q: Are there any professional organizations available for professionals in the training and development field?
A: Joining a professional organization is not only good for your resume, but it will also help you keep up to date with any news in your field. But perhaps the most important reason to join an organization is for the networking opportunities. You never know who you might meet and how that person will play a role in your career down the road. Here are a few professional organizations for training and development that we found:
- International Association for Continuing Education and Training
- International Society for Performance Improvement
- National Staff Development Training Association
- National Council for Workforce Education
- American Society for Training & Development
Education and Teaching Related Rankings and Resources:
- Education and Teaching Degrees
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- Most Affordable Online Doctorate Degrees in Online Teaching
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- National Center for Education Statistics
- School websites