Should I get a doctorate?

Seeing how there is no factual answer, I’m putting this in GD.

I have been a teacher since 1996. In that time I have spent:
1 year as a science teacher in an NPS
7 years as a middle school math teacher
2 years as a special ed math teacher
2 years as a high school math coach
This year as a high school math teacher

I have credentials and master’s degrees in both math and special ed.

I am finishing up my dissertation for a EdD in math education and I will be working on my national boards for math, but my passion is in special education and eventually I would like to become university professor. If that doesn’t happen, I will work my way through administration. Having just moved to Phoenix, I could try to go to ASU for a PhD in Special Education. Incidently, my son and girlfriend will be joining me here in a year or two (long story) and so there will be major family commitments before I finish. This is my thought process:

Marketability: With a PhD in SpEd, I could get a university job very easily, but in 5 years I plan on moving to Trinidad, Colo with the closest university 2 hours away.

Personal Growth: I would love to be a professional student and education is very important to me. Let’s face it, adding some more postnomials to become Saint Cad, Ed.D., Ph.D., NBCT would be pretty damned impressive . . . but is it worth the time and money? The intangible in this is by not getting a doctorate, I feel like my education is somehow incomplete. I don’t think I could do a Ph.D in mathematics otherwise I’d be going after that as well. Add to this the idea that if I get nat. boards in math but want to go into special ed, I feel I should do my boards in SpEd as well.

Career path: Yes SpEd teachers/administrators are in demand but so are math teachers. Since I became qualified to teach SpEd, I seem to be dragged back into math. Is fate telling me that this is where I should be? How much of an advantage would a doctorate in SpEd be in the high school teaching/administration beyond what I have now? If I have a doctorate in math ed but not special ed, is my background too tilted towards math to ever get back into special ed?

With the wide range of dopers, I’m hoping someone can offer some outside perspective on this. My co-workers are no help. The math people think I should concentrate on math, the SpEd people think I should make the change, and everyone else says “Why the hell do you want to go back to school?”

I’m a little bit confused by what you’re saying about your goals. You say that you want to get a Ph.D. in special education and become a university professor. Are you thinking of becoming a professor in a school of education? Other than that, I’m not sure what sort of position such a degree would be useful for. (I’m not saying that no such positions exist, just that I don’t know of any.)

I do have experience with doctoral programs in math, if that’s what you’d be interested in hearing about. But I don’t really know much about special education.

Speaking as an outsider with no PhD so YMMV:

My fathers one regret so far has been not getting his PhD when he could have. It also plays absolutely no role in his career or pay in anyway, he just could have had one to have one.

According to another thread on the dope (cant find it now but I know its there!) a couple of Dopers with doctorates are having a huge amount of trouble finding a University job, so I don’t know if its a guaranteed in once you get your doctorate.

My overall opinion (not worth much) is if you have the means and the desire to do it. GO FOR IT! :slight_smile:

Regardless what you do regarding your education, we probably do not want to debate it. I’ll send this over to IMHO.

Apparently, 1/3 of Special Ed professorships (yes, school of education) in the US are unfilled. Many I have talked to said that a PhD in SpEd will have their jobs. Hell, when my masters program was recruiting a couple of us to get doctorates, they showed us our future office!

I’m not sure what getting an Ed.D involves, but getting a PhD and being a professor involves research. Do you enjoy doing research? Do you want to do researchy things for the rest of your life? Then it is worth it. I’ve never regretted the time I put in for a second. My wife hated lab work and left with a Masters, and she’s never regretted that either.

How attached are you to Trinidad, CO (or CO in general)? One thing I can tell you is that when looking for a job in academia, you absolutely CANNOT be wedded to one region of the country. If your field is typical of other academic fields, every job you will apply for will have *at least * 100 applicants, and possibly as many as 300. You take what you can get, where you can get it.

ETA–I love academia and can’t imagine doing anything else. But it requires a certain flexibility.