Education Specialist Degree (Ed.S.)
As a teacher, you might be thinking about taking the next step in your career. Perhaps you are interested in expanding your knowledge, changing direction, or moving into a leadership position. Or, you might want to tap into the greater prestige and higher salary that typically comes with career advancement. Although there are a number of ways you can advance your career, one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways is to get an Education Specialist Degree (Ed.S.).
This page provides all the information you need to know in order to embark on this career, including: what the degree is and what it entails, available specializations, careers, and online Ed.S. degrees.
What Is an Educational Specialist Degree?
Educational specialist degrees are targeted degrees that fall between master’s and doctorate degrees. These degree programs require applicants to possess a master’s degree but involve less coursework than a doctorate (Ph.D. or Ed.D.). As the name implies, the Ed.S. is highly focused on developing proficiency in a particular specialization. Thus, it is important that you decide what area you want to specialize in before you pursue a degree.
Types of Ed.S. Degree Programs
Based on your area of interest within the educational spectrum, you can choose from a number of different specialty areas. These programs generally fall into four categories:
- Leadership and policy
- Curriculum development
- School psychology
- Specific areas of teaching such as special education, reading and literacy, etc.
You can learn more about available careers and how specializations translate into jobs in the What Can I Do With an Education Specialist Degree? section.
Who Should Consider an Ed.S. Program?
An Ed.S. degree is not for everyone. They are unique degrees that lead to career advancement in particular areas. This degree might be a great fit for you if:
Educational specialist degree programs can open the door to a wide variety of focused careers. These careers fall into the following general categories.
Leadership and Policy
If you are interested in making a difference not just in the classroom but at the school or district level, you will want to explore degree programs in this area. Common careers for graduates of these programs include:
Behind the scenes of the classroom are the professionals who develop the curricula that is the backbone of instruction. This involves an understanding of state or federal standards, knowledge of educational theory and the ways that people learn, and awareness of cutting-edge research. Common careers for graduates include:
More and more, education professionals are realizing the importance of addressing individual students’ issues in order to facilitate learning. A great teacher, solid curriculum, and enlightened district are not enough to guarantee success for students who have certain types of problems.
Typical roles include:
Content Area Specializations Education
Educators are increasingly needed to teach specialty populations and remediation. As such, schools offer degree programs in areas such as:
While some individuals may decide to use knowledge gained in an Ed.S. program to teach, others create programs/curricula and conduct teachers training.
Using an Ed.S. Degree in Untraditional Settings
While many of the careers discussed above focus on careers in school settings, there are a wide variety of non-school careers that Ed.S. graduates might apply their skills to. Examples include:
Education Specialist Degree Programs
Ed.S. degree programs vary widely depending on area of focus. It is important to decide which specialty you want to pursue before exploring schools.
In general, Ed.S. programs require between 30 and 65 credits and take 18 months to 4 years to complete. If you’re considering pursuing a doctorate degree sometime in the future, make sure that credits earned in your selected program are accredited and can be applied toward the degree.
What Are the Program Requirements for an Education Specialist Degree?
Admission requirements may differ based on the school and specialization you choose. However, most programs require the following:
Other requirements might include a specified grade point average in the applicant’s master’s program, writing samples, or personal statements.
The Curriculum in an Educational Specialist Program
Given the highly focused nature of educational specialist degrees, most programs launch immediately into specialized topics instead of focusing on the general core curriculum. Following are descriptions of curriculum in some of the different specializations:
Online Ed.S. Programs
Most online Ed.S. programs are hybrid programs, meaning that although you can take many courses online, you will also need to engage in hands-on training such as a school internship.
Online programs allow you to pursue your degree at your own pace. They provide flexibility for those who are unable to go to school full-time due to work or family responsibilities.
However, because online programs are relatively new, many are still establishing their reputations. Ask people you know and trust, such as administrators in your school district, whether they think the programs you’re considering will help you achieve your professional goals. Do your own research, too. Look online to see what graduates of the programs you’re considering have to say. If a program produces lots of alumni who say their experience there was valuable, and who have landed the types of jobs you want to someday hold, then that might be the right online program for you.
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