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Education Specialist Degrees in Illinois

Education Specialist Degrees in Illinois

One of the best things about being a teacher is the fact that education is always changing. While this does mean you have to keep on learning to stay on top of changes in your field, it also means that you can always keep improving and learning how to do more with the classroom time you are given.

As an Illinois teacher, you may work in one of the many small suburbs of this state, one of the urban schools in Chicago, or at a private school. No matter where you spend your days, an education specialist degree may give you the tools you need to become a more confident and competent teaching professional.

Role of Educators With an Ed.S Degree in Illinois

Depending on your area of specialty, an education specialist degree may do different things for your career. Learn more about the specifics by touching base with Illinois schools below.

Education is one of the biggest part of any state’s budget, and Illinois is no different. Many schools are looking for ways to become more financially efficient with fewer staff members and larger classrooms (NPR Illinois, 2016). The more you can provide to your district in terms of specialized training, certification, and teaching skills, the more indispensable you may be as the field of education changes.

Education specialist programs can give you the tools you need to adapt to evolving state and federal standards. Illinois recently introduced new curricular requirements to prepare students for PARCC testing (Review Atlas, 2016). Changing these requirements was also intended to help teachers identify students with special needs and students with exceptional gifts. The more flexible you are in your field of study, the more you may be ready to take on any teaching challenges that come your way.

When it comes to earning an education specialist degree, Illinois schools have a number of options. Request information below to learn more.

Getting Your Educational Specialist Degree in Illinois

Knowing exactly what to expect from an education specialist degree can help you get motivated for this stage of your education. In Illinois, the majority of programs can be completed in two to four years, depending on your full-time or part-time status. In this time frame, you should earn between 30 and 42 credits. A Master’s degree and valid teaching license are both required for admission, and you may need to take a refresher course if it has been a long time since you earned your Master’s degree.

From there, your school experience depends largely on which area of study you choose. One of the benefits of teaching in Illinois is its strong education system, which means that you have many program options. Some of the specialties available at Illinois institutions include:

  • Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing
  • Curriculum Adaptation
  • School Psychology
  • Clinical Counseling
  • Librarianship
  • Reading and Literacy
  • Bilingual Education
  • Educational Psychology

No matter which specialty you choose, be ready for an intensive training experience. You should jump right into high-level courses in your subject area. In the area of literacy education, common curriculum requirements often include:

  • Foundations of Literacy Learning and Teaching
  • Teaching of Language and Literacy
  • Oral Language
  • Assessing Literacy in Classrooms
  • Multimedia to Support Literacy and Learning
  • Studies in Literature Research

Certain specialties may require you to learn an entirely new set of skills. For example, curriculum adaptation requires you to learn about the full range of student needs and develop skills for adapting your curriculum to those needs. In this type of program, your courses may include:

  • Introduction to Assistive Technology
  • Advanced Curricular Adaptations for Learners with Disabilities
  • Advanced Procedures in Special Education
  • Classroom-Based Inquiry
  • Instructional Methods for Teachers with Behavioral Disorders
  • Curricular and Social Adaptations

Hands-on experience is absolutely crucial at this level. If you go into leadership administration, you may complete a principalship or internship to gain experience in the leadership side of education. If your specialty centers on classroom teaching, you may be able to get some of your experience at your current school. Some institutions spread out your practical experience throughout your degree, while others schedule it all at the end of your degree.

Once you earn your degree, you should be able to think more critically about education and look at issues to see how they affect the field as a whole. As a result, you can start establishing yourself as a leader, strengthening the teaching community and encouraging other teachers to devote themselves to further growth.

Working With an Education Specialist Degree in Illinois

When you graduate, the next step in your career should be clear to you. For some, this means continuing in their classroom teaching positions. For others, it may involve getting a new certification and changing the subject they teach. Still others may switch to an administrative career.

Listed below, find some education specialist career paths, along with their projected job growth through 2022 and average salary information:

  • School administrator: 390 new jobs expected per year; $99,700 average salary (O*Net, 2016)
  • Instructional coordinator: 8% expected growth; $58,300 average salary (O*Net, 2016)
  • Secondary school teacher: 1,380 new jobs expected per year; $67,600 average salary (O*Net, 2016)

As noted, you may need to change your license to legally work in your degree area. This often applies to teachers changing subject areas, changing grade levels, or changing the role they play in the educational system. For example, principals, instructional coordinators, and special education teachers may have to apply for new endorsements or certificates through the Illinois State Board of Education.

You may find that this degree gives you the confidence you need to play a more active role in professional associations and organizations near you. Established teaching organizations in Illinois include the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

Now that you know more about specialist programs in education, it’s time to find out how you can get started. Explore the list of schools below and contact them for more information on advanced teacher degrees in IL.

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