Educational Specialist Degrees: EdS & Online Course Info

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What will you learn in an educational specialist program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of an educational specialist degree and potential careers.
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Studying to Become an Education Specialist: Degrees at a Glance

An educational specialist (EdS) degree is a post-master's degree designed for education professionals who have completed extensive graduate work, normally a master's degree, and are seeking additional qualifications. EdS degree programs have many areas of specialization, but two popular concentrations are curriculum and instruction, and educational administration and supervision. Completing an EdS in Curriculum and Instruction enables a classroom teacher to gain expertise and the theoretical background suitable for increased involvement in curriculum planning in his or her grade level or content area. If you earn an EdS in Educational Administration and Supervision, you'll be ready for a variety of high-level leadership positions within an individual school or a school district.

Let's take a look at how these two degrees compare to each other:

EdS in Curriculum and Instruction EdS in Educational Administration and Supervision
Who is this degree for? Experienced educators who want to be involved with instructional planning Experienced education professionals who want to move into school administration
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) State licensure may be required:
- Instructional coordinator ($59,000)*
- Postsecondary teacher (education) ($59,000)*
State licensure may be required:
- Top executive (School superintendent) ($167,000)*
- Education administrator, elementary and secondary ($87,000)*
Time to Completion 1-2 years (full-time) About 1-2 years (full-time)
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 10-13 graduate level courses
- Research project or thesis
- Comprehensive exam
- Roughly 10-13 graduate level courses
- Comprehensive exam
-Internship
Prerequisites Master's degree
- Satisfactory GPA for previous graduate coursework
- Teacher certification and experience
Bachelor's or master's degree
- Satisfactory GPA for any previous graduate coursework
- Teaching experience and certification
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Educational Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instruction

If you've been teaching for several years and have the desire to be more involved in deciding what to teach or how to present the material being taught, an EdS degree with a concentration in curriculum and instruction could provide you with the necessary training. Because enrollees are typically working as educators, many programs are structured to allow students to keep working while they earn their degrees. Classes are often taught in summer sessions or on evenings and weekends.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Many programs offer the opportunity to include an additional specialization in your content area
  • Job growth for instructional coordinators is expected to increase faster than average (20%) during the 2010-2020 decade*
  • Many programs feature flexible scheduling to accommodate students who are employed as full-time teachers

Cons

  • Although an EdS degree may make you more competitive, a master's degree is often enough to get hired for many positions in curriculum and instruction
  • Some of your possible career choices could be subject to budget cuts
  • If you'd like to work in a university as a professor or in research, a PhD would be necessary

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Common Courses and Requirements

An EdS degree program in curriculum and development includes courses in curriculum design, curriculum theory, qualitative research methods and statistics. You may also complete classes focusing on teaching students with learning disabilities or other cognitive challenges. Because the students you'll be working with will probably come from diverse backgrounds and ethnic groups, some programs may feature courses on working with multicultural children. Additionally, many programs require you to complete a research project, often called an action research project, which focuses on solving a problem. Some programs encourage a written thesis as an alternative to the action research project.

Online Degree Options

Programs granting an EdS degree in curriculum and instruction are available in completely online formats as well as in hybrid formats. Additionally, some programs may permit you to take any combination of online and campus-based classes because requirements and courses are the same for both formats.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

In a curriculum and instruction program you'll be preparing to be a better teacher and to potentially take on the role of instructional coordinator. Here are some ways to work toward these goals and get ahead:

  • Include technological methods in your EdS degree program so that you'll be as tech-savvy as your students. Many of your students may be more comfortable with technology than with books, pencils and paper.
  • If your degree program doesn't have a multicultural component, try to fit in a class or two on the topic. You'll likely be working with students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Try to learn about assessment methods used in schools. Many schools use testing to ascertain the effectiveness of their teachers. Being able to evaluate and implement effective assessment and testing methods could help you become indispensable at your school.

Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision

If you've been in the classroom for several years and you'd like to move into a supervisory position, an EdS in Educational Administration and Supervision will provide you with the necessary training and academic background. In this EdS degree program, you may have to choose between coursework tracks designed for a position as either a school principal or superintendent, depending on your career goals.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Online programs are widely available
  • You'll be qualified to hold a wide variety of administration positions at educational levels from elementary school through community college
  • An EdS may make you more competitive in the job market

Cons

  • Job growth in top executive occupations, such as school district superintendent, was predicted to be slower than average (5%) for the 2010-2020 decade*
  • Although an EdS can provide a competitive edge, a master's degree is often enough to advance into an administrative position in K-12 education
  • Many positions in education could be vulnerable to budget cuts

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Common Courses and Requirements

An EdS in Educational Administration and Supervision degree program normally includes courses in school finance, human resources management, school law, educational leadership and school administration. Learning how to be a supervisor and leader is an important aspect of the degree program, so expect to take classes dealing with different types of supervision. You may also be required to complete a practicum or internship. Many states require licensure for principals and superintendents, and although earning an EdS degree provides the necessary academic background, you may still have to pass a state exam.

Online Degree Options

There are online EdS in Educational Administration and Supervision degree programs available. Some of the online options may include starting the program with a cohort or taking condensed 8-week courses in a year-round format. Additionally, some online programs offer the option of completing an internship. Quite a few online programs don't seem to also be offered in a campus-based format, so if you choose to complete this degree online, you probably won't be able to switch to a classroom setting in the same school.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Take steps to become a stronger candidate if you're hoping for a position as a superintendent or school principal. Some ways to do this include:

  • Be aware of technology used at your current school and be able to think of improvements or updates. Once you're an administrative professional in charge of a school or school district you'll be expected to make such decisions.
  • If you have the option of an internship or practicum, take advantage of the chance to gain experience. Some administrative and supervisory positions could be competitive, so any experience could provide an advantage.
  • Consider joining a professional organization for school administrators. You'll have access to additional training and be able to keep up with trends in the profession.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Walden University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Educational Administration & Leadership (For Administrators)
      • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Educational Administration & Leadership (Non-Licensure)
      • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Community College Leadership
      • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Higher Education Leadership & Management
      • PhD in Education - Early Childhood Leadership & Advocacy
      • PhD in Education - Education Policy, Leadership & Management
    Master's
      • MS in Education - Educational Leadership & Administration (Principal Licensure Preparation)
      • MS in Education - Teacher Leadership (Grades K-12)
      • MS in Education - Self-Designed
      • MS in Education - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment (Grades K-12)
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Education - Advanced Educational Leadership
      • Doctor of Education - Exceptional Education Executive Leadership
      • Doctor of Education - Higher Education Leadership & Management
      • Doctor of Education - K-12 School Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Education - Advanced Educational Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Education - Exceptional Education Executive Leadership
    Master's
      • M.Ed. in Christian School Administration
      • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction - Gifted & Talented Add-on Endorsement
      • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction - Gifted & Talented Non-endorsement
      • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction - STEM
      • M.Ed. in Educational Leadership - Admin & Supervision (preK-12)
      • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction - Teacher Leader
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Leadership Studies
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Psychology
      • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.Ed. in Educational Leadership
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Educational Studies (Does Not Lead to Teacher Licensure)
      • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Trident University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Educational Leadership (Ed. D.)
      • Educational Leadership (Ph.D.)
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Education - Organizational Leadership
      • Ed.D. - International Education
      • Ed.D. - Educational Leadership
      • PhD in Education - Higher Education Leadership
      • Doctor of Education in Learning Analytics in K-12 Education
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Higher Education - College Admin./Leadership
      • Master: Higher Education - Student Affairs
      • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - College Teaching/Learning
  • Campus and Online Programs
    7. Pacific Oaks College

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.A. Education with Prelimary Education Specialist Instruction Credential
      • M.A. Education: Elementary Education
    Certificate
      • Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential
      • Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential
  • Campus and Online Programs
    8. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Instructional Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Educational Leadership, M.Ed. without Licensure
      • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A. - Emphasis in Alternative Licensing
      • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A.
    Bachelor's
      • B.A. Elementary Education (Non-Licensure)
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Liberty University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PHD: Higher Education Administration: Education Leadership
      • EDD: Educational Leadership
      • Doctor Of Education - Leadership
      • Doctor of Education - Curriculum and Instruction
    Master's
      • MAT: Elementary Education
    Bachelor's
      • BS: Elementary Education in Interdisciplinary Studies

Featured Schools

Walden University

  • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Educational Administration & Leadership (For Administrators)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Educational Administration & Leadership (Non-Licensure)
  • MS in Education - Educational Leadership & Administration (Principal Licensure Preparation)
  • MS in Education - Teacher Leadership (Grades K-12)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Regent University

  • Doctor of Education - Advanced Educational Leadership
  • M.Ed. in Christian School Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Leadership Studies

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • M.Ed. in Educational Leadership
  • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
  • B.S. in Educational Studies (Does Not Lead to Teacher Licensure)
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Trident University

  • Educational Leadership (Ed. D.)
  • Educational Leadership (Ph.D.)
  • Master of Arts in Education

What is your highest level of education completed?

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Education - Organizational Leadership
  • Ed.D. - International Education
  • Ed.D. - Educational Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University Global

  • Master: Higher Education - College Admin./Leadership
  • Master: Higher Education - Student Affairs
  • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)

Which subject are you interested in?

Pacific Oaks College

  • M.A. Education with Prelimary Education Specialist Instruction Credential
  • M.A. Education: Elementary Education
  • Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential
  • Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential

What is your highest level of education completed?

Full Sail University

  • MS - Instructional Design and Technology

What is your highest level of education?