Educational Specialist Degree Programs

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People working in education can earn an Educational Specialist degree to advance their careers to school office administrators, curriculum directors, or principal positions. They can also complete an EdS program to become a school psychologist. Those jobs generally require licensing. Most education specialists work all year, as opposed to having several summer months of vacation that teachers have.

The Specialist in Education degree focuses on reading education, community college education, technical college education, adult education, curriculum and instruction, counseling, school psychology, and educational leadership. Skills needed to become an educational specialist include communication and people skills, creativity, and patience.

It is helpful to join a professional organization like the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development or the National Association of School Psychologists. Being a member of an organization provides information about career training opportunities and trends. Some schools host chapters of professional organizations on campus. Educational specialists are required to take continuing education and professional development courses to maintain licensure.

Here are the steps for becoming an educational specialist:

  1. Earning a Bachelor's degree
  2. Obtaining a teaching license
  3. Gaining work experience
  4. Earning a Master's teaching degree
  5. Completing an EdS program
  6. Getting licensed
  7. Keeping up-to-date with continuing education

What courses may you take?

These courses introduce new standards, curricula, and initiatives in the respective academic subject as well as helping create a network of professionals in the field. Becoming an educational specialist advances careers, gains new skills, and qualifies for better pay. An EdS is a postgraduate degree in an area of education. It is more advanced than a Master's degree but requires less coursework than an EdD or PhD. It is an excellent way for professionals holding a Master's degree to reach the next level without the cost and time required for a doctoral degree.

Online Educational Specialist Degree Options

An Education Specialist program is a post-masters program that explores a variety of educational topics, such as leadership in the classroom, educational administration, teaching strategies, and learning technologies. Many universities offer Education Specialist programs online. Some offer them exclusively through distance learning. Others allow students to choose a blended learning program that will enable them to take select classes on the university campus.

What to look out for in this program

The graduate programs prepare students to advance in the field of education. The broad spectrum of programs means credentials can be tailored to specific interests or positions. Standard courses include current trends in education, curriculum and instruction, leadership, program evaluation, and instructional design. Prerequisites are a minimum GPA, scores on entrance exams, and possibly statements of purpose. The colleges offer various education degrees in areas such as education administration, educational technology, literacy, and counseling.

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School Level Program Admissions

University of West Alabama

Bachelor Bachelor of Science Early Childhood Development Website

The University of Iowa

Master Master of Arts in Teaching, Leadership, and Cultural Competency Website

Purdue University

Master Online MS in Education Website

Fairleigh Dickinson University

Master Master of Administrative Science Website

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Bachelor's Degree for Potential Educational Specialist

The answer to the question, 'What is the best Bachelor's degree in special education?', depends on many factors. Due to the training and intensity of the job special educators require, it is of importance to look for an accredited school. Accreditation adds confidence and credibility to the program for both the students and potential employers. Besides accreditation, look at the approach the school takes to fieldwork. The more and the earlier the coursework, the better it is.

Who is this degree for?

Teaching is experiential and is best honed through hands-on, real-world situations. Use school websites to find specific and general features of each program, especially unique and interesting aspects, and field experience. Essential criteria include a school's reputation, tuition, support per student, and average salary ten years post-graduation. Educational Specialist is a stable career path that works with many Bachelor's degrees. An educational specialist organizes and administers programs that train and enhance the skills and knowledge of others.

Employers prefer candidates who have information technology experience. Courses educational specialists take while earning a Bachelor's degree include:

  • Instructional Technology - The course provides future teachers with the opportunity to examine the technology used in the 21st-century classroom. Students study and analyze various technologies such as computer hardware and software. They develop a personal classroom technology plan and philosophy that is designed to shape and enhance their knowledge and skills.
  • Social Justice for Educators - This is an extensive writing course. Students study how to teach diverse populations of students by examining the dimensions and foundations of social justice in oppression, prejudice, privilege, social constructs, and education to become a culturally competent educator.
  • Creating and Managing Engaging Learning Environments - Intensive writing is also part of this course. Students examine how to create environments that support collaborative and individual learning. Self-motivation, active engagement in learning and positive social interaction are encouraged. Students build the foundational knowledge needed to establish and maintain collaborative relationships with agencies, school colleagues, and families in the community to promote the physical, emotional, social, intellectual growth and well-being of children.
  • Survey of Special Education: Mild to Moderate Disabilities - Students are introduced to the educational needs of families and students having mild to moderate disabilities, including the causes and pedagogical approaches, prevalence, characteristics, and definition of these disorders and disabilities. They survey the special education process that involves the application of a variety of regulations and laws.
  • Servant Leadership - This course focuses on servant and ethical leadership. It explores how it is different from other leadership styles and examines how it connects to being a responsible leader, accountability, and ethics.

Master's Degree for Potential Educational Specialist

An educational leadership Master's degree for primary, secondary, and higher education individuals offers social work and resource development with an opportunity of advancement in educational organizations. Such a Master's program is perfect for people in various leadership positions and management who want to further study in related disciplines. Master's program students acquire a deeper understanding of change processes, educational leadership, and organizational behavior and how they impact educational institutions.

Who should study this program?

Students become familiar with issues that surround management and how they relate to developments in the economy, the society, and in education. They develop analytic skills for developing policies and the factors that affect management policy implementation in an educational context. Graduates gain oral and written communication skills that are backed with research skills obtained in the program. The capabilities enable graduates to enter the job market with an advantage.

Students acquire academic writing skills and critical information in relevant technologies. An educational leadership Master's program equips students with needed skills to take up public and private educational institution administrative positions. Courses taken during a Master's program for those pursuing Educational Specialist status include:

  • Special Studies in Educational Leadership - The course provides experience and opportunity of in-depth study of specialized areas of research and practice in school leadership.
  • School Community Connections - School leaders engage the internal and external communities in their districts and buildings. The course assists students in understanding the community-school relations, practicing positive influence skills with education stakeholders, and refining responsible citizenship dispositions by connecting to diverse needs of the community.
  • Issues in Technology for School Leaders - The class addresses the needs that administrative positions encounter in a world of technology that is continously changing. Topics include managing obsolescence and sustainability, policies and ethics for students, staff, and faculty - including cyberbullying prevention, technology for learning and teaching, and technology for accountability and business.
  • Instructional Leadership - This course assists in the development of knowledge and practicing skills needed to lead schools and educators in the areas of curriculum and instructions.
  • Interpersonal Relationships in Educational Leadership - The course deals with establishing the quality of group and interpersonal relations among school setting adults. Students develop an awareness of the perspectives of themselves and others and develop skills and dispositions that allow them to work productively.

Online Schools with Multiple Degrees in Education Specialist

Grand Canyon University– The University’s Education Specialist in Teaching and Learning program is a postgraduate degree that allows K-12 educators to gain the knowledge and skills needed for developing education communities and improving student outcomes. This is an accelerated, fully online EdS degree offered by the GSU College of Doctoral Studies. It emphasizes models and theories of teaching in a variety of educational environments from high school to elementary.

What you should look for in any educational specialist program

Learners examine education politics and the intervention government entities facilitate. They study theories of pedagogy and professional learning communities. Students explore ways to develop and train teams that they are preparing to support and lead. They learn to excel in teaching by the study of industry trends, implementation of effective new teaching strategies based on research, and the application of findings that foster greater success in the classroom. GCU is a private, Christian university. Faith is integrated into each program.

Education specialist degree program courses for learning and teaching are value-based curriculum that address ethical decision-making and socially responsible practices within education.

A few universities with online Educational Specialist programs

Liberty University is also a Christian based school offering an online Education Specialist program. It is intended for those who wish to gain advanced expertise and training but are not ready to pursue a doctorate. The program design develops education research and teaching skills to further a candidate’s career and help prepare the next generation of world-shaping adults. The program is taught by experienced field of education professionals who support students academically and spiritually. Each component integrates a biblical worldview.

Georgia Southern University offers Education Specialist degrees in Elementary Education, Middle Grades Education, and Secondary Education. The online programs meet the demands of teachers in these grade levels as they pursue preparation for a degree beyond a Master’s. Through the examination of instruction and curriculum research and issues, the programs allow students to explore teacher leadership opportunities, collaborate with others, and develop leadership skills. They apply and extend pedagogical skills and content knowledge. Students continue to build technology skills used to assess and impact students.

What Can You Do with an Educational Specialist Degree?

Educational specialists work with guidance counselors, school administrators, and teachers to develop curricula and assessments. They may also evaluate teachers to determine if particular teaching methods are effective. Educational specialists recommend additional or new strategies to use. They help with the implementation of learning standards and provide school staff professional development. Career opportunities depend on the emphasis of the EdS program and one’s background. Work is available in school districts as

  • Principal
  • Counselor
  • Curriculum Director
  • School Superintendent
  • Classroom Teacher
  • Postsecondary Teacher
  • Educational Technology Specialist
  • Special Education Specialist

A note about teaching licensure

The profession of interest may require a state license or assessment examination. Licensure varies from state to state. The degree is worth the time and effort for those who aspire to further their education beyond a Master’s degree to help solve real-world problems in their field of expertise and prepares them for leadership roles or carving new career paths.

Top Teaching Organizations to Know for Education

The Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development empowers educators to achieve leading, teaching and learning so every child is challenged, supported, engaged, safe, and healthy. The ASCD is made up of over 113,000 members. They include advocates, teachers, principals, and superintendents from over 129 countries. There are 71 affiliate organizations. The nonpartisan, diverse membership is the organization’s greatest strength. It projects a unified, powerful voice to decision-makers around the globe.

The National Association of School Psychologists is a professional association that represents over 25,000 graduate students, school psychologists, and related professionals throughout the U.S. and 25 other countries. It is the largest organization for school psychologists in the world. NASP works to improve student mental health, behavior and learning by the advancement of effective practices. The vision is for children and youth to thrive at home, in school, and throughout life.