What Is an Education Specialist Degree? Is It Worth It?

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If you’re a teacher or other educator with a master’s degree who’s seeking to advance your career, gain new skills, and qualify for better pay, you can reach the next rung on your career ladder without the time or cost required to earn a doctoral degree.

Instead, you can earn an education specialist degree, or EdS, which is an advanced certification that goes beyond the master’s degree. It is designed for educators to gain additional expertise in their chosen field of specialization, empowering them to perform better in their current roles, prepare for a new career, or become leaders in their teaching community.

Education Specialist Degree: Available Specializations

Education has become much more specialized over the years, and being a teacher or educator who’s an expert in a specific field can be a real career booster. With your master’s degree and education experience, you’ll be well-prepared to jump into the high-level courses offered through National University’s Education Specialist Degree program. Better yet, you can keep working as you gain specialized proficiency in your particular area of interest.

From early childhood education and leadership in K-12 education to sports and athletic management and e-learning, National University offers numerous specializations that will prepare you to become a highly qualified candidate the next time you seek a promotion or new job. Here’s the lineup of specializations you can choose from:

Master of Education in Special Education with a Preliminary Ed Specialist Credential: Moderate/Severe with Internship Option (California)

Career Options for Education Specialist Degree Holders

So, which career paths are available to you upon completion of an education specialist degree? Here are a few:


A principal manages the operations of a school, its teachers, students, and staff. They’re responsible for hiring school personnel, planning and managing the school’s budget, creating policies, communicating with parents and teachers when needed, planning the school’s academic calendar, and disciplining students when necessary.

The 2021 median pay for elementary, middle, and high school principals is $98,420 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

School Superintendent

A school superintendent is the person in charge of several different schools within a school district. They make decisions regarding staff, spending, and facilities. They hire teachers, work with school principals, and respond to the demands of various stakeholders: students, parents, advocates, teachers, and the community.

According to Salary.com, the average yearly pay for a school superintendent is $173,009 as of Feb. 27, 2023.

Classroom Teacher

A classroom teacher prepares engaging lesson plans and instructs their students in the subjects they teach. They grade students’ assignments and exams while assessing students’ abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. They communicate with parents about students’ progress.

Below, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides teachers’ salary information and 10-year job outlook:

  • Kindergarten and elementary school teachers: 2021 median pay at $61,350 per year; 4% job growth from 2021 to 2031, the average growth rate for all occupations.
  • High school teachers: 2021 median pay is $61,820 per year; 5% job growth from 2021 to 2031, the average growth rate for all occupations.
Postsecondary teacher

Postsecondary teachers teach a wide variety of academic and career-oriented subjects to college and graduate students. Among their ranks are university and college professors, graduate teaching assistants, and instructors at technical or trade schools.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the 2021 median pay for postsecondary teachers is $79,640 per year, with a 12% growth rate from 2021 to 2031, much faster than average. For professors in general (including adjunct, assistant, and associate), the BLS reports an average salary of $90,830. However, professor wages vary by experience, education level, subject taught, and institution type.

School Counselor

School counselors play an important role in helping today’s students become tomorrow’s productive citizens. They provide guidance and support to students who deal with academic, parental, personal, and societal pressures. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for school and career counselors in 2021 was $60,510. Job growth for this position between 2021-31 is 10%, faster than average.

Educational Technology Specialist

Special education teachers work with children with learning, physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. Depending on the severity of their students’ disabilities, they teach a wide range of subjects, including reading, writing, math, and basic communication skills.

Special education teachers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, earned a median $61,820 per year in 2021. A 4% job growth is expected for this position from 2021-31, reflecting the average across professions.

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Education Specialist Degree: Is It Worth It?

The answer is yes — if you aspire to further your education to help you solve real-world problems in your field of expertise, prepare you for a leadership role, or carve a new career path. For any questions about National University’s Education Specialist program, call us at 866-776-0331 or fill out our online form to request information.

Education Specialist Degree FAQs

An Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree is a postgraduate professional degree designed for educators who want to advance their skills, knowledge, and leadership in the field of education. It is typically situated between a master’s degree and a doctorate (Ph.D. or Ed.D.), providing specialized knowledge and training without the extensive research requirements of a doctorate.

The Ed.S. degree is ideal for educators who wish to develop expertise in a specific area of education or move into leadership roles, such as curriculum specialists, instructional coaches, school psychologists, or administrators. Or those who want to deepen their knowledge and skills without pursuing a doctoral degree.

The duration of an Ed.S. program varies depending on the institution and the chosen area of specialization. On average, the program takes about 2 to 3 years to complete, with most programs requiring 30 to 60 credit hours of coursework and applied projects.

Yes, many institutions offer online Ed.S. degree programs, allowing working professionals to pursue their studies without disrupting their careers. Online programs typically have the same curriculum and learning outcomes as traditional on-campus programs, with the added flexibility of online coursework and virtual collaboration.

Graduates with an Ed.S. degree can pursue leadership and specialized roles in various educational settings, such as public and private schools, colleges, and universities. Potential job titles include curriculum coordinator, instructional coach, special education director, school psychologist, education consultant, and assistant principal or principal. Some graduates may also work in educational policy or research organizations.

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