Online Degree Programs for Aspiring Educational Specialists

An online Education Specialist (Ed.S.) program will give you the leadership and teaching skills to oversee a large community of students and educators. Learn about online Ed.S. programs, and find out how they work. Get info on the typical coursework in these programs. Review your job options, the career outlook and the salary potential in the education specialist field. Schools offering College Administration & Leadership degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Online Degree Programs Are Available for Educational Specialist Students?

If you're an aspiring educational specialist, you'll find a number of online Ed.S. programs available. The Ed.S. is more advanced than a master's degree but comes before a doctoral degree. The educational specialist program typically takes 2-3 years to complete, and you can select from a number of concentrations, including leadership, administration, curriculum and educational technology. The coursework performed during the Ed.S. program often can apply toward a doctoral degree in education.

The program is usually aimed at working teachers and administrators who are interested in advancing in their careers. To apply, you generally must have a master's degree, along with prior teaching experience and a teaching license. Rather than preparing you for postsecondary research, the Ed.S. program usually focuses on giving you the skills to continue working in a school environment as a leader and overseer. You can assume a management or director position in which you might provide solutions to enhance student achievement and improve the teaching methods of your school's educators.

ProgramAimed at working teachers and administrators
Online FormatEntirely online or blended programs requiring some in-person course work
Common CoursesResearch, curriculum development, advanced teaching and learning principles and leadership
Job ProspectsAdministrator, director or principal, curriculum specialist
Job Outlook*Educational administrator: 6% job growth projection for 2014-24; median annual salary of $89,540 in 2014
instructional coordinator field: 7% job growth projection for 2014-24; median annual salary of $61,550 in 2014
  • Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Does the Online Program Work?

There are several entirely online Ed.S. programs available, along with a few blended programs that enable you to combine online and onsite classes. Some programs require that you complete classes online but conduct fieldwork at a nearby school, aiding a principal or program director.

Lectures are conducted through videos and visual presentations. You usually can either participate in lectures live through chat rooms or access class materials later on your own time. Technology requirements for the online program often include Adobe Acrobat Reader, Flash and Java. A wireless Internet connection usually is recommended.

What Classes Will I Take?

Education specialist courses are very research-oriented. You often must apply advanced teaching and learning principles to real-life scenarios in the classroom. You also will gain leadership and communication skills, since education specialists often need to work with teachers, students, staff and parents. Typical education specialist course topics include the following:

  • Education research
  • Curriculum development
  • Using educational technologies
  • Enhancing student learning through leadership
  • Distance-learning instruction techniques
  • Evaluating teaching performance
  • Instructional theories
  • School administration
  • Education management

What Can I Do with My Degree?

With your Ed.S., you can pursue an advanced position in the education field as an administrator, director or principal at an elementary, middle or secondary school. Licensure is required for these positions in most states, and the requirements for obtaining a school administrator license may include completion of graduate-level training, passing an exam and undergoing a period of on-the-job mentorship.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that school principal positions were projected to rise six percent from 2014-2024, which matched the average rate of growth for most jobs ( According to the BLS, however, an advanced degree in the education field will provide you with better job opportunities. The BLS stated that elementary and secondary school principals or administrators earned an average yearly salary of $89,540 in 2014.

If you earn your online Ed.S., you also can become a curriculum specialist (also called an instructional coordinator). According to the BLS, instructional coordinator jobs were predicted to increase seven percent from 2014-2024, which was as fast as average. The BLS stated that instructional coordinators earned an average annual salary of $61,550 in 2014.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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