What Is an Educational Specialist in Instructional Leadership?

Research what it takes to become an educational specialist (instructional coordinator) in instructional leadership. Learn about job duties, education requirements, employment outlook and wages to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering College Administration & Leadership degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Educational Specialist in Instructional Leadership?

Instructional coordinators and related education administrators often hold an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in instructional leadership. Their jobs involve evaluating programs at schools, designing strategies for improvement and implementing them. To do so, instructional coordinators often introduce new instructional materials and hold training workshops for teachers to improve their skills. Some choose to focus their careers on a particular grade level or academic subject.

The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Master's degree
Education Field of Study Education, curriculum and instruction, teaching specialization field
Key Responsibilities Review and develop curriculum, observe teachers and students, data analysis, make recommendations, planning
Job Growth (2014-2024) 7% for instructional coordinators*
Average Salary (2015) $64,870 for instructional coordinators*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do Educational Specialists Do?

Educational specialist is a type of post-master's degree program for current and prospective educational administrators. If you hold such a role, your primary responsibility is to improve the instruction offered within a particular school or school district. If you work as a school administrator with specialized training in instructional leadership, some of your job responsibilities might be to work with teachers to set educational goals, help to develop standardized curriculum and review and make recommendations regarding textbooks.

What Should I Study?

Most schools offering educational specialist degree programs in instructional leadership require you to have a master's degree before you can enroll. Graduate programs in education administration or similar subjects are appropriate precursors for entering such a program. Some schools also require you to have teaching certification and 1-3 years of professional teaching experience before you can study instructional leadership at the post-master's level.

Several schools offer post-master's educational specialist degree programs in instructional leadership. They are designed for certified teachers or school administrators who are interested in incorporating instructional leadership into their positions. Once enrolled, you gain the education and skills necessary to improve instruction within public or private secondary and postsecondary institutions of learning.

Many of the courses and seminars offered within an educational specialist degree program in instructional leadership are devised to enhance both your evaluation and leadership skills. Courses might touch upon reflective leadership, school law and ethics, school financial support, program evaluation, strategic planning and problem-solving leadership. The curriculum commonly totals about 30 credits.

What is the Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics, the expected job growth rate from 2014-2024 is 7%, which is average across industries. The majority of instructional coordinators work in K-12 education, although there is demand in other settings such as higher education institutions.

How Much Might I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics, there is not a specific category for educational specialists, but instructional coordinator is a close match. Instructional coordinators held more than 62,380 jobs at elementary and secondary schools around the country in 2015. They earned a mean annual salary of $69,310 in 2015, while those in higher education earned a mean annual salary of $59,190.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Another high-level position within the field of education is a job as a school principal. In this job, you would oversee all operations within a school, so your duties would vary widely, ranging from staff supervision to budget management to student discipline. For this job, you need to have a master's degree and a license. If you would rather spend more time working directly with students, you could consider working as a teacher. At the high school level, teachers often specialize in a particular subject, such as history or chemistry. The minimum educational requirement is a bachelor's degree, and you also need to have a license to work in a public school.

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