Saturday, July 30, 2011

As Defined: Educational Specialist

The Education Specialist, also referred to as Educational Specialist, Specialist in Education, or Ed.S., is an advanced academic degree in the U.S. that is designed for individuals who wish to develop additional skills or increase their knowledge beyond the master's degree level, but may not wish to pursue a degree at the doctoral level.

The Ed.S. degree is a focused degree program that is considered by accrediting bodies as the completion of the sixth year of collegiate study,(between the master's and doctorate), assuming a master's degree in education. Programs typically require from 30 to 45 semester hours beyond a master's degree, but may be as high as 65. Many also require an oral defense of a scholarly thesis or field study, similar to a dissertation at the culmination of the degree. While master's degree holders can usually be confident of advancement and upward movement on the salary scale, the Ed.S. degree holder may find that managers are often not aware of, or do not have a way of recognizing, this lesser-known degree, although some post-secondary faculty union contracts in the U.S. recognize the Ed.S. as equivalent to a doctorate on their salary scales. Some Ed.S. degree holders were on their path to earn the Ph.D, but may have stopped short of completion due to some unforeseen contingencies. Some Ed.S. programs function as a bridge between a master's degree and a doctorate via articulation agreements.
The Specialist in School Psychology (SSP) degree is similar to the Ed.S. in School Psychology. It is typically granted when the program is located in a department of psychology rather than education.
Some universities may use an abbreviation other than Ed.S. to indicate completion of this degree. At Arkansas State University, for example, students may earn an S.C.C.T. (Specialist in Community College Teaching).

Education Specialist (Ed.S.) in Teaching and Learning

The Education Specialist in Teaching and Learning program is designed to provide a high level of professional proficiency skills as well as research skills which are emphasized throughout the program course work. The role of the classroom teacher is expanded to that of teacher/research which allows the Education Specialist candidate to become a more active participant and critical consumer of educational research. The Ed.S. in Teaching and Learning curriculum is based on an inquiry approach that emphasizes reflective,  problem-solving skills applicable to a multitude of education problems, pedagogy, and issues.


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