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

Education Specialist Degree

An education specialist degree, or EdS, is an advanced practitioner course that goes beyond the master’s degree. It is designed for educators seeking to continue their studies but are not interested in a doctorate program.

EdS students gain additional expertise in their chosen field of specialization, which allows them to either:

  • Perform better in their current education-related roles
  • Or prepare them for a new career.

Education Specialist Degree: Available Specializations

Education specialist degree students must choose from a number of specializations offered by their educational institution of choice. Specializations can include instructional technology, educational leadership and administration, and educational policy, among many others.

Northcentral University’s Education Specialist Degree program offers the following specializations:

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:


The 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 2017 median pay for elementary, middle, and high school principals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is $94,390 per year.

School Superintendent

The 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, the average yearly pay for a school superintendent is $155,478 as of April 29, 2018.

Classroom Teacher

A classroom teacher provides students with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in school and beyond.

Teachers’ salary information and 10-year job outlook below are provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For comparison, the average projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026 is 7% for all occupations.

Postsecondary Teacher

A postsecondary teacher teaches college and graduate students on a number of career-oriented and academic subjects. This category of teachers includes university and college professors, graduate teaching assistants, and instructors at technical or trade schools.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the 2017 median pay for postsecondary teachers is $76,000 per year. Data from PayScale, meanwhile, reports the average annual salary ranging from $65,458 to $87,547 for assistant professors, professors, and associate professors.

School Counselor

School counselors play an important role in helping 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 2017 was $55,410. The expected employment percent change for this position from 2016 to 2026 is 13% - or 36,700 in terms of numeric change.

Educational Technology Specialist

An educational or instructional technology specialist assists with integrating technology (i.e., computers, hardware, and software) into the educational system. Often, they oversee the online courses and supplemental materials provided by universities and schools.

According to PayScale, an educational technology specialist can earn an average pay of $66,295 per year.

Special Education Specialist

A special education specialist works 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 $58,980 per year in 2017. An 8% job growth is expected for this position from 2016 to 2026.

Education Specialist Degree: Is It Worth It?

If you aspire to further your education beyond the master’s degree to help you solve real-world problems in your field of expertise, prepare you for a leadership role, or carve a new career path, the answer is yes. For any questions about NCU’s Education Specialist Degree offering, call us at 866-776-0331 or fill out our online form.