31 January, 2016
The Education Specialist, also called Educational Specialist, Specialist in Education, or Ed.S., is an advanced academic degree in the U.S. that is structured for individuals who wish to enhance additional skills or increase their knowledge beyond the master’s degree level, but may not wish to pursue a degree at the doctoral level.
Many individuals who earn an Ed.S. degree seek to increase their skills for advanced licensure requirements or other professional objectives. Many people may pursue an Ed.S. degree in order to meet state or professional requirements for career advancement. Major areas available with this degree include school counseling, school psychology, educational leadership, educational administration, higher education/adult continuing education, advanced curriculum and instruction, superintendent, career and technical education, and others
The Ed.S. degree is a focused degree program that is considered by accrediting bodies as the completion of the seventh year of collegiate study,(between the master’s and doctorate), assuming a master’s degree in education. Programs usually 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 equal 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 incidents. 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 commonly 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 acquiew an S.C.C.T. (Specialist in Community College Teaching).
According to The American Council on Education “six-year specialist degrees (Ed.S., etc.) and other degrees that are intermediate between the master’s and the doctor’s degree may have hoods specially designed (1) intermediate in length between the master’s and doctor’s hood, (2) with a four-inch velvet border (also intermediate between the widths of the borders of master’s and doctor’s hoods), and (3) with color distributed in the normal fashion and according to the usual rules. Cap tassels should be uniformly black.” The other such degrees in the United States are the Licentiate degrees granted by pontifical universities and the Engineer degree .