Is an Ed.S. Worth It? [2021 Guide]

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Is an EdS worth it? Advances in technology and changes in culture and government policy are quickly transforming education. That makes this an exciting time to work in the field. With an education specialist degree (EdS degree) you can make significant contributions to the field.

Is an Ed.S. Worth It

An EdS degree is a highly specialized degree that provides expertise beyond the masters level. It’s generally geared towards people who want to work in high level administrative and organizational roles, on in various specialized educational roles.

Is an EdS Worth it?

special education teacher teaching a child

Yes, an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) is worth it for many students. With an average salary of $74,752 and 4 to 5% job growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics), an education specialist degree can help you launch a career in education or advance the one you already have.

Common education specialist careers include high school principal, superintendent, learning analyst, school psychologist, training and development specialist, special education teacher, education writer, and school administrator.

An Ed.S. is a highly specialized qualification that may give you opportunities in higher level educational leadership, planning, and organization. If you prefer remaining in the classroom, it can also help you become a more qualified teacher.

An Ed.S. can also provide one of the only routes to becoming a psychologist without getting your PhD. Depending on your state, the degree may be sufficient to earn your licensure to be a school psychologist.

The Ed.S. degree goes beyond a master’s degree in its level of focus. It’s often considered ideal for educational professionals that want to elevate their credentials, but don’t have the time or inclination to earn a doctorate in higher education (Ed.D.). But an Ed.D. is worth it still depending on your career and education goals.

With an Ed.S. degree, you can design curriculums, lead teachers, run school administrations, and shape education on a broad scale.

Many Ed.S. professions earn significantly more pay than education jobs requiring only bachelors or masters degrees. The median pay for elementary, middle, and high school teachers is $96,400 per year. Post-secondary education administrators earn median salaries of $95,410 per year.

How to Decide Whether an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) is Right for You

Education Specialist teaching students in a library

Though an education specialist (Ed.S) degree can open many lucrative and exciting careers, it may not be right for everyone in every circumstance.

Here are three reasons that an Ed.S. might be the right choice for you:

1. You enjoy working in education.

If you’re already working as an educator and looking for a credential to improve your value and your earning potential, an Ed.S. may be right for you.

An Ed.S. can give you the focused, specialized knowledge you need to stand out from the pack. It can also open entirely new pathways in school administration, school psychology, training and development, and education leadership.

2. You want to influence education beyond the classroom.

Education Administrator checking the school's perimeter

Many people use their Ed.S. degree to get opportunities in high-level education administrative and leadership.

As a principal, training and development specialist, or administrator, you can affect education at a broad level.

3. You want to be a school psychologist.

An Ed.S. with a focus in school psychology may qualify you for licensure as a school psychologist in certain states.

It’s one of the few routes through which you can become a psychologist without earning a PhD. If any of these goals resonate with you, an Ed.S. may be the right choice.

Top 5 Things You Can Do with an Education Specialist Degree

Elementary Principal meeting with a student and parent

An education specialist degree (EdS) can open a wide range of exciting careers in the education industry.

Here are five possible things you can do with an EdS:

1. Elementary, Middle, or High School Principal

School principals oversee every aspect of a school’s operations. They lead administrative staff and faculty, oversee curriculum design and implementation, and ensure school safety. Principals may also work one-on-one with students to help guide and motivate them in both their educations and their personal lives.

Principals communicate school plans and events with parents and the greater community. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school principals have a median salary of $96,400 per year and a projected job growth of 4%.

2. Special Education Teachers

Special Education Teacher with a child

Some students have special educational needs and special education teachers are there to help them.

Special education teachers teach students with physical, mental, or emotional challenges beyond that of the average student. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that special education teachers earn a median salary of $61,030 per year. They project a job growth rate of 3%.

3. School Psychologist

School Psychologist talking to a young child

School psychologists help guide students through mental and emotional challenges. They also help coach parents in methods of dealing with their kids.

A school psychologist can work with students either individually or as a group, designing programs to help the community as a whole thrive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists earn median salaries of $80,370 and have a projected job growth rate of 3%.

4. Postsecondary Education Administrators

Postsecondary Education Administrator talking to a colleague in her office

Postsecondary education administrators work in colleges and universities. They handle the administrative aspects of things rather than the hands-on classroom education.

Postsecondary education administrators earn median salaries of $95,410 per year and have a projected job growth of 4%, as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

5. Instructional Coordinator

Instructional Coordinators working together

Instructional coordinators design school curriculums, individual course, and training plans. They are the architects of classroom logistics and of educational manuals both printed and digital.

Partly because of the rapid growth in online education, instructional coordinator jobs are projected to grow faster than most other education jobs at 6%. Instructional coordinators earn median salaries of $66,290 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Education Specialist Degree Alternatives

Education Specialists in a meeting

If you decide an Ed.S. isn’t right for you, here are a couple of alternatives you may find interesting:

  1. Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). The Ed.D. is the highest level of degree in education. Although it may be more time-consuming than an Ed.S. program, it could open up a number of opportunities for you in the education field.
  2. Master’s Degree. A master’s degree doesn’t give the kind of focused, highly specialized training that an Ed.S. can give, but it can still be a valuable credential for your education degree.

These alternatives can help you reach your goals, even if they aren’t quite the straight-line path that an Ed.S. can be.

Education Specialist Careers & Salaries

Education Specialist Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some of the many career paths you may pursue and the kinds of salaries you might expect to get paid with your education specialist (Ed.S.) degree:

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals $96,400
Postsecondary Education Administrators $95,410
School Psychologist $81,330
Postsecondary Teacher $79,540
Instructional Coordinator $66,290
Education writer $63,200
High School Teacher $61,660
Training and Development Specialists $61,210
Special Education Teachers $61,030
Middle School Teacher $59,660
School Counselor $57,040

As you can see, an education specialist degree can lead to a number of satisfying careers with good pay—and that pay may increase over the median with time and experience.

What Can You Do With an Education Specialist Degree?

High School Teacher teaching students in a classroom

With an education specialist degree (EdS), you can work as a school principal, a school psychologist, an instructional coordinator, a special education teacher, a school administrator, or a high school teacher.

Many jobs pay significantly higher than the average median salary as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Elementary, middle, and high school principals earn median salaries of $96,400 per year. Postsecondary education administrators earn $95,410, and psychologists can earn around $81,330.

All of these jobs have average to above average projected job growth rates, with instructional coordinators coming in at 6% job growth.

What Does Ed.S. Mean in Education?

An education specialist degree (Ed.S.) is a highly specialized and narrowly focused professional credential. It’s more advanced than a master’s degree and but it is not a doctoral program. It generally takes 30 to 65 credit hours to complete an Ed.S.

Once you’ve earned your Ed.S., you may be qualified for work as a school psychologist, principal, superintendent, instructional coordinator, teacher, or school administrator. An Ed.S. means you possess a very focused body of knowledge within the education industry.

Can You Teach College With an EdS?

College teacher assisting her students in class

Some colleges may allow you to teach with an EdS credential. For example, some introductory college courses are often taught by master’s degree holders. Since an EdS is more advanced than a master’s, some colleges may allow you to teach certain courses.

However, if your ultimate goal is to become a college professor, an EdD or PhD will likely give you the greatest number of career options in academia.

Which is More Desirable to School Districts, a PhD or an EdS?

A PhD in Education is generally designed for preparation for doing university research and teaching university level courses.

An EdS program is more tailored towards a specific professional use. The specificity may make it more desirable to a school district’s unique needs, but either credential should open up more doors for you than a master’s degree.

What is the Difference Between an EdS vs. EdD?

specialized classroom educator teaching young students

The Doctor of Education (EdD) is the highest credential in education. It’s focused on high-level research and education at the university level.

The Education Specialist (EdS) generally takes half as long to complete as an EdD does, depending on the university. It generally doesn’t require a dissertation and can often be completed in one to two years.

An EdS is also highly focused and is tailored more for immediate professional application as a school administrator, school principal, superintendent, school psychologist, instructional designer, or specialized classroom educator.

Getting Your Education Specialist Degree Online

Education Specialist Degree student studying online

If an education specialist degree (EdS) sounds right for your needs, a number of accredited universities now offer this credential through online study. Earning an online EdS can give you the flexibility and affordability you need to advance in your life without to quit your day job.

With so many innovations and changes happening today—and so many opportunities to earn your credentials online—there’s never been a more exciting to get into the education industry.

Jeff Suwak
WRITTEN BY
Jeff Suwak
Jeff covers online higher education programs and trends. He has a BA in English, as well as multiple certifications from the University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, and the University of California. Jeff's background is in technical communication, science writing, and music journalism.