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Arkansas State University

What Is an Ed.S. Degree and How Will it Help You in Educational Leadership?

Even as professional educators share knowledge with their students, they are also lifelong learners. Whether training for certificates, a master’s degree or a doctorate, there are many avenues available to teachers who wish to further their education and professional development. Indeed, many educators return to school in one or another area — and many return more than once.

For educators who have earned a master’s degree and seek alternative higher education options to a Ph.D., an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree — such as the Ed.S. in Educational Leadership, Superintendency online program at Arkansas State University (A-State) — can be ideal. These specialization programs help educators hone their skills and expertise in specific areas of interest while also leaving room for additional academic development if desired.

Expert-Level Specialization

The demand for teachers with expertise in a given role or field has risen. As a result, many education specialists remain in the classroom, using the expert-level skills and knowledge gained from a specialized program.

An Ed.S. degree can also serve as a steppingstone to jobs such as a principal or superintendent. Students on that path will focus on administration and curriculum in their coursework.

Whether they aim to be in a classroom or an office, Ed.S. program graduates will be armed with a specialized knowledge base to support their work. Those areas of study run the gamut from concepts like curriculum development and school psychology to unique teaching areas like English language learning and business management.

Differences Between Ed.S. and Ed.D. Programs

Ed.S. programs can often be confused with Ed.D., or Doctor of Education programs, but the two are very different in study and approach, online teaching resource Resilient Educator notes.

Most Ed.D. students pursue some kind of official leadership or administrative position in the field and are not looking to remain teachers in the classroom. Further, an Ed.D. degree is a terminal degree, similar to a Doctor of Psychology, signifying that you have completed the highest level of education for that particular academic field.

As Ed.D. programs cater to those who wish to advance beyond classroom teaching, they tend to focus on the job’s more procedural and administrative elements. Many students also use an Ed.D. degree to break into employee training or development for private corporations.

An Ed.S. program gives educators an option for specialization that takes about half the time compared to an Ed.D. Additionally, graduates of an Ed.S. program can always return to school and earn their Ed.D. degree if they choose. Applicants to A-State’s Ed.S. in Educational Leadership, Superintendency online program should have a master’s degree and at least three years of professional teaching experience.

Benefits of an Ed.S. Degree

With their additional expertise, Ed.S. graduates will deepen all aspects of their work and leadership in their schools. Education specialists perform consulting and collaboration duties both inside and outside of their own schools, often working with program directors and other teachers to ensure that curricula and activities adhere to standards and are working. They might also need to help train fellow staff members or develop training programs.

Education specialists can also work beyond their schools at the district level, executing similar responsibilities such as curriculum development and workshops or training on a broader scale.

The average base pay for an education specialist in the United States is a little more than $51,000, according to, and the 90th percentile of pay for workers stands at about $78,000. The non-terminal nature of an Ed.S. degree leaves room for graduates to continue their education.

Learn more about Arkansas State University’s online Ed.S. in Educational Leadership, Superintendency online program.

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