What Is an EdS Degree: Understanding the Basics

If you’re asking, “What is an EdS degree?” you’re likely interested in pursuing a career in education.

Also known as an Educational Specialist Degree, this training level is recommended for teachers interested in acquiring a specialty.

Knowing what an EdS is and how it can help you further your career development can help you with your prospects.

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What Is an EdS Degree?

As mentioned, an EdS is known as an Educational Specialist Degree.

As its name suggests, it’s a higher education degree that helps teachers focus on a specific specialty.

For example, if you want to become proficient in early childhood development, administrative leadership, and more.

Other types of specializations you can focus on with this degree include:

  • Reading, literacy, and assessment
  • Educational technology
  • Principal preparation
  • Early childhood education
  • Special education
  • Educational administration and leadership
  • Learning, instruction, and innovation

The central premise of this degree option is to provide teachers with a deeper understanding of key concepts.

It’s also another step you’ll have to take after obtaining your undergraduate and master’s degrees.

With that said, it’s different than an EdD and Ph.D., although it’s taken at the same time in your educational journey.

What Is the Difference Between an EdD and EdS?

First, let’s explore the differences between an EdD and an EdS, which are similar but different.

What Is an EdS?

Many students will enroll in an EdS program as an additional step after their master’s.

It’s primarily designed to help you increase your number of credentials to have a bigger professional influence.

Many teachers opt for this continued education so they can acquire special skills about specific focuses.

The majority of EdS programs are non-licensure, meaning you cannot acquire state licensure.

However, with an EdS, you can save a significant amount of time compared to earning a doctorate.

Alternatively, you can typically use your EdS credits to transfer seamlessly to an EdD program.

What Is an EdD?

Another option as a post-master’s educational avenue is to pursue an EdD, a doctorate.

Compared to an Education Specialist Degree, EdD’s can be significantly more rewarding both in and out of the classroom.

You’ll have a more significant number of career options spanning research, administrative, academic, and clinical positions.

Some of the most common careers for those with EdD’s include:

  • Principal or Assistant Principal
  • Dean of Students
  • Special Education Professor (college or university)
  • Government Education Director

The most significant difference between the two is that EdD’s are classified as terminal degrees.

You’ll receive a doctoral status that can open many doors beyond teaching in the classroom.

It’s also important to note the expectations to acquire an EdD are higher and will require more time to obtain.

On average, most EdD programs will require approximately 60 credits for completion, which is approximately from two to three years.

EdS degrees, on the other hand, can be completed within 15 months or less, depending on the institution.

Upon graduation, you’ll receive a title similar to a Doctor of Philosophy.

What Is the Difference Between a PhD and EdS?

Knowing the difference between an EdS and EdD, let’s now explore how it differs from a Ph.D.

A Ph.D. is beneficial mainly for students interested in pursuing research and teaching roles.

Instead of focusing primarily on literature, you’ll be required to generate knowledge via theories and hypotheses.

Even with EdD’s, you’ll focus on research and application, but Ph.D.’s take a sole approach to research.

It’s the title you’ll want to pursue if you’re interested in obtaining a degree solely in academia or university-level research.

In your studies, you’ll find you’ll take a more theoretical approach to learning.

Using the knowledge you gain during your courses, you’ll master a specific subject.

The ultimate goal is to help drive others in the same industry to make changes to learning via your research.

Most students will find themselves striving to get published in popular journals, attending national conferences, and more.

With that said, just because you have a Ph.D. doesn’t mean that you’re ill-equipped to teach.

All three types of degrees can be beneficial in and out of the classroom.

With a Ph.D., you can teach post-secondary classes, attend conferences, publish books and scholarly papers, and more.

Alternatively, you can take a different approach outside of the classroom to become an academic researcher.

Depending on your skill, you might be asked to join or open education-based research centers.

In these centers and institutes, you’ll study the basics of education and help improve teaching methods for others.

What Level Degree Is an EdS?

When you’re deciding between different degrees, it’s essential to know what level you’ll be studying at.

With this information, you can determine if specific titles are recommended for your desired field of work.

An EdS is mainly referred to as a post-master’s degree, which can significantly bolster your career opportunities.

As mentioned, those with an EdS will find they’ll be studying in a specific area of focus to help other professional skills.

It’s a highly recommended title for students interested in teaching at any grade level who want heightened skills.

Overall, it’s a fantastic choice for those who want to be perfectly equipped for any in-classroom experience.

Is an EdS a Doctoral Degree?

It’s important to note that although an EdS is a post-master’s degree, it’s not a doctoral degree.

If you’re interested in obtaining a doctorate, you’ll need to consider an EdD or a Ph.D.

EdD’s can be a preferred alternative, especially since they can be pretty flexible depending on your needs.

For example, by signing up for an EdD program, you could also obtain your EdS as an alternative.

If you decide halfway through your studies that an EdD isn’t ideal, you might already have the requirements for an EdS.

Depending on the institution, you could consider dropping out of the EdD program and simply obtaining an EdS.

Is an EdS a Terminal Degree?

Technically, an Educational Specialist Degree is not considered to be a terminal degree because you can go back to school with an EdS to obtain an EdD or Ph.D.

A Ph.D. or EdD, on the other hand, are terminal degrees since they are the highest tier of education you can achieve.

Once you complete your Ph.D. or EdD program, there’s no higher degree you can obtain after your studies.

However, you can opt to take other continuing education programs to obtain certificates.

This practice is quite common in the technology industry to stay up-to-date with current technologies.

It’s always beneficial to continually update your education, so you’re the best in your field.

Also, extra certifications are bound to be beneficial for your resume.

what is an eds degree

What Is the EdS Curriculum?

Now that you have the answer to, “What is an Educational Specialist?”, let’s explore what the curriculum entails.

There are several facets to the curriculum that can significantly improve your prospects.

You’ll find most course offerings are a blend of theory, research, and applying concepts in and out of the classroom.

Credit Requirements

One of the most significant things to think about when answering, “What is an ED specialist?” is to consider credits.

Many teachers prefer this type of degree over terminal degrees since they’re easy to take in coordination with teaching.

For example, you can continue working while taking classes during your spare time to boost your resume.

The majority of EdS students find the degree requires as little as 30 to 36 credits.

Depending on how much time you allot to your studies, you could complete the coursework in 15 months or less.

The total length of your course will depend on how you intend on taking your classes.

For example, part-time students will be in school longer than full-time students.

You could also opt to take your classes at night if you’re working during the day.

Course Offerings

You’ll find a wide variety of courses with an Education Specialist Degree, making it an exciting avenue of study.

Students will work through several concepts, including:

  • Leadership styles
  • Financial management
  • Leadership techniques
  • Communication skill development
  • Educational perspectives
  • Applied educational research
  • History of education
  • Educational trends


Those asking, “What is an ED specialist?” should also consider how the curriculum is applied.

As mentioned, most of the programs are designed to be taken simultaneously as your day-to-day teaching responsibilities.

You’ll also find that it’s handy for teachers interested in switching their areas of focus.

For example, if you’ve obtained an undergraduate degree with a focus on English, an EdS can help you specialize in Science.

Alternatively, you can use the program to help you advance in your current position by increasing your skill set.

You’ll find a higher likelihood of obtaining jobs with increased salaries because you’ll have different experiences than your peers.

What Is an Educational Specialist: Final Thoughts

Answering “What is an EdS degree?” can help you to open many doors with your career.

An EdS is highly recommended for teachers interested in diversifying their professional skills.

With the ability to receive a post-graduate degree, you’ll become a more competitive professional than any school would desire.

Accredited Education Programs That Might Interest You
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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