A teacher uses her laptop and completes online coursework in a library.

Advantages of an Educational Specialist Degree

What is an Educational Specialist Degree?

I will admit that I was not familiar with an educational specialist degree when I was exploring my options for advancing my career. I knew I wanted to pursue more educational opportunities, but I was unsure about returning to school due to the time commitment and cost.

One day at my school, I noticed a flyer for an informational meeting about the Carson-Newman University Educational Specialist Program, which intrigued me. I researched more about the degree and found out that the added degree would move me to another step on the career ladder. I also found out that the educational specialist degree’s purpose is to advance teachers’ education and prepare them for leadership within the school or the school district.

As I had been teaching for a few years at the time, I thought I might want to pursue leadership at the school or district level in the future. I believed that this program might be worth my time and money because of the opportunities it would provide me in the future.

Since I was early on in my career, I considered the program’s cost an investment into my future. As I learned more about the degree, I was excited to see that the program wouldn’t take me long to complete. I was excited to learn that the program at Carson-Newman is designed for full-time educators and would not be a huge time investment during the school year. I completed all my program requirements online, cutting out the time driving to a campus. Also, the bulk of the work would occur during the summer, but it would not be so overwhelming that it took over my entire summer.

The educational specialist degree is a more thorough pathway than pursuing a certificate because it shows an investment on your part to your education and growth in getting an additional degree. I also found out the educational specialist program is a step above a master’s degree and is more focused on leadership.

However, the educational specialist degree does not require as much time as a doctoral degree and does not require the year focused on the dissertation. I was excited to complete this degree quickly and not have to spend a year on research while also maintaining my teaching job.

What Kind of Educational Specialist Programs are Available?

Carson-Newman University has a variety of educational specialist programs available. These include the Ed.S. in Administrative Leadership, and Ed.S. in Administrative Leadership with Curriculum and Instruction Concentration. Both programs are online and take about two years to complete. The classes are paced so that you can continue working full-time as a teacher and go to school.

Ed.S. in Administrative Leadership

Regarding the Ed.S. in Administrative Leadership, the program focuses on developing leadership skills and expanding knowledge with research-based change strategies. If you are interested in a leadership role in a PreK-12 school or district in the future, this is the program for you. The classes in this program include “Management of the School,” “Professional Learning Communities,” and “Ethical, Social, and Spiritual Leadership Principles” among several other classes. Participants in this program can also add the Administrative License Specialization.

Ed.S. in Administrative Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction Concentration

If you are interested in serving as a lead teacher, instructional coach, or other curriculum-related leadership roles, the Administrative Leadership with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction is the program for you. This program also focuses on research-based change strategies but focuses more on the curriculum aspect. Some of the classes in this program include, “The Teacher as Leader,” “Evaluation for Continuous Improvement, “and “Curriculum and Instruction Strategies.”

What are the Benefits of a Carson-Newman University Educational Specialist Degree?

An educational specialist degree can benefit you in several ways.

Preparation for Leadership

One way is that the classes within the program prepare you for a leadership role at your school or in the district. Many of the classes focus on research-based leadership. My classes helped me develop my leadership style, while also realizing how best to work with individuals who may have a different leadership style. I was able to learn about different leadership principles and how I could apply them to my school role.

Advance Your Career

Additionally, the educational specialist degree can move you up the career ladder in your school district. Once I earned my degree, I was able to earn additional pay. Considering that I was still early in my career, the pay increase with this degree would be worth the investment in my education.

All Classes Are Incredibly Valuable

Also, I believe the classes were all valuable in my growth as a teacher and a leader. I didn’t have any classes that were not applicable to my current role in the classroom or my future aspirations in education. I delved into school leadership by presenting to my colleagues about working with gifted students. This was a valuable experience for me to show leadership and share my learning in a way that benefited the students and teachers in my school.

Qualifications for Different Positions

One of my career goals was to move into higher education. Because of my focus in educational leadership, I was able to obtain a position in the education department at the college level and work with future teachers. By learning about leadership, I can better work with these future educators and develop their teaching skills.

I believe it is essential for teachers to develop lifelong learning practices. I was engaging in many professional development opportunities at my school, but none of them allowed me to move forward in my career and earn more pay. If you love learning, I recommend exploring the educational specialist programs at Carson-Newman University. You will develop leadership knowledge at various school levels while enhancing your leadership style.

Personal, Christian Education

After attending a large public institution for my master’s degree program, it was important to me to find a small, private Christian college similar to my bachelor’s experience. The values of the institution were crucial to my education and supported my growth as an educator and leader.

“Our mission as Christian educators is to help our students reach their full potential as educated citizens and worldwide servant-leaders.”