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Degree Research

EdD vs. EdS: Differences Between the Two Degrees

By The Editorial Team

Every occupational field deals with changes, either from technological advancements or because of the way people view themselves and others. Nowhere is this more prevalent than teaching. The Bureau of Labor Statistics continually updates its list of occupations in the education, training, and library fields and predicts an expected 5% growth for all divisions in the next 10 years. Many of these require an advanced degree.

Two frequently confused degree programs are the Doctor of Education (EdD) and the Educational Specialist (EdS). While both are advanced degrees typically begun after receiving your master’s, they differ greatly in scope and purpose. Compare EdD vs. EdS to find out which is the best choice for you.

There is a need for expert teachers

Increased job variety and availability has created an opportunity for individuals with advanced degrees.

  • In addition to traditional K-12 teacher roles, schools are relying more and more on niche positions, whether it’s for subject specialization or nontraditional learning environments.
  • The BLS projects an 11% growth in postsecondary teaching jobs over the next 10 years due to increased enrollments at colleges and universities.
  • The corporate world is becoming a fertile ground for teaching careers, with the need for training and development specialists growing much faster than other occupations.

To succeed with their added responsibilities and new roles, teachers need to become lifelong learners.

Keep up with an advanced teaching degree

Teachers who wish to excel in the classroom, move up the ladder in the education field, or change to the corporate sector may find themselves considering an advanced degree. Master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees can help place you on the fast track to career advancement. However, it’s important to choose your field of study carefully so you don’t wind up spending more money or time than is necessary.

What is an EdD degree?

The EdD or Doctor of Education degree is a terminal degree for those looking toward leadership roles in education. It grants doctoral status to individuals who wish to practice in the field of education, rather than continuing to teach.

Relevant coursework

In addition to studying administration and management practices in higher education, candidates for an EdD degree use current research to solve specific job-based needs. Other core classes could include budget management, student diversity, and curriculum planning.

Length of the program

Most schools require completion of 55 to 60 credit hours, which could have you finishing your EdD degree anywhere between two and three years.

Suitable candidates

If you’re interested in advancing your career beyond classroom teaching, the EdD degree may be the next step for you. It’s also a good fit for mid- to high-level professionals in the corporate world who are looking to break into corporate training or employee development.

Job opportunities

With its focus on higher-level education, the EdD degree often opens doors to college administration positions like Dean of Admissions, Student Affairs Director, and Chief of Academic Affairs. In the K-12 arena, graduates with an EdD degree can work as school superintendents.

Private sector jobs can be found in nonprofit organizations, government, health care, and the military.

Extra facts

  • Receiving your EdD degree doesn’t provide any licensure or certification β€” that would be above and beyond the actual degree.
  • The EdD is a terminal, doctorate degree similar to the Doctor of Philosophy.
  • The majority of schools require a dissertation. A few may allow you to substitute a project, and some let you complete the dissertation as part of your studies, rather than afterward.
  • If you’re at least one-half of the way through the program, you may be able to quit and still receive an EdS degree.

What is an EdS degree?

The EdS degree is an advanced degree for those in the education field. The EdS abbreviation stands for Education Specialist, and it offers teachers a chance to gain specialized knowledge while preparing them for mid- to high-level jobs in their branch of study.

Relevant coursework

Students working towards their EdS degree will find that the classes have a narrow scope of subject matter. It’s typical to specialize, with the majority of your coursework covering one topic, such as administration, curriculum, special education, or school psychology.

Length of the program

With about one-half the credits of the EdD, this program usually takes much less time for students to complete. Think of it more like getting a second master’s degree β€” maybe 15 months or so.

Suitable candidates

Most applicants for the EdS degree are aiming for one particular job, which requires more schooling. By taking specialty coursework, these students can ensure they’re more than ready for any state licensure requirements.

Job opportunities

With an EdS degree, you’re primed for advancement in the education setting. If you remain a classroom teacher, you’ll have the extra tools and knowledge to help your students succeed. And if you’ve specialized in a unique teaching field such as sports management, English as a second language, special education, or international education, you’ll be ready should an opportunity come along.

Teachers who hold an EdS degree are also candidates for jobs as a school principal or superintendent. They often focus on administration or curriculum in their coursework.

Extra facts

  • The EdS degree program doesn’t require any dissertation, a plus for some individuals.
  • Every state has distinct licensing requirements for principals and superintendents, and you should be able to direct your studies to help you prepare.
  • The EdS degree is not a terminal or doctorate degree. You can always go back to school to work towards an EdD degree.

Finding the right fit as a teacher involves preparation, commitment, and hard work. Long-term and short-term goals are essential to career advancement. Once you’ve figured out where you want to go, start looking for the advanced degree that will help you get there. Thanks to the quantity and variety of available programs, you’re sure to find one that meets your needs.

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