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How Do I Get an Education Specialist Degree?

A.E. Freeman
A.E. Freeman

An education specialist degree is earned after you earn your master's degree. Before you can receive the degree, you usually need to have experience in the area you are pursuing a degree in as well as a graduate degree in that area. Most degree programs require 30 hours of coursework and supervision from an advisory committee. You can enroll in an online program or take classes in a traditional setting. Additionally, you may need to pass a comprehensive examination or complete a capstone project to earn an education specialist degree.

Education specialist degrees are designed for teachers who have earned a master's degree in education but have not yet gone on to earn a doctorate. You don't need an education specialist degree to earn a doctorate, as it is a terminal degree. To be admitted to a program, you will typically need a GPA of at least 3.0 in your graduate and undergraduate programs as well as good GRE scores.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The focus of your degree depends on your field. Usually, degree programs are divided into several fields of study, including curriculum development, academic leadership, and special education. Different schools offer different areas of focus for the degree.

Some programs require you to find an adviser and put together a committee to oversee your work before you can be admitted to the education specialist degree program. Ideally, a your adviser's area of expertise will be similar to your area of study. The adviser will also need to have room in his schedule for a new student.

You may earn an education specialist degree by attending classes in a traditional setting. Some schools offer courses exclusively online, which may be easier for people who work full time to attend. Typically, you will need to take 30 hours of class beyond your master's degree to get the specialist degree. Most schools require that 75 percent of your coursework be completed in that program. Usually, no more that nine credit hours can transfer from another institution.

To complete the degree, most schools require that you pass a comprehensive examination. The examination can be either written or oral depending on the program. You need to pass the examination in most cases and usually must pass the test within two attempts. Some programs require you to complete a paper and present the paper to a committee before you earn the degree. You may also have to complete a certain number of practicum hours.

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