How Can I Specialize an Advanced Education Degree in Teaching?

Master of Arts in TeachingThere are a number of ways you can specialize an Advanced Education degree in Teaching, but a lot of your options will depend on the ages, grade levels and environments of your future students. Teaching first graders will have different licensing requirements than teaching ninth graders; curriculum development will be based on different models for public schools versus military boot camps. Whether you’re a seasoned teacher seeking advanced accreditation or just a high school student preparing your college future well in advance, here’s what you need to know about obtaining your Ed.S, or education specialist degree.

Elementary Education

Also known as early childhood education, elementary education is focused on primary schools that run from kindergarten through fifth or sixth grade. You’ll need to become a passing expert in all low-level courses, including math, science and social studies, to qualify as a teacher in everything. This leads well into specialization areas that include early literacy and educational media courses. You won’t be delivering lectures to a roomful of attentive note-takers, so you’ll need to be comfortable with young children and the various ways you can hold their attention. If you plan on becoming a principal, administrative director or district supervisor, you might also interested in obtaining specialization in educational leadership, which will familiarize you with the minutiae of running a school and handling its finances. You can earn both an Ed.S or an Ed.D in educational leadership, according to USC Rossier Online.

Secondary Education

If you’re heading into secondary education, you’ll need to become specialized twice over; most middle and high schools require teaching courses as well as BA-level expertise in your chosen subject. If you want to become a math teacher, for example, your major should be in mathematics with a minor or dual degree in secondary education. From there, your specialization can branch out to include everything from curriculum development to standardized test score analysis. You should also strongly consider courses in school psychology, according to the National Association of School Psychologists. Since you’ll be working with teenagers, it’s important that you’re well-versed in adolescent development and psychopathology. Teaching disaffected teenagers isn’t at all like teaching happy tots, so if you don’t round out your master’s degree with the proper behavioral courses, you might find your high school teaching career more difficult than you thought.

Other Education

Planning on teaching in the military? You can also benefit from educational leadership courses, particularly those with a sub-specialty of group psychology and public organization theory. Or maybe you plan on becoming an educator in business-related or technological fields? You’ll need to find an Ed.S program that offers classes in statistics, integrated technology and distance learning implementation. Since you won’t be teaching in a regular school building, anything that emphasizes non-traditional learning is a good idea. You should become comfortable working outside the lines and devising your own lesson plans and academic goals. Though they aren’t directly related to education, courses in public speaking and creative thinking can be a great boon to you here.

Related Resource: Reading Specialist

These are just a few of the avenues open to you if you’d like to specialize an advanced education degree in teaching. Keep in mind that licensing requirements will vary wildly by state, so if you already know where your future classroom will be, it’s wise to look up specific educational demands for your field and your location.