With an EdS in Special Education, you can further your career in a growing field while making a direct impact on the lives of students with exceptionalities.

With nearly 6 million students nationwide in need of special education services, there is a growing demand for professional leaders in the field. The Education Specialist (EdS) degree in Special Education can position you for leadership roles in school districts, communities, and the profession as a whole.

In this online Education Specialist degree program, you will:

  • Deepen your understanding of the critical trends and issues impacting special education today.
  • Learn how to collaborate effectively with families and school staff to enhance special education practice.
  • Engage in real-world case studies that require collaborative problem-solving and the implementation of research-based strategies.
  • Illustrate your knowledge through a capstone project that allows you to focus on a real-world problem of practice in special education.

The EdS curriculum is informed by the Council for Exceptional Children Advanced Role Content Standards and focuses on key issues in the field of special education, such as leadership and policy, program development and assessment, collaboration, and ethical practice.

An EdS degree can dramatically impact your salary and career as an educator-leader in less time, and at a lower cost, than it takes to earn a Doctor of Education (EdD) or PhD in Education. However, the innovative structure of our Lifelong Learner Pathways allows you to lay the groundwork for your doctorate if you later choose to pursue it. As an EdS student, you will take the same initial courses as EdD and PhD students, where you exchange ideas and engage in advanced graduate coursework. If you are inspired to pursue your doctorate, you can transfer into the EdD program with a specialization in Special Education without starting over, saving you time and money.

Find information about Walden programs and licensure requirements specific to your state.

Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of Walden’s EdS in Special Education program, you will be prepared to:

  • Follow policies surrounding ethical and legal practices that support high-quality education for individuals with diverse educational, behavioral, emotional, and cultural learning needs.
  • Apply valid, research-based assessment measures to facilitate learning and behavioral interventions for individuals with diverse educational, behavioral, emotional, and cultural learning needs.
  • Evaluate special education programs, including the integration of related services (e.g., assistive technology, behavioral intervention, transition, inclusion) for individuals with exceptionalities based upon an understanding of individual differences.
  • Distinguish research-based strategies used to improve data decision making, support, and services for individuals with diverse educational, behavioral, emotional, and cultural learning needs.
  • Support the continuous improvement of education programs, supports, and services for individuals with exceptionalities.
  • Effectively communicate with stakeholders to improve outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities and their families.
  • Design a scholarly response to address a special education problem and contribute to the profession.


Like all of our Education Specialist degree programs, Walden’s EdS in Special Education program is designed to empower busy educators like you to pursue a specialized post-master’s degree while continuing to work full time. Our program offers unprecedented flexibility that lets you tailor your studies to your needs and goals, and even change direction midstream without losing time or money.

  • You can switch degree paths even after starting your program. Students in the Doctor of Education (EdD) program and the EdS post-master’s programs take the same four initial courses. With our Lifelong Learner Pathway, you can continue toward your doctoral degree without having to start over.
  • Increase your impact as an educator-leader in less time. With an EdS in Special Education, you can make a greater impact on your salary and career trajectory—not to mention your community—in significantly less time, and at a lower cost, than it takes to earn an EdD or PhD in Education.
  • Learn from highly qualified and diverse faculty mentors, who blend academic theory with real-world insights to enrich your learning and broaden your perspectives on the latest trends.
  • CAEP accreditation assures you that our programs are high quality. The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University, a Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)–accredited institution, is dedicated to enhancing educator effectiveness.

Save Time and Money on Your Degree

The ability to transfer credit at Walden can give you a more seamless, effective, and cost-efficient way to continue your education. Complete your required coursework sooner by transferring applicable required graduate credits into a Walden degree program.


Clarice Davis

Clarice Davis

MSED and EdS in Teacher Leadership Graduate
Walden’s instructors are there to assist in your education. You are never alone in your journey.
Studying with Walden has opened doors in terms of authentic application of my studies to my current teaching career. What I learned at Walden was truly utilized at my job.
Walden is so much more than an online university; it is a university that cares about your success as a person.
Yvette Taylor MS in Early Childhood Studies Graduate
Yvette Taylor
Sandra Tolbert MSEd Graduate
Sandy Tolbert
Seletha Tucker MS in Early Childhood Studies Graduate / EdD Student
Seletha Tucker

Walden University is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) for a period of seven years, from April 2019 through June 2026. This accreditation covers initial teacher preparation programs and advanced educator preparation programs. CAEP is the only recognized national accreditor for educator preparation, promoting excellence in educator preparation through quality assurance and continuous improvement. Walden University earned CAEP accreditation by meeting rigorous national standards and demonstrating excellence in the areas of content and pedagogy, clinical experiences, selectivity, program impact, and capacity for continuous improvement.

Note on Educator Licensure or Certification
This program does not lead to educator licensure or certification. Educators are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.

Prospective Alabama students: State Authorization to provide a program related to the preparation of teachers or other P-12 school/system personnel does not indicate eligibility for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate. Applicants who complete an educator preparation program at a non-Alabama institution must apply for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate through the Alabama Certificate Reciprocity Approach. Current requirements may be found at www.alsde.edu.

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Questions about our EdS in Special Education (Non-Licensure)?
Questions about our EdS in Special Education (Non-Licensure)?
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