See how these two graduate-level education degree programs fit together.

Smiling teacher writing on the blackboard.Education Specialist (EdS) and Doctor of Education (EdD) degrees each provide higher-level knowledge and skills you’ll need to advance your career and qualify for more influential positions as an educator-leader.

Why Choose an Online EdS Degree Program?

Enrolling in an EdS degree program is a strong post-master’s step for educators who want to build their credentials and increase their professional influence in a particular area of focus. Online EdS degrees may include non-licensure programs in areas such as:

  • Curriculum, instruction and assessment.
  • Early childhood education.
  • Educational leadership and administration.

An additional benefit to earning your education specialist degree online: If your ultimate goal is to earn your EdD, an EdS program could save you time and money on your doctorate. EdS and EdD degree programs at the same online university may include overlapping initial courses, so when you’re ready to begin your doctoral degree, those credits can transfer seamlessly.

What Careers Are Available With an EdS Degree?

Graduating from an EdS degree program may offer you certain professional advantages over those without a post-master’s education, including greater marketability to employers, expanded job opportunities not available to those without an EdS-level education, and potentially a higher salary. Positions may include principal, assistant principal, district superintendent, assistant district superintendent, and other key district and central administration roles.*

What’s the Benefit of an Online EdD Program?

If you aspire to be in a hands-on leadership role at the top of your profession, an EdD is an ideal choice. The research elements of an EdD program are focused on applying existing research findings to educational settings (rather than conducting original research as you would in a PhD program). This professional doctorate may include core knowledge and skills like teaching and lifelong learning, research and reflective analytical thought, leadership and communication, diversity, and collaborative social change.

Do EdD Programs Offer Specializations?

Many online EdD programs do offer non-licensure specializations that can help you further your specific career objectives. Some of these include:

  • Community college leadership.
  • Curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
  • Early childhood education.
  • Educational administration and leadership.
  • Education technology.
  • Higher education and adult learning.
  • Higher education leadership and management.
  • Reading, literacy, and assessment.
  • Special education.

What Career Options Will I Have With an EdD?

An EdD degree can pave the way for a variety of rewarding careers, both in and out of the classroom. Earning your EdD degree can prepare you for professional, academic, administrative, research, or clinical positions in preK–12 settings, higher education, private organizations, public institutions, and civil service. Professional opportunities may include college instructional or educational technologist, dean of students, special education college professor, assistant principal, principal, central office department director, education consultant, chief learning officer in business and industry, and government education director or administrator.*


“What motivated me to go with the EdD program was that it offered the courses I needed to become a stronger leader in education and to be a scholar, which is ultimately what I wanted to do.”

Suzette Henry, Doctor of Education (EdD) Graduate, Walden University


Are You a Lifelong Learner?

If you choose to earn both an EdS and an EdD, there’s no pressure to start one program immediately after you’ve completed the other. You may finish your education specialist degree, wait to see how your life and career progress, and then return to the same online university to expand your knowledge with a doctor of education degree. After all, many educators themselves are lifelong learners.

Explore Walden University's online education degrees for undergraduates and graduates. Get the help you need to start or advance your career. Earn your degree in a convenient online format that fits your busy life.


*Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of a degree program.

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