There are many ways you can specialize an education degree because there are many academic fields, community needs and employment opportunities. The majority of teachers recognize the importance of continuing professional development because degree specializations will differentiate themselves from other job hunters. Here are four potential ways to specialize your future education degree.
Curriculum and Instructional
Instead of getting a general content degree, some teachers want to design the curriculum that’s taught in classrooms. This concentration equally focuses on curriculum and instruction, so teachers learn how to evaluate textbooks, research state requirements, adopt new standards, prepare for federal tests and promote quality teaching. The curriculum and instruction specialization will provide teachers with the skills needed to coach, inspire and correct other teachers. Degree courses cover how to embrace classroom technologies, implement teaching styles, oversee lesson developments, keep up with evolving content guidelines and maintain high levels of student achievement.
This concentration is designed for teachers and office staff who are interested in becoming administrators. Potential career paths include district leader, school principal and program superintendent. Educational leadership degrees are also designed to help working school district leaders improve their job marketability and job qualifications. Some states allow teachers with an education administration degree to work as assistant principals in public schools. Leadership and administration classes teach about school boards, parent relations, curriculum decisions, student discipline, budget development and the education industry.
Early Childhood Special Education
This degree specialization enhances the abilities of teachers to help unique children learn throughout their academic stages. Teachers are taught how to help children with special needs by first helping them adapt and assimilate into traditional classroom settings. Assignment topics typically cover special education methods, assessment, strategies and tools for young students. Teachers learn about student characteristics, developmental psychology, classroom management and alternative approaches to instruction. Graduates are prepared to take on the real-world challenges of working with toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners with special needs, physical challenges, developmental delays and learning disabilities.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
This specialization focuses on how to manage students with behavioral disorders who present classroom challenges. This degree is designed for school counselors and special education teachers who provide support for students who may be ostracized and removed from traditional academic environments. The curriculum usually focuses on behavioral assessments, interventions, measurements, professional ethics and experimental design concepts. Students may gain practical experience in classroom settings. Teachers who study applied behavior analysis can make positive differences in the lives of students. These degrees should be approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and qualify the student to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam.
The ways you can specialize an education degree also include general content areas like math, English, science and geography. Students of these degrees learn advanced knowledge in established education areas. This will increase their career options, discipline flexibility and earning potential. Anyone who wants to become a teacher can learn more at the U.S. Department of Education’s website here.