Candidates in both degrees usually have a PK-12 school background. Valid administrative certification along with a master's degree is required.
Most Ed.D. candidates continue to work full time, take classes one night a week, and complete their degree in three to five years—and other certifications (i.e. Superintendent's Certificate), concentrations (i.e. school library leadership), or areas of emphasis (i.e. STEM) may be embedded within the program. Ed.D. candidates choose that degree over an Ed.S. because they understand that a specialist degree is separate from a doctoral path, and not a stepping stone. They seek to be educational experts in their areas of emphasis and look to the blend of practitioner and research focus to reach their personal and professional goals.
Ed.S. candidates typically choose a specialist pathway rather than the Ed.D. because it is a shorter route to Superintendent Certification or because it includes a field project instead of dissertation.
The endorsement option is available for those who have already earned a master's degree in education and seek an administrative certificate. Options for K-6, 7-12, and K-12 certification are available, and adding a second endorsement to an administrative certificate is possible. Those without a master's degree should apply for the MS in Educational Leadership to earn a degree along with other certification requirements.
There are two areas of concentration that correlate to administration certificate requirements. The concentration in building administration (K-6 or 7-12) is designed to earn a principal's certificate, while a curriculum supervisor's certificate is earned through a concentration in teacher leadership.
Most candidates choose the building administration concentration even if principalship is not an immediate goal. This certificate covers a variety of school leadership positions.
Candidates who choose teacher leader concentration usually have a previous master's degree or a strong interest in one field of education. The curriculum supervisor certificate does not allow for principal or assistant principal employment, but does fit for those leading other departments or roles in schools.