According to the United States Department of Education, 92 million adults took part in some type of formal education to accommodate new job requirements, earn an advanced degree, keep their skills current or simply to attain a higher education. The education specialist degree program is intended for teachers, supervisors, administrators and counselors in elementary and secondary schools. This degree program offers specialization for teachers who have completed their master’s degree, along with in-depth opportunities for enhanced professional growth.The minimum educational requirement to pursue an education specialist degree is 60 hours of graduate credit, which might include a master’s degree. A candidate for the program should have a minimum 3.0 grade point average on their previous graduate work. Furthermore, many educational specialist programs require at least three years of successful teaching in the field, standardized test scores, writing samples and recommendations. Since a specialist level teacher is considered an instructional leader, the education specialist degree program builds upon the teacher’s prior education and professional experiences to accomplish this. The specialist program ensures that a teacher who completes the course is particularly knowledgeable about current theory and practice in education.Specific areas of study can be pursued within the education specialist degree program. Such areas of include curriculum and instruction, administration and counseling.Curriculum and instruction: Teachers pursuing an education specialist degree with a concentration in curriculum and instruction are involved with the teaching, supervision and curriculum of discipline-centered areas of study.Administration: Those educators seeking an education specialist degree with a concentration in administration can seek licenses for advanced administrative positions within public and private schools, such as building administrator, administrative specialist, vocational director and district administrator.Counseling: Teachers taking the education specialist degree program with a concentration in counseling have the opportunity for advanced training and study in specialized areas of interest, such as individual, group or family clinical counseling.Specializations within each of the three segments of the education specialist degree include literature, art, English, foreign language, science, social education, mathematics and special education. The education specialist degree program encompasses 30 semester hours.An education specialist degree is intended to develop proficiency and professional among teachers already in service. By earning an education specialist degree online, working teachers are afforded the flexibility to attend classes around their own schedule. Online education makes it easier for teachers to pursue higher education while keeping their current positions and maintaining tenure. Thus, attending an education specialist degree program online enables teachers to remain in the classroom with students while they learn how to enhance the educational experience. Teachers who attain an education specialist degree are useful in imparting leadership skills to other teachers, administrators, colleagues and students. Many such teachers implement school improvement plans, developing and using unique teaching practices right in their own classroom.So are the longterm benefits of pursuing an education specialist degree online worth balancing time between earning and learning? The U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guide to Industries, 2006-07 Edition states that 1 in 4 Americans are enrolled in educational institutions; this makes the educational services the second largest industry in America. About 13 million jobs exist in education services today and most of them require at least a bachelor’s degree. The Guide further offers that, “Wage and salary employment growth of 17 percent is expected in the educational services industry over the 2004-14 period, higher than the 14 percent increase projected for all industries combined. The number of teachers retiring is expected to remain a record high over the 2004-2014 period, so there may be a lack of students graduating with education degrees to meet this growing industry’s needs. This makes job opportunities for graduates in many education fields good to excellent.”Education remains an important part of life and school attendance is compulsory the United States, so there are numerous educational establishments to teach at. As technology expands and the economy changes, there will be an increased need for skilled teachers with an innovative approach to dynamic classroom situations. People holding an education specialist degree will have increased opportunities to advance into positions as administrators, specialized counselors or even assist in developing cutting edge curriculum for students. In a Report released in July 2006, The U.S. Department of Labor reveals that school districts report difficulties in recruiting qualified administrators and teachers, especially in urban and rural areas.According to the Distance Education and Training Council, over 4 million students are enrolled in online universities and schools and that number is growing by 30 percent each year. The convenience of pursuing an education specialist degree online enables teachers to learn while they earn, as well implement the skills they attain in their own classrooms as they go. Thus, education specialist degree online programs are beneficial to both teachers and their students.