What does an Education Specialist do?

Lily Ruha

An education specialist is an educator who is trained in a specialized topic. Early childhood education, learning disabilities, online learning, product knowledge and health education are just a few examples of expertise areas of an education specialist. Education specialists generally train, guide and monitor the progress of others in both one-on-one and group settings. They often develop training materials and make presentations as well. Education specialists work in a variety of environments, including private and public schools, large and small corporations and in health care environments, such as hospitals, clinics and mental health centers.

An education specialist may work with individuals who are learning English as a second language.
An education specialist may work with individuals who are learning English as a second language.

A health education specialist in a university setting is often responsible for designing programs to educate university staff and students on matters related to diet, nutrition, fitness and stress management. In this capacity, the education specialist leads classes, develops training materials and may also recruit and oversee health instructors. The duties of health education specialists often vary from setting to setting and are based on the needs of the unique environment.

Education specialists may work in a library and run tutoring programs.
Education specialists may work in a library and run tutoring programs.

Education specialists are often found in school settings and, depending on the position, can serve a variety of functions. Some education specialists in schools are focused on delivering professional development training to teachers. Other specialists are hired as educational counselors who address a variety of student challenges, ranging from behavioral issues to identifying and developing educational interests. Some education specialists focus on students with learning disabilities and show them how to advance their knowledge and cope with learning challenges.

Early childhood education is one example of an area of expertise for an education specialist.
Early childhood education is one example of an area of expertise for an education specialist.

Education specialists may also have expertise in technology and use Web-based tools to advance the learning process. These individuals are often hired by schools and colleges to teach students and teachers how to best integrate technology into classroom activities. This type of education specialist generally has a teaching background along with specialized knowledge of Web-based instructional content. He or she is able to lead a group of students or teachers through a step-by-step process of accessing Web-based tools that offer instruction and measure student progress.

Education specialists might develop computer programs that can be used as a classroom resource.
Education specialists might develop computer programs that can be used as a classroom resource.

Many companies employ product education specialists as well. The role of these individuals is to educate others about company products and services. Their work sometimes includes training internal staff as well as presenting product demonstrations to potential clients. In this capacity, the product education specialist will generally develop his or her own presentations and often deliver them in person to others, either one-on-one or in groups. The product presentations sometimes also require travel or the ability to use Web-based conferencing tools.

Education specialists may work with special needs students on an individual basis or in a classroom.
Education specialists may work with special needs students on an individual basis or in a classroom.

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Discussion Comments

pastanaga

@indigmoth - I can imagine the problem with that is that it would be very difficult to measure what the students were getting out of the project. With worksheets and standard lesson plans, it's easier to assess them.

I do wonder if education specialists tend to be a bit narrow in their specializing. Education should be a holistic affair and I'm not sure if it does much good to focus only on one aspect of the whole.

indigomoth

@bythewell - That's pretty cool. What I'd like to do is more research on schools that have introduced integrated, project based learning, to see how well they do with different demographics of students.

This kind of learning involves students picking a project that they feel passionate about and which is real, like, for example, making a community vegetable garden. They then have to do all the different research and work around that project, which could involve letter writing (literacy) interacting with experts, experiments and so forth, depending on the project. The idea is that the students will be more likely to want to learn if they see the point of their learning and they are invested in it and an integrated project involves lots of different subjects rolled into one.

It has seen a lot of success, but unfortunately, is not yet considered a mainstream method of teaching, so there aren't many educational specialists who promote it.

bythewell

My mother is hoping to become an education specialist in academic mentoring programs. She recently did a long sabbatical across the States visiting schools that used this kind of approach and is planning on writing some essays about it.

She has an education degree, but I suppose she might try to get her Masters or something like that.

She really thinks that this kind of educational program is much better for underachievers and overachievers alike and that it's one of the ways of the future for education. I don't know a whole lot about it, but I'm glad she's passionate about something that I consider to be quite important to society.

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