“STEM” education—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—addresses education policy and curriculum choices in schools from K-12 through college to improve competitiveness in technology development. These subjects have often been taught in isolation; in STEM education, they are taught as an integrated curriculum instead.
The Educational Specialist (EdS) degree in STEM Education is designed for those who seek to further develop competencies in a selected area of STEM education (e.g., science education, mathematics education, educational technology). It includes graduate coursework in content and in educational theory and practice relevant to the student's specialization, and resembles a Master’s +30 program for teachers in other states.
This EdS program is open to students who have completed a Master’s degree in a STEM or related education field. It is helpful, but not necessary, to have some teaching experience. In addition:
The EdS in STEM Education is a 30-credit degree program. It typically takes at least 1.5 years to complete all degree requirements, including a final program examination (i.e., a comprehensive oral examination). However, students who work (e.g., teach) and take classes on a part-time basis often require additional time to complete their degree requirements.
Unlike MS degrees, there is no research option, and unlike PhD degrees, there is no research requirement. Although prior experience in research at the Bachelor’s or Master’s degree level may provide some beneficial background for EdS study, it is neither necessary for, nor required for admission to, the EdS program.
STEM education has implications for workforce development, national security concerns, and immigration policy because of the perceived lack of qualified candidates for high-tech jobs. Enabling US citizens to be well versed in the STEM fields is a key portion of the country’s public education agenda. By cultivating an interest in the natural and social sciences in preschool or first grade, the chances of STEM success in high school can be greatly improved.
Many organizations in the US follow the guidelines of the National Science Foundation (NSF), which uses a broader definition of STEM subjects that includes subjects in the fields of chemistry, computer and information technology science, engineering, geosciences, the life sciences, mathematical sciences, physics and astronomy, the social sciences (anthropology, economics, psychology, and sociology), and STEM education and learning research.
The average college simply cannot beat Florida Tech’s location. The 130-acre campus is located on the Space Coast (so named because of the presence of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral just north of us). The area has the fifth largest high-tech workforce in the country, with more than 5,000 high-tech corporations and government and military organizations located nearby, providing a variety of internship and employment opportunities. It is also near other STEM-rich resources such as the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic coast, as well as a strong public school system and area private schools.
Advantages of pursuing this MS degree at Florida Tech:
While the 8.6 million STEM jobs in the US in May 2015 represented only 6.2% of US employment, STEM jobs are growing twice as fast as other jobs (over 10% per year). By 2020, according to the Brookings Institution, “demand for skilled technologists will exceed the number of qualified applicants by 1 million.” STEM education is key to filling these jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics observed that more than 99% of STEM jobs typically require some form of postsecondary education, while only 36% of other jobs require that level of education.
Some enroll in Florida Tech’s EdS in STEM Education program as their final graduate degree, while others go on to pursue a doctoral degree.
Students in this program have participated in and presented their work at state conferences (e.g., the Florida Association of Science Teachers and the Florida Council of Teachers of Mathematics) and national/international conferences (e.g., the National Science Teachers Association, the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the Future of Education Technology Conference. Many students have had their work published.
Most graduates with EdS degrees in STEM Education have gone on to teach in K-16 institutions, usually in STEM areas, both in the US and in other countries. Those with sufficient ability and experience have served as department heads and district curriculum specialists. Many graduates of this program teach at the college level (e.g., state colleges in Florida).
According to the Wharton School of Business, a STEM degree is a massive boost to earning potential, as STEM jobs pay well above the national average. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that 93 of the top 100 STEM occupations pay above-average wages, and the average STEM job salary is $87,570, almost double the non-STEM national average.
The Department of Labor identified 14 sectors that are “projected to add substantial numbers of new jobs to the economy or affect the growth of other industries or are being transformed by technology and innovation requiring new sets of skills for workers”:
Students may enter the EdS program directly, although it is more common for students to be admitted to the PhD in STEM Education and earn their EdS en route to their PhD.
In addition, graduates who have a strong background in their content field as a result of their Bachelor’s degree and graduate coursework have been admitted into PhD programs in their STEM field (e.g., Science, Mathematics, or Computer Science).