5 Popular Accelerated Degree Teaching Specializations

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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • There are sev­er­al in-demand spe­cial­iza­tions with­in accel­er­at­ed teach­ing degrees, includ­ing Spe­cial Edu­ca­tion, STEM (Sci­ence, Tech­nol­o­gy, Engi­neer­ing, and Math­e­mat­ics), ESL (Eng­lish as a Sec­ond Lan­guage), Ear­ly Child­hood Edu­ca­tion, and Edu­ca­tion­al Lead­er­ship and Administration.
  • When select­ing a spe­cial­iza­tion, con­sid­er career goals, mar­ket demand, pro­gram accred­i­ta­tion, and per­son­al inter­ests.
  • Accred­i­ta­tion from bod­ies like the Coun­cil for the Accred­i­ta­tion of Edu­ca­tor Prepa­ra­tion (CAEP) ensures pro­gram qual­i­ty and can enhance career prospects.
  • Under­stand­ing mar­ket trends can help iden­ti­fy areas with high demand for spe­cial­ized educators.

Accel­er­at­ed degrees have become very pop­u­lar in the past cou­ple of years due to their abil­i­ty to get you in front of a class­room faster. That said, as the edu­ca­tion land­scape is con­stant­ly evolv­ing, a teach­ing spe­cial­iza­tion brings you a high­er prof­it poten­tial. Whether you are a prospec­tive stu­dent or have worked in edu­ca­tion before, this arti­cle will give you more insight into pro­grams that end with a specialty.


Understanding Accelerated Degree Programs

As their name sug­gests, accel­er­at­ed teach­ing degrees are pro­grams that you can com­plete at a faster rate com­pared to the tra­di­tion­al ones. Where­as it usu­al­ly takes more than 4 years (includ­ing your master’s) to get your spe­cial­iza­tion, accel­er­at­ed degrees set you up in about two years. They have a con­densed cur­ricu­lum, allow­ing you to use the poten­tial expe­ri­ence to get through your exams faster.


Benefits of Accelerated Teaching Degrees

If you want to go on this path, there are mul­ti­ple accel­er­at­ed degree ben­e­fits to con­sid­er, includ­ing the following:

1. Time Efficiency

Time is of the essence to every­one, espe­cial­ly when you want to enter the teach­ing pro­fes­sion fast. Since these pro­grams only last for 1–2 years and offer flex­i­ble sched­ules, you don’t even have to leave your day job. With a good time man­age­ment strat­e­gy and a stur­dy sup­port sys­tem, you should be able to enter the work­force in no time.

2. Reduced Costs

Accel­er­at­ed degrees involve few­er costs in tuition, and like tra­di­tion­al pro­grams, you also get access to finan­cial aid. You can usu­al­ly get a FAFSA loan, and there are plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ties for grants and schol­ar­ships. Since many are online teach­ing degrees accel­er­at­ed, you don’t have to spend much on trans­porta­tion and hous­ing. Add to that the fact that you can grad­u­ate in 1–2 years, and the ear­ly employ­ment could bring mon­ey faster into your household.

3. Focused Curriculum

The best part about accel­er­at­ed degrees is that you get inten­sive teacher train­ing with­out round­abouts. Tra­di­tion­al pro­grams have many class­es focus­ing on basic knowl­edge and the­o­ry, but accel­er­at­ed ver­sions have a more prac­ti­cal approach. This offers a more inten­sive learn­ing expe­ri­ence where you can under­stand how to per­form in a specialization.

Nowa­days, you can choose from plen­ty of spe­cial­iza­tions based on your skills and pref­er­ences. Still, the most pop­u­lar ones are the following:

1. Special Education

Near­ly 240 mil­lion chil­dren world­wide are liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties, many of them being unable to receive prop­er edu­ca­tion. While fol­low­ing a spe­cial edu­ca­tion pro­gram, you will learn how to inter­act with these stu­dents, pro­mot­ing inclu­sive­ness and help­ing them adapt to soci­ety. It’s a high­ly reward­ing domain, espe­cial­ly if you are inter­est­ed in behav­ioral management.

2. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

If you are pas­sion­ate and have expe­ri­ence in sci­ences and tech­nol­o­gy, then a STEM teach­ing spe­cial­iza­tion might be right up your alley. You can eas­i­ly become a STEM teacher in your cho­sen domain, a cur­ricu­lum devel­op­er, and more.

3. ESL (English as a Second Language)

Do you have a strong hold on the Eng­lish lan­guage and want to teach it to non-native speak­ers? In that case, the pro­fes­sion of an ESL teacher can be pret­ty reward­ing, main­ly as 13.6% of the pop­u­la­tion is com­prised of immi­grants. With this spe­cial­ty, you could become a bilin­gual edu­ca­tion teacher, poten­tial­ly earn­ing up to $87,792 per year, accord­ing to Glassdoor.

4. Early Childhood Education

If you are inter­est­ed in teach­ing chil­dren from birth through kinder­garten, then get­ting an ear­ly child­hood edu­ca­tion degree fast could suit you. Con­sid­er­ing the nation­wide ear­ly child­hood edu­ca­tion short­age, this type of spe­cial­iza­tion is in high demand.

5. Educational Leadership and Administration

If you wish to pre­pare edu­ca­tors instead of chil­dren to fit into their school man­age­ment role, then get­ting your edu­ca­tion­al lead­er­ship fast-track degree is rec­om­mend­ed. Many peo­ple who are already in the edu­ca­tion sec­tor aspire to get into a high­er role, so with a spe­cial­ty like this, they will seek your exper­tise. It’s a very ful­fill­ing job, which is why it is so popular.

Choosing the Right Specialization

Select­ing your teach­ing career spe­cial­iza­tion should be done care­ful­ly, con­sid­er­ing all the pros and cons. Here are some fac­tors to look at:

1. Career Goals and Interests

Start with your objec­tives and inter­ests. Espe­cial­ly if you are chang­ing your career, you should look into a spe­cial­iza­tion you are pas­sion­ate about. If you suc­ceed, you’ll be doing this for a good part of your life, so you must make sure it’s ful­fill­ing. For exam­ple, if you are pas­sion­ate about for­eign lan­guages, you can get an ESL teacher certification.

2. Market Demand

Mar­ket demand could also influ­ence the spe­cial­ty that you choose. For instance, the per­cent­age of stu­dents expe­ri­enc­ing sig­nif­i­cant men­tal health prob­lems has increased by almost 50% in the past decade, sug­gest­ing a need for spe­cial care. This trend could indi­cate that a spe­cial edu­ca­tion accel­er­at­ed pro­gram is a good option for you to consider.

3. Accreditation and Associations

Accred­i­ta­tion sug­gests the program’s qual­i­ty and increas­es the like­li­hood that you will be tak­en seri­ous­ly. Look for pro­grams rec­og­nized by accred­it­ing bod­ies such as the Coun­cil for the Accred­i­ta­tion of Edu­ca­tor Prepa­ra­tion (CAEP). Pro­fes­sion­al asso­ci­a­tions can also bring oppor­tu­ni­ties for net­work­ing and men­tor­ships, so check whether or not they can pro­vide those resources for you as well.

Admission Requirements and Preparation

Accel­er­at­ed edu­ca­tion pro­gram require­ments are rel­a­tive­ly sim­i­lar to the tra­di­tion­al bachelor’s degree route. Most insti­tu­tions require you to pro­vide the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any field
  • GPA of min­i­mum 2.5
  • Back­ground checks and clear­ance to teach children
  • Pre­req­ui­site courses
  • Per­son­al state­ment or essay
  • Let­ters of recommendation
  • Entrance exam (e.g., Prax­is exams)

Look for pro­grams that align with your career goals the best and whose require­ments for accel­er­at­ed degree admis­sions you can meet. Empha­size your skills and expe­ri­ence and show them why you would be an asset to their pro­gram. You can use your per­son­al state­ment and let­ters of rec­om­men­da­tion for this.

Success Strategies in Accelerated Programs

Get­ting your fast-track teach­ing degree can be chal­leng­ing, main­ly due to the inten­si­ty of the course­work and the short time­frame to fin­ish it all. A good plan is required to make every­thing suc­cess­ful, so you should con­sid­er the fol­low­ing strategies:

1. Learn Time Management

Meet­ing your dead­lines as a stu­dent in spe­cial­ized teach­ing pro­grams can be tricky, as exams are clos­er to one anoth­er. Things can be even more prob­lem­at­ic if you jug­gle a day job along­side your stud­ies, which takes much of your time. To make sure you meet them, you should cre­ate a strict sched­ule and adhere to it. Study in an envi­ron­ment with as few dis­trac­tions as pos­si­ble and learn how to pri­or­i­tize. Be care­ful to add some rest­ing to that sched­ule, as it can increase productivity.

2. Leverage Online Resources

In today’s world, tech­nol­o­gy evolves by the day, and thank­ful­ly, there are plen­ty of online resources that you can use. Take advan­tage of the online resources offered by the pro­fes­sors and sign up for online libraries. Search engines such as Google Schol­ar could also pro­vide you access to author­i­ty arti­cles that you can use as research for your assignments.

3. Get Practical Training

Prac­tice makes the best teacher, so you should get your hands on as much field expe­ri­ence as pos­si­ble. Involve your­self in practicums and intern­ships and take obser­va­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties when­ev­er they arise. Most accel­er­at­ed teach­ing degrees offer oppor­tu­ni­ties for you to gain extra prac­tice. Find­ing a men­tor could also help you receive real-like guid­ance, mak­ing it eas­i­er to tran­si­tion into the new specialty.


Hav­ing a spe­cial­ty can make your teach­ing career more reward­ing, as it allows you to work in the field you love the most. Before mak­ing your choice, ensure you thor­ough­ly research dif­fer­ent accel­er­at­ed pro­grams that could meet your career goals. Once you find the one, pre­pare a strong admis­sion file and sub­mit your application.



Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Council

But­ler Insti­tute for Families

Amer­i­can Psy­chi­atric Association