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College of Education offers K-State's first Education Specialist degree program

Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023

Counseling faculty

K-State's College of Education is offering the university's first Education Specialist degree program. Pictured above are faculty members in the college's department of special education, counseling and student affairs who will facilitate the Education Specialist degree in school counseling. | Download this photo.



MANHATTAN — Thirty graduate students in Kansas State University's College of Education are making history this fall as members of the inaugural class of K-State's first Education Specialist, or Ed.S., degree program.

K-State's Education Specialist degree in school counseling, facilitated through the department of special education, counseling and student affairs, serves as the entry-level school counseling degree for the university. The 100% online program is 60 credit hours.

"This degree program was developed due to student demand, accreditation requirements and the needs of the field," said Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education. "This new program is one more example of how the College of Education responds to the current needs of our graduate students, our school partners and, ultimately, P-12 students in classrooms."

The degree aligns with the College of Education's mission through specialized coursework and training to equip school counselors with the skills needed to provide comprehensive P-12 programming across academic, career and social-emotional domains. The Ed.S. is a postgraduate degree, which gives graduates a competitive advantage in the job market.

"The role of the school counselor has evolved tremendously over the last 20 years — most notably over the last five — and I am grateful that K-State is leading so many efforts in relation to school counselor development," said Jessica Lane, associate professor and counseling program coordinator. "To meet P-12 student needs, K-State is building upon our program by adding opportunities to strengthen individual counseling skills, including being trauma responsive, being attuned to mental health needs and serving as leaders within schools."

The students bring many personal and professional strengths and experiences to the program. Some are teachers who have identified needs in their classrooms and wish to make a deeper impact within their school and community. Others recognize the profound influence a high-quality school counselor can have on students and wish to connect and support students in that role.

"As a department, we are proud to have the opportunity to launch a degree that, while recognized nationally, is the first of its kind here at K-State," said Christy Craft, professor and chair of the department of special education, counseling and student affairs. "There is much excitement within our department and college about this new opportunity for those who are pursuing the path of becoming a school counselor."

Media contact

Division of Communications and Marketing


College of Education

Written by

Amy Levin Plattner