Curriculum & Instruction Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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What are the pros and cons of a career in curriculum and instruction? Get real job descriptions and education requirements to see if a career in curriculum and instruction is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career in Curriculum and Instruction

Curriculum and instruction is an educational discipline focused on designing, developing and improving curriculum in order to help students achieve in the most effective ways possible. Here is some information about these careers at a glance:

Instructional Coordinator Principal Postsecondary Professor
Career Overview Instructional coordinators are in charge of the education standards and curriculum used in schools and districts. Elementary, middle school or high school principals manage the daily operations of a school in addition to implementing curricula and educational plans. Postsecondary curriculum and instruction professors not only teach students, but also often conduct research and write.
Education Requirements At least a master's degree At least a master's degree Doctorate, although there may be exceptions
Program Length Roughly 1-2 years, full-time Roughly 1-2 years, full-time 3-4 years after the master's
Certification and Licensing State teaching or administrative licensure is required in all public and some private schools State administrative licensure is required in all public and some private schools No licensure is required
Work Experience Varies widely, but usually several years Varies widely, but usually several years Varies widely, but usually several years
Job Outlook for 2012-2022 Average growth (13%) compared to all occupations* Slower than average growth (6%) compared to all occupations * Faster than average growth (19%) compared to all occupations*
Mean Salary (2014) About $64,000* About $92,000* About $65,000*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Instructional Coordinator

As an instructional coordinator, you'll typically be in charge of designing and implementing a curriculum for a school or school district. Sometimes this is a position unto itself, while in other cases it's simply one administrative job duty of several. You can be an instructional coordinator at any given education level and type of school. Usually, you'll work with administrators, board members and teachers to improve and maintain the quality, effectiveness and government compliance of school's curriculum.

Requirements

In most cases, you'll need to earn a bachelor's degree in education, education administration or curriculum and instruction in order to become an instructional coordinator. In addition to this, many employers will require you to have months or even years of classroom experience. In public schools and most private institutions, you'll also need to earn your teaching or administrative licensure from the state in which you intend to work.

Employers posted the following sample of job opportunities in October of 2012:

  • A Montessori school in Georgia was seeking an instructional coordinator and administrator with a master's degree and at least six months of teaching experience
  • A Christian college in Virgina was seeking a math instructional coordinator with at least a bachelor's degree.
  • An art institute in California was looking for a math and science program coordinator with at least five years of experience that would report to the academic department director and dean

Standing Out

There are numerous ways to stand out as an instructional coordinator. Earning your certification as a Montessori teacher can help you when it comes to applying to schools that follow the Montessori educational method. This is a method of teaching and developing a curriculum that places an emphasis on creativity and individual learning needs within a determined set of rules and guidelines. If you're seeking Montessori certification, there are numerous accredited programs around the country to choose from.

The BLS notes that many school districts are looking for coordinators who have experience as a teacher. You may look for undergraduate programs that offer a teaching practicum or even consider gaining experience before or during your studies at the graduate level.

Principal

Primary, middle and secondary school principals are typically in charge of overseeing the daily operations of a school and managing the staff. You'll need to communicate on a regular basis with parents and board members, oversee the budget, set education goals and monitor the progress of your school as a whole. Designing and implementing the curriculum of a school is typically a large part of the job.

Requirements

In order to become a principal, you'll most often need to earn at least a bachelor's degree in education administration or a related field. If you know that you want work with a particular level like elementary school, you can enroll in an elementary administration program specifically. If you're planning to work in a public school and some private schools, earning state licensure as an education administrator will be required. Most positions require varying years of classroom and management experience.

In October 2012, potential employers listed the following job options online:

  • A private elementary school located in Phoenix, AZ, was searching for a principal with experience working with preschool to school age students to implement and maintain the quality of a designated education curriculum
  • In Texas, a middle school was seeking a principal with a master's degree or Mid-Management Certification as well as at least three years of administrative experience
  • A public high school in Connecticut was looking for a state-certified principal with a graduate degree and a minimum of three years of administrative experience

Standing Out

The BLS notes that employment growth will be faster for principals in the southern and western parts of the country. With that in mind, fluency in a second language can be a solid way to stand out as a principal. For example, if you're able to speak and write in Spanish, then a number of administrative opportunities in bi-lingual schools may open to you. Many education and education administration degree programs have a language requirement that could prove to be useful.

You may also consider earning Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification. You can earn this certification to demonstrate your ability to work in a school with a sizable population of students who are studying English as a second language (ESL).

Postsecondary Professor

Teaching and advising students and conducting research are typical job duties for postsecondary professors of curriculum and instruction. Often, you'll be in charge of developing and implementing a curriculum for your classes. In many positions, you'll need to have an understanding of interdisciplinary techniques and be able to teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Requirements

You'll usually be required to earn a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction or a related discipline in order to begin teaching at the postsecondary level. Varying years of experience are required by institutions in order to be considered for employment. In research-heavy positions, you'll often be required to demonstrate a suitable research focus. In order to qualify for tenure in tenure-track positions, it can often take at least seven years.

Potential employers in various secondary school settings posted the following job listings:

  • In October 2012, a university in San Antonio, TX, was looking for an associate professor of curriculum and instruction and ideal candidates would have a doctoral degree, three years of experience and the ability to work with technology
  • In central Illinois, a university sought a professor of general teaching methodology with a curriculum-based focus in 2011, and this tenure-track position required applicants to have a doctoral degree as well as significant experience teaching middle and high school.
  • In October of 2012, a college in New Jersey sought a tenure-track curriculum and instruction assistant professor with two years of secondary school classroom experience and a doctorate

Standing Out

A solid way to stand out to potential employers is by having your written work or research findings published. While earning your doctorate, try to the have research from your dissertation published in a peer-reviewed academic or education journal. This will help you earn the respect of potential employers, current peers and future colleagues as well as help bolster your resume. In some cases, having articles or other writings published is not only a bonus, but also a job requirement.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    2. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Higher Education - Online College Teaching
      • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - College Teaching/Learning
      • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - College Admin./Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Early Childhood Administration
      • Undergraduate in Early Childhood
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Education - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Ed.D. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Ed.D. - General Education
      • Ed.D. - Instructional Leadership
      • PhD in Education - Educational Leadership
    Master's
      • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • M.Ed. - General Education
      • M.Ed. - Instructional Leadership
    Certificate
      • Education Specialist - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Education Specialist - E-Learning
      • Education Specialist - Early Childhood Education
  • Online Programs Available
    5. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Education in Teacher Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership - Behavioral Health
    Master's
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
      • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
      • M.Ed. in Early Childhood
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Early Childhood
      • B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Teaching and Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
      • HS Diploma
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Instructional Design and Technology
    Certificate
      • Cert - Instructional Design and Technology

Featured Schools

The George Washington University

  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning

What is your highest level of education?

American University

  • Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • Master: Higher Education - Online College Teaching
  • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)
  • BS in Early Childhood Administration
  • Undergraduate in Early Childhood

Which subject are you interested in?

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Education - Curriculum and Teaching
  • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching
  • Education Specialist - Curriculum and Teaching

What is your highest level of education?

University of Delaware

  • Master of Education in Teacher Leadership

What is your highest level of education completed?

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership - Behavioral Health
  • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
  • BS in Early Childhood

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Teaching and Learning

What is your highest level of education?