Careers in Curriculum and Instruction: Job Options and Requirements
Curriculum and instruction specialists, also known as instructional coordinators, improve the quality of education by developing and evaluating a public school's curriculum. Individuals must complete bachelor's and master's degree programs, obtain state licensure and have prior experience as a teacher to be eligible for employment as a curriculum and instruction specialist.
Prior to becoming a curriculum and instruction specialist, individuals must first gain experience working as an elementary, middle or high school teacher. As teachers, they learn how to create engaging lesson plans to get their point across to students. Curriculum and instruction specialists develop a school's curriculum, train the teachers on the new curriculum and periodically evaluate the teachers to ensure it's correctly implemented and recommend any necessary changes. Experienced curriculum and instruction specialists also have the option of pursuing a career as an assistant principal or principal.
Salary and Employment Outlook
In May 2013, instructional coordinators earned a median annual salary of $60,610, reported the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS expected 13% growth in employment for instructional coordinators between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov).
Curriculum and instruction specialists begin their careers as teachers by enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in education, which primarily covers topics such as teaching methods, psychology of learning, lesson plan preparation and use of computers in the classroom. Experienced teachers interested in advancing to curriculum specialists may consider returning to college to obtain a master's degree in curriculum and instruction. The program includes courses in curriculum design, curriculum training, analysis of teaching and teaching evaluation techniques. Specialists looking to become assistant principals or principals can do so with a master's degree; however, some employers also require a doctoral degree in education administration or a related education field.
Teachers who have completed their bachelor's degree and want to work in the public school system must acquire a teaching license from the State Board of Education. Each state varies on requirements, such as testing methods and renewal. Teachers may also obtain national certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which awards the National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) credential (www.nbpts.org). Although the process is voluntary, taking the exam can lead to higher pay and reimbursement for continuing education.
Curriculum and instruction specialists, with master's degrees, must also be licensed to work in public schools. Some states require specialists to keep their current teaching license, while others require an education administrator license. In most states, curriculum specialists, who become assistant principals or principals, are required to be licensed as school administrators.
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