Considering a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction? Here’s Why You Should Go For It

In most states, classroom teachers are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify them as an educator in a public school district. Many people stop there, satisfied with the opportunities and ability to make an impact on others that classroom teaching affords them, but a whole new world of possibilities opens up when you further your education and obtain your master’s degree in the area of curriculum and instruction.

Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction jobs can include such rewarding opportunities as becoming an Instructional Coordinator, obtaining a role as a Curriculum Specialist or an Education Specialist, becoming a School Principal or Administrator, or even leaving the classroom to become a Director of Curriculum and Instructional design. This degree sets you on the path to these positions as well as many other potential professional careers.

Obtaining your master’s degree in the field of education is the perfect way to begin planning ahead for ways to enhance your teaching style and knowledge and expand your horizons outside of the classroom in the future.

What is a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction?

In the broad and general field of education, there are multiple master’s degrees that are available to prospective students, so it’s important to understand exactly what “curriculum and instruction” means when you are determining if this master’s degree is the right program for you.

Curriculum and instruction is one of the possible ways to tailor your Master’s in Education to your future career goals. This focus in education is one of the most popular avenues for teachers to take because it concentrates on what is important in the classroom - pedagogy. This skill encompasses every aspect of teacher/student interactions, including how teachers communicate with the community and families, because it is all interconnected.

Most Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction programs will provide courses geared towards teaching you advanced ways to design and deliver lessons, how to assess them in a way that allows for you to use the results productively, and how to create units and programs.

You will mostly likely be required to scrutinize your own current practice of teaching so as to reflect and grow, and you will compare your style and reflections to those best practices that are considered to be national and international exemplars. You will also learn about current and pertinent issues that could be affecting your students and the education system as a whole, such as recent and changing state and national standards, and how to address changes that are forthcoming.

Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Job Opportunities

A good teacher knows that he or she must continue to learn and grow to become a better educator, and that the field of education itself is always expanding, changing and growing. For those who wish to excel at teaching, continuing your education is an important - if not absolutely crucial - component of your growth.

When it comes to furthering their education into the realm of graduate degrees, many people ask, “What can I do with a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction?” The answer is easy - you can do so much! From improving your own pedagogical style to expanding into the administrative field, this degree allows the world of education to open up and give you opportunities you may never have imagined you’d have access to, like the following:

Instructional Coordinators - The job of an instructional coordinator is to oversee the school’s curriculum, analyze their teaching standards and help to develop solid instructional materials that teachers can easily use in the classroom. These materials are coordinated between the instructional coordinator and the teachers and principals, and by working together as a team, the effectiveness is assessed and then adjusted as needed.

Instructional coordinators can work in any school environment, from elementary or secondary schools to colleges and professional schools. They can also find multiple career positions working in the state and local governments as experts in this educational area.

Instructional coordinators generally work all year round, with a median annual wage of $63,750 as of May 2017. Jobs in this field are expected to grow 11 percent in the next decade, which is considered to be faster than average for all of the occupations researched by the BLS. Instructional coordinators are necessary components for the development of solid curriculum materials in a time where state and school districts are pushing for an even greater emphasis on student achievement data as a method of accountability for schools and teachers. Teachers need instructional coordinators to help them reach the goals that districts set as these are always evolving and changing.

Curriculum Specialists - A Curriculum Specialist is a person who is primarily involved with and concerned with improving learning opportunities for everyone through working with administrators, teachers, and other professionals involved in student education. Curriculum Specialists are an integral part of a team that is responsible for the planning and implementation of educational programs, as well as the evaluation of each program and how it has served to be relevant to meeting the needs of the school.

As a Curriculum Specialist, you will likely be tasked with such important activities as field-testing and evaluating curriculum that you have planned and developed, overseeing the textbook adoption process, designing relevant staff development and in-service training related to new curriculum, and supervising the creation of instructional guidelines and policies as they are needed.

The average mean salary for a Curriculum Specialist is $50,900, and you can expect to find jobs in your local schools and school districts, as well as large education publishing companies like Pearson and McGraw-Hill Education.

Education Specialists - With enough experience - which usually includes three years of teaching and five years of combined work and extracurricular experience - and a master’s degree, you can become an Education Specialist. Those with this position can work in the education field in educational leadership, school psychology, curriculum and instruction, counseling, and adult education, as well as other areas, depending on the focus of the degree you choose to pursue.

People looking to obtain a career in this position are considered well-suited if they are patient, creative and have good communication and people skills. It’s a challenging and rewarding job, and the mean salary for this field is $58,000 as of June 2018 according to Glassdoor.com.

Principals - Principals, in the role of administrators for their school, have the important job of molding and shaping how their school’s students and staff see what academic success looks like. Through this vision, they must create a climate that makes students and staff feel welcome and ready to learn. Principals see the potential in others and encourage and cultivate the opportunity for leadership while they, at the same time, are role models for leadership themselves.

In the daily role of administrators, principals are called upon to manage people, including students, staff, families, and even product suppliers for goods and services necessary for the proper running of a school. They must analyze data and make decisions based on their analysis. These decisions often affect the student population and the staff they are in charge of. Principals oversee every process that occurs that is within their authority and ensure that rules and laws are being followed.

Although the role of a principal is full of challenges, it is also extremely rewarding. The average salary for a school principal, according to Glassdoor as of May of 2018, was $100,438, which varies based on experience and area of employment.

Director of Curriculum and Instructional Design - With this impressive title comes a multitude of exciting and important duties. As a Director of Curriculum and Instructional Design, you will often be required to provide leadership with curriculum specialists in the creation of curriculum guides and the tasks and assessments that go with the curriculum. You will also evaluate instructional methods and programs and offer strategies to help improve instruction throughout the district. Through your collaboration with the Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, you will plan the professional development needed to effectively implement best practices for all of the schools in your district.

You will be required to collaborate district-wide with people in charge of educational research as well as teachers implementing the curriculum that you have assisted in the development of. You’ll also be in charge of preparing and administering the budget for the necessary instructional materials to effectively implement this curriculum. In this role, you will serve as a leader to many and be able to guide and instruct teachers on the implementation and use of their materials.

The role of Director of Curriculum and Instructional Design is an important one, and, depending on where you work, you can expect to make anywhere from $64,000 per year to $138,000. This position is available in school districts across the country, big universities, and large companies like Rosetta Stone.

Why get a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction?

As the importance of education is becoming more and more emphasized and teachers are tasked with increasing minute and large responsibilities, they need someone to look to for guidance in implementing the ever-changing curriculum and standards. Education needs are changing - technology is improving cross-cultural connections, shaping future jobs and necessary skills, and creating ripples of impacts that are only just beginning to be felt.

Government requirements for student improvement are executed with the best of intentions, but the importance of accountability from schools and teachers can be intimidating for some. As an individual with one of the roles that your Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction can give you access to, you can be the leader in effecting change, not just for your students, but for your entire school and even the school district.

The importance of these roles is understood nationwide and shown in the competitive salaries offered. You can be assured that your master’s should pay for itself quickly, and then increase your financial potential exponentially after that.

Taking the time to further your education by obtaining your master’s in this field affords you the opportunity to make a bigger impact, achieve a greater salary, and continue to grow and fulfill your purpose of instilling a desire to learn and help others become the best that they can be.

Works cited

Should You Get a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction? University of San Diego. (n.d.) Retrieved June 21, 2018 from https://onlinedegrees.sandiego.edu/masters-curriculum-instruction/.

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Instructional Coordinators. (n.d.) Retrieved June 21, 2018 from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm.

Curriculum Instructional Specialist Job Description. (n.d.) Retrieved from June 21, 2018 from http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/work4ncschools/employment/jobdescrip/curriculumjob.pdf.

Glassdoor: Salaries of Education Specialists. (June 18, 2018). Retrieved June 21, 2018 from https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/education-specialist-salary-SRCH_KO0,20.htm.

Glassdoor: Salaries of Curriculum Specialists. (May 25, 2018). Retrieved June 21, 2018 from https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/curriculum-specialist-salary-SRCH_KO0,21.htm.

The Wallace Foundation: Five Key Responsibilities - The School Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning. (n.d). Retrieved June 21, 2018 from http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/pages/key-responsibilities-the-school-principal-as-leader.aspx.

Glassdoor: Salaries of a School Principal. (May 13, 2018). Retrieved June 21, 2018 from https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/school-principal-salary-SRCH_KO0,16.htm.

Moore County Schools Job Description of Director for Curriculum and Instruction. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2018 from https://www.ncmcs.org/cms/lib7/NC01001076/Centricity/Domain/25/JobDescriptions/Curriculum/Director%20for%20Curriculum%20and%20Instruction%20_Grades%20PreK-12_%20Job%20Description%206%2011%2012%20_2_.pdf.

Glassdoor: Salaries of Director of Curriculum and Instruction. (April 11, 2017). Retrieved June 21, 2018 from https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/director-of-curriculum-salary-SRCH_KO0,22.htm.

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