How to Become a Program Coordinator: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a program coordinator. Research the career requirements, training and experience required for starting a career as a program coordinator.

Should I Become an Education Program Coordinator?

Program coordinator positions are found in a number of different fields, including healthcare, recreation and education. This article's main focus is on education program coordinators.

An education program coordinator's duties include researching, assessing and enhancing instructional procedures, curricula and other materials for schools. These professionals also develop and lead teacher training programs, focusing on improved learning materials and methods for the classroom. In addition, education program coordinators observe and assess teaching personnel and advise them on ways to develop their instructional skills. The following table contains some common requirements for becoming a program coordinator:

Career Requirements

Degree Level Master's degree may be required in most cases
Degree Fields Curriculum and instruction, teaching, specific subjects such as science or math
Licensure and Certification Teaching license or education administrator license typically required
Experience Entry-level for some employers but most want 1-5 years
Key Skills Problem-solving skills, communication and interpersonal abilities, computer skills, electronic mail, database software, spreadsheet software, organizational skills
Salary $64,040 (Annual mean salary for an instructional coordinator)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2014), ONET OnLine

Step 1: Complete a Bachelor's Degree Program

Prospective candidates seeking to become education program coordinators must first complete a bachelor's degree in an appropriate field. Some employers will require a particular type of degree, such as an education degree, but in most cases, the bachelor's degree field isn't specified. For example, employers seeking program coordinators within a science department may prefer to hire applicants who hold a degree in one of the natural or physical sciences. Similarly, other employers may favor candidates who have a degree in curriculum or teaching or a general instructional discipline.

Success Tips:

  • Take advantage of real-life experiential opportunities. Some schools offer hands-on training or internship opportunities. Any experience acquired while pursuing education can prove beneficial to securing employment in the industry and adding to a program coordinator's resume.

Step 2: Consider a Master's Degree

Some employers, such as educational institutions, may prefer program coordinators who have earned a master's degree or higher in a respective field. Students in an instructional coordinator master's degree program normally study curriculum development, cognition, classroom management, research methods and theory. Master's degree programs typically last 1-2 years and may include field research or a thesis.

Step 3: Secure Certification or Licensure

Depending on the field, certification or licensure may be required to become a program coordinator. Most instructional and educational coordinator positions require licensing. In order to work in a public school, prospective program coordinators must obtain licensing in either teaching or education administration.

Step 4: Find a Program Coordinator Position

The BLS also reported that most school districts require instructional program coordinators to have experience in teaching or school administration. Some employers may look for applicants who have helped prepare program budgets and monitored expenditures, while others favor candidates who have experience teaching, advising or counseling students. Aspiring educational program coordinators may also look for leadership opportunities, such as helping to develop student outreach programs or volunteer efforts in order to gain experience with directing students. In addition, the experience and new skills you learn may lead to advances in your career.

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