Becoming a Curriculum Writer
So you think you might like to become a curriculum writer? Curriculum writers may also be referred to as instructional coaches, educational writers, curriculum specialists, or instructional coordinators. In academic settings, curriculum writers evaluate student test scores, alter outdated curricula, standardize teaching strategies, and implement new educational materials. In business settings, these professionals design employee training documents.
Curriculum writers in academic settings normally have no summer breaks, as opposed to teachers. During the school year, scheduling of activities may be dependent upon the time needs of other administrators and teachers. Curriculum writers who work for human resources departments may only need bachelor's degrees to find employment, but those who work in public school systems are usually required to hold master's degrees and specialty licenses. In either setting, many employers prefer applicants with experience in either teaching or curriculum design.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's or master's degree|
|Degree Field||Curriculum and instructional technology; journalism; English|
|Licensure or Certification||Educator or administrator's license|
|Experience||2-5 years' experience in technical writing, educational writing, teaching, curriculum design and/or instructional materials delivery|
|Key Skills||Ability to make sound decisions, comfortable speaking to groups, detail oriented, team player, exceptional written skills, able to meet deadlines and capable of keeping organized files and knowledge of Microsoft Office programs (PowerPoint, Word, Excel and Outlook)|
|Salary||$62,270 (Annual median salary for an instructional coordinator)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerBuilder.com job postings from July 2015.
So what are the career requirements? Starting with the right education is important. Employers look for someone with at least a bachelor's degree. The degree field should be curriculum and instructional technology, journalism, or English. In an academic setting, licensure is often necessary. Employers often look for candidates with 2-5 years' experience in technical writing, educational writing, teaching, curriculum design, and instructional materials delivery.
- Ability to make sound decisions
- Comfortable speaking to groups
- Detail oriented
- Team Player
- Exceptional written skills
- Ability to meet deadlines
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for instructional coordinators is $62,270.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Most employers wanted applicants with the minimum of bachelor's degrees in fields related to journalism, education, or English. Curriculum writers in academic settings often require master's degrees.
Undergraduate coursework in journalism provides instruction in how to write for print, digital, and broadcast media, which are important skills that can be utilized for writing educational materials and training programs. English degree programs can include courses that train students in research methods as well as essay, nonfictional, and technical writing. Most of these classes can provide curriculum writers with a strong foundation in writing clearly and concisely.
Here is a tip for success:
- Take courses in curriculum design. Some universities may have courses related to instructional training and design or curriculum design. These courses discuss instructional techniques, curriculum development, test construction, interactive instructional media, educational technology, and curriculum evaluation.
Step 2: Obtain a Master's Degree
In most cases, only professionals who plan on working in academic settings will require master's degrees. Master's degree programs related to curriculum design and instructional technology are recommended. Courses in these degree programs may include classroom assessment, adult learning, instructional systems, program development, educational computing, and educational research strategies. Some master's degree programs may require students to complete internships that involve running instructional development projects at participating educational facilities.
Step 3: Become Licensed
Curriculum writers at public schools may require licensing. Some districts may require professionals to be licensed teachers. Other districts may only require curriculum writers to earn administrator licenses.
Requirements for earning a teaching license often include holding a bachelor's degree, completing a post-baccalaureate training program, and having some supervised teaching experience. Teachers often have to pass several knowledge-based exams as part of the licensure process. To obtain administrator licenses, individuals generally need to hold master's degrees. Some districts may require license applicants to take additional exams as well as participate in related continuing education programs.
Here is a tip for success:
- Maintain licenses. Most states require educators and administrators to go through a license renewal process every few years. The renewal process may require curriculum writers to participate in continuing education programs or professional development seminars. Some states have very few strict regulations on continuing education course topics. Other license renewal procedures may include paying fees, submitting paperwork, and passing background checks.
Step 4: Get More Experience to Advance your Career
Employers prefer instructional coordinators who have previous experience, particularly in lesson plan development, teaching, or curriculum design. Some districts may have very specific teaching experience requirements. For example, they may prefer applicants who have experience teaching at the middle school or high school levels. Employers often specify that they prefer applicants who have two to five years' experience in employee training, teaching, or instructional development.
Earning a bachelor's degree, obtaining a master's degree, getting licensed, and gaining experience are great steps to follow to make the most of a career as a curriculum writer.