Career Information for a Degree in Curriculum or Instruction

Degrees in curriculum and instruction typically cover instructional leadership, curriculum assessment and teaching. Find out about the requirements of this program, learn about career options, job growth and salary info for curriculum and instruction graduates.

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There are many career options for those with a degree in curriculum and instruction, including being an elementary teacher, a postsecondary teacher, or an instructional coordinator. Elementary teachers need a teacher's license, while postsecondary teachers need a master's or doctoral degree. Instructional coordinators are required to have a master's degree.

Essential Information

With a degree in curriculum and instruction, students are prepared to create and assess curriculum and study teaching methods and materials for students with a wide variety of educational needs. For teaching elementary school students, one must earn a bachelor's degree. If the prospective teacher desires to teach at a public school, they must also have a teaching degree. A master's degree is necessary to work as an instructional coordinator as well as advanced experience in the areas of teaching and curriculum.

Career Elementary Teacher Postsecondary Teacher Instructional Coordinator
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Master's degree; doctoral preferred Master's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% 13% 7%
Median Salary (2015)* $54,890 $63,000 $62,270
Certification/Licensure Public school teachers must have teaching license Not required Teaching or education administrator license may be required

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

To become an elementary teacher, first one must obtain a bachelor's degree. To teach for public schools, an individual must have a master's degree and is required to possess state teacher certification. Educational and curriculum supervision master's programs are usually designed for those already with a teaching degree. Two possible careers for students with master's degrees in educational and curriculum supervision include being a postsecondary teacher or an instructional coordinator.

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators are advisers and administrators who help design curricula, test students and evaluate educational practices. They may also research teaching strategies and decide which innovations might best suit classroom needs in their schools. Instructional coordinators may be responsible for training faculty to use new technologies or teaching techniques. They typically must hold a master's degree or higher in curriculum and instruction or their chosen field. They must also be licensed if they work in a public school system. Licensure might have to be in teaching or education administration, depending on the state.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected job growth for instructional coordinators to increase by 7% between 2014 and 2024, as schools attempt to increase their test scores through streamlining and better management. The median annual salary for instructional coordinators was $62,270 in 2015, according to the BLS.

Elementary School Teacher

Elementary school teachers lay the foundation for students' development in social skills and basic educational subjects, such as English, math and science. Depending on the school, a teacher may teach one subject or a variety of subjects. They must design lesson plans, grade assignments and evaluate students' performances. Elementary school teachers typically must have patience and the ability to work well with children who have a variety of educational needs. All states require that teachers have a bachelor's degree, and public school teachers must be licensed by the State Board of Education.

The BLS predicted employment for elementary school teachers, excluding special education teachers, to grow by 6% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, the median annual salary for this group was $54,890 in 2015.

Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in academic and career-oriented subjects. They design and teach classes, demonstrate technical tasks and laboratory experiments, grade papers, conduct research and attend faculty and administrative meetings. Professors or instructors in college educational programs, particularly career and technical education (CTE) programs, might benefit from a master's degree in curriculum and instruction that focuses on CTE, though this degree can also help CTE teachers on the middle school or high school level.

The BLS reported that job growth for postsecondary teachers is expected to grow by 13% between 2014 and 2024. The annual salary for postsecondary teachers varies widely, according to their chosen field, but the median annual salary for all postsecondary teachers was $63,000 in 2015, according to the BLS.

A degree in curriculum and instruction prepares graduates to assess teaching materials and methods. This is an ideal educational background for those interested in working as a teacher at the elementary or postsecondary level, as it prepares teachers to assess and develop lesson plans that will be effective for their students. Instruction coordinators determine the curriculum and materials that will be used for school systems, and may also teach instructors how to use the materials effectively.

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