Master's degree programs in curriculum and instruction are commonly offered fully online. These programs are for experienced teachers who wish to develop their instructional and leadership skills and move into administrative positions.
Courses in a master's degree program in curriculum and instruction may include curriculum design, instructional supervision and learning theory. A capstone project or a thesis may be required. Some online curriculum and instruction programs offer specialty tracks, such as science education or autism studies.
Many school districts employ instructional coordinators to oversee curricula. In most states, these instructional coordinators must be licensed teachers and hold a master's degree in curriculum and instruction or a similar area. In some school districts, they must hold an education administrator's license, which may require passing a competency exam and keeping up with continuing education requirements.
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Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction
This type of curriculum and instruction degree is designed for licensed teachers who wish to advance their knowledge in teaching and curriculum development. Students study curriculum design and development, including new instructional techniques. Courses familiarize students with contemporary theories and practices of knowledge acquisition. Graduates are prepared to enhance curriculum development in school systems as instructional coordinators or school administrators.
Program Information and Requirements
Usually consisting of approximately 30-36 credit hours, an online master's degree in curriculum and instruction typically requires 2 years to complete. Programs components are offered entirely online. Course instruction and materials are provided through mixed media, including PowerPoint presentations, online bulletin boards, video lectures, reading assignments and group projects.
Common online courses include a number of core classes, such as those outlined below, and a number of elective courses that may include adult literacy, the use of computers as learning tools and technology use in education.
This online course provides instruction in institutional and social settings for instructional supervision. Topics include the functions, practices and common activities of supervision. Students learn the analysis and discussion of supervisory case studies.
Issues in Curriculum
Students gain an advanced understanding of the definition and practice of curriculum in this class. Lessons include in-depth study of the latest trends and issues in the practice of curriculum development.
The focus of this course is on both theory and practice, including the analysis and use of curriculum design methodologies. Topics include various methods and models for approaching the design process.
Graduates from an online curriculum and instruction program are ready to take on leadership roles within a school system or a similar learning environment. Career opportunities include instructional coordinator positions, also commonly referred to as curriculum specialists, directors of instructional material or instructional coaches.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected job growth for instructional coordinators to be as fast as the average at a rate of 7% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, the BLS also reported the median annual salary of instructional coordinators as $62,270, with elementary and secondary schools providing the highest levels of employment for this occupation.
Administrative positions at the school or district level are also available to those with a master's degree in curriculum and instruction. Opportunities may include assistant principal, academic dean or staff developer. The BLS reports $90,410 as the median annual salary for education administrators at elementary and secondary schools in 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
Instructional coordinators are typically required to complete continuing education coursework in a number of topics, such as curriculum training, teacher evaluation techniques, teacher observation analysis and methods for new teacher orientation.
Individuals who'd like to earn a master's degree in curriculum and instruction can continue their education fully online. Graduates of this program have several career options, including instructional coordinator or school administrator.