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Career Definition for a Program Development Specialist
Program development specialists are responsible for improving the quality of education in schools and other academic institutions. Their responsibilities include planning curriculum, choosing textbooks, training teachers and creating programs for extracurricular activities. They may also assess training needs and outcomes or develop budgets. Additional duties might include researching and implementing new computer and instructional technologies.
|Required Education||A bachelor's degree in history, math or a related field; a graduate degree is encouraged by many employers|
|Job Duties||Include planning curriculum, choosing textbooks, training teachers, developing budgets|
|Median Salary (2015)||$58,210 (all training and development specialists)|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||7% growth (all training and development specialists)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Program developmental specialists must have a bachelor's degree in history, mathematics or other specific field of study. A graduate-level degree is encouraged by most employers. Additional education may be required to learn more about research studies, curriculum effectiveness and student performance. Program development specialists must also remain current about new techniques and advancements in technology.
Program development specialists need to have excellent oral and written communication skills. Decision-making and organizational abilities are essential, especially when conducting research. They should also be computer proficient and be aware of the latest technological trends and advancements.
Career and Salary Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), career opportunities for training and development specialists, such as program development specialists, will increase by 7% nationwide between 2014 and 2024 (faster than average). In May 2015, the median annual salary for training and development specialists was $58,210; those in the highest and lowest 10% ranges earned between $99,710 and $32,170 respectively (www.bls.gov).
Alternate Career Options
Here are some examples of alternative career options:
In general, instructional coordinators are responsible for developing and implementing elementary, high school or college curricula and making sure that districts and institutions are in compliance with educational standards. According to the BLS, approximately 7% were employed by elementary and high schools in 2015. Qualified candidates have a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, education or a specific subject area, as well as professional experience. State administrative or teaching licenses may also be required. Nationwide, the BLS has projected an average growth in employment for instructional coordinators from 2014 through 2024, who earned median annual salaries of $62,270 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Postsecondary Education Administrators
Education administrators who work for colleges and universities usually specialize in one of several areas, such as academic or student affairs, admissions or registration. Many institutions prefer candidates with a graduate degree in higher education or a major subject area, especially for dean and provost positions. Through 2024, opportunities for employment are also expected to increase by 9% nationwide for postsecondary education administrators, who had median annual incomes of $88,580 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov).