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What is Curriculum and Instruction?
Curriculum and Instruction is a field of study focused on the research, development, and management of curriculum and teaching standards. A curriculum and instruction specialist seeks to provide standardization and accountability within a teaching system to improve learning models and student achievement. The field’s core focus is to understand how students learn and create systems to best support learning. Curriculum and Instruction emphasizes new, different learning modalities and trends to better understand changes in the marketplace. Building on both quantitative and qualitative research, public and private education institutions across the country benefit from professionals focused on improved learning modalities and progressive education constructs. As an evidence-based profession, instruction specialists must understand both education pedagogy and statistical modeling to ensure student benefit.
Degrees in Curriculum and Instruction
Students interested in earning a degree in curriculum and instruction will have myriad options to consider. More specifically, a student will not only be able to choose from undergraduate and graduate degree programs but also select the modality of learning that works best for them. With the advent of online degrees in curriculum and instruction, students have nearly twice the options to consider compared to a generation ago. As such, we have created a summary of the most popular degrees in curriculum and instruction to help quickly connect you with schools that fit your career objectives.
Bachelor Degrees in Curriculum and Instruction
Online bachelor degrees for instructional coordinators can be conferred as either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS). Colleges may offer one or both types of bachelor degrees dependent upon their resources and staffing model. A bachelor degree is designed to be a 4-year program blending liberal arts with core educational principles. General education courses you may find in the program include philosophy, psychology, history, statistics, communications, and art. Core classes will be focused on building your knowledge base regarding curricular theories, applications, statistical modeling, sociology, communication, public policy, and school administration.
Master Degrees in Curriculum and Instruction
A master’s degree will typically be conferred as a Master of Arts (MA). Master degrees can be completed in 1-2 years of full-time work for most students. Part-time students will take longer to complete the program as a function of pace and course load. Graduate programs will vary from school to school but will generally provide similar educational constructs. An example of core classes you may find in a Master of Arts program include:
- Educational Leadership
- Instructional Coaching
- Curriculum Mapping
- Brain-Based Learning
- Pedagogy and Application
- Educational Research
- Curricular Design Theories
- Culturally Responsive Curriculum
- Methods of Assessment and Instruction
- Differentiated Instruction
- Professional Development Design
Doctorate Degrees in Curriculum and Instruction
Degrees at the doctorate level can be conferred as a PhD in Education, Doctor of Education (EdD), or Education Specialist (EdS). Each doctoral degree track has a differing emphasis which is summarized below.
- PhD – The focus of an PhD program is on research and developing a deep level of expertise in a given area of focus. For this specific track, graduate students can select K-12, special education, administration, or curriculum & instruction.
- EdD – Degrees conferred as an EdD are a practitioner-focused program for those seeking to pursue a career in curriculum and instruction.
- EdS – An EdS degree is a specialization in education providing students with a deep understanding of a defined area of education versus a broad-based instructional model.
Doctoral degrees will take students 3-5 years to complete depending on the course design, degree selected, and course load. Graduate students will work closely with academic advisors to create a viable academic path towards degree completion. In most cases, students will spend a substantive amount of time during the back half of their graduate degree working on a committee-approved dissertation project. The purpose of a dissertation is to create a valuable research paper, supported by data and empirical evidence that extends the knowledge base of the educational community.
Educational Requirements in Curriculum & Instruction
In terms of educational requirements, Curriculum and Instruction degree holders will have typically studied the following courses while in college:
- English Language
- Foreign Language
- Education & Curriculum Training
Skills & Abilities Required for an Educator & Administrator
- Reading Comprehension
- Active Listening
- Speech Clarity
- Oral Expression
- Oral Comprehension
- Speech Recognition
- Written Comprehension
Schools Other Students Requested Information From:
Employment Information & Specialization
For students that earn a college degree in Curriculum and Instruction, there are several adjacent fields of specialization that one can pursue. The options range from middle school teachers, high school teachers, post-secondary teachers, preschool teachers, interpreters, librarians, and adult literacy teachers to name a few possible career tracks.
Job Growth, Salary, and Related Fields
The job growth in the greater Curriculum and Instruction domain is estimated to be steady while sub-domains thrive. For example, the rate of job growth for interpreters is expected to rise 29% through 2024 and high school teachers a 7% growth rate is expected during the same period. Given the broad nature of the Curriculum and Instruction degree, compensation after graduation can vary greatly from career field to career field given prior experience and geographic location. Related fields include teaching, interpreters, translators, and literacy specialists.
List of Curriculum Organizations & Associations
- Association for Experiential Education
- ENC Online Resources for Math and Science Education
- National Association for Bilingual Education
- National Assn. for the Education of Young Children
- National Council for Teachers of Mathematics
- National Council for the Social Studies
- National Council for Teachers of English
- National Science Teachers Association