What Degrees Do You Need to Work in the Field of Curriculum Development?

If you have the heart to improve our schools and student learning by becoming knowledgeable and skilled in curriculum and instruction, there are multiple paths to take to get to a career.

Curriculum development is a broad category. The activity of assessing, measuring, evaluating, implementing, adapting, and analyzing curriculum takes form in many jobs such as instructional coordinator or curriculum developer in a school setting.

However, other organizations like hospitals, private companies, and government agencies are demanding highly-skilled and qualified instructional coordinators or curriculum designers as well.

For most of these jobs, the typical entry-level education is a master’s degree, though it can be a bachelor’s degree coupled with relevant experience.

There are different programs with slight variation, but essentially there are Master of Science, Master of Art, and Master of Education degrees in Curriculum and Instruction.

For a look at the best degrees see our Top 35 Masters in Curriculum and Instruction. The MS includes a more scientific approach with a research component and a master’s thesis with a defense based on real research on an issue in the field.

The MA has a more practical bent and may or may not include a thesis or comprehensive exam. The MEd is similar to the MA in regards to being practically oriented.

Most of these degrees, regardless of format or delivery, online, blended or on-campus offer classes such as Educating Diverse Populations, Dynamics of Curricular Change, History and Theory of Curriculum, Integrating Technology, Teaching for Understanding and Equity, Curriculum Theories, Culture and Ethnography of Education, and more.

Schools such as Virginia Commonwealth and Pennsylvania State University offer Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with specializations in different content areas.

Some examples of concentrations include, but are not limited to:

  • Early Childhood Education:  This concentration applies to content and instruction to our nation’s little one's grades PK-3.
  • Children’s Literature:  This concentration emphasizes reading and literature to elementary school children.  The focus is to create leaders in curriculum and instruction who will raise standards in our schools and inspire teachers to integrate more literature.
  • STEM Education:  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math is in high demand in every area of education from elementary to higher education.  A curriculum and instruction concentration in this area will put you in a place of choosing who you work for and where.
  • Curriculum and Supervision: This concentration offers you leadership in more administrative and instructional coaching scenarios overseeing curriculum and instruction.
  • Social Studies: This concentration works with history, sociology, economics, and civics education in schools.
  • Elementary Education: This focus deals with curriculum development and implementation for grades K-6.
  • Secondary Education: This concentration is for working with grades 9-12.  It may come with additional specializations in subject areas as well.
  • Reading:  Our schools are always seeking ways to improve literacy, this specialization targets language acquisition, and literacy.
  • Special Education: This concentration focuses on mild to moderate disabilities and how to assist this population to the highest potential.
  • Online/E-Learning:  This specialization hones in on how to improve online learning and curriculum.
  • Autism Studies: This concentration is a specialized training for analyzing and developing curriculum for those with autism.
  • ESL is a specialization in high demand for those in curriculum and development necessary to assist teachers, schools, and administrators in the instruction in our multicultural schools.

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