Behind every great teacher is a well-thought out lesson plan or curriculum. This is the notion behind the field of curriculum and instruction, which focuses on designing classes versus the actual practice of teaching. Because of the increasing diversity and unique needs of classrooms and course delivery, curriculum and instruction programs are no longer cut-and-dried. Aspiring or current teachers may... pick a program of their choice such as autism studies, instructional design for e-learning, elementary or secondary education instruction, and special education.
If you are passionate about education and influencing the cognitive, intellectual growth of a variety of students, a career as a curriculum specialist (also known as instructional coordinators) may be a good fit for you. A day on the job frequently varies: Some days, you may be picking age- and topic-specific textbooks for literature projects; other days you may be in staff meetings to discuss setting grade or exam standards based on state legislations; other days, you may be training teachers to use new technology.
Because this is a field that often attracts those who may already have years of prior experience in teaching (as well as a teaching license and/or a bachelor degree), it is often recommended that aspiring curriculum specialists gain additional knowledge in the up-to-date theories and applications of the field. One way to do so without putting a crimp on your busy working schedule is to consider enrolling in an online certification or training program. This enables students to get up to speed on precisely the curriculum and instruction fields of their interest.
After all, this is a career that demands team players who possess a certain level of technical literacy: Curriculum specialists must often recommend educational material to school administrators, and must test-drive new technologies for fitness for use in the classroom (or for distance learning students). Courses may vary by program or school, but some examples of topics include transitional needs of children in the inclusive classroom, education and public policy, distance learning delivery and technologies, designing courses to non-native English learners, as well as teaching strategies that parlay into the K-12 or postsecondary education environment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for instructional coordinators is expected to grow 23 percent through the year 2018.* With job growth for curriculum specialists expected to grow much faster than average for all occupations, educators with a solid career background as well as competitive educational credentials may have the best career opportunities in this increasingly competitive field. Though most work in public and private schools, it is also possible to pursue work in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and family services.
* The preceding information was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) online resource, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition," available at: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos269.htm#outlook
The Advanced Teaching & Curriculum Graduate Certificate program (ATCC) meets the needs of in-service teachers in a variety of educational settings who seek advanced knowledge beyond that required
The Master level Differentiated Instruction certificate from Graceland University consists of 15 semester hours based on the philosophy and theories of Dr. Carol Tomlinson.
The University of New England offers a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Curriculum & Instruction Strategies.