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Online Curriculum and Instruction Degrees

Online curriculum and instruction degrees are designed for students who want to learn the ins and outs of running an efficient and effective classroom. Adult students earning curriculum and instruction degrees are shown how to plan a curriculum and then execute it so that the 50.4 million K-12 students enrolled at public elementary and secondary schools in the United Statesican achieve success.

Online Curriculum and Instruction Degrees

Fun Fact

Curriculum and instruction masters students are the largest share of students in this subject. 16,353 earned their masters in curriculum and instruction in 2014.ii

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Curriculum is defined as the subjects and learning materials that make up a class plan. Students interested in studying kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) are responsible for learning how to research materials and craft lessons that teach the skills that are meant to be the take-away of the class. Each degree level of online curriculum and instruction degrees differ in what they teach and the experience necessary for the student enrolling.

Curriculum and instruction programs teach students the theories and practices of instruction and curriculum building for K-12. Students in Online Curriculum and Instruction Degrees may also be instructed on how to teach in different classroom environments, such as online, place-based, and blended.

Did You Know?

Kindergarten teachers with their masters degrees earn 43% more than those with just their bachelors degrees.iii

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Coursework for Online Curriculum and Instruction Degrees

Here are some common course subjects for degrees in curriculum and instruction:

Policy and Education: This type of course looks at the big picture of education and the policies that concern it. Students delve into the development, theory, analysis, and operation of these policies—and why these policies do and must evolve.

Instruction Design Principles: For this type of course, you are shown how lessons are designed and the theories behind that. You’ll also explore the ways to motivate, engage, and adapt learning styles to different grade levels and learning environments.

Virtual Classroom Engagement and Collaboration: Because different technology is incorporated into the classroom every year, teachers must evolve with it. Students are instructed on how to use technology and social networking tools to create an inclusive and engaging classroom to promote real-time education.

Not only is every school’s program different, but each program level will vary. So always consult with the school to get the details.

Degree Levels for Online Curriculum and Instruction Degrees

You can generally study Curriculum and Instruction at one of 3 levels.

  1. A certificate program
  2. A masters degree program
  3. Or a doctorate degree program

At the Bachelors level it is most likely that students would earn an undergraduate Education degree and then pursue a concentration such as Curriculum and Instruction at the graduate or postgraduate level.

Certificate Programs in Curriculum and Instruction

Certificate programs are generally focused on how to design curriculum and how to best instruct students. These are usually offered at the graduate level and may be aimed at students who have yet to earn their Curriculum and Instruction masters degree. They are also available as doctoral-level certificates that are deisgned to be earned in tandem with your PhD progam.

Masters of Curriculum and Instruction Degrees

Masters in Curriculum and Instruction degree programs cover how to develop and deliver instructional tools. They also encourage students to study current trends and ways to educate students. Students also look at the basics of educational research and how they can best use it to run their classroom.

Programs are offered as MA (Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction), MS (Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction), MAT (Master of Art in Teaching), or as MEd (Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction) programs.

Doctorate of Curriculum and Instruction Degree Programs

Doctorate-level Curriculum and Instruction degree programs are typically research-based programs that require a lot of hands-on practical work in the field. A student may pick a certain area of concentration at this level such as Special Education, for example. Students are expected to contribute a high-level body of research to the field as part of earning their PhD.

Fun Fact

3.1 million: the amount of full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers expected to be employed in public schools as of Fall 2016.i

Areas of Focus for an Online Curriculum and Instruction Degree Program

As you’ve probably already grasped, curriculum and instruction degrees are ideal for teachers who want to earn a degree. If you’re an aspiring teacher looking for a career change, consider earning a bachelors degree in curriculum and instruction. If you’re already a K-12 teacher, then perhaps boost your earning potential by earning your masters in curriculum and instruction.ii According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a salary increase for teachers and administrators who earn their masters degree.iii

So What Might I Focus On Studying?

Possible specializations of Online Curriculum and Instruction Degrees program may inlude the following:

  • Education Administration
  • Kindergarten Teaching
  • Elementary and Middle School Teaching
  • Secondary School Teachers (also known as high school)
  • Special Education
  • Autism Studies
  • Instructional Design & Technology
  • Science Education

After Earning a Degree in Curriculum and Instruction

Ater you have earned your degree, and depending at what level you earned it, you can pursue a number of different types of careers. Most of these jobs are not surprisingly in academia at one level or another. But it is possible to find applications for the degree in the traditional corporate structure. One such example is as an educational policy analyst. According to Payscale, the average salary for Education Policy Analysts was $54,417 per year in 2016.ivBut let's take a look at the careers you may be able to pursue in a school setting.

Principalsmanage how schools operate and oversee the teachers and staff that work there. They also plan the student curriculum and other ways the school can be of service to students. You normally must have a masters degree in education administration or leadership in order to pursue a career as a principal.vAccording to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, principals earned a median salary of $90,410 in 2015.

Instructional Coordinatorswork at the micro-level to create instructional tools for the classroom as well as look at the macro-level at the curriculums in place across the school. They also study how effective curriculum is for the students and change it as it is needed. According to the BLS, you need a masters degree and related on-the-job work experience in order to pursue a career as an instructional coordinator.viIn 2005, the median annual salary earned by instructional coordinators was $62, 270.

Post-secondary Teachersteach classes beyond the high-school level. Jobs at this level typically require you to have earned a Ph.D, although some jobs such as teaching at a community college may only require a masters degree. Also per the BLS, the median pay in 2015 was $72,470.vii

Fun Fact

Between 2014 and 2024, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there to be almost 1.9 million job openings for teachers of preschool through postsecondary school.viii

Getting Started: Degrees in Curriculum and Instruction

The classroom is a constantly evolving environment, due to developments in technology, policy, and what research uncovers about education in general. Even if you’ve been a teacher for a long time, you may want to consider boosting your career with a doctorate or masters degree in curriculum and instruction.

Explore our sponsored listings for online curriculum and instruction degrees to get you started or continue on your education journey. Request info and get the schools you are interested in to contact you directly.


[i] nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372 | [ii] datausa.io/profile/cip/130301/ | [iii] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm#Education [iv]payscale.com/research/US/Job=Education_Policy_Analyst/Salary [v] bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm [vi] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm [vii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm [viii]bls.gov/careeroutlook/2016/article/education-jobs-teaching-for-a-living.htm