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Curriculum Director Career Guide

What Is a Curriculum Director?

A curriculum director is hired by a school board to ensure that an effective educational program is in place, helping students reach their learning potential. This type of role involves working closely with students and teachers to implement and oversee a curriculum that meets the unique challenge faced by each particular school board.

 

teacher at whiteboard

What Does a Curriculum Director Do?

While every curriculum director’s job will differ depending on the needs of the school and the requirements of the school board, here are some common tasks that they’ll likely be asked to perform during their career.

  • Planning and evaluating. A curriculum director’s main task is planning the curriculum, whether that is implementing one from scratch or improving one already in place. They will use their years of experience to ensure the curriculum is appropriate for staff and students while staying up to date with the latest developments in education.
  • Developing a team. A good curriculum doesn’t appear out of nowhere. Behind any good system is a team; experienced teachers, senior members of staff, librarians, educational researchers, curriculum designers. It’s the job of a curriculum director to meld these personalities together and produce the best possible outcome for the school board.
  • Curriculum in action. It’s one thing to have a great plan on paper, but a curriculum director must keep his eyes on the trenches: how are students responding to it? How are teachers implementing it? If a curriculum is to be effective and not just a piece of bureaucratic paperwork, curriculum directors must help teachers implement these changes and navigate their way to a successful learning outcome.

How Do I Become a Curriculum Director?

This is a high-level position within a school requiring at least a bachelor’s degree, but those who are serious about thriving in this career will be best served by studying for a master’s degree. Getting a degree from WGU allows students to get into the workforce faster by cutting years of the required study time. WGU students can take courses at a pace that suits them. In fact, the average WGU student completes their undergraduate studies in 36 months.

The path to becoming a curriculum director is long, but relatively straightforward. It requires a strong background in education, advanced degrees, and years of experience. But a fulfilling career at the heart of the education system awaits. 

Here are the steps towards becoming a curriculum director:

Step One: Earn a Bachelor’s in Education

A Bachelor’s in education will kickstart one’s career as a curriculum director. Aspiring curriculum directors will be able to learn the fundamentals of teaching and the education system, as well as study courses that will be very helpful to their future careers, such as; curriculum design, the latest educational theories, and many more. 

Step Two: Become Certified as a Teacher

The next step on the road to becoming a curriculum director is getting certified as a teacher. This varies state by state but the basics are roughly the same.

  1. Attain a bachelor’s degree
  2. Get some work experience teaching students, and pass the corresponding course
  3. Pass Praxis (this is a general test and another test on a chosen subject of specialization)
  4. Pass a criminal and professional background check.

Step Three: Get Experience in the Field

It’s time to enter the workforce. But not as a curriculum director—yet. To land this job, more experience is required. The exact amount can vary depending on the school board but sources recommend a minimum of 18 months. Those who can use this time to shadow an existing curriculum developer will find that worth it when it comes to job hunting later on.

Step Four: Earn a Master’s Degree

A curriculum director is a relatively senior position within a school and as such, some school boards will ask for a master’s degree. We recommend studying for a course that will provide direct knowledge of curriculum design, such as a master’s in curriculum and instruction that will elevate a prospective curriculum director’s chances of landing that perfect job. 

This program will equip students with the knowledge and know-how when it comes to designing an innovative curriculum that will engage students no matter their background. This program also teaches the latest in curriculum design and instruction, data-informed practices, and even courses on being an effective leader. 


Best Degree for Curriculum Directors

Curriculum and Instruction – M.S.

An online master's degree for those who have educational...

An online master's degree for those who have...

An online master's degree for those who have educational experience and are looking to further their careers with a graduate program focused on curriculum development and design.

  • Time: 72% of grads earned this degree within 18 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,635 per 6-month term.

Coursework in this program covers the following areas of study:

  • Curriculum theory and development
  • Instructional theory
  • Research fundamentals

Help schools create engaging, meaningful, and memorable learning experiences to improve learning outcomes for all students with this M.S. degree.


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Substitute teacher writing on white board

What Skills Does a Curriculum Director Need?

A good curriculum director needs more than just a set of qualifications. They need other skills to thrive in this position. Curriculum directors will need to show the school board that they wish to work for that they have and can demonstrate:

  • Organization and time-management skills
  • Open channels of communication with other team members
  • A love of education for students and for themselves
  • Confidence as both a teacher and a leader
  • Planning and design skills

How Much Does a Curriculum Director Make?

$97,500

The U.S. Department of Labor says that postsecondary education administrators (including curriculum directors) had a median average salary of $97,500 in 2020. The lower end of the scale comes in at $56,310, and the top ten percent of earners brought in $199,400. All of that is above the national average wage, which is $41,950.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?

4%

The BLS projects a 4% growth between the 2019 - 2029 period, which is slightly above the national average of 3%. That translates to around 7,100 new jobs during this period. But curriculum directors with the necessary experience and a solid master’s degree will be sure to stand out during the job search.

Where Does a Curriculum Director Work?

Schools

While the BLS doesn’t give exact statistics for the career of curriculum director, the position of postsecondary education administrator is very close in outlook to this position. And with that in mind, most curriculum directors will be working in the field of education. Within that, 79% of them will find work in colleges, state, local or private schools. And 13% of them will find employment in junior colleges; state, local, and private.

 

Interested in Becoming a Curriculum Director?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.

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