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Professional Curriculum Designer Career

How To Become A Professional Curriculum Designer

For those who love planning and creating ideal atmospheres for learning, becoming a professional curriculum designer might just be the ideal job. This career involves staying at the forefront of constant advances in education and ensuring the latest techniques and technologies are incorporated into the classroom. Plus: A thriving job market means now is the perfect time to begin a career as a professional curriculum designer.

What Is a Professional Curriculum Designer?

A professional curriculum designer is a teacher who specializes in designing curriculums and ensuring they are implemented successfully throughout a school system. This can involve everything from working together with teachers and staff to create the right system for the school, to observing live classes to see what works and what doesn’t.

What Does a Professional Curriculum Designer Do?

A professional curriculum designer is in charge of managing the curriculum for a school and overseeing its implementation. While this may sound straightforward, it actually encompasses some unusual aspects. Here are a few of the duties a professional curriculum designer might be asked to perform:

  • Curriculum Design. Most of a professional curriculum designer’s role involves planning and designing a school’s curriculum. This professional draws upon his or her expertise to ensure proper learning outcomes for students. This can involve analyzing students’ test data and making adjustments based on results, as well as working closely with other teachers to decide the best way to improve the quality of teaching throughout the school.
  • Teacher training. Part of the job may involve training or mentoring other teachers. Professional curriculum designers will help their colleagues incorporate curriculums into their teaching, or assist them in designing their own. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so everything will have to be adapted to fit the needs of the individual teachers and students involved.
  • Observing and assisting other teachers. Professional curriculum designers might be asked to observe lessons. This is to see how effective the current curriculum is. If teachers are struggling to get class content across effectively, then a professional curriculum designer can make notes and recommendations for changes. This could involve switching textbooks, teaching styles, using different technology, or even the curriculum itself.

How Do I Become a Professional Curriculum Designer?

A Professional Curriculum Designer will need a background in education, a teaching license, years of experience, and a master’s degree. Here are the steps to take toward becoming a professional curriculum designer:

Step One: Get A Bachelor’s Degree in Education

Professional curriculum designers are highly-educated experts, and their knowledge starts with a bachelor’s degree in education. This phase helps professional curriculum designers learn the basics of curriculum design, teaching theory, and how to use technology in the classroom. During this phase, educators also learn essentials like classroom management and how to work in tandem with other teachers as well as students. This degree program will provide a foundation required to meet the challenges of teaching.

Step Two: Get a teacher’s license

Getting certified as a teacher is the next step in becoming a professional curriculum designer. This process varies depending on the state, but can be generally broken down into four parts:

1) Get a bachelor’s degree

2) Complete a course that provides a student teaching experience

3) Pass Praxis (a test in general and a test on one’s chosen subject of specialization) 

4) Successfully pass the criminal and professional background check

Step Three: Gain work experience

According to the BLS, most professional curriculum designers have around five years of work experience before they get their first jobs. This time can be used to gain curriculum design skills in a real-world setting, seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Step Four: Get a master’s degree

Professional curriculum designers have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders, and as such, are expected to be experts in their field. To gain this type of knowledge, we recommend taking an M.S. in Educational Leadership or an M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction.

During the master’s degree process, professional curriculum designers learn the latest in developing and implementing curriculum standards, how to function as part of a team, and how to take on leadership roles at schools. These are the kind of skills that make an effective professional curriculum designer and helps candidates stand out during the job hunt.

Best Degrees for Professional Curriculum Designers

Educational Studies – B.A.

These online, non-licensure educational studies degrees prepare...

These online, non-licensure educational studies...

These online, non-licensure educational studies degrees prepare you to make a difference in a field that interests you.

Based on your career goals and interests, you can choose an educational studies program in one of 10 content areas that meets your needs while working toward employment in school settings, corporate training, or instructional design. These programs do not lead to a teaching license.

  • Time: Completion time varies depending on the specialty track you choose.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,475 per 6-month term.

Candidates for this special education degree program often include:

  • Elementary Education
  • Elementary and Special Education
  • Mild to Moderate Special Education
  • Secondary Biology Science Education
  • Secondary Chemistry Science Education
  • Secondary Earth Science Education
  • Secondary Physics Education
  • Middle Grades Science Education
  • Secondary Mathematics Education
  • Middle Grade Mathematics Education

Students in this program will be prepared for careers including:

  • Instructional support
  • Community outreach
  • Training
  • Education staff (museums, learning centers, etc.) 
  • K-12 opportunities that do not require a teaching license

Educational Leadership – M.S.

An online master's degree for current teachers looking to move...

An online master's degree for current teachers...

An online master's degree for current teachers looking to move into a school or district leadership position, like principal, vice principal, or administrator.

  • Time: 73% of grads earned this degree within 24 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,935 per 6-month term.

Coursework in this program includes:

  • Process management
  • Strategic planning
  • Performance excellence
  • Governance, finance, law, and leadership
  • Measurement, analysis, and knowledge management
  • Workforce focus
  • Other courses, including a capstone project and a series of performance tasks to take place under the leadership of a practicing state licensed school principal or assistant principal in a practicum school site (K–12). 

Put your leadership skills to good use—in the service of America's children—with this education master's degree. 

States that do not accept this program: Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, and Minnesota.

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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What Skills Does a Professional Curriculum Designer Need?

As well as being highly-educated and experienced, professional curriculum designers need some specialized skills to thrive in their chosen careers. Professional curriculum designers will be expected to demonstrate:

  • Leadership skills
  • Teaching skills
  • The ability to work as part of a team 
  • Strong decision-making skills
  • Clear communication
  • Analytical skills
  • Expert design and planning skills

How Much Does a Professional Curriculum Designer Make?


According to Glassdoor, a professional curriculum designer makes a median salary of around $60,934. Those at the lower end of the scale can be expected to make around $45,000. A few outliers at the higher-end of the scale report salaries of up to $82,000. These of course will vary depending on experience and what state they are working in.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


The US Bureau of Labor Statistics classes PCD as Instructional Designers, and under this heading, the outlook is rosy. They’ve posted a 6% anticipated growth for these kinds of jobs in the 2019-2029 period, which is faster than average for most other types of occupations. So it looks like there’s plenty of work to go around for qualified PCDs!

Where Does a Professional Curriculum Designer Work?


Of course, most jobs in the PCD field will be in the education system. With that in mind, around 44% of PCDs find themselves working in elementary or secondary schools. 19% of them secured jobs in colleges or universities, 7% work in government, and 6% of them have roles in educational support services.


Interested in Becoming a Professional Curriculum Designer?

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

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