In the education system, curriculum designers are tasked with developing and executing teaching standards and curriculum. They “evaluate the effectiveness of curriculum and teaching techniques established by school boards, states, or federal regulations” and identify areas for change or improvement, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and these positions may be at the school or district levels.

Also known as curriculum specialists, instructional leaders or instructional coaches, curriculum designers frequently use data to inform their work as administrators and mentors. Instructional leaders play an important role in school districts across the country. But how can you get qualified for this rewarding and in-demand career?

Understand the Principles of Educational Leadership and Curricular Design

At the district level, decision makers seek candidates for curriculum design positions who are able to uphold the principles of educational leadership. This includes the management and facilitation of student and teacher goals. They might determine goals for individual teachers or schools as a whole.

At the school level, curriculum specialists use knowledge of curriculum design to ensure teachers are correctly addressing student needs, adhering to state and district policies and examining standards for learning. They may work with individual teachers, departments or the entire faculty. They often plan staff development, examine class offerings, work with scheduling and disaggregate data. Often, they will work with the standards to create school expectations and determine teaching objectives.

West Virginia State University (WVSU) offers an exciting series of classes covering curriculum study and design as part of its Master of Education in Instructional Leadership (MEIL) program.

Familiarize Yourself With Educational Policies and Laws

Federal and state laws directly impact curriculum decisions. This is why it’s important for curriculum designers and instructional leaders to be informed about the latest educational policy decisions, such as the Common Core and Every Student Succeeds Act. Master’s-level courses such as WVSU’s Educational Policy and Law provide insight into the complexities of government regulation in education.

Showcase Innovation and Commitment to Positive Change

Working in curriculum development means setting an educational standard. This is why instructional design job candidates should have clear ideas about how to prepare students for college and their future careers. Instructional leaders are responsible for designing innovative learning content that reflects the latest educational approaches. WVSU’s course, Change, Innovation and Professional Development in Education, gives educators the knowledge and skills to be successful curriculum specialists.

Create Change and Innovation in the Classroom

Gain the professional skill sets required to create a positive impact for your students. WVSU's fully online Master of Education in Instructional Leadership prepares teachers to move into administrative positions.

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Leverage Data-Based Decision Making for School Improvement

Improving curriculum and learning environments requires data-driven decisions. Superintendents, school administrators and curriculum design positions require candidates to analyze test scores, trends, survey results and qualitative data. Instructional leaders must be able to react to data and redesign objectives in order to maximize student success. Courses like WVSU’s Data-Based Decision Making for School Improvement focus on developing skills in this area.

Add an Internship to Your Resume

Combining educational credentials with professional experience is the best way to qualify for a career in curriculum development.

“Employers are looking for the top candidate for school administrative positions, curriculum specialists and superintendents,” according to Dr. Mickey Blackwell, coordinator of the Master of Education in Instructional Leadership program at WVSU. “It’s important that you build a resume of experiences as well as coursework. When we designed our program, we knew that our students had to be able to provide employers with a list of authentic experiences that would show a familiarity with the real-life, day-to-day activities of being an educational leader.”

Instructional Leadership at West Virginia State University

For a successful career in curricular design, a master’s degree in education is usually required, according to the BLS. This is due to the administrative nature of this leadership role. WVSU offers a fully online Master of Education in Instructional Leadership degree that gives educators the advanced skill sets for careers beyond the classroom.

“We strongly believe that our program provides students with a wide range of hands-on learning experiences. Our students work with a broad variety of school-based data, personnel law, school finance, student achievement and school assessment methods, as well as gain face time with principals and school leaders. These invaluable experiences provide our students with a wide range of professional proficiencies to present to a potential employer in an interview,” Dr. Blackwell stated. “The curriculum focuses on the most current approaches and concepts, so our graduates are able to create cutting-edge pathways to success for both students and staff.”