5 Steps to Become a Curriculum and Instruction Specialist

If you’re considering a career as a curriculum and instruction specialist but need advice for assessing the full opportunity that awaits you, you’re in the right place.

You likely know that a curriculum and instruction professional specializes in designing, developing, and implementing materials and teaching techniques at educational institutions or in the workplace. (In the corporate world, you’ll find curriculum and instruction specialists in several departments, including Human Resources and Learning and Development.) This specialist’s primary role is to guide and support teachers and administrators or corporate staff by improving the quality of instruction and learning outcomes.

Like many professions, a curriculum and instruction job often requires a combination of higher education, experience, and skill depending on what hiring institutions and organizations deem necessary.

Explore these five action steps to build a lasting career — and bolster your earning potential — as a curriculum and instruction specialist.

Key Takeaways

    • Educational Pathways and Licensure: A master’s degree in curriculum and instruction is essential for this career, with many programs offering specialized tracks. It’s also important to confirm specific licensure and certification requirements based on your location.
    • Professional Experience and Skills Development: Gaining hands-on teaching or instructional experience is vital. Look for opportunities to create coursework or training content in your current role or through volunteer work to build your resume and practical skills.
    • Continuing Education and Leadership: Staying updated with the latest educational trends and enhancing leadership, communication, and collaboration skills are key. Participate in professional development through workshops, conferences, and training sessions to grow as a curriculum and instruction specialist.

How to Become a Curriculum and Instruction Specialist in 5 Steps

1. Earn a Curriculum and Instruction Online Degree

An advanced degree in education or a related field should provide a foundation of the methods, strategies, and instructional methods of curriculum instruction.

The University of Cincinnati’s popular Master of Education (MEd) in Curriculum and Instruction is one such program. It’s a multidisciplinary, nationally ranked degree that equips you with the skills and competencies needed as a specialist in curriculum and instruction (C&I). It’s designed for practicing teachers and other professionals interested in planning, developing, and implementing instructional programs in schools or non-school settings — and the curriculum is entirely online.

Q: What are some concentration areas in a C&I degree?
A: UC’s specialized tracks include STEM & Sustainability Education, Gifted Education, and Teaching and Learning: General Studies.

2. Confirm Requirements for Licensure and Certification

Depending on where you live and the specific C&I position you’re interested in, you may need to obtain relevant licensure or certification to begin a specialist position if you hope to work at a school. Requirements vary from state to state (and country to country), so it’s important to research the rules specific to your location.

3. Gain Teaching or Instruction Expertise and Confidence

Experience in the classroom or at work is invaluable in developing a deep understanding of instructional strategies and practices, curriculum development and implementation, and classroom dynamics, including the needs of students and educators.

If your work responsibilities don’t include creating coursework, look for content-creation opportunities at work or outside of work. Doing so allows you to develop training for your team or another organization (a nonprofit, for example) — and you can use volunteer initiatives to grow your expertise in the area. This can give you a new skill to talk about with your supervisor or a C&I hiring manager and be something to add to your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Q: Is UC’s master’s degree in C&I program nationally ranked?
A: Yes, TheBestSchools.org ranked it the 4th Best Online Master in Curriculum and Instruction Degree (2019).

4. Take Advantage of Continuing Education

Carving out time for professional development is essential to stay current with the latest educational research, best practices, curriculum trends, and instructional strategies. Participating in workshops, conferences, and training sessions can help grow your knowledge and skills as a curriculum and instruction expert.

Research industry events and conferences, like those from the Association of Talent Development, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Learning Forward Annual Conference, and International Society for Technology in Education Conference, to see what’s available.

Q: What are some other job titles for a Curriculum and Instruction Specialist?
A: They include Curriculum Design Manager, Education Specialist, Training Coordinator, Course Designer, E-Learning Specialist, Learning and Development Manager, and Instructional Content Developer.

5. Boost Leadership, Communication, and Collaboration Chops

Effective communication and collaboration with colleagues are hallmarks of a strong leader. As a C&I specialist, you’ll collaborate regularly with teachers, administrators, corporate staff, and other education stakeholders to understand their needs, provide guidance and support, and facilitate professional development sessions.

Even if you don’t have a degree in curriculum and instruction, nothing should stop you from finetuning your leadership qualities right away. Your abilities to inspire, motivate, and facilitate change are beneficial now and when you land a C&I specialist role someday.

Q: Does the C&I master’s degree say “UC Online”?
A: No, your degree is conferred by the University of Cincinnati, and UC is reflected on your transcripts and degree.

More About UC’s Master of Education in C&I Program

Are you more intrigued about a career in curriculum and instruction? Are you ready to embrace the opportunity to shape minds, inspire learners, and make a lasting impact? Then, take the next step in the journey and email a UC Enrollment Services Advisor, call (866) 629-6075, chat online or complete this short form.

A rewarding career in curriculum and instruction awaits you!

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