Is a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Worth It?

As a teacher who is exploring the possibility of earning your master’s degree, you have likely devoted some thought to what specialization you should choose to focus on in your graduate studies.

Whether you are a classroom teacher who wants to make a greater difference in the educational success of your students or an educator looking to sharpen your skills in planning, developing, implementing and evaluating instructional programs, one specialization that is definitely worthy of consideration is the master’s in curriculum and instruction.

One reason for this is that the degree is structured to enhance your own classroom teaching skills, while also positioning you for other opportunities, such as an instructional coordinator or administration and leadership roles.

Why Earn Your Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction?

The reasons for earning your master’s in curriculum and instruction are plentiful, but the most common motivations are typically:

  • To become a better teacher
  • To increase your earning potential

The first one is about your passion: Most classroom teachers are motivated by the desire to make a significant difference in the educational lives of their students. For many, the joy of learning to become a better teacher is an end in itself. Studying to earn your master’s in curriculum and instruction means you’ll be learning more about teaching theories and trends, tactics for success in diverse classrooms, strategies for teaching with technology, and more.

The second one is about your profession: If you are putting in the work to be the best teacher you can possibly be, then it’s only fair that your efforts be reflected in your paycheck. And that’s one of the reasons why many school districts offer salary incentives for educators earning an advanced degree.

In terms of income, your master’s degree also expands your marketability in the job market, enabling you to compete for positions in other districts, positions with more responsibility such as a department chair, or other roles in educational leadership.

Another reason to consider earning your master’s in curriculum and instruction is that it is an opportunity to drill down in a particular area of concentration within your graduate degree studies. For example, the University of Cincinnati offers a 100% online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with three distinct areas of concentration:

STEM Education
Fine-tune your understanding of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. M.Ed. students design a learning environment built around problem-based and project-based learning activities, mathematics and science investigation-based learning tasks, and strategies for using technology effectively in the classroom.

Gifted Education
This specialization is designed for licensed teachers who are interested in teaching gifted students, preschool through grade 12. M.Ed. students in this concentration will apply theories and methods in the teaching of gifted, talented or creative students, and participate in a field experience that includes the development, implementation and publication of lesson plans.

Teaching and Learning: General Studies
The Teaching and Learning: General Studies concentration is designed for educators who are seeking an in-depth focus on curriculum and instruction. Degree candidates develop their knowledge in teaching, learning and educational research with required courses such as theories and trends, diversity, research methods and a capstone project.

What Can You Do with a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction?

While this master’s degree is designed primarily for public school teachers looking to develop their skills in the classroom and position themselves to expand their earning potential, the program developers at the University of Cincinnati Online note that “in addition to practicing teachers in the field, the program is appropriate for any professional interested in planning, developing, implementing and evaluating instructional programs in school and non-school settings.”

In addition to expanded career prospects for licensed teachers, STEM coordinators, district gifted and talented program leaders, education administrators and more, the master’s in curriculum and instruction can also connect to such opportunities as:

  • Teaching at public, private, parochial, magnet and charter schools
  • Museums or other organizations that offer education programs
  • Government organizations specializing in education
  • Textbook and curriculum companies

Instructional coordinator is another position commonly sought after by those who earn a master’s in curriculum and instruction. According to U.S. News & World Report, “a master’s degree is considered the minimum educational level for most instructional coordinator positions,” which pay an average of $64,450 per year.

Earning Your Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Online vs. On-Campus

One of the chief advantages of earning your master’s in curriculum and instruction online is that you will enjoy all the scheduling flexibility you’ll need to complete your degree while balancing work, family life and your academic studies.

In the case of the University of Cincinnati Online (UCO), you’ll also be learning from the same expert, award-winning faculty that teaches our on-campus programs.

A No. 4 ranking among “Best Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Degree Programs” is one of many industry honors accorded to the highly regarded University of Cincinnati program. “UC’s online program boasts a 98 percent satisfaction rate among new students thanks to its exceptional support services, which include a personal Enrollment Advisor and a Program Manager for every student,” according to UCO’s No. 9 ranking at

It is also important to note that online degree programs at some schools require you to come to campus for lengthy, in-person weekend classes (hybrid style); however, this is not so for the online M.Ed. program at UCO. You never have to set foot on campus, though you are welcome to visit any time you wish, including at graduation!

Your user-friendly, online learning portal will give you all the access you need to interact with program faculty and fellow students, as well as institutional support.

In addition to the online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, the University of Cincinnati also offers several other M.Ed. programs, both online and on-campus. Contact us today to talk about whether discover how our programs can help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

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