Byline Insights from the School of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College

Educators who decide to specialize in curriculum and instruction take on one of the most important jobs in education. They focus on using the latest theories and strategies in curriculum design and instructional theory to create educational materials that lead to better student outcomes. It’s an interesting career that can focus both on what is taught and how it is taught.

Whatever the exact nature of their work, the goal for all educators who work in curriculum and instruction is to improve teacher skills and student learning. Those who enter the profession can earn an online masters degree in curriculum and instruction from Merrimack College. The program focuses on social justice and how education plays a key role in a democratic, pluralistic and complex society.  

What Is Curriculum and Instruction? 

Curriculum and instruction focuses on the creation of all education material, including classroom curricula and teacher training. Curriculum Designers ensure that a school has a curriculum that aligns with state standards for education or any applicable federal regulations. Part of the job includes assessing the success of the current curriculum.

That means analyzing data on school ratings, student achievement and the effectiveness of textbooks. In addition to developing curriculum, these education professionals may directly mentor and coach teachers on approaches that lead to the best student outcomes along with observing and evaluating people in the classroom.

Demand for Curriculum and Instruction Professionals 

Educators with expertise in curriculum and instruction are in high demand. Federal projections call for an 11% increase in the number of instructional coordinators between 2016 and 2026 nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In Massachusetts, the demand is slightly higher, with an 11.8% increase expected, according to Projections Central, which uses BLS data to project job numbers by state. Pay is better in Massachusetts, as well. Nationally, instructional coordinators make a mean annual wage of $67,490, according to the BLS. In Massachusetts, that number is $76,270. Also, the Boston metropolitan area is one of the Top 10 employers of instructional coordinators in the country, with a mean annual salary of $78,830. 

What You Learn 

Working in curriculum and instruction requires a master’s degree. Merrimack College offers an online master of education with a concentration on curriculum and instruction. The program, designed for professional teachers who want to move into this area of the educational field, offers a good example of what students will learn in such a program. The courses include the following:

Critical Issues in Education. This course teaches students about the challenges that face students, including those with moderate disabilities. The course includes a review of state and national law, as well as local and national support agencies. 

Diversity and social justice. This course explores power and privilege in diverse populations and offers historical and contemporary oppression based on race, gender, abilities and other differences. Students also examine their own biases and prejudices. 

Research topics in education. Students learn how to design research in such a way that findings are applicable in an educational environment. 

Students also engage in a capstone project before graduation that allows them to take what they have learned and apply it to solving real-world issues in education. The area of curriculum and instruction is vital for the future of education.

For educators who want to play a role in designing the classrooms of the future, it’s a career path that could help them achieve their professional ambitions. That’s what the online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Merrimack College prepares you to do.