Career Profile: Curriculum Developer

What is a curriculum developer? What exactly do these professionals do? Although most people know what a teacher or a principal is, curriculum developers operate behind the scenes of the education world and are less known the general public. Developers work to create new courses and textbooks, determine district policy, train teachers and integrate technology into the classroom. Curriculum developers may be consultants, authors, educational organizers or supervisors. Developers may work for school districts, individual schools, libraries or textbook manufacturers. Many developers work as teachers for several years before advancing into the curriculum developer field.

Degrees and Training

Many employers require their developers to be licensed teachers or school administrators, although some exceptions can be made for developers with advanced education. For example, individuals with terminal degrees in specialized fields may be used as content developers even without educational training, especially at the postsecondary level. At the K-12 level, most developers have a master’s degree in curriculum education. Smaller districts may accept developers with a master’s degree in education or a specific content field. For example, a math coordinator could have a master’s in mathematics. Curriculum developers benefit greatly from some experience with teaching when instruction teachers and administrators on curriculum updates, so aspiring developers should gain experience in adult instruction if possible.

How much does a Curriculum Developer make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, instructional coordinators earned a median wage of $58,830 in 2010. put average pay at $55,793. Pay fluctuates greatly depending on the school system where coordinators work. K-12 school workers earned a median of $65,210 while college coordinators earned just $52,350, according to the Bureau. Educational coordinators must work year-round, and may work long hours to accommodate teachers’ schedules. Like many other educational careers, salary depends on location and experience. K-12 educational coordinators may be able to join a teachers’ union and gain access to regular pay raises and guaranteed benefits. Coordinators with a specialized doctoral degree can command high wages, especially at postsecondary institutions or when working for a textbook manufacturer.

Job Prospects

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for instructional coordinators is expected to grow by 20 percent in 2020. Schools are increasing their employment of coordinators to improve teacher effectiveness and student test scores. However, this demand for support staff is highly dependent on state and local budgets. When revenues fall and deficits grow, school districts may choose to fire non-essential administrative staff to keep teachers in the classroom. Coordinators can expect their job to become more technology-oriented. With computers and handheld devices gaining prevalence with children, classrooms must adapt. Many older teachers will need assistance using computer and media in their lessons. Education advocates must hope that legislatures understand the answer to “What is an education coordinator?” when making decisions about the education budget.