Many people choose the profession of education because they enjoy sharing their knowledge and watching others learn new strategies and material. For those wanting to further their understanding of how to effectively reach students in their classroom, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction is a great means of advancing one’s career and improving their professionalism.
What is a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction?
A master’s degree is an additional 30 to 40 hours of graduate school in a specialized field. This can take on average a couple of years to acquire. However, with more universities offering online coursework and shortened, intense course schedules, this endeavor is easily obtainable while working full time. The goal of a master’s degree is to enhance one’s knowledge in a specific area — in this case, in how to select rigorous curriculum and provide differentiated instruction and assessment.
Skills You Will Learn in Master’s Curriculum and Instruction Program
A bachelor’s degree provides the basic knowledge a teacher needs to handle many aspects of the profession, but the additional courses in graduate studies allow educators to become better at planning the scope and sequence of lessons and at delivering the material in a way that reaches all levels of learners. As classrooms expand in diverse cultures and ethnicities, the curriculum and instruction programs will introduce ways of instructing all students, even those with limited English proficiency.
Not only will you learn to deliver instruction effectively, teachers will also learn to assess skills and analyze data to enhance planning and future instruction. In addition, educators will learn to effectively communicate with stakeholders, such as parents, community investors, and administrators. Communication is key for educators as they seek to build partnerships that can lead to improved classroom assets.
Educators will also focus on developing their own philosophy of education so they better understand what motivates them to teach and how they feel they best reach students with new knowledge. Likewise, coursework will focus on enhancing one’s leadership skills, which can be beneficial to teachers desiring to become learning leaders or looking at job opportunities outside of the traditional classroom setting.
Many curriculum and instruction programs provide an emphasis on educational research. This not only allows the student to dig deeper into a topic of interest, but it teaches how to find valid and reliable sources when searching for answers on other educational topics needed in their daily teaching routines. This skill is a valuable component of becoming a better educator.
Career Opportunities Available with a Curriculum and Instruction Master’s Degree
Many teachers obtain their master’s degree in curriculum and instruction to improve their own instructional strategies within the classroom, yet it can open up many new career opportunities as well. One possibility is a career in curriculum design. This could be at the district level or with a textbook company. If working for a corporation is desirable, with this degree you could advance into a chief learning officer whose job is to create educational opportunities for advancement and retention of employees.
You could also find a job in a healthcare institution working with education of clients and development of materials for informing patients on health-related topics. However, if you want to stay in the school system, there are other career opportunities that open up at the school district level which include instructional coach, curriculum advisor, or an assessment coordinator. Some school districts even allow advancement into administration at the school level with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.
If you desire to move into secondary education, this degree can allow you to become an educational specialist and work with adult learners or become an adjunct faculty member at a local college. The opportunities for career advancement begin to unfold for educators with a master’s degree.
Other Benefits of a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction
While a master’s degree can improve career opportunities in the educational field beyond the classroom, there are other benefits for those wishing to stay in the field of teaching. First, the credentials bring about credibility that enhances one’s chance of getting a job in teaching. Whether you are seeking your first job or looking to transfer to a new school or district, potential employers often seek teaching candidates with higher degrees. This is because they know these teachers come with a commitment to education and a more in-depth knowledge to apply within the classroom.
Likewise, many districts offer a pay increase with the attainment of additional degrees. On average, this could mean an additional $2,500 + per year, which increases with years of teaching experience, and an improved retirement rate as well.
Besides the monetary benefit, an advanced degree can also mean increased professional development points (PDP) needed for license renewal in many states. The increased knowledge can also allow you to lead professional development for your school or district in areas in which you gained competency while earning your degree.
It can also open up opportunities in additional leadership roles, which could potentially come with a stipend. For example, the practice in research of educational topics will assist you in evaluating curriculum, which could allow you opportunities on textbook adoption committees. The advanced degree could also assist you in becoming a learning leader or participating in your district’s principal prep program if that is a goal of yours.
No matter your goals following attaining your master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, you will become more current in best practices and assessment strategies that will lead to better instruction in your own classroom. It will also help you model the goal of being a lifelong learner for your peers and students. Most of all, it will increase your knowledge of becoming the best instructional leader you can be.
Ready to improve your pedagogical practices, leadership skills, and more? Explore our curriculum and instruction master’s degree programs to get started today!