Curriculum & Instruction

5 Unexpected Jobs You Can Get with a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction

5 Unexpected Jobs You Can Get with a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction
These careers go way past head teacher—and in some cases, touch on leadership and management roles. Image from Unsplash
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Mairead Kelly December 19, 2019

If you’ve given enough thought to a master's in curriculum and instruction, chances are, you know of the many career paths this degree can open doors to. But who says you’ll need to pursue a predictable one?

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With the growth of digitized learning and an increasing number of organizations in and outside the education sector looking for highly-skilled, qualified candidates with expertise in analyzing, designing, and implementing curriculum, now is an ideal time to earn a master’s in curriculum and instruction. Whether a Master’s of Education (M.Ed.) or Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) program, courses typically cover theory and research in curriculum and instruction, curriculum design, and learning strategies and assessment. Some programs may offer concentrations in instructional technology, online course development, early childhood education, and multicultural education.

You may be pursuing a master’s in curriculum and instruction out of a love of teaching and learning or hopes to create curricula. In any case, you’ll be able to apply your degree to careers across a range of fields—those in school and classroom settings being most prevalent. Within these settings, you may find yourself developing curriculum alongside teachers or assisting school administrators in improving instruction and school-wide outcomes.

Pursuing this graduate degree can also increase your opportunities for higher-level positions as an educator. Take K-12 lead teacher, a role known for its leadership within a school environment while continuing to teach in the classroom. As a lead teacher, you’ll be responsible for organizing and implementing curriculum and instructional programs, assisting in the development of school-wide research-based instructional methods, and aligning materials and resources to boost student outcomes.

A master’s in curriculum and instruction will also prepare you for administrative positions directly involved in curriculum supervision, like curriculum and instructional coordinator. This professional is responsible for managing a school’s teaching and educational procedures to ensure that they meet state and federal guidelines. They also evaluate student test data, select textbooks, and mentor staff.

If you’ve given enough thought to this degree, chances are, you know of the many career paths it can open doors to. But who says you’ll need to pursue a predictable one? In truth, a master’s in curriculum and instruction will train you well for any profession requiring an analytical mindset, as well as the ability to plan and implement lessons and provide informed strategies for continuous improvement. Here are some that require those skills.

Corporate training facilitator

A corporate trainer facilitator provides professional development and training to employees in—you guessed it—a corporate setting. Corporate training programs may focus on developing teamwork and communication skills, typically to increase employee engagement and commitment to the overall success of their organization. Medium and large-sized organizations may also hire facilitators to conduct town hall-style meetings to solicit honest feedback related to business operations.

To become a corporate trainer, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in business administration, curriculum and instruction, educational psychology, human resources, or a related field. However, some employers may want to see that you have a master’s degree or higher. According to Zippia, a job and recruitment site, 33 percent of corporate training facilitators have completed a master’s degree, compared to 33.6 percent who hold a bachelor’s degree as their highest level of education.


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School principal

Whether an elementary, middle, or high school, public, private, or charter school, the principal is essentially its captain. School principals are responsible for managing operations, which at a high level, means ensuring their school runs smoothly while providing a safe and supportive learning environment for all students. They must coordinate and monitor curricula across grade levels, interpret standardized test scores, and then make any necessary changes to their school’s curricula to improve student performance. On a day-to-day basis, you’ll also find principals overseeing teachers and other school staff as well as analyzing their school’s budget and making executive decisions on how to allocate funds.

A master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with a focus on leadership helps meet the educational requirements to hold a principal position. Most states also require principals to have at least five years of teaching experience. Except for those working in private schools, most states also require principals to hold school administrator licensure.

Subject matter expert

This role has an in-depth knowledge of a specific process, function, or technology (or sometimes, a combination of all three). They’re considered an authority on a particular topic and typically work in a corporate setting. Once a company identifies specific gaps in employee skills, behavior, or knowledge, subject matter experts collaborate with instructional designers, learning technologists, brand managers, and even other subject matter experts to create high-quality training courses. Unlike a corporate training facilitator’s role in the immediate training process, this role is responsible for mapping a path backward from the goal of training to the training content.

For example, let’s say the training goal for employees is to grow their skills in paid media marketing. In this case, a subject matter expert may suggest a simulated learning experience where learners can analyze results in real-time out of the belief that it may be more effective than notes or infographics.

Forging a career as a subject matter expert takes time, experience, and intense study. The profession doesn’t readily list individual degree requirements to enter the field. Still, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction will undoubtedly lend you the skills and attributes you’ll need to thrive in it. The ability to operate with a growth mindset, know your learning style, and understand your target audience (or learners) are just a few.

Career coordinator

Whereas school counselors help students develop the academic and social skills they need to succeed in and outside of school, these type of counselors focus on students’ process of making career decisions by helping them identify potential fields, develop their professional skills, and find the right educational program to prepare for their career. It’s a role you can find at high schools, helping students plan for their lives after graduation. In a college setting, they may guide students on the path to choosing a major or determining which jobs are most applicable to their degree.

Most counselors must have a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field. A master’s in curriculum and instruction may be a benefit here, particularly for counselors working with teachers and administrators to ensure that a school’s curriculum addresses students’ developmental and academic needs. Although most states do not require work experience in a related occupation, some may require career counselors working in postsecondary settings to have one to two years of teaching experience.

Academic coach

This role works with students to examine their learning styles, habits of working, and difficulties or barriers to academic success. While academic coaching includes elements of tutoring, the goals and process of academic coaching function on a deeper level to teach students to become more effective learners instead of merely surviving the crisis of the day. You can find academic coaches working in both postsecondary and higher education settings, helping students cultivate efficient homework and study habits as well as decision-making and executive functioning skills. Ultimately, it’s their responsibility to teach students the necessary skills and tactics to increase their chances of long-term academic success.

Many employers require academic coaching candidates to hold at least a master’s in education or a related field. Future candidates who have yet to enter a graduate program may also opt for a master’s in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in academic coaching.

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About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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