Instructional Coordinator Careers | TheBestSchools


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Instructional coordinators develop and implement curricula and maintain educational teaching standards.

Instructional coordinators develop and implement curricula and maintain educational teaching standards. Schools increasingly rely on these professionals to improve the educational experience for students and educators, with the number of jobs for instructional coordinators projected to grow 6% through 2028. This guide covers instructional coordinator careers, including common job duties, degree options, and career advancement opportunities.

Essential Career Information for Instructional Coordinators
Median Annual Salary $64,450
Employment Growth Forecast from 2018-2028 6%
Number of New Jobs from 2018-2028 11,500
Average Entry-Level Education Requirements Master's Degree
Annual Salary of the Highest 10% $102,200
Annual Salary of the Lowest 10% $36,360

Source: OOH, May 2018

What Is an Instructional Coordinator?

An instructional coordinator, also known as an instructional designer, is responsible for facilitating effective educational content and delivery. They guide curricula, maintain teaching standards, and evaluate the success of educational methods and programs. Instructional coordinators typically need a master's degree and several years of experience as a teacher or education administrator.

Alternate job titles for instructional coordinators:

  • Curriculum Coordinator
  • Curriculum Designer
  • Curriculum Specialist
  • Curriculum and Assessment Director
  • Curriculum and Instruction Director
  • Instructional Materials Director
  • School Curriculum Developer
  • Special Education Curriculum Specialist

What Does an Instructional Coordinator Do?

Instructional designers develop teaching materials, implement curricula, and evaluate lessons and programs for effectiveness. They must stay abreast of the latest education laws and regulations to improve district, state, and federal education initiatives. Many instructional coordinators and curriculum design specialists begin as school administrators or teachers.

Daily duties for instructional designers include coordinating teacher training workshops, analyzing students' standardized test scores, and reviewing the latest educational technology tools. Instructional designers often observe teachers in the classroom and report their recommendations to improve curriculum and instruction methods to school staff and administrators.

Instructional designers develop teaching materials, implement curricula, and evaluate lessons and programs for effectiveness.

Some instructional coordinators specialize in a grade level or subject, while others may focus on a particular component of instructional design. For example, a curriculum and assessment director emphasizes the evaluation and effectiveness of educational materials, while a curriculum and instruction director strives to maximize the effectiveness of teaching methods. Additionally, specialists in English as a second language and special education are common among instructional coordinators, especially in elementary and secondary schools.

Most instructional designers work in public and private elementary and secondary schools. The remainder fill instructional design jobs at colleges, universities, and professional schools; in government; and at educational support service organizations.

How to Become an Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators typically need a master's degree and specialized experience for entry-level positions. They may also need a professional license to practice in their state, though requirements vary.

Employers often prefer candidates with a degree accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Curriculum design degrees typically require a practicum in addition to coursework in instructional theory, data collection, and curriculum design. Most students major in curriculum and instruction or education.

Most employers require teaching or school administration experience for instructional coordinator positions. In states where a license is required, instructional designers must complete continuing education units to maintain their professional credentials.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

While instructional coordinators need a master's degree for entry-level positions, most master's programs require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree for admission. Students also need to complete a bachelor's degree to qualify for teaching jobs, a common starting position for prospective instructional coordinators.

Most bachelor's degrees comprise around 120 credits and take four years of full-time study to complete, though some online programs offer accelerated options. Aspiring instructional coordinators often major in education with a specialization in curriculum and instruction. Students complete general education courses and major courses on topics like lesson planning and classroom instruction. They typically culminate the degree with a capstone course.

CAEP-accredited programs usually include specialized teacher training to prepare graduates for licensure. Graduates can pursue entry-level teaching roles or a master's degree.

Master's Degree Programs

A master's degree is the entry-level education requirement for instructional coordinators. Prospective instructional designers can pursue a master's degree in curriculum and instruction or a master's in education with a concentration in a related field.

Some master's programs require applicants to hold a teaching license for admission. Master's students complete coursework on topics like curriculum design, differentiated instruction, and learning theories, culminating in a capstone course. Most students can complete a master's degree in two years of full-time study.

Prospective students should look for CAEP-accredited master's programs, which meet the current career standards for educators in the field. Graduates with relevant experience may qualify for instructional coordinator positions. They can also pursue further study through a doctoral degree.

Doctoral Degree Programs

Instructional design doctoral degrees prepare graduates for leadership positions in the field. Students may pursue a Ph.D. or Ed.D. in a specialization such as curriculum and instruction. Ph.D. programs typically focus on research, while Ed.D. programs focus more on practice. Both types of degrees emphasize coursework in instructional theory, assessment techniques, and innovative student evaluation methods.

Many schools enable students to tailor the degree to their goals and interests. Depending on the program, a doctoral degree may take 3-7 years to complete. While most doctoral degrees do not require a practicum, many feature an independent study project, a thesis, and/or a dissertation.

Graduates of a doctoral program in curriculum and instruction qualify for senior positions in educational research and curriculum development. They also qualify for postsecondary teaching positions.

Professional Licensure and Certification

Depending on the state, instructional coordinators typically need a teaching or education administrator license to practice. Teaching licensure requirements include a bachelor's degree, completion of a student-teaching program, a passing score on a general teaching certification test, and a criminal background check. Most states certify teachers for 1-3 years. Teachers must renew their licenses by meeting continuing education requirements within a specified renewal period.

Education administrators must typically hold a master's degree and pass a qualifying exam and background check to work as a school principal. Many professionals practice for years as a principal before transitioning to an instructional coordinator career.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does an instructional coordinator do?

Instructional coordinators oversee teaching standards and curricula in public and private schools.

What does it mean to be an instructional designer?

Instructional designers maintain high education standards, ensuring that students receive a quality education.

Are instructional designers in demand?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for instructional designers to grow 6% through 2028.

How much does an instructional designer make?

Instructional designers earned an annual average salary of $64,450 in 2018, with the top earners employed in elementary schools and the government.

What skills does an instructional designer need?

These professionals need knowledge of data collection methods, instructional theories, and curriculum design. They also need excellent leadership, communication, and analytical skills.

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