How Do I Become a Curriculum Specialist?

A.E. Freeman

To become a curriculum specialist, also known as an instructional coordinator, you'll need to complete a master's degree in education. You will also need experience as a teacher. If your plan is to become a curriculum specialist at a public school, you'll need a teaching or administrator's licenses in the United States. Which of these licenses you'll need varies from state to state.

A curriculum specialist reviews and makes recommendations about the educational materials for a school.
A curriculum specialist reviews and makes recommendations about the educational materials for a school.

A curriculum specialist usually reviews textbooks and other educational materials for a school or district and makes recommendations based on her thoughts. Usually, she helps the school develop curricula. Depending on where she works, she may focus on only one curriculum, such as math or language arts, or she may be responsible for every subject.

Curriculum specialists typically have extensive teaching experience and hold a master's degree in education.
Curriculum specialists typically have extensive teaching experience and hold a master's degree in education.

It's preferable to have some teaching experience before you become a curriculum specialist. To become a teacher, you'll usually need to get a bachelor's degree in education as well as a teaching certificate in your state. In some cases, you can major in a specific field, such as English or science, and get a teaching license without majoring in education.

The licenses required to be a curriculum specialist vary from state to state.
The licenses required to be a curriculum specialist vary from state to state.

After a few years of teaching, you may find that getting an administrative position, such as an assistant principal job, helps you in your goal to become a curriculum specialist. While working in school administration, plan on going back for a master's degree in education. During your degree program, you should take courses in curriculum development. The curriculum development courses may be specific to one subject or may be more general. You'll also most likely take classes in research design in which you'll learn how curricula are effective and how you can help students perform better in school.

Curriculum specialists may research online to see what has worked in the past for different educators.
Curriculum specialists may research online to see what has worked in the past for different educators.

Once you finish your graduate degree, you'll need to pass an examination to become a curriculum specialist who is licensed. In many states, you'll have to pass the PRAXIS Educational Leadership: Administrative and Supervision or the School Leaders Licensure assessment tests to earn your license. After becoming licensed, you'll most likely need to take continuing education courses to maintain the license.

Curriculum specialists may develop software that can be used alongside textbook studies.
Curriculum specialists may develop software that can be used alongside textbook studies.

In addition to the proper education, license, and experience, you'll need a few important skills before you can become a curriculum specialist. You should be able to interact with others, particularly other teachers and educational administrators. Good teaching skills are a must, as are computer and technology skills. As a specialist, you should be able to stay up to date on the latest trends in education and learning.

Curriculum specialists look for ways technology can be integrated into the classroom.
Curriculum specialists look for ways technology can be integrated into the classroom.

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