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The classroom is constantly changing, and the success of students today depends on their teachers' ability to keep up with the latest advancements in learning.

Curriculum design degree programs teach students how to create course curricula that reflect emergent changes in education programs and the best practices for reaching students today. With the knowledge gained through this degree program, educators may be able to improve their performance in the classroom, as well as the outcomes for their students.

Overview of Curriculum Design Programs

Students in curriculum design programs typically gain in-depth knowledge on how to craft a course curriculum that meets students' needs and an institution's educational goals. Subjects covered in these programs often include multicultural education, technology in the classroom and pedagogical theories that guide the field.

Instructional Design

Examples of potential courses include:

  • Early childhood education: This course focuses on how young children learn and the ways in which cognitive, social, emotional and physical development influences their classroom needs. Topics addressed in this course typically include how to develop, supervise and assess early education programs; how to work with children from different socioeconomic backgrounds and be sensitive to cultural differences; and the societal and political influences that affect early childhood education.
  • Technology and teaching: Students in this course can expect to get an overview of how different kinds of media affect classroom instruction. Topics generally include the use of electronic texts in the classroom, how to deliver classroom content via distance learning, the best ways to design a website to augment classroom content, and theories on technology in the classroom. This course may also cover the use of mass media in the classroom and the importance of applying critical thinking skills to information disseminated by the media.
  • Curriculum development and implementation: This course covers theories of curriculum design and how those theories can be used to develop course content for a diverse group of learners. In addition, students are taught how to implement a curriculum, the issues that can arise when introducing a curriculum into the classroom and how to assess its effectiveness

Depending on the program, students in curriculum design degree programs may be required to choose a concentration to focus their studies on such as elementary education, English as a second language, secondary education or reading education.

Potential Careers for Curriculum Design Majors

Students who earn curriculum design degrees can work in public or private schools, nonprofit organizations, military bases, adult education programs, charter schools, community colleges or alternative schools. Some of the jobs available to these professionals include:

  • Instructional coordinator: Instructional coordinators are responsible for ensuring that the teaching standards and curriculum of an institution are effective. To that end, they help develop and implement course curriculum, organize training for teachers, assess teachers' performance and help them make improvements, and create teaching standards for educators to follow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), instructional designers, who are required to earn at least a master's degree, made an median annual wage of $60,610 in 2013. Employment in this profession is expected to increase by 13 percent nationwide between 2012 and 2022.
  • Postsecondary teacher: Postsecondary teachers, who generally earn a Ph.D. to enter the field, instruct students at the college level, as well as contribute to their field through scholarly research. The job duties of these professionals include designing and teaching courses, planning and grading assignments and tests, keeping abreast of developments in their field, conducting research and presenting the findings to other professionals and participating in school committees. The BLS predicts a 19 percent increase in demand for postsecondary school teachers from 2012 to 2022, with median annual wages at $60,170 (as of May 2013).

In addition, curriculum design graduates might also pursue careers as corporate trainers, curriculum specialists or curriculum coordinators.

Sources:
"Education Teachers, Postsecondary," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/CURRENT/oes251081.htm
"Instructional Coordinators," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes259031.htm
"Instructional Coordinators," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2013-15 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm
"Postsecondary Teachers," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2014-15 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Education-Training-and-Library/Postsecondary-teachers.htm

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