Online Master’s Programs In Curriculum and Instruction

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Earn an Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction

There are many benefits to obtaining a master’s in curriculum and instruction. An online program allows students to balance education and career and allows teachers to incorporate differentiated instruction based on students’ specific areas of interest. Achieving a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction makes teachers more marketable and offers opportunities for increased pay. Find out more about master’s programs in curriculum and instruction, what types of courses are available, and opportunities for career advancement following graduation.

Top 10 ONLINE MASTER’S PROGRAMS IN CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION

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Best Online Master’s in Education Curriculum & Instruction

METHODOLOGY

A high-quality online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction should provide skills to improve classroom effectiveness and enhance student achievement. The data collated for these college rankings comes from the Department of Education, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, as well as each university’s own published materials. All schools included in this ranking are accredited.

What Can I Learn in an Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Program?

Typically, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction requires students to earn 30 to 36 credit hours, depending on the program. This usually takes two years. However, some online colleges offer an accelerated program which may be completed sooner. Students should expect to acquire the following skills from an online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction:

  • A deeper knowledge of educational research
  • A broader knowledge of teaching practices
  • Improved student ability assessment skills
  • The ability to recognize students who are struggling to keep up with classroom projects
  • The skills to adapt a curriculum to meet individual student’s needs

What common courses are offered in a master’s in curriculum and instruction program?

Although curriculum and instruction programs differ from college to college, some common courses are typically offered. These may include:

Cognitive Processes in Education

Students are introduced to the psychological theories that influence student learning. This type of course enables teachers to develop a deeper understanding of what motivates students, how they solve problems, use reasoning and how they learn.

Curriculum Theories and Design

The main focus of this course is to show students how to create and implement a curriculum that combines a specific knowledge base with overall classroom goals. This course provides teachers with the analytical skills to design a curriculum based on effective theories of learning.

Differentiated Instruction and Assessment

Teachers are introduced to several ways of guiding students on an academic path to success, using a range of different teaching styles, classroom materials and individualized learning plans. Teachers also learn how to assess and react to student outcomes.

Policy Issues in Education

Because education and politics are often intertwined in a complex way, it is important for teachers to stay abreast of current changes in standards and policy. This course brings teachers up to speed with current policy issues.

Research Design

Typically, a master’s program in curriculum and instruction requires teachers to conduct original research related to learning or teaching methods.

What exams or projects should I expect?

Typically, students taking an online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction are required to complete the program with one or more of the following:

A Practicum

A guided practicum may be required to give the student hands-on experience implementing the skills acquired from the master’s curriculum and instruction program in a real-life classroom. Students may be able to choose where they will complete their practicum.

A Thesis

In some online master’s programs in curriculum and instruction, a thesis is not a requirement. In these cases, students will be required to complete 36 credit hours. In other cases, graduation requires fewer credit hours and completion of a thesis. The thesis must be defended, and any revisions made before final submittal.

A Capstone Project

This type of research project applies the knowledge the student has learned during the master’s curriculum and instruction program to a real-world situation. The Capstone Project typically takes around ten weeks to complete.

An Exam

In cases where an examination is required, students will take a comprehensive exam during the final semester of the program, by which time, 30-34 hours of credit will have been completed. The exam is usually taken in one sitting.

What specializations are available in a master’s in curriculum and instruction program?

Some master’s in curriculum and instruction programs offer the chance to specialize in certain subject areas. These may include:

Educational Technology

This subject area explores the role of technology in education and society. Teachers will learn about the historical, sociological, and philosophical influences on current information technologies and how these present challenges and opportunities for teachers and students.

Coaching and Leading Technology Innovation in Schools

The aim of this subject area is to focus on planning and implementing technology-rich lesson plans in today’s schools. Teachers will learn how to use and troubleshoot, hardware, software and cloud-based solutions. They will also focus on programming and web-based authoring.

Mathematics and Science Specialization

This subject area gives teachers a deeper understanding of natural sciences, with a choice of focus on fields such as chemistry, biology, physics, oceanography, or earth science. Areas of mathematical specialization may include teaching mathematics at elementary or secondary levels, mathematical thinking in the classroom, current issues in mathematical education, and discourse in mathematics education.

Library Media Science

This subject area allows teachers to acquire licensure as a school library media specialist. Courses in this area introduce teachers to the management of school library media centers, including information sources and services, designing instruction for school media centers, and children’s and young adult literature.

Reading and Literacy

This subject area addresses up-to-date research and current practices related to developing motivated readers and writers in the classroom. It also gives teachers an opportunity to deepen their understanding of multicultural children’s reading material and to be able to understand and assess literacy development for students who are at-risk or disabled.

What Can I do with a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Degree?

Teachers who graduate with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction have access to a number of potential careers including:

K-12 Lead Teacher

A lead teacher with a master’s in curriculum and instruction can simultaneously hold a leadership position within the school while teaching in the classroom. A lead teacher is responsible for organizing curriculum and instructional programs and implementing them throughout the school, as well as developing research-based instructional methods.

Instructional Coordinator

This role involves working at a district level, typically in elementary and secondary schools, to supervise school-wide curriculums and teaching standards. Coordinators will work alongside teachers and school principals to develop instructional materials and to make decisions regarding educational technology.

Assistant Principal

An assistant principal or vice principal is an entry-level position in school leadership and may be used as a stepping-stone to becoming principal. The vice principal’s duties include supervising teaching staff and making sure that school-wide standards are followed for curriculum implementation and appropriate discipline.

School Principal

Graduates with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in leadership could potentially hold this position. The principal’s duties include providing a safe and nurturing learning environment, coordinating curricula throughout all grade levels, and managing daily school activities.

Teachers who are enrolled in a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, or who have recently graduated, may find it beneficial to join one or more professional organizations related to their qualifications or chosen career path. These may include:

The American Association for Teaching and Curriculum

This national organization recognizes instruction and curriculum as a field of study and research. It promotes the scholarly study of this field through conferences, journal papers, and member interaction.

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

The ASCD is comprised of more than 114,00 members who include teachers, principals, superintendents, and advocates from more than 120 countries.

The National Education Association

The NEA is North America’s largest organization for professional employees. It aims to advance public education from pre-school to university graduate programs and has almost 3 million members.

The Association of American Educators

This organization is North America’s largest non-union body of professional educators. It aims to advance the profession by representing and advocating for educators, and promoting excellence in the field.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Curriculum and Instruction?

CAREERLOWEST 10% EARNED ANNUALLYMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARYHIGHEST 10% EARNED ANNUALLYJOB GROWTH 2016-2026
K and Elementary School TeachersLess than $37,340$57,160More than $92,770+7%
Instructional CoordinatorLess than $35,550$63,750More than $101,500+11%
School PrincipalLess than $60,760$94,390More than $140,780+8%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Employment for instructional coordinators is expected to grow 11 percent by 2026, which is a faster rathe of growth than other education occupations and all occupations, which are expected to grow 9 and 7 percent respectively. The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that those with leadership and experience and a background in teaching should have the best career prospects.

An educator who earns a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction can expect to earn more as a lead teacher than a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in education. Salaries may also vary depending on the type and location of the school. For example, high school vice principals and principals have a higher average earning than those in elementary schools. Also, principals and vice principals teaching on the east and west coasts, tend to have a higher incomes than those teaching in the central United States.

Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Program Accreditation

A master’s degree in curriculum and instruction is for experienced teachers who wish to specialize in this field. Applicants will need a bachelor’s degree in education and teaching from an accredited school to be eligible for acceptance. Accreditation status of online colleges and universities is a major consideration. Prospective students can find out if a program is approved for certification by checking the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and by looking for information about a school’s accreditation on their website.

How to Pay for a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Degree

Students have a variety of options when it comes to paying for a curriculum and instruction master’s degree. Here are some of the options:

  • Federal Financial AidApplying for financial aid for an online course is generally the same as applying for funding for an on-campus course. Students may fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which will help the school to determine eligibility for awards.
  • ScholarshipsScholarships are available to those in curriculum and instruction programs. For example, Learn.org offers a $500 Master’s Degree Scholarship in Education and Teaching for those enrolled in curriculum and instruction master’s programs and other education-related degrees.
  • Employer AssistanceThese days, many employers value continuing education, particularly within the field of curriculum and instruction. For teachers who wish to increase their skills by pursuing this type of master’s degree, it may be possible to obtain some funding for your online program.
  • GrantsGrants for educational expenses are the preferable way to fund an online master’s in curriculum and instruction because they do not have to be repaid. There are many different types of grants on the state and federal level and from private organizations. Students who are looking for this type of financial assistance should start their search at Collegescholarships.org.
  • Tax CreditsGraduate students may apply for up to $2000 from the Lifetime Learning Credit to spend on educational materials.

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