Online Degrees in Curriculum Design
Curriculum design degree programs blend educational theory with the day-to-day practice of teaching to improve learning at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels. Curriculum designers work closely with teachers and administrators to bring technology into the classroom, implement new teaching methods and evaluate current practices. The majority of online degrees in curriculum design (also called curriculum development or curriculum studies) are offered at the following graduate levels:
- Master of Arts (MA). Master's degree programs in curriculum design generally require one to two years of full-time study. Programs include a mix of social science and educational theory with courses like cultural psychology, cognitive development, the history of education and philosophy of education. Courses in research methods are also required so that curriculum designers can use data to measure the success of programs. An MA in curriculum design is the minimum requirement for curriculum designers working in public schools.
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). PhD programs in curriculum design allow curriculum designers to focus on a particular area of education, such as mathematics or literacy. PhD programs take at least four years to complete and require candidates to write an original, research-based thesis. A PhD is required to teach at the post-secondary level.
Because students in curriculum design degree programs spend most of their time reading, attending lectures and performing independent research, curriculum design can be effectively taught through online courses. Completing a master's degree or PhD online allows students to learn from anywhere without sacrificing their current jobs. For teachers interested in becoming curriculum designers, online degrees in curriculum design make a lot of sense. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) recognizes online learning as an effective way to advance education while saving time and experiencing technology's role in learning.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), curriculum designers should be excellent communicators who understand the needs of various student groups. They should have experience creating educational materials and enhancing learning through technology. Because these skills go hand in hand with managing a classroom, many curriculum designers are former teachers.
However, business skills are also transferable to curriculum design. Curriculum designers must manage several projects simultaneously, propose new ideas to administrators and develop systems to measure results. On a given day, a curriculum designer may interact with a variety of professionals, from educational policy makers to classroom teachers. The ability to work with others and accomplish long-term goals is crucial to a curriculum designer's success. Above all, curriculum designers should be innovative, results driven and passionate about education.
A master's degree or PhD in curriculum design prepares students to develop curriculum for schools, school districts, corporations, educational support services, museums and other cultural institutions. According to the BLS, there were approximately 129,000 curriculum designers working in the U.S. in 2010, and the majority worked for the following industries:
- Elementary and secondary schools (55,000)
- Colleges, universities and professional schools (17,000)
- Educational support services (8,000)
The BLS reports that the median annual salary for curriculum designers in the U.S. was $58,830 in 2010. Curriculum designers in elementary and secondary schools earned more, with an average annual income of $66,430. Some curriculum designers also worked with the federal government to guide educational policy, and they earned the highest average salary of $89,400 in 2010.
- Careers: Curriculum design degree holders commonly work for elementary, secondary, post-secondary, and professional schools, as well as educational support services.
- Salaries: The middle 50 percent of curriculum designers earned annual salaries between $43,930 and $75,970 in 2010, according to the BLS.
- Growth: Employment of curriculum designers is expected to grow by 23 percent from 2008 to 2010 (BLS).
Online Degree Programs in Curriculum Design
Continue your education with Strayer University.
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Earn your degree online with Grand Canyon University. We offer approximately 100 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs in a variety of fields that can be completed 100% online.
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.