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What is a curriculum director: Job description information

At a glance

  • Curriculum directors oversee the development and implementation of educational programs. Their main objective is to establish instructional directives for a specific school program or school district. 
  • A solid working knowledge of educational theory is important, as well as decision-making and leadership skills.
  • To become a curriculum director, a master’s degree in education is typically needed.
  • Want to learn sought-after skills that can help lead you to a curriculum-related role? Discover how you can earn a Master of Arts in Education/Curriculum and Instruction.

What is a curriculum director?

A curriculum director is a professional responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of educational programs. Curriculum directors typically work in school districts or higher education institutions, though roles are available within nonprofits, government offices and other organizations.

In this role, directors manage and align curricula with current standards and regulations, develop plans for professional development among teachers, review lesson plans and track student progress.

While there are many ways to decide on a career, it’s important to recognize that industries encompass more than one role. Education, for example, isn’t just for teachers. Becoming a curriculum director can be especially appealing to those who like impacting an overall educational experience and who have a broad knowledge of educational principles, curriculum development and instructional techniques.

What does a curriculum director do?

Curriculum directors, a role that may share similarities with that of instructional coordinators, take on a number of responsibilities. Duties and responsibilities include:

  • Establish instructional objectives to develop course curriculum
  • Work with educators, administrators and other curriculum specialists to develop educational programs for students and support the implementation of new courses or programs by providing materials, resources and training
  • Analyze current courses and recommend necessary changes to meet objectives
  • Monitor student performance to ensure that goals are being met
  • Create professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators
  • Develop policies and procedures related to curriculum guides, standards and academic regulations
  • Collaborate with faculty on instructional strategies, such as classroom activities, assessments and technology integration
  • Maintain an accurate record of curriculum-based activities conducted throughout the school year

Depending on the specific position, a curriculum director may have additional duties and responsibilities, such as researching best practices in education, implementing new technologies into curricula or collaborating with external organizations to promote educational initiatives.

Skills for a curriculum director

Because a director of curriculum and instruction has a broad scope of duties and responsibilities, many skills are needed to succeed in this role. These can include:

  • Deep knowledge of educational theory, instructional design and research
  • An understanding of state and federal regulations related to educational programs
  • Excellent written and oral communication
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to collaborate with faculty, administrators and other stakeholders
  • Excellent problem-solving, decision-making and time management skills

Ultimately, these skills align toward a common goal: motivating students and faculty toward meaningful change, all while being an instructional designer who can develop effective curricula.

How to become a curriculum director

Becoming a curriculum director can be both a rewarding and highly individual experience. Here’s where to begin.

Education

To become a curriculum director, a master’s degree in education is generally needed. Additionally, a strong research or instructional design background can greatly bolster an applicant’s resumé when applying for these positions.

Online degrees are accepted for curriculum director positions in some school districts and universities. A Master of Arts in Education/Curriculum and Instruction prepares a student to become a curriculum director as it teaches educational theory.

This type of degree typically requires classes focused on writing objectives and developing assessments and courses focused on using technology to create innovative educational programs.

For example, through University of Phoenix, there is a helpful course called Assessment and Evaluation Models for those interested in developing assessments. In this course, students use assessment data through a systematic process to make informed decisions and to evaluate classroom and schoolwide learning outcomes. Emphasis is placed on the design, implementation and analysis of formative assessments. Other types of assessments are explored too. A bachelor’s degree is required for taking this course.

Industry certifications

Certifications are not required to become a curriculum director, but they can help demonstrate knowledge and expertise. There are industry certifications such as:

Additionally, educators looking to work in public schools, from preschool to high school, need a state-issued credential. In some states, curriculum directors must be certified as school administrators or hold a principal certification. It’s essential to research the specific state requirements for the job you are applying for and ensure you have the necessary credentials.

University of Phoenix programs do not directly prepare students for these certifications. This content is being provided for informational purposes only regarding the curriculum development field.

Experience

Experience is an important factor when becoming a curriculum director. It can come from teaching, researching, writing curricula or other related duties, such as developing lesson plans and assessments. Several years of experience are usually needed before stepping into a director role.

Experience working with technology in the classroom can also be beneficial, as curriculum directors must be able to create and use technology-based learning tools. For example, University of Phoenix offers a course called Using Technology for Teaching and Learning, in which students evaluate technology use and technology integration for teaching and learning.

Students will review the considerations and responsibilities of using and maintaining technology in today’s schools, including safety, ethics, resources and financial needs. It’s also necessary to have experience managing teams and working with individuals at all levels, from faculty to administrators.

You want to become a curriculum director. Now what?

In addition to knowing at least one potential educational pathway to becoming a curriculum director (there can be a few!), it can be beneficial to take advantage of online resources for additional insights and recommendations. Check out professional organizations like:

These websites offer information on trends in education, best practices and conferences where you can network and learn.

By taking advantage of these resources, you can become educated about the requirements for becoming a curriculum director, find job openings that fit your qualifications and gain valuable insight into the field of education. With enough research and dedication to making a career transition into this rewarding profession, you can begin your career path of becoming a curriculum director.

Education degrees and programs at University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix can help you prepare to become a curriculum director by teaching sought-after skills in this field. Relevant online education programs range from continuing teacher education to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs. They include the following:

  • Post-Master’s Certificate in Education Technology: In this program, students explore topics in technology, curriculum design and instructional leadership to inform change within organizations. They also evaluate various media and technology to determine implementation and integration into learning organizations.
  • Post-Master’s Certificate in Curriculum and Instruction: This program equips students with skills to lead the creation of educational coursework, instructional techniques and student assessments. Students learn to create models for instruction and delivery using foundational theories of curriculum design as well as evaluate the tools necessary to inform decisions and lead curriculum changes.
  • Master of Arts in Education/Curriculum and Instruction: Students learn to synthesize multiple theories of curriculum and instruction to serve as leaders in these areas within a school or school district, analyze assessment data to make informed decisions for continuous improvement of instructional programs, and create innovative strategies and incorporate technology to enhance student learning.
Headshot of Michael Feder

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and its Writing Seminars program and winner of the Stephen A. Dixon Literary Prize, Michael Feder brings an eye for detail and a passion for research to every article he writes. His academic and professional background includes experience in marketing, content development, script writing and SEO. Today, he works as a multimedia specialist at University of Phoenix where he covers a variety of topics ranging from healthcare to IT.

Headshot of Pamela Roggeman

ABOUT THE REVIEWER

As dean of the University of Phoenix College of Education, Pamela Roggeman has spent over a decade in higher education teacher preparation in both the public and private sector. Her experience has included national partnerships that help to advance thought leadership in the field of education. Dr. Roggeman also serves as the President of the Arizona Educational Foundation’s Board of Directors.

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