Teaching Careers Updated November 5, 2019

K-12 Curriculum Developer – Job Description and Salary Information

By The Room 241 Team October 4, 2012

With increasing emphasis on school accountability and instructional efficacy, schools across the country employ curriculum developers to ensure an educationally effective environment. Curriculum developers, also known as curriculum coordinators, instructional coordinators, and curriculum specialists, oversee school curricula and ensure adherence to state and local standards. Working behind the scenes, they are imperative in the continuing evolution of today’s school systems.

At-a-glance: K-12 curriculum developers

A K-12 curriculum developer can work with one or several public or private schools. They improve education through the development of instructional material, coordinate its implementation, and assess effectiveness in accordance with state and local standards.

Curriculum developer job description

K-12 curriculum developers improve education by creating a base for learning and technology. Most of their time is spent navigating a series of complex state education standards, textbooks, and teaching strategies to provide accessibility of curriculum and required standards to students and teachers. They meet with administrators, review student test data, observe teachers in the classroom, write grant proposals, and occasionally coach teachers on new instructional methods.

Raising standardized test scores is an overarching goal of most curriculum developers working at public schools. Some specialize in a particular grade level, such as elementary or high school, or specific subjects, such as language arts or math. Other fields of specialization include gifted and talented education, special education, and English language learners.

Some school districts share a curriculum developer to save costs, which requires travel between multiple schools. In rural districts, this can mean a significant distance between destinations.

Typical duties:

  • Analyze student test data
  • Assess and discuss curriculum standards
  • Research trends in instructional methods and educational technology
  • Review and recommend textbooks and other educational materials
  • Observe work of teaching staff to evaluate performance
  • Provide feedback based on individual observations and student performance data
  • Develop procedures for teachers to implement curriculum
  • Train teachers and other instructional staff in new content or technology
  • Mentor or coach teachers in skill improvement
  • Plan, organize and conduct training conferences and workshops

Who makes good a good curriculum developer?

Someone who is:

  • Analytical
  • Computer-literate
  • Able to collaborate with multiple individuals at varying levels
  • Effective in written communication
  • Able to establish effective working relationships with teachers and school administrators
  • Creative
  • A leader

Curriculum developer in-depth

Education and certification requirements for curriculum developers

  • Education: Master’s or doctoral degree
  • Typical study time:  4-6 years

Most school districts require curriculum developers have at least a master’s degree to obtain employment. Concordia University-Portland offers programs such as a master’s degree in education, education leadership, administration, methods and curriculum, or curriculum and instruction. Other master’s degrees for those who wish to specialize in a particular area of curriculum development include early childhood education, English for speakers of other languages, mathematics, and STEAM,

Many school districts require curriculum developers to pass the state teacher licensing examination. Some districts require an educational administration license as well. Additional credentials vary by school district, and can include 18 months of teaching experience or the completion of a certification course in your subject area specialization.

Salary range and employment projections for curriculum developers

Salary ranges for curriculum developers can vary depending on education, experience, certification, state, and school district of employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for curriculum developers is $64,450. The lowest 10% earn less than $36,360 and the highest 10% earn more than $102,200.

Salaries can also vary depending upon the institution of employment.

  • Government agencies: $76,970
  • Elementary and secondary schools: $69,900
  • Educational support agencies: $62,530
  • Postsecondary schools: $58,420

Here is a snapshot of average K-12 curriculum developer salaries:

  • Glassdoor.com: $62,300
  • Payscale.com: $61,130
  • Salary.com: $74,500
  • LinkedIn.com: $65,000

The BLS predicts employment of curriculum developers will grow 6% from 2018 to 2028. States and school districts will continue to be held accountable for test scores and graduation rates. The risk of losing funding due to poor achievement has put more emphasis on student achievement data. As schools continue to seek additional training for teachers, demand for curriculum developers will continue to grow. However, curriculum developers are employed by state and local governments. Therefore, job opportunities for curriculum developers depends considerably on state and local budgets.

Advantages and disadvantages of being a curriculum developer

Pros

  • Share your passion
  • Variety — no two days are alike
  • Intellectually stimulating work
  • Help students learn, but without daily classroom responsibilities
  • Have a positive effect on education and curriculum
  • Inspire teachers, administrators, and students
  • Work with like-minded professionals

Cons

  • Time spent traveling between schools
  • Work schedule is year-round
  • Teachers may not be receptive to input from the curriculum specialist
  • School funding
  • Ever-changing policies and education standards
  • Politics

Professional development for curriculum developers

As a curriculum developer, it’s imperative to stay current with the newest educational technologies, as well as new instructional methods.

Continuing education

Continuing education is a requirement for effective curriculum developers as well as for sustaining licensure in many states. Professional organizations such as the ASCD offer professional development courses where curriculum developers may earn continuing education units (CEUs).

Professional associations for curriculum developers

There are several professional associations available to curriculum developers. Because most have already been teachers for a number of years, they are probably a part of the National Education Association. As mentioned above, there is also ASCD, an organization dedicated to educators and administrators which was formerly known as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Curriculum developers may also join groups pertinent to the subject they specialize in, such as:

Best of the Web

Favorite curriculum developer blogs and websites

Favorite curriculum developer Twitter and Instagram accounts to follow:

Learn More: Click to view related resources.

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