What is a Curriculum Specialist?

A curriculum specialist is a pedagogical professional that creates content and sets the guidelines for teaching materials. They use a variety of teaching and research techniques to generate curriculum and create education programs. Most curriculum specialists annually earn approximately $36,000 to $72,000 per year, according to PayScale. Depending on the educational organization, curriculum specialists will have different duties.

K-12 Curriculum Specialist

Most curriculum specialists work in public schools. They are responsible for authoring, revising and maintaining curriculum. They directly contribute to the design and development of new educational materials in accordance with the state’s core standards. They must identify and problem solve major standard gaps. They act as project manager for specific curriculum development activities, such as designing new courses, student assessments and learning objectives. They may be required to evaluate course scopes, sequences and components within standardized frameworks. Every year, they review and revise lessons and content to align curriculum with updated standards. Curriculum specialists must have strong knowledge of state and national education standards as well as educational strategies for many subject areas.

University Curriculum Specialist

University curriculum specialists are responsible for editing and maintaining graduate and undergraduate level course guides and content in accordance with accreditation and compliance standards. They often collaborate with textbook publishers, bookstore reps and compliance representatives. This means that they must foster positive relationships between staff and publishing sales reps. These curriculum specialists regularly work with department chairs, instructional designers, chief academic officers and academic program managers. Some curriculum specialists work with instructional technology and IT technicians to manage online classroom content, modules and systems. They supervise employees, who track textbook stock levels and purchases and also independently assesses faculty to provide feedback.

Job Qualifications

Almost all states require that curriculum specialists maintain state teaching or education administration licensure or certification. A master’s degree in education is almost always required by the state, but certain jobs require a post-master’s certificate or doctorate degree. All curriculum specialists must have the drive to enhance and improve their school’s curriculum and education system. To do so, they must be familiar with relevant policies and regulations that pertain to their educational area. Curriculum specialists may focus on content and instruction, but they are expected to work well with large groups and be able to teach and mentor teachers and administrators. Every day, they must simultaneously assess education programs, look for improvement opportunities and provide guidance and teacher training.

Suggested Education

The majority of curriculum specialists have an education specialist (EdS) master’s degree in curriculum or instructional design. These programs teach educators how to lead effective curriculum and instructional change initiatives. However, these programs are also designed for classroom teachers, department chairs and educational administrators who want to become curriculum specialists. These degree programs train students on learner-centered best practices, instructional design strategies, effective teaching tactics, teacher professional development and student assessments. Most programs are taught by experienced educators who use real-life scenarios that challenge students to think critically and drive innovation.

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The modern education system requires that administrator adopt alternative approaches to instruction and assessments. Curriculum specialists are educational experts who promote positive changes and improve student achievements.