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How to Become a Curriculum Director in the US

Curriculum directors focus on improving the quality of instruction offered in learning institutions. They ensure the content taught in schools equips students with the tools they need to succeed in their social and professional lives. If you have an interest in influencing the lives of millions of students and possess a degree in instructional design, this could be your job.

What Do Curriculum Directors Do?

Curriculum directors can work for school districts – organizations that oversee elementary and secondary schools in a certain region– as well as colleges and universities. Although their duties can vary by workplace, they are generally responsible for:

  • Working with instructional designers to plan, evaluate and improve new and existing curricula
  • Selecting the learning materials to be used in schools
  • Ensuring that the curriculum used in the district’s schools meets the set education standards
  • Writing and submitting grant applications to government agencies
  • Organizing training workshops for instructors and other staff
  • Collaborating with school administrators to improve the delivery of education programs.

Work Environment

Curriculum directors work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. They work in a standard office environment, where they spend most of their time holding meetings with other curriculum development specialists. These directors also travel regularly to attend educational conferences.


The average annual salary for curriculum directors is:

Job Level


Annual Pay

Beginning curriculum directors


$35,000 -$64,000

Experienced curriculum directors


$64,000 - $79,000

Senior curriculum directors


$79,000 - $98,000

Source: Payscale

Education and Certification

To get started as a curriculum director, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in any of the following fields:

  • Education
  • Organizational development
  • Curriculum development
  • Instructional design and technology.

Although a degree can be sufficient to secure this job, many employers prefer directors with vast administrative and relevant work experience.

As such, after graduating, you should find a job in your field and work for at least three years before thinking of looking for the curriculum director’s job. For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree in education, consider practicing as a teacher for some time.

If you wish to work for a school district, you might be required to meet additional requirements, such as having a public administrator certification.

In colleges and universities, curriculum directors are required to hold advanced degrees in a specific field. For instance, if you want to become the director in a school of nursing, you should have a master’s degree in nursing.

Important Qualities

To be an effective curriculum developer you must have:

  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Extensive knowledge in curriculum development
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • An interest in improving education standards
  • Good teamwork and interpersonal skills
  • Good organizing and multitasking skills
  • Good computer skills.

Career Development

Curriculum directors who obtain advanced degrees can more easily advance into senior positions. If you work for a school district, you can follow the following routes to advance your career:

  • Pursue a master’s in instruction design or education leadership and administration
  • Pursue professional certifications in curriculum development and instruction technology – These certificationS are offered by various universities across the country.

After earning these credentials, you can be the district superintendent of education. You could also take up administrative positions in schools, such as school principal.

If you work in a college or university:

With a PhD, you could become a faculty head and later progress to other senior leadership positions within the institution’s structure.

Job Opportunities

Apart from school districts, colleges and universities, qualified curriculum directors can also find jobs in:

  • Professional schools
  • Professional organizations – Those offering certification programs

Finally, between 2012 and 2022, the BLS projects a 13 percent job growth for all instructional coordinators, including curriculum directors. This means many learning institutions will need more curriculum directors to help tailor the curriculum to the needs of students. So you are definitely in the right profession.


Image Source: Getty Images

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