Are you a teacher who is always looking for opportunities to improve student outcomes? School curriculum is at the center of student learning, making a Master of Science (M.S.) in Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) one of the most impactful paths to leading positive change in education.
A master’s degree is typically required for C&I positions such as instructional specialist. The M.S. in C&I – Effective Practitioner PreK-12 online program at Emporia State University (ESU) uniquely prepares graduates to pursue the role of instructional specialist, C&I practitioner, and other school and district leadership positions.
Why Is ESU’s M.S. in C&I Effective Leadership PreK–12 an Ideal Choice?
In addition to building a foundation in curriculum leadership, ESU’s M.S. in C&I Effective Practitioner PreK-12 offers a focus on topics such as the application of brain and cognitive sciences in teaching and learning, leadership theories, technology integration, and advanced practice in teaching.
This advanced professional knowledge can give candidates an edge in landing specific jobs in C&I, including the four that follow:
1. Teacher Leader
If you want to stay in the classroom but are ready for new challenges, pursuing a teacher leader position is a great next step. Teacher leaders use instructional expertise and strong interpersonal skills to foster a culture of collaboration and a shared vision of success for all students.
Teacher leaders take a proactive approach to supporting colleagues in implementing effective teaching practices. Common activities include:
- Modeling, mentoring, and coaching
- Sharing instructional strategies and resources
- Supporting colleagues in aligning lessons and assessments with learning objectives
- Monitoring progress and using data to guide changes
Median Annual Salary: $52,663 (Source: Glassdoor, as of December 2021)
2. Department Head
Department heads, also referred to as department chairs, are typically employed as academic leaders at the secondary level. Like lead teachers, department heads provide instructional leadership and ensure alignment with curriculum and standards. Job postings for department heads include responsibilities such as:
- Planning and leading department meetings
- Developing and implementing a subject-centered curriculum
- Facilitating the selection and use of teaching resources
- Supporting inclusive, evidence-based instruction, and assessment
- Analyzing student performance to prioritize needs and lead change
- Collaborating with administration on budgets, schedules, placement, and other needs
Median Annual Salary: $53,328 (Source: Glassdoor, as of December 2021)
3. Curriculum Specialist
Curriculum specialists develop, implement, monitor, and evaluate curriculum plans to increase student achievement. Curriculum specialists may focus on specific subject areas, such as secondary English Language Arts (ELA) or Special Education. They also coordinate curricula schoolwide.
Curriculum specialists need a solid understanding of inclusive education to meet the needs of students with disabilities and those with cultural and linguistic differences. ESU’s Cultural Influences & Education Practice course helps prepare graduates in this key area.
Conducting research ensures that curriculum specialists keep up with educational trends and best practices. ESU’s M.S. in C&I Effective Practitioner PreK-12 emphasizes the use of action research, a practical approach to program improvement.
Median Annual Salary: $75,118 (Source: Glassdoor, as of December 2021)
4. Instructional Specialist
Instructional specialists support teachers in implementing effective teaching strategies. These leaders may specialize in specific subject areas such as math and science. They may also coordinate instruction for a grade level or an entire school. Common activities include:
- Collaborating with administrators on needs assessments
- Facilitating the evaluation, selection, and use of instructional materials, such as textbooks and digital learning tools
- Analyzing and interpreting data to identify and address learning gaps
- Planning and providing relevant professional development, including coaching and mentoring
Median Annual Salary: $60,909 (Source: Glassdoor, as of December 2021)
If you are an experienced teacher ready to improve student learning on a larger scale, earning an M.S. in C&I can prepare you for high-impact leadership roles. ESU’s M.S. in C&I – Effective Practitioner PreK-12 online program “allows you to choose from a variety of topics to explore such as brain-based learning using cognitive science, school leadership theory, integrating technology into the classroom, and advanced practice in teaching.” It offers the additional advantage of allowing educators to choose from various topics to support their specific school leadership goals.