If you want to work in an educational setting by helping improve teaching standards through curriculum planning and development then you can consider a career as an instructional coordinator. In this profession, your main task will be to develop and collaborate with teachers and principals regarding its implementation. You will be evaluating if the curriculum and the teaching methods that state and federal rules and school boards have put in place are effective or are in need of changes.
You will observe teachers as they do their job in the classroom and ask school principals questions about the curriculum. You also look at students’ test results to determine the curriculum’s efficacy. You also evaluate textbooks and educational materials and see if they are relevant to the curriculum. If you see that changes need to be made, you make the necessary recommendations.
For instance, you may tell teachers to employ different teaching methods or use new technologies that would better help students understand lessons. You may also conduct seminars or workshops to provide training for teachers on new programs or more content. You may also mentor teachers so they can, in turn, help their students improve.
As an instructional coordinator, you can concentrate on a specific grade level or particular subject. You can specialize in preschool, middle school or high school curriculum or focus on reading, math, science, special education or English as a second language instruction. You may also opt to work on providing support services, such as in standardized test assessment and development. Instructional coordinators are also called instructional coaches, curriculum specialists or assistant superintendents of instruction.
To succeed in this profession, you will need to have a genuine love for analytics. That is, you strive to look for the story behind the data. When taken together with the teaching strategies used, you get to understand where the weakness lies and recommend changes in both the curriculum and the teaching. You also need to have critical thinking skills since you will be suggesting changes that would have a widespread impact on the students and the entire educational system. You should also be able to explain these amendments clearly to everyone involved, including the teachers and principals. This is a position of leadership so you should be persuasive and strive for positive relationships with all stakeholders.
Why Become An Instructional Coordinator
Being an instructional coordinator is a position worth striving for when you have been in the teaching profession for some time because it gives you the chance to become a leader in your field. It enables you to help more students and not only those in your classroom. You will have the opportunity to effect changes in the educational system by improving the curriculum and coaching teachers on such topics as how to teach students better and what technology to use to help them do their tasks more effectively.
On the practical side of things, a career as an instructional coordinator also pays quite well. Based on government data, it also has good prospects for employment in the next few years.
Instructional Coordinator Work Environment
Instructional coordinators typically work in an office instead of in a classroom setting. They may also go to different schools in their district to observe teachers and check if the curriculum is being implemented. They may also go to the different schools to conduct professional development classes and meet with teachers and principals. The work schedule is typically fulltime. Unlike teachers, however, instructional coordinators work the whole year and don’t enjoy summer breaks.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40 percent of instructional coordinators were employed by state, local and private elementary and secondary schools in 2012. About 15 percent were hired by state, local and private colleges, universities and professional schools, nine percent worked for the government and six percent were employed with state, local and private educational support services.
The May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of instructional coordinators is $63,070. The agency reported in May 2012 that the instructional coordinators working for the government received the highest pay ($66,970) followed by those in elementary and secondary schools ($65,770). Those employed in educational support services received $60,100 while those working for colleges and universities were paid $53,540.
Instructional Coordinator Career Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that in the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022, the employment of instructional coordinators is expected to rise 13 percent. This rate is about as fast as the national average for all job types. From the 147,700 instructional coordinators hired in 2012, it is forecasted that their number will grow to 166,200 in 2022.
The thrust of schools on improving the curriculum and the effectiveness of their teachers will drive demand. School districts are now emphasizing that the academic achievement of students are determined by the performance of their teachers. In fact, teachers are being held accountable for it in some states and school districts.
This will prompt the need for more coordinators who will review the school’s curriculum and coach teachers on more effective methods and strategies. The hiring of coordinators will still be dependent on the budgets of the state and local governments. If they experience deficits then hiring is going to be adversely affected.
Instructional Coordinator Degree
Aspiring instructional coordinators need to hold a master’s degree in education or curriculum and instruction. It is also acceptable to have a master’s degree in the subject that they intend to specialize on—such as science, math or English as a second language. A bachelor’s degree is the typical requirement to enter a master’s program.
A license may be needed before one can practice as an instructional coordinator. This can either be a teaching license or education administrator license. Various states have different requirements before one can obtain these licenses but the completion of an education degree, related work experience and passing of a test are typical requirements. It’s also equally important to get work experience as a teacher or principal because this is often required by employers.