What is a Curriculum Specialist?
In the public and private schools, K-12, specialists create and revise materials used by teachers for classroom instruction. They analyze student performance to assess and improve the school’s implementation and evaluation of the classroom material. In this endeavor, they may attend classes, conduct research to find appropriate textbooks, and recommend revisions in the curricula to improve the school’s students’ learning outcomes.
Therefore in elementary and secondary schools, the specialists support, inform, and collaborate with teaching staff to enhance the instructional methods. They may also report written and oral reports to the school district with requests for technology additions and provide the schools’ learning performance data results.
Colleges and universities also use curriculum specialists in similar roles to the K-12 grades. They prepare appropriate coursework, ensuring that it meets state and school regulations and policies. In this capacity, they may attend lectures to assess and analyze the instruction methods and student performance. As in the public school system, they support and discuss the curricula with faculty and department heads.
Some specialists work for educational publishers that produce education materials in print and digital form. The jobs might involve developing programs that address appropriate skills and content for the products’ target markets. Other duties include hiring, managing, and motivating teams for curriculum development and editorial services that meet budget expectations.
What is a typical day?
In public or private schools, part of the day is in an office setting. While desk-bound, they may research the current educational books and technology trends and review grades to assess the materials’ effectiveness. Before the school year, they may have to order books and other learning resources for the respective classes. The latter task might require recommendations to school administrators for approval, either in writing or in-person.
There will be many opportunities to escape the office to sit in on classroom instruction, attend meetings with parents, teachers, school board officials, and outside professionals. The students’ learning experience is the combined strength of the teaching methods and the material. Exemplary teaching of outdated sources will be as ineffective as bad teachers with excellent material. For this reason, the specialists must evaluate the classroom teaching, in addition to the students’ acceptance of written or digital materials. Consequently, they may need knowledge of instructional technology and its application in the classroom. The pandemic (COVID-19) reinforced this requirement, with many schools relegated to homeschooling.
Positions are available in the military that can create an atypical day. The Department of the Air Force posted a job on SimplyHired seeks a Training and Curriculum Specialist in early childhood education. The position involves developing and supervising appropriate curricula for child development centers, preschools, family child care programs, school-age, and other children’s programs. Therefore, the fieldwork takes you into classrooms and day-care centers to oversee training methods to improve early childhood development and extra-curricular activities. Meetings with staff, volunteers, administrative personnel, and custodial employees are other responsibilities. Your planned day could also be interrupted by occasional travel.
With a graduate degree and experience, you may qualify for employment as an Instructional Designer for an independent contractor with the U.S. army, navy, air force, or marines, as well as commercial clients. Their services include:
- Training System Products
- Instructional Systems Analysis & Design
- Human Performance Technology
- On-site training System Support
- Electronic Classrooms & IT Support
The company is Carley Corporation, which has offered custom training solutions to all branches of the U.S. Government for over 23 years. In 2016, for the 12th consecutive year, it received recognition as one of the Top Simulation and Training Companies by the Defense House Publishing and Military Training International. On its website, there is an opening for an Instructional Designer. The successful candidate will conduct analysis and design of training materials for various delivery methods, including instructor-led, computer-based, web-based, and mobile training.
A typical workday for the above position has a host of duties. Some days will be passive as you do computer research for instructional material and additional information for instructors and learners. Or the project manager could summon you to recruit and hire staff for a specific project. Another day, you might be training and providing feedback on instructors’ performance. The workday becomes the antithesis of routine!
In conclusion, if you search job postings for curriculum specialists, you’ll see an assortment of duties and responsibilities. These support the assertion that a typical day is ever-changing. Each day can offer different events, depending on whether you work for district public schools or independent companies.