There are many career paths open to those who have earned an online masters degree in education. One of the most lucrative positions for M.Ed. graduates is that of instructional coordinator. The median pay for these professionals is $58,830 and opportunities for employment are projected to grow at a rate of 20 percent through 2020. However, this growth will be largely dependent upon government funding at the state, local and federal level.
What They Do
Instructional coordinators work at an administrative level in one or more school districts. They are responsible for overseeing school curricula to ensure each school meets national standards and guidelines. They often work with teachers and other school administrators to instruct methods for adapting and teaching the correct content to students.
Instructional coordinators are also responsible for analyzing curricula and test data to determine effectiveness. They also review and select textbooks, as well as other instructional materials like software programs, for school use.
Generally, instructional coordinators work year-round and do not have summer breaks like others employed in education. They may also hold irregular hours, as instructional coordinators often need to meet with teachers before or after school hours.
Instructional coordinators are generally required to hold a minimum of a master’s degree in education; the degree could be in education administration, curriculum or instruction. Some may have a master’s degree in the content area in which they specialize, such as math or earth sciences.
To enter a master’s program, students will need to have earned a bachelor’s degree in education, their content area or a related field.
In almost all states, instructional coordinators in public schools are required to be licensed. Private schools are not always required to follow state standards and guidelines; therefore, instructional coordinators are hired on a different set of criteria. However, the requirements for public school instructional coordinators typically suffice for a career in private schools, as well. In most instances, public school administrators are required to have more education and licensure than private school counterparts.
Most public school systems require that instructional coordinators hold a teaching license. Because many instructional coordinators work as teachers prior to entering an administrative position, this required is easy to meet. However, some schools require an administrator license in addition to a teacher license.
As mentioned above, most instructional coordinators work as teachers first. They may also have experience as principals or other school administrators. Some positions may require teaching experience in a specific subject or at a certain grade level. On average, instructional coordinators have five or more years of education experience before taking the role.
While education and work experience go a long way in helping candidates land a position, there are certain skills, traits and characteristics than can make or break the success the applicant finds in the position. Teachers who wish to become instruction coordinators should work on the following skills:
A large part of an instructional coordinator’s job is to review student data, including test scores and retention rates, to adjust the curriculum and teaching strategies. Instructional coordinators should be able to draw clear and reasonable conclusions from the data at their disposal.
Instructional coordinators are responsible for explaining changes to curriculum and new teaching methods to instructors and school administrators. In order to do this effectively, instructional coordinators must have excellent verbal and written communication skills.
Instructional coordinators make big decisions that affect large groups of teachers and students alike. They influence curriculum and content matter, as well as select textbooks and other teaching resources, such as software and interactive materials, for teachers to use. For this reason, they must be able to use good judgment to make fair and sound decisions.
Naturally, instructional coordinators need excellent people skills to work with teachers and other administrators. Interacting with other people is almost a constant for instructional coordinators. They should be able to establish and maintain strong professional relationships with their coworkers and colleagues.
While the median pay for instructional coordinators is $58,830 as mentioned earlier, the average pay for these professionals varies based on the work setting in which they are employed. That breakdown is as follows:
- Elementary and secondary schools – $65,210
- Educational support services – $59,230
- Junior colleges – $54,490
- Colleges and universities – $52,350
In May 2010, the top ten percent of earners made more than $93,080, while the lowest ten percent earned less than $33,490. The national median for all occupations is $33,840.