Online Bachelor's in Curriculum and Instruction

If you're interested in pursuing teaching or a related career, earning your curriculum and instruction degree online can serve as the first step. While teachers come from all education and career backgrounds, an online specialist degree in curriculum and instruction builds advanced skills and knowledge in teaching and education theory. Earning this degree can help you stand out in a crowded job market and secure a variety of teaching or education-related positions at the K-12 level.

You'll gain an understanding of the history of education along with current issues and trends affecting teachers.

A curriculum and instruction degree focuses on theoretical and practical approaches to education, offering a comprehensive perspective on modern teaching practices. You'll gain an understanding of the history of education along with current issues and trends affecting teachers. Many programs focus on the growing use of technology in the classroom, exploring new methods to engage learners and build digital literacy. While most curriculum and instruction graduates become teachers, the degree also prepares you to work with education agencies or school districts.

Most education sectors have kept pace with growth in other professional fields. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects positions for high school teachers to grow about 8% between 2016 and 2026, a figure similar to the national average. This page offers a high-level overview of the curriculum and instruction field, covering common curriculum requirements, typical program completion times, and the benefits and drawbacks of online learning. You can also find information about career prospects, salary potential, and certification requirements.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Curriculum and Instruction Program?

While specific requirements for curriculum and instruction programs may vary between schools, most degrees adhere to similar credit requirements and curriculum outlines. Below, you can find an overview of what to expect when earning your curriculum and instruction degree online, including common courses and program length requirements.

Curriculum for an Online Bachelor's in Curriculum and Instruction

Specific course offerings may vary between curriculum and instruction programs, but most top programs feature similar curriculum models based on state and national education standards. The list below represents common course offerings for undergraduate education programs. While exact course titles may vary, general course content should stay the same.

Foundational Perspectives for Educators

Most programs include at least one course that offers a general introduction to the institution of education, examining schooling in a philosophical, legal, historical, and social context. This course typically explores both the history of education and current issues affecting educators, including major state and federal laws.

Psychology for Educators

This course offers an overview of education psychology concepts and theories, giving educators a framework for effective classroom instruction. Integrating education theory with classroom practice, the course also introduces students to concepts of research-based instruction, building a foundation for further study and research.

Educational Assessment

Assessment functions as one of the pillars of modern education practice as data-based evaluations of student achievement inform instructional practices and education policy. Most programs focus on the practices and effects of education assessment, covering topics such as testing, assessment design, and education administration.

Classroom Management

Beyond simply maintaining order, most courses in class management examine the classroom itself as an element of student learning. Teachers gain strategies for creating a safe, engaging classroom environment that engages and motivates students. The course typically introduces major theories of classroom management along with strategies for encouraging student self-management.

Cultural Studies and Diversity

Modern education theory emphasizes the varied experiences of students and the different needs these experiences can create in the classroom. Nearly all education programs include courses that train educators in diversity, offering strategies for inclusion and differentiated learning to accommodate students of all backgrounds.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Bachelor's in Curriculum and Instruction ?

The time required to complete an online educational specialist degree in curriculum and instruction can vary, depending on the program's format and pace. On average, most bachelor's degrees take about four years of full-time study to complete, but many online programs offer variable completion options to suit different student needs. For example, many schools offer accelerated formats that enable you to earn your degree in under four years. Many also offer part-time enrollment options that feature greater flexibility and a lighter course load but take longer to complete.

Some online programs feature individually paced formats, while others use a cohort model. As the name implies, individually paced courses allow you to move through most classes at your speed, completing a heavier or lighter course load as your availability dictates. A cohort program offers less flexibility and requires you to complete most of the curriculum with the same group of students, so you typically cannot work faster or slower than the curriculum sequence dictates.

Is Online Learning Right for Me?

While online learning is no easier or more difficult than conventional campus learning, the format comes with unique challenges. Online courses typically require greater independence and self-direction than classroom courses. Many programs forgo live class meetings entirely, requiring you to complete most work on your own. While this offers added flexibility to attend to responsibilities outside of school, some students may find it difficult to balance online learning with other obligations.

In general, successful online learners excel at time management and independent study. Many online programs require you to keep track of assignment deadlines and other class projects without the aid of regularly scheduled class meetings. To succeed in an online environment, you need to stay organized, keeping track of readings and coursework while allocating enough time to complete all of your assignments. For students who struggle with organization and time management, many schools offer online coaching to build successful study strategies.

Curriculum and Instruction Certification

Licensure and certification requirements for teachers can be confusing, but any accredited education program should provide you with advising services to help determine the best pathway to licensure. Most curriculum and instruction programs fulfill general requirements for teaching certification, and those that don't typically indicate this on their program website. Many states require you to complete supervised hours in an education environment, and any reputable program should enable you to fulfill these requirements.

Licensure requirements vary widely between states, and holding a valid license in one state does not guarantee your ability to teach in other parts of the country. However, many states do maintain reciprocity agreements, and you can always check with state education agencies to determine the transferability of your license. Several states also offer alternative pathways to teacher certification, though these typically serve students who already hold a bachelor's degree in a field other than education.

Curriculum and Instruction Careers

Earning your curriculum and instruction degree online prepares you for an assortment of careers in the education field. While the experiences of teachers and other education professionals may vary widely, most careers in the field require strong communication skills, adaptability, organization, and conflict management. Teachers and other education professionals must also be increasingly familiar with technology and its role in the classroom and administration.

Elementary School Teacher

Description Elementary teachers instruct young students in basic academic subjects, such as reading and math. They typically address subjects in a general sense, rather than specializing in one area like middle and high school teachers. Elementary teachers also help children learn to communicate and socialize safely and effectively.
Median Annual Salary $57,980
Projected Job Growth Rate 7%

Middle School Teacher

Description Usually instructing students from grades 6-8, most middle school teachers specialize in a subject area, such as science or social studies. These teachers expand on the general knowledge gained in elementary school, helping students develop their skills in preparation for more advanced high school courses.
Median Annual Salary $58,600
Projected Job Growth Rate 8%

High School Teacher

Description Typically teaching grades 9-12, high school teachers offer advanced instruction in areas such as English, foreign languages, math, and science. These teachers help students develop knowledge in preparation for either college or the workforce. Like middle school teachers, they typically specialize in one subject area, for which some schools may require specialized content area training.
Median Annual Salary $59,780
Projected Job Growth Rate 8%

Special Education Teacher

Description These educators instruct special needs students, including those with cognitive, emotional, and physical disabilities. Special education teachers must adapt lessons plans for students of varied needs, instructing learners with mild to severe disabilities. They also help students develop basic skills, such as communication and literacy.
Median Annual Salary $60,320
Projected Job Growth Rate 8%

Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher

Description These specialized teachers instruct adults, helping students gain essential skills such as reading and writing. Typically employed at community colleges, community organizations, and public schools, adult education instructors often help students work toward completing their GED or other high school equivalency credential.
Median Annual Salary $53,630
Projected Job Growth Rate -5%
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