Earning your online master's degree in curriculum and instruction gives you advanced training in creating engaging lessons for students at all educational levels. Professionals who earn this degree pursue careers as teachers, instructional coordinators, and administrators. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in the field of education will grow by 9% between 2016 and 2026. Demand will continue to grow as more students attend college and children enroll in public schools.

What are the best curriculum and instruction programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
3 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
4 University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
5 Columbia International University Columbia, SC
6 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
7 Boston University Boston, MA
8 Florida International University Miami, FL
9 Texas A&M University College Station, TX
10 Mississippi College Clinton, MS
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION MASTER'S?

Professionals with a master's in curriculum and instruction are prepared for many positions, including instructional coordinator, high school principal, and high school teacher. Read more here..

WHAT IS A MASTER'S IN CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION?

A master's in curriculum and instruction prepares students to create engaging lessons at all academic levels. Graduates are current on the latest trends, research, theories, and methods in education, which they use in their career. Read more here..

WHY GET A MASTER'S IN CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the field of education to grow over the next decade, and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction prepares many teachers to advance their careers and obtain higher salaries. Read more here..

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A MASTER'S IN CURRICULUM?

Most master's in curriculum and instruction programs require about one year of full-time study to complete. Some schools offer accelerated options, which allow students to complete the program quicker. Programs that follow a cohort format sometimes take more time to complete. Read more here..

IS A MASTER'S IN CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION WORTH IT?

Yes. The field of education is projected to grow, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and earning this degree helps many teachers obtain higher salaries. Read more here..

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 90%

UF delivers an online master's degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in education technology. Students can complete this 36-credit program in two years.

The education technology track prepares educators for careers as instructional designers and school technologists. The program explores the emerging technologies that drive the field of education now, covering topics like designing integrated media environments, issues and trends in educational technology research, and instructional design.

Eligible applicants must hold a full-time job in education, a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants should submit three recommendation letters, a statement of purpose, and a resume; however, the admissions process does not require GRE scores.

2

North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 81%

NC State's New Literacies and Global Learning program delivers a master's in curriculum and instruction that uses a project-based inquiry approach. Students begin the program by posing a question that they want to answer during their studies, and the degree culminates with a final project or presentation to share their findings. Most students graduate within two years.

The 30-credit program features online and in-person classes. Students may concentrate in K-12 reading, English language arts, or social studies. The program features a cohort model, where students learn with the same group of their peers as they move through the curriculum.

Applicants must submit three recommendation letters and a goals statement. Eligible applicants should possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

3

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

Based in Tallahassee, FSU's online master's degree in curriculum and instruction prepares current teachers to assume leadership roles within their schools or districts. The 30-credit program features courses on culturally responsive teaching, informed curriculum decision-making, and differentiating instruction through assessments.

Most classes use an asynchronous format to meet the scheduling needs of practicing teachers. In addition to the core curriculum, students take courses based on their area of specialization. Participants present a final portfolio before graduation.

Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or above and at least three years of teaching experience. Prospective students also need to submit GRE scores, two recommendation letters, a resume, a writing sample, and a statement of purpose.

4

University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 94%

Available through its School of Education, UVA delivers an online master's degree in curriculum and instruction that focuses on best practices in curriculum development and improving K-12 instruction.

The program's 30-credit curriculum focuses on the four pillars of curriculum, instruction, diversity, and assessment. Students may specialize in one of 10 subject areas based on their interests and career goals, choosing from options like instructional technology and educational innovation.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a current teaching certificate. They also must provide GRE scores. While full-time students usually graduate within two years, part-time students may take up to five years to complete the program. The program offers a special discounted tuition rate for current K-12 teachers practicing in Virginia.

5

Columbia International University

Columbia, SC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

CIU's M.Ed. in instruction and learning prepares teachers to be leaders in the field and assume roles related to content development. The program features fully online coursework that is delivered asynchronously.

CIU's curriculum takes a biblical approach to developing and analyzing curriculum. Students learn about differentiated instruction, curriculum development, and sound instructional strategies.

Eligible applicants must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, a minimum 2.7 GPA, at least two years of teaching experience, and a current teaching license. Prospective students also need to provide an application essay and a reference from a church leader.

CIU is located in Columbia, South Carolina. Full-time students can finish this 30-credit master's in curriculum and instruction program in 15 months. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition.

6

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

U of I offers a master's in curriculum and instruction with concentrations in bilingual/bicultural studies, digital learning, and perspectives and practices.

Each of these three options includes 32 credits, and full-time students typically graduate in two years. Online coursework is delivered asynchronously to accommodate practicing educators. Before graduating, students complete a capstone, in which they present an action research project that they have worked on throughout their time in the program.

The program's admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants should also submit a personal statement, a resume, and three reference letters. All online learners at U of I pay the same tuition, even if they live outside of Illinois.

7

Boston University

Boston, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 88%

BU offers an online M.Ed. in curriculum and teaching that allows students to choose courses aligned with their interests and career trajectories. Asynchronous classes enable practicing teachers to pursue their master's degree while working full time.

The program features several pathways, including one that prepares graduates to earn their teaching license. Another option features a customized course of study, while a third prepares graduates to volunteer for Teach for America.

Full-time students typically earn this 36-credit master's in curriculum and instruction degree in one year. Students may also pursue the program on a part-time basis.

Applicants must submit two recommendation letters, a resume, and a personal essay. However, the program does not ask for GRE scores. Students must also hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

8

Florida International University

Miami, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Located in Miami, FIU offers an online master's degree in curriculum and instruction with a focus on leadership and serving K-12 children from diverse backgrounds.

Students take a politics of curriculum course, which examines key considerations and research that influences curriculum decision-making. Throughout their time in this 36-credit program, students work on a research project in a K-12 academic setting. They present their findings during a professional exhibition toward the end of the program.

Eligible applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and a valid teaching certificate. Additional application materials include a resume, a statement of purpose, and two recommendation letters. All FIU distance learners pay the same tuition, regardless of their location. Most students graduate from this program in 12 months.

9

Texas A&M University

College Station, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 82%

Texas A&M's online master's in curriculum and instruction explores theories and practices that lead to positive school climates, measurable school improvement, enhanced performance on state assessments, and stronger family and community partnerships.

The 36-credit program features 18 credits of core classes. The remaining 18 credits are dedicated to electives. All learning takes place online, and faculty deliver mostly asynchronous courses. Full-time students can graduate within two years.

To apply, prospective students should submit three letters of recommendation and two essays. Incoming students must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college and a minimum 2.75 GPA. Applicants do not need to submit GRE scores.

10

Mississippi College

Clinton, MS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

Taught from a Christian perspective, MC's online master's degree in curriculum and instruction prepares teachers to improve K-12 student performance, school climates, and teaching effectiveness.

This 30-credit program features seven-week courses, which faculty deliver asynchronously. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate. If a participant finishes the program with a GPA below 3.75, they must also pass a comprehensive final exam.

Eligible applicants must hold an elementary, secondary, or K-12 subject area teaching license, along with a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Located in Clinton, MC offers the same tuition rate to in-state and out-of-state residents. The master's in curriculum and instruction program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

What Else Can I Expect from an Online Master's in Curriculum & Instruction Program?

Students pursuing a curriculum and instruction master's degree online through an accredited program will often have a range of concentrations, courses, and scheduling options to choose from. Program details may vary from school to school.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE MASTER'S DEGREE IN CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION

Concentration Description Potential Careers
Instructional Technology This concentration bridges the gap between technology and education. You'll learn how to enhance the classroom experience through technology and how to design IT programs to meet school needs. Students will also learn how to stay up to date on educational technology. Instructional technology specialist and eLearning developer
Reading Education Develop the skills you need to guide students on their reading comprehension journeys. You'll learn about the theories and foundations of reading instruction, how to design your own reading curriculum, and strategies for helping struggling readers. Reading specialist, school librarian
Gifted Education Help exceptionally bright students excel and explore in the classroom. This concentration usually covers topics like gifted instruction theories, how to identify gifted and talented students, and how to design gifted curriculum. Gifted teacher, gifted intervention specialist

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER'S DEGREE IN CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION

The coursework you choose to take during your curriculum and instruction master's program will influence your career path. As you explore the best online master's in curriculum and instruction programs, keep in mind that available courses will vary from program to program. A sample curriculum is available below:

  • Learning and Development Theories: To design effective school curriculum, you must possess a solid understanding of foundational educational and childhood developmental theories. This course will explore the relationship between learning and teaching and how you can influence student learning.
  • Teacher Leadership: How can teachers be leaders in and outside the classroom? In this course, you'll explore policy issues facing public education today and how teachers can influence school policy on a local, state, and federal level.
  • Reading Diagnosis: In this course, you'll learn how to interpret diagnostic data to determine a student's reading comprehension level and how to use that data to design relevant curriculum. This course will be of special interest to students who want to pursue careers as reading education specialists.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER'S IN CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION?

Dedicated students can often earn their online master's degree in curriculum and instruction in just one year if they're enrolled full time. Typically, a curriculum and instruction master's degree requires 30 to 40 credits. Earning your online master's degree in curriculum and instruction may take longer than a year if you enroll part time, don't take classes during the summer semester, or try to earn additional certificates. A program following a cohort format can also make earning your degree a slower process. Programs that follow a cohort model require you to start the program at a certain time (typically the fall semester) and work through the program at the same rate as your peers. A program that encourages you to study at your own pace may allow you to take more credits during a semester, so you can earn your degree quicker. Keep these factors in mind as you try to determine the best online master's in curriculum and instruction.

CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES A MASTER'S IN CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION PREPARES FOR

  • English as a Second Language (ESL) Endorsement: Teachers who are interested in designing and implementing curriculum for non-native English speaking students can earn an endorsement or add-on certification for ESL. Endorsement requirements are set by state education departments. You can learn more about the process through the TESOL International Association website.
  • National Board Certification: The National Board Certification is one of the most respected certifications an instructor can have and shows their commitment to teaching. The NBC does not replace state teaching certification requirements, but the NBC's stringent standards -- which include passing an exam and submitting student work -- will help teachers stand out in the field.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Curriculum & Instruction Degrees

Accredited curriculum and instruction master's programs will provide you the best value for your money, setting you up for success in the field. Accreditation indicates that a school can provide a quality education because it meets certain set standards. Typically, a school is either nationally accredited or regionally accredited. Regional accreditation is given to an institution that has met the standards of a regionally accredited association. National accreditation is usually reserved for institutions of higher learning that focus on a specific type of education, like distance learning or vocational training. Both types of accreditation are recognized in all U.S. states. The best online master's in curriculum and instruction programs are more likely to be regionally accredited.

As you explore curriculum and instruction master's programs you should also be aware of which programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The CAEP accredits programs aimed at P-12 educators by ensuring those programs meet high standards and provide evidence of student success.

Accreditation associations and other governmental and nonprofit organizations work together to establish the standards that institutions of higher learning must meet, including the Department of Education. The DOE approves accreditors deemed reliable by the Secretary of Education and can only provide financial aid to students who attend accredited institutions. Another organization related to accreditation is the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The CHEA advocates for self regulation among accredited institutions of higher learning to maintain high standards. Over 3,000 colleges and universities are members of the CHEA. For a list of accredited schools visit the the DOE and CHEA websites.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Curriculum & Instruction Graduates

Master's in Curriculum & Instruction Careers

When you earn a master's in curriculum and instruction online, you expand the opportunities you can pursue in your career. Careers in education require both a passion for classroom instruction and an analytical perspective. You must understand how students learn best and design a curriculum that will teach them the required information. Below are a few common careers for those with online curriculum and instruction degrees.

Instructional Coordinator

This role, which usually requires a master's degree, builds on several years of experience teaching in classrooms. These professionals might be employed by a school or a local or state government body. Instructional coordinators develop and oversee the implementation of curricula in schools. They also assess how effective the program is in achieving the desired outcomes such as improving test scores.

Median Annual Salary $62,460
Projected Growth Rate 10%

Elementary, Middle, or High School Principal

A principal oversees the daily operations at a K-12 school, including ensuring that the curriculum is being implemented effectively. Among other duties, the principal observes and evaluates the classroom performance of the teachers at their school. They also prepare reports analyzing the students' test scores and overall performance. Principals usually have a master's degree and teaching experience.

Median Annual Salary $92,510
Projected Growth Rate 8%

Postsecondary Teacher

Postsecondary teachers work for institutions such as universities, professional schools, or community colleges. Many of these roles require a doctorate, but some junior or community colleges only require a master's degree. Postsecondary teachers lead classes and help design the curriculum for their program.

Median Annual Salary $75,430
Projected Growth Rate 15%

Postsecondary Education Administrator

Postsecondary education administrators usually hold a master's degree or Ph.D. They work for a college or university's admissions department, registrar's office, or departmental offices. They may also serve as academic deans. Depending on the role, administrators may be involved in activities such as determining which applicants should be admitted as students, helping coordinate student schedules, maintaining academic records, developing academic policies, or overseeing faculty research.

Median Annual Salary $90,760
Projected Growth Rate 10%

High School Teacher

A high school teacher leads classes for students in grades 9-12, often specializing in a particular subject area. A master's in curriculum and instruction can help teachers hone their skills in lesson preparation and classroom management. While high school teachers are not required to have a master's degree, it can be beneficial and may create an advantage when applying for jobs.

Median Annual Salary $58,030
Projected Growth Rate 8%

Master's in Curriculum & Instruction Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of available jobs in education will grow by 876,800 positions over the next decade. Salaries for these positions increase steadily over the course of one's career. Positions that require a master's degree usually pay more. As a result, an online master's degree in curriculum and instruction can increase pay. This table displays the median salaries education professionals earn at various stages in their careers.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Entry-Level Employees Mid-Career Employees Late-Career Employees
Instructional Coordinator $55,070 $42,000 $54,000 $66,000
High School Principal $87,587 $78,000 $82,000 $93,000
Associate Professor, Postsecondary/ Higher Education $75,466 $62,000 $73,000 $79,000
Postsecondary Education Administrator $61,556 $48,000 $57,000 $65,000
High School Teacher $48,133 $41,000 $47,000 $60,000

Curriculum & Instruction Professional Organizations

Professional organizations can provide valuable resources for your career, including educational and networking opportunities. Most of these organizations have benefits designed for current students and graduates, including scholarships or internships. They may offer continuing education opportunities in person or online, as well as annual conferences and local meetings where you can learn about the latest trends, research, and issues. These events also provide a chance to network with others in the field. Many professional organizations offer career services and online job boards. It is worth exploring the organizations which might be most relevant to you while you are researching online curriculum and instruction programs.

  • National Education Association (NEA): NEA's three million members include classroom teachers, education support professionals, higher education faculty and staff, substitute teachers, students, and retired teachers. The association has a large and active student program. There are local chapters in every state.
  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT): AFT represents 1.7 million members and over 3,000 local affiliates around the country. The organization supports educational professionals and advocates for pro-education public policy. It also offers various benefits and discounted services to its members, including student debt clinics, scholarships, and travel discounts.
  • ASCD: Originally known as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, ASCD supports educators so they can deliver superior results for their students. Members gain access to online courses, webinars, publications, conferences, consulting services, and leadership training. Members also receive discounts.

Financing Your Online Master's in Curriculum & Instruction Program

Students have a variety of financial aid options to pay for their online curriculum and instruction degrees. Depending on the school, they may receive scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study. The first step toward obtaining any type of financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA will determine whether you qualify for any federal funding opportunities. Even providers of private scholarships usually require applicants to fill out the FAFSA so they can verify a student's educational expenses. Many private organizations also offer scholarships for students pursuing postgraduate education degrees. Additionally, you may qualify for a federal TEACH grant.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.