Becoming a Curriculum Writer: Qualifications & Requirements

Jan 21, 2022

Learn the necessary steps for how to become a curriculum writer. Research curriculum writer qualifications as well as licensure information and salary statistics.

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What Is Curriculum Writing?

A curriculum writer is, most commonly, the individual who writes curriculum for schools. The person in this position is responsible for creating and developing new materials of instruction for various school districts, media groups, and other businesses. Curriculum writers may also be referred to as instructional coaches, educational writers, curriculum specialists, or instructional coordinators. In academic settings, curriculum writers evaluate student test scores, alter outdated curricula, standardize teaching strategies, and implement new educational materials. In business settings, these professionals design employee training documents.

Curriculum writers in academic settings normally work during the summer months, when school is not in session. During the school year, scheduling of activities may be dependent upon the time needs of other administrators and teachers. Curriculum writers who work for human resources departments may only need bachelor's degrees to find employment, but those who work in public school systems are usually required to hold master's degrees and specialty licenses. In either setting, many employers prefer applicants with experience in either teaching or curriculum design.

Curriculum Writer Qualifications

Degree Level Bachelor's or master's degree
Degree Field Curriculum and instructional technology; journalism; English
Licensure or Certification Educator or administrator's license
Experience 2-5 years' experience in technical writing, educational writing, teaching, curriculum design and/or instructional materials delivery
Key Skills Ability to make sound decisions, comfortable speaking to groups, detail oriented, team player, exceptional written skills, able to meet deadlines and capable of keeping organized files and knowledge of Microsoft Office programs (PowerPoint, Word, Excel and Outlook)
Salary (2019) $66,290 (Annual median salary for an instructional coordinator)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from May 2019.

The minimum qualifications for a curriculum writer is a bachelor's degree in a related program such as education or English literature. Similarly, certification of an educator or an administrator's license is often necessary to be hired by curriculum writing companies to work in an academic setting. Employers often look for candidates with 2-5 years' experience in technical writing, educational writing, teaching, curriculum design, and instructional materials delivery.

Key Skills:

  • Ability to make sound decisions
  • Comfortable speaking to groups
  • Detail oriented
  • Team player
  • Exceptional written skills
  • Ability to meet deadlines

Curriculum Writer Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for instructional coordinators as of May 2019 is $66,290/year. The position's job outlook is expected to grow 6% from 2019-2029, which is faster than average for other occupations. States with the highest annual mean pay range ($70,420-$96,640) for instructional coordinators include:

  • California
  • Massachusetts
  • Virginia
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania

States with the lowest annual mean pay range ($32,120-$59,550) for instructional coordinators include:

  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • North Carolina
  • Montana

who writes curriculum for schools

How to Become a Curriculum Writer

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Most employers want applicants with the minimum of bachelor's degrees in fields related to journalism, education, or English. Curriculum writers in academic settings often require master's degrees.

Undergraduate coursework is the first step to learn how to write a course curriculum. In majors like journalism, the program of study provides instruction in how to write for print, digital, and broadcast media, which are important skills that can be utilized for writing educational materials and training programs. English degree programs can include courses that train students in research methods as well as essay, nonfictional, and technical writing. Most of these classes can provide curriculum writers with a strong foundation in writing clearly and concisely.

A tip for success:

Take courses in curriculum design. Some universities may have courses related to instructional training and design or curriculum design. These courses discuss instructional techniques, curriculum development, test construction, interactive instructional media, educational technology, and curriculum evaluation. Some examples of these dedicated curriculum writing courses are:

  • Foundations of Curriculum Design & Evaluation at UC San Diego
  • CMSi Curriculum Writing Workshop at the Texas Association of School Administrators
  • Foundations of Teaching for Learning: Curriculum at CourseRA.org

Step 2: Obtain a Master's Degree

A master's degree is beneficial for successful careers in curriculum development. However, in most cases, only professionals who plan on working in academic settings will require master's degrees. Master's degree programs related to curriculum design and instructional technology are recommended. Courses in these degree programs may include classroom assessment, adult learning, instructional systems, program development, educational computing, and educational research strategies. Some master's degree programs may require students to complete internships that involve running instructional development projects at participating educational facilities.

Step 3: Become Licensed

Curriculum writers at public schools may require licensing. Some districts may require professionals to be licensed teachers. Other districts may only require curriculum writers to earn administrator licenses.

Requirements for earning a teaching license often include holding a bachelor's degree, completing a post-baccalaureate training program, and having some supervised teaching experience. Teachers often have to pass several knowledge-based exams as part of the licensure process. To obtain administrator licenses, individuals generally need to hold master's degrees. Some districts may require license applicants to take additional exams as well as participate in related continuing education programs.

A tip for success:

Maintain licenses. Most states require educators and administrators to go through a license renewal process every few years. The renewal process may require curriculum writers to participate in continuing education programs or professional development seminars. Some states have very few strict regulations on continuing education course topics. Other license renewal procedures may include paying fees, submitting paperwork, and passing background checks.

Step 4: Get More Experience to Advance your Career

Employers prefer instructional coordinators who have previous experience, particularly in lesson plan development, teaching, or curriculum design. Some districts may have very specific teaching experience requirements. For example, they may prefer applicants who have experience teaching at the middle school or high school levels. Employers often specify that they prefer applicants who have two to five years' experience in employee training, teaching, or instructional development.

Options for your career: Curriculum writer jobs online are fairly common, particularly with platforms that are digital, such as University of Phoenix or Southern New Hampshire University. With more schools, universities, and business programs creating exclusively online spaces for consumers to engage with, there are many positions becoming available for curriculum writing jobs that are completely remote. These opportunities are generally more specific and you may need a degree in the subject you create content for.

Earning a bachelor's degree, obtaining a master's degree, getting licensed, and gaining experience are great steps to follow to make the most of a career as a curriculum writer.

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