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What are the Advantages of a Doctoral Degree in Curriculum and Instruction?

What is a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction?

A doctorate in curriculum and instruction prepares practicing educators to become leaders in the educational field. Candidates develop knowledge of educational processes in the areas of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. After successful completion of a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction, candidates will have gained expertise in educational research and trends, curriculum and instructional design, program implementation and evaluation, and professional development of beginning and career teachers.

What You’ll Learn in a Doctoral Curriculum and Instruction Program

Students in a doctoral curriculum and instruction program will learn to critically analyze curricular programs, assessment practices, and instructional models to determine their impact and effectiveness, and gain the expertise to suggest and implement changes that meet the needs of students and teachers. Candidates will learn to take on the perspectives of both teacher and learner as they:

  • navigate historical and current educational theory,
  • consider and analyze curriculum and its effective implementation,
  • tackle issues of educational reform, past, present, and future,
  • gain understandings about educational settings and their impact on student learning (i.e. urban, rural, private, public),
  • develop leadership skills that include utilization of successful feedback models, development of mentoring relationships, and incorporation of community outreach,
  • learn to work with and consider the perspectives of all stakeholders in decision-making processes,
  • and learn to identify systemic issues in curriculum and assessments programs, local and global education policy, and instructional design and implementation.

The doctoral degree provides candidates with the theoretical knowledge and practical research experience. Doctoral programs in curriculum and instruction typically require successful completion of a research component, either in the form of a dissertation or capstone project. The research aspect of the program allows candidates to identify an educational issue/problem and then explore, through hands-on research, in an effort to develop solutions. The dissertation asks educators to develop multiple skills in areas such as statistical analysis, ethical research practices, and appropriate research models.

Advantages of a Curriculum and Instruction Doctoral Degree

A curriculum and instruction doctoral degree provides educators multiple growth opportunities. Throughout the degree program candidates explore ways to identify the needs of diverse learners and best practices for ensuring student success. Candidates also develop the expertise necessary to lead and mentor other educators.

Successful completion of a curriculum and instruction doctoral degree opens many employment opportunities across the field of education.

  • Higher Education: Many graduates seek employment in teacher education programs. The doctorate degree is typically required for employment in the university setting with research required by many institutions. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary for postsecondary instructors is $78,470/year.
  • School- Based Leadership/Senior Leadership for Charter Schools: While additional licensure in your state may be required, GWU’s Curriculum and Instruction Doctoral degree offers a unique opportunity for school-based leadership in the K-12 setting. Leaders may be expected to assess curriculum programs and their implementation on site. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, salaries for school administrators range between $53,000 and $104,000, and depend on district/school size, as well as state salary schedules and years of experience.
  • Instructional Coordinator/Facilitator: The role of an instructional coordinator/facilitator varies by state and school district. Generally, instructional coordinators/facilitators are expected to develop standards-based curriculum and monitor its implementation. They also manage assessment practices, both at the classroom and the school level, working closely with administrators and teachers to analyze data in order to assess and meet student needs. The salary for an instructional facilitator depends on state salary schedules, with the median salary of $64,450 according to the Bureaus of Labor and Statistics.
  • Assistant/Associate Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction/ C & I Specialist: Assistant/Associate superintendents and C & I specialists typically work for the school system to oversee the district’s instructional program, including the professional learning needs of its employees. According to PayScale, the average salary for an assistant superintendent is $118,655 and depends on state salary schedules and years of experience.

Ready to advance your career as an educator and pursue your doctorate? Explore our Ed.D. Curriculum and Instruction program here!

High school ELA teacher; Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction
from Gardner-Webb University, NC

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