Learning depends on not only what is taught but also how and why it is taught. Instructional coordinators play a crucial role in developing educational materials and methods for both children and adults. After obtaining an advanced degree in education, such as an Online Doctor of Education (EdD) in Education Policy and Leadership, these professionals can go on to build curricula, train teachers, and create and revise course materials to ensure that students get the best education possible.
It’s important to know which methods are most effective for teaching diverse groups of students and which textbooks and assignments can equip them with the skills for academic success. Understanding what an instructional coordinator is and what they do can be a productive first step towards a career that helps students thrive.
Instructional Coordinator Role and Responsibilities
Instructional coordinators plan, implement, and evaluate content at nearly every stage in the students’ learning journey. They stay abreast of the latest teaching technologies and innovations to help teachers achieve student learning outcomes. If a district receives new standards, instructional coordinators ensure that teachers understand the new standards and how best to achieve them.
Instructional coordinators typically do the following:
- Draft and implement educational materials.
- Mentor educators through training, conferences, and/or workshops.
- Assess the curricula by analyzing student test data.
- Lead discussions with school staff about improving the student experience.
- Read and evaluate textbooks and other educational materials to recommend to educators.
- Offer pedagogical tools and tips to improve learning outcomes.
Because instructional coordinators are responsible for discovering new classroom techniques and activity materials, former teachers are often drawn to the role as it offers more opportunities for creative instructional planning. Former teachers also find that their firsthand experience can be helpful when developing teaching techniques.
Successful instructional coordinators exhibit an array of skills, including the following:
- Analytical. Instructional coordinators evaluate teaching strategies and student data and thus should be able to analyze statistical data and create improvement strategies accordingly.
- Communicative. Instructional coordinators must be able to clearly communicate curriculum changes and teaching standards to educators and school administrators.
- Knowledgeable. Instructional coordinators remain current on the latest teaching methodologies, so they can offer solutions when existing curricula and strategies lack positive results.
- Visionary. Instructional coordinators serve as mentors and trainers for teachers across the country. Educators, school board administrators, and principals look to curriculum specialists to lead efforts in developing useful teaching strategies.
Applying for a position as an instructional coordinator requires a master’s degree in education or curriculum development. Some positions also require applicants to have a degree in a specialized field, such as reading or math. In some states, instructional coordinators need a state-issued license, such as a teaching license or an educational administrator license. A state’s board of education website should specify whether a specific license is required.
While it is not typically a requirement, many applicants enter the field with experience as a teacher or school administrator. Previous experience in education, especially in schools, can give applicants a more in-depth understanding of what instructional coordinators are and how their work directly affects educational institutions. A doctorate degree in educational policy can help those with previous experience hone their knowledge in education and policy implementation for success as instructional coordinators.
Instructional coordinators typically work year-round in an office, with occasional visits to schools in their districts to observe teachers and meet with principals to assess the effectiveness of their curricula. These individuals typically work with local districts and state school boards, but can also find positions in colleges, in professional schools, or in educational support offices in state and local governments.
In 2020, 44 percent of instructional coordinators worked in elementary and secondary schools for state, local, and private education institutions, and 19 percent worked in higher education, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Salary and Job Outlook
As of 2021, the median annual pay for instructional coordinators was $63,740, according to the BLS. Those who work directly with government offices received an average of $78,900, while those working in elementary and secondary schools earned an average of $75,840, also per the BLS. Salary figures can also vary based on geographic location, position, institution, education, and other factors.
The BLS projects an average of 20,400 openings each year and forecasts the occupation will grow by about 10 percent by 2030. Given that school funding is often dependent upon test scores and graduation rates, states and local school districts will likely continue to emphasize student achievement data. Since instructional coordinators both interpret the data and help teachers improve their metrics, they will likely remain in demand.
Explore Alternative Careers in Education
Are you passionate about making a difference in your school district? A role as an instructional coordinator can open up many possibilities: These professionals can follow their passion to create memorable lessons and course curricula, helping students engage and progress in their education.
American University’s Online EdD in Educational Policy and Leadership can prepare graduates for success as instructional coordinators. With domains such as Social Justice and Anti-Racism and Policy and Research, the program can equip students with skills in educational leadership to make improvements at a systemic level. If you are looking for a career in education that focuses on curriculum and policy design and implementation, explore the opportunities that an EdD can offer.