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Many people who work in education aspire to become a curriculum designer. This desire can arise from frustration with the quality of the current curriculum or even a personal vision of how education should be provided. This career requires a unique combination of skills and experiences that can take significant time and effort to accumulate.
The primary responsibility of a curriculum designer is to create a cohesive educational program within a specific academic stream or discipline. This stream can be one or two academic years, or can extend throughout the entire elementary, secondary, or post-secondary program. The curriculum designer must coordinate his or her educational program with other disciplines and levels of education to ensure students are properly prepared to move into each stage of their education.
The first requirement to become a curriculum designer is post-secondary education. This position is typically found in government education ministries or agencies, school boards, and professional associations that offer training programs. Most employers require formal training in education or at least a master's degree in the subject matter. This level of expertise is necessary to properly complete the tasks of this position. Candidates can complete training in virtually any discipline, but must keep in mind that subject selection determines their employability.
Excellent research and writing skills are absolutely essential to become a curriculum designer. A curriculum designer typically specialized in a specific subject and education stage. The sheer volume of material about education theory for different ages, subjects, and learning styles is tremendous. Specialization provides the opportunity to learn about these different aspects of education and incorporate them into the curriculum.
Interpersonal and communication skills form a large part of the skill set required to become a curriculum designer. There is a great deal of collaboration and sharing of information required in this position. Working with other curriculum designers, teachers, industry representatives, and government officials will require the use of interpersonal skills.
In addition to written communication skills, candidates must be able to make public presentations of their curriculum, develop practical exercises for a range of student abilities, and incorporate cultural context into the material. Many people improve these skills through part-time courses in public speaking, writing, or formal communications. It is important to note that curriculum designer is a mid-career position and typically requires 10 to 15 years working experience in either education or a specific subject discipline.
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