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A curriculum designer is a person who is involved in the process of creating and designing learning materials for various areas of education. At times curriculum designers improve upon materials and curricula that are already being used in classrooms. Designers usually specialize in one area of education, such as elementary, intermediate, high school, college, adult, online learning, or even home school curriculum.
Because a curriculum designer must understand standards, rules, and laws that apply to the broad spectrum of education programs, a great deal of experience and education is usually required for the position. Most employers require at least a master's degree in education or curriculum design. Some graduate programs are offered online, making the transition for current teachers into the field of curriculum design more convenient than it was in the past.
A curriculum designer can find employment within a private or public school system. In the school setting, the designer analyzes the different learning strategies and designs curriculum around the strategies, standards, and goals of the school system and districts. Other options for employment can be found with government agencies that function for the sole purpose of improving the educational system or improving test scores in a particular subject area.
There are many corporations, both large and small, that create curriculum for profit. These companies rely on the knowledge of curriculum designers to create high quality materials that align to the standards set by different nations, states, and districts. Some companies focus on one subject, while others design curriculum for a variety of subjects, grade levels, and learning needs.
Curriculum designers generally use design software to help incorporate the different learning standards and objectives of an area of education into the curriculum. They are also responsible for creating assessments, evaluations, and scoring rubrics, to accompany the curriculum. Worksheets, workbooks, and homework assignments are also a part of the curriculum package. Larger design projects include the design, or redesign, of student textbooks and teacher resource books.
A somewhat new and increasingly needed skill is the design of online curricula. With so many students now learning online, there is an increased need for knowledgeable curriculum designers who can create curriculum that will be accessed entirely in an online format. Though online learning is usually associated with college and older adult students, it also includes younger students in elementary through high school. Online charter schools, home school programs, and private schools have created a need for engaging curriculum for younger students.
Anyone interested in becoming a curriculum designer should consider that fact that most of these professionals have a background in teaching. Experience in the classroom is important because it helps the future curriculum designer understand what strategies, materials, and lessons do or do not work in a classroom setting and with different types of learners. A career as a curriculum designer can be a very rewarding one, with flexibility to work in different types of settings and improve learning material for students of all different backgrounds.