A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.
As any adult familiar with children or college students knows, educational theories, methods, and tools look different today than they did even 10 or 20 years ago—and it’s reasonable to expect that they will continue to evolve and look different 10 or 20 years or more in the future. And it is educational leaders—including instructional coordinators, school principals, other school administrators, and even corporate trainers—who are responsible for taking these evolving trends, ideas, and standards and putting them into practice.
What Is Educational Leadership?
The purpose of educational leadership is to create and enact new educational policies and to guide teachers in the process of improving educational processes and techniques in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions.1 In other words, educational leadership is what drives change in curricula and teaching methodologies and techniques. The educational leadership professionals responsible for developing and implementing these changes are collectively known as instructional coordinators. These individuals possess a high level of education—typically completing a master’s in education degree program with or without a specialization in leadership of educational organizations—and prior relevant work experience.2
What Do Instructional Coordinators Do?
Instructional coordinators, also known as curriculum specialists, oversee school curricula and teaching techniques and standards. They evaluate the efficacy of teaching techniques put into practice by school boards, states, and the federal government by observing teachers in a classroom environment and evaluating student test scores. They then discuss the curriculum and their observations with school staff and administrators such as teachers and school principals (or, in the case of secondary institutions, with the college provost or dean of students) and recommend any needed changes to the board.2
7 Qualities of Effective Instructional Coordinators
Instructional coordinators should possess an array of skills to more effectively carry out their job duties. These include:2
- Analytical skills for evaluating student test data and teaching strategies. These evaluations inform their recommendations to school administrators and boards.
- Communication skills for clearly explaining changes to teachers, school principals, and other school staff.
- Decision-making skills for determining what changes need to be implemented.
- Interpersonal skills for fostering positive relationships with teachers, school principals, and other administrators.
- Leadership skills for mentoring and training teachers the development of useful and effective teaching techniques.
AIU’s Master’s in Educational Leadership Program
As we touched on above, employers typically require instructional coordinators/curriculum specialists to possess a master’s degree and relevant work experience (those pursuing a role in the public school system may be required to meet state licensing requirements as well).2,3 AIU’s master’s in education with a specialization in leadership of educational organizations degree program is designed to foster and promote effective educational practices applicable to all educational practitioners, whether they work in K-12, higher education, or corporate training. M.Ed. candidates in this program work to develop a strong foundation in learning theory, instructional design, instructional technology, and educational research methods. And importantly, AIU’s Master of Education (M.Ed.) program is accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).4
How Long Does It Take to Earn an M.Ed. Degree?
How long it takes to earn an M.Ed. degree can vary. On average, traditional master’s degree programs take anywhere from two to three years to complete, while fully online and hybrid programs can often be completed in less time. AIU’s Master of Education program, including the master’s in leadership of educational organizations specialization, offers fully online and hybrid attendance options and can be completed in one year or less.
Other factors can influence time to program completion as well. Demonstrating or possessing eligible prior academic, life, work, and military experience could translate into receiving transfer credit that results in a reduction of the number of classes needed to graduate, effectively shortening overall program length.5 Additionally, taking classes at an accelerated pace—increasing your per-quarter course load and taking classes during summer and winter breaks, for example—could result in graduating on a faster-than-average timeline.
Educational Leadership and Lifelong Learning
Pursuing a master’s in educational leadership program could help you prepare to seek opportunities in instructional coordination. But completing a master’s program is just the beginning—to keep up with the ever-evolving state of educational instruction, educational leaders must espouse a commitment to lifelong learning and development. Organizations such as the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) offer resources to aid in this endeavor. According to their mission statement, the AACTE “is the leading voice on educator preparation. AACTE represents more than 800 postsecondary institutions with educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners.” AIU is a proud member of this organization. 6
Study Skills Needed to Promote Positive Educational Change
If you’re passionate about effecting positive change in education, then seeking a potential career path in instructional coordination could be a natural fit for you—and choosing to pursue a master’s in educational leadership program could be a significant step toward fulfilling your educational goals. What will your next step be?
Ready to learn more? Explore AIU’s Master of Education: Specialization in Leadership of Educational Organizations program today.
1 learn.org, “What Is Educational Leadership?,” https://learn.org/articles/What_is_Educational_Leadership.html (last visited 9/19/2022).
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Instructional Coordinators,” https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm (last visited 9/19/2022).
3 American InterContinental University’s Master of Education degree is not designed to meet state educator licensing or advancement requirements; however, it may assist candidates in gaining these approvals in their state of residence depending on those requirements. Contact the state board of education in applicable state(s) for requirements.
4American InterContinental University is a member in good standing of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP). The Master of Education program has been awarded full accreditation by AAQEP through June 30, 2026.
5 Transfer credit is evaluated on an individual basis. Not all credits are eligible to transfer. See the University Catalog for transfer credit policies.
6 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), “About AACTE,” https://aacte.org/about-aacte/ (visited 10/6/2022).
AIU cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. Not all programs are available to residents of all states. REQ17686893 10/2022
Classes Start January 18, 2023