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Top 25 Online Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction Programs for 2017

An online master’s in curriculum and instruction teaches the latest education theories and practices, giving you the skills to improve learning outcomes for all students. In addition to developing your teaching practice, earning a curriculum and instruction master’s degree will increase your career and salary potential. PayScale reports that the average starting salary for an elementary education teacher with a bachelor’s degree is about $34,000, while a beginning teacher with a master’s degree can expect to earn about $39,700 annually. This listing compiles some of the top online curriculum and instruction master’s programs.


How to Choose an Online Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction Program

There are several factors to consider before making a final decision, including program length, tuition, required curriculum, and potential campus requirements. The curriculum is perhaps the most important factor, as many schools offer different concentrations. It’s important to consider your personal and professional goals before choosing a program.

Time is also a major factor: some schools offer accelerated programs that allow you to complete your degree in under two years, while others allow you to take several years of part-time courses. Teachers may find a part-time program useful if they plan to continue teaching while pursuing their degree. Some degrees include intensive campus sessions that take place during the weekends or summer, while others may require you to visit campus weekly for certain classes.

Careers for Graduates of Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction Programs

A online master’s in curriculum and instruction prepares you for a range of challenging careers inside and outside of the classroom. Many teachers earn the degree to enhance their teaching practice and continue teaching at the K-12 level, but others use the master’s of curriculum and instruction to move into leadership or curriculum development positions. All graduates have a deeper understanding of education and learning processes, allowing them to reach students more effectively.

Job Outlook and Salary for Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction Graduates

Careers for teachers who hold an online master’s in curriculum and instruction are expected to keep pace with most other professions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects positions such as K-12 teacher, K-12 principal, and instructional coordinator to grow by about 6-7% between 2014-2024. Postsecondary teachers can expect to see faster than average job growth; the BLS projects a 13% increase within the same period. The projected average throughout the entire economy is 6%. Your growth and salary potential will vary based on factors such as the industry you work in, your specific career, and your location. This chart records projected employment growth across several common education positions.

Employment Growth for Education Professionals
Career Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
High School Teacher 961,600 1,017,500
Principal 240,000 254,000
Postsecondary Teacher 1,313,000 1,490,000


Teachers and other education professionals earn a higher salary depending on their experience. This chart presents salary data based on work experience for some of the most common positions among teachers who earn their master’s in curriculum and instruction.


Professional organizations offer a range of opportunities for educators, including networking, professional support, teaching resources, and specialized publications. Less experienced teachers can connect with seasoned educators, gaining valuable knowledge and insight in instruction methods and practices. The following organizations offer a generous selection of resources to education professionals.

National Education Association

The NEA, one of the largest teaching organizations in the country, has more than 3 million members. Resources available to members include teaching materials, digital and print publications, and discounted legal resources for teachers.

Kappa Delta Pi

KDP, the international honor society in education, is dedicated to professional growth opportunities for teachers. The organization offers networking, leadership opportunities, and mentorship programs for young teachers.

American Federation of Teachers

Founded in 1916, the AFT is a labor union that sits at the intersection of political activism and education. The organization represents more than 1.7 million members nationwide, working for educational reform and equitable treatment for teachers.

To determine the best online master’s in curriculum and instruction programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in curriculum and instruction programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.