Writing curriculum can be a rewarding career for people with a passion for writing and education. However, it doesn’t offer the most straightforward career path — after all, there aren’t many degree programs designed specifically for curriculum writers. However, with enough skill, education, and savvy, you can set yourself in an excellent position to create curricula.
What Is a Curriculum Writer?
Curriculum writers, also known as curriculum developers or instructional coordinators, build curriculum for educators, whether they work for K–12 schools, colleges, or businesses. Tasks could include editing a textbook, drafting lesson plans, creating standardized tests, or designing worksheets. Curriculum writers may also audit the current curriculum to make sure it covers required material and meets relevant benchmarks.
At a more administrative level, curriculum writers may take a proactive role in deciding how to alter curricula in response to test scores or changing requirements. They may work directly with freelance writers and designers to create materials. Curriculum writing is a challenging, ever-changing job that can be rewarding if you have the right skill set.
Generally, curriculum writers are expected to be highly educated in the topics they are writing about. They must also be excellent communicators and knowledgeable about the classroom experience. To this end, a bachelor’s degree is generally required, and a master’s degree or above is a plus.
If you are writing for K–12 education or for businesses, you most likely don’t need to be a professor to create curriculum. People who write curriculum for college students are generally expected to have a doctoral degree.
Having relevant knowledge and experience in the topic you are writing about can help you stand out in the job market, particularly for curriculum design in more niche topics. For example, teaching experience in a classroom environment could help you understand what curriculum would work well for certain age groups.
What Is a Schedule Like for a Curriculum Writer?
Curriculum writers tend to work full-time in an office setting. Unlike most educators, they do not get summers off. In fact, summers may be a busy time as they prepare curriculum adjustments for the upcoming school year.
That said, curriculum writers will sometimes work with freelance writers who actually write the main text of educational materials. For example, professors may draft sections of a textbook while on break from full-time teaching. In that case, writing parts of curricula could be available on a freelance basis.
How To Become a Curriculum Author
We’ve covered the basic requirements for becoming a curriculum writer. But what exactly do you need to do to land the job? The following steps may help give you an edge.
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in English, Education, or Curriculum Design
A bachelor’s degree is a must to become a curriculum writer. If you’ve already earned your degree in a different field, don’t despair. As long as you have strong writing skills, you can still proceed to the next steps.
Gain Real-Life Experience in a Field You Care About
For example, if you are interested in curriculum development for K–12 education, teaching experience could help you get a sense for how the curriculum is actually used in the classroom. And if you plan to write about life sciences, experience with health care systems is important.
Get an Advanced Degree or Two
As a curriculum writer, you will likely want to earn your master’s degree and, depending on the kind of work you’re interested in, potentially a doctoral degree.
Life Science Curricula in Demand
The life sciences are an in-demand field for curriculum writers. Specializing in one of the following life science topics could give you an advantage in the job market.
There will always be a demand for new and exciting ways to memorize medical jargon. Medical terminology isn’t only important for pre-med and medical students. Vocational high school programs allow high school students to learn about becoming nurses or emergency medical technicians.
Anatomy and Physiology
Anatomy and physiology is a course prerequisite for almost every in-demand medical-related career. And because scientific understanding of the human body continues to evolve, curriculum must evolve, too — keeping curriculum writers busy.
Microbiology careers are the sixth most likely life science to be in-demand over the next decade. In addition, microbiology courses can be helpful to future epidemiologists, doctors, research scientists, and public health officials.
Curriculum writing is a job that requires a high-level education, ironclad writing skills, and an ability to keep up with ever-changing information in both the educational and scientific realms. The life sciences are an excellent focus to gain an in-demand curriculum writing job. If you’re up to the challenge, you’ll have a rewarding career ahead of you.