How To Become an Education Director (With Duties and Skills)

Updated September 7, 2022

Education directors are leadership professionals who work with schools, districts and businesses and organizations. They choose educational materials and evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum instructors use to engage learners. While many education directors may work for public school systems, you can find other diverse opportunities outside of public education. In this article, we explore what an education director is, what they do, how to become an education director and what specialties and job titles you can find for this career path.

What is an education director?

An education director is a professional who oversees the evaluation, selection and integration of curricula and learning materials for a school, school district or other educational institution. Education directors often work in elementary, middle and high schools. They can also find employment in private businesses and organizations where they plan, coordinate and deliver training materials to help corporate teams learn new skills.

In nonprofit organizations like libraries and community centers, they may oversee various educational programs for literacy and skill development, along with tutorial programs for practical applications like technology use. Some education directors may work in museums alongside curators to develop lectures and exhibitions that docents use when giving tours to the public. Many directors also begin their careers as teachers, where they gain industry knowledge of curriculum models and instructional methods before advancing into a directorship in curriculum development.

Related: 18 Careers in Education Management (With Duties and Salaries)

What are an education director's responsibilities?

An education director is responsible for a broad range of tasks that focus on researching and choosing a curriculum. Depending on where they work, directors may oversee many of the decisions regarding age-appropriateness, concept applications and assessment values of the curricula they choose for their purposes. Several more distinct job responsibilities of the role include:

  • Assessing and choosing textbooks, assessment materials and curriculum standards

  • Planning scopes and sequences of academic curricula according to school and district schedules

  • Coordinating with general and specialized education teachers to select curriculum based on student learning objectives

  • Collaborating with school administrators to plan budgets that support curriculum development

  • Working with human resource professionals to plan and develop training materials, procedures and schedules for professional development programs

  • Assisting team members in educational facilities to evaluate and select lecture, workshop and tutorial activities and materials

  • Training staff members in the use of new curriculum practices, delivery methods and assessment measures

  • Evaluating and selecting exam and test materials that support the learning outcomes outlined in curriculum standards

Related: Learn About Being a Program Director

How to become an education director

The following steps provide additional insight into becoming an education director:

1. Earn your bachelor's degree

A minimum of a bachelor's degree is necessary to enter a career as an education director. Many prospective directors pursue undergraduate degrees in education, curriculum development or educational administration. Typically, undergraduate programs for educators require students to complete an internship, where they work with a coordinating classroom teacher to apply their academic skills. Some prospective directors focus entirely on curriculum development and strategy, which also supports a career in education direction and oversight.

2. Apply for a teaching credential

Because education directors work in academics and instructional methodologies, an educator's license or teaching certificate is also a requirement to enter the classroom. State education boards typically issue teaching licenses after prospective educators take and pass several qualifying exams, including subject area examinations and general knowledge assessments. Once you submit your certification exam scores, your state issues your teaching license.

Related: Learn About Being a Teacher

3. Gain practical experience

Education directors commonly have several years of experience teaching in a classroom setting, even when pursuing corporate positions. Working as an educator for the public school system, a private school or a nonprofit educational institution are several ways you can gain experience in education. Working in education to build instructional expertise is also important for developing your skills in curriculum planning, integration and assessment, which are skills that are essential as an education director. Administration and leadership positions can also help you gain the experience necessary for advancing into an educational directorship.

4. Pursue your master's degree

Working in a director or administration role in education can require a master's degree in your field. Many prospective education directors earn their master's degrees in education, curriculum development, educational administration or educational leadership. These fields all can prepare you for the management and oversight responsibilities of the job. Additionally, some employers may also prefer education directors hold a graduate degree, as this level of qualification can demonstrate your unique expertise in the field.

5. Obtain state licensure

Most states require education professionals to have a state license to work in academic fields. Depending on your degree credential and career goals, it's important to research the employer, position and local regulations so you understand the requirements for licensure. After earning your credentials, you can submit your resume to open positions in schools, districts and corporate settings.

Related: How To Become an Education Administrator in 6 Steps

Recommended specializations

Education directors can work in various roles that each have a focus on analyzing, selecting and training others in use of suitable educational materials. Outside of school administration and faculty management, education directors can also specialize in areas such as:

  • Public school districts and educator training

  • Postsecondary and university academics

  • Corporate training and development

  • Private education systems

  • Curriculum planning and development

  • Educational policy management

  • Human resources

  • Program management

  • Museum curation

Related: Popular Careers in Education You Can Pursue

Other titles for an education director

Although education directors are integral to curriculum and assessment planning in the public education system, they can hold other job titles, depending on where they work and what kind of instructional methods and materials they implement. Several other job titles that an education director can have when working in different industries include:

  • Program director

  • Curriculum specialist

  • Academic director

  • Academic coordinator

  • Training director

  • Training coordinator

  • Administrator

Related: 40 Alternative Jobs for Teachers Wanting a Career Change

What skills do education directors need?

Education directors apply diverse skills to be successful in their roles. Aside from educational and teaching experience, many education directors develop technical and transferable skills to advance in their fields. The following skills can be essential to pursue a career as an education director:

  • Computer skills: Education directors often use computer software, online resources and mobile applications to organize and manage curriculum standards, plans in progress and project information. This makes technical aptitude a necessity for some aspects of the job.

  • Research and analysis: Directors who specialize in the creation of curriculum, learning standards and instructional methods rely on research skills and analytical thinking to make decisions about implementing appropriate educational materials.

  • Creativity: Education directors often combine pedagogies, assessment standards and learning materials to create a suitable curriculum for their organizations, which requires creativity and problem-solving.

  • Communication skills: Education directors collaborate with many diverse individuals and rely on effective communication to write, speak and interact with others.

  • Leadership skills: Leadership skills are essential to coordinating, managing and engaging others as you introduce new approaches and materials.

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