How to Become a First Nations Education Coordinator



Working as a First Nations education coordinator is a great career choice for someone who’s interested in helping First Nations students of all ages and levels reach their long term educational goals, and who’s familiar with the language, culture and customs of the community they will be serving.


This profession involves quite a broad range of duties and responsibilities, and requires working directly with a variety of stakeholders, such as students, parents, band leaders, education administrators, and others. It also involves a lot of local and regional travel, and possibly the occasional international trip.


Below, we’ve outlined everything you need to know to become a First Nations Education Coordinator. We’ll show you what employers will be looking for in terms of your education and experience, as well as what skills and personal traits you’ll need in order to be effective in this profession. 


We've also included helpful supplementary information, such as a job description, an overview of the job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employer types and much more.



Basic Requirements 

Employers will likely require that you can pass a Criminal Record Check/Vulnerable Sector Check, as work in this field can involve working with or around children.


You may also be required to have a valid driver’s license and passport, as local and international travel is relatively common in this line of work (the amount of local and international travel will vary, depending on your specific job).


Please Note: Many employers will either require that you have First Nations/Indigenous/Aboriginal ancestry, while others will simply give preference to candidates with such ancestry.



Relevant Experience You’ll Need

Employers will want to see that you have relevant work experience, as this occupation comes with a fair level of responsibility. They’ll need to be as sure as possible that the candidate they’re hiring has the competence to perform the job effectively. Because of this, employers will want to see that you have work experience in relevant areas, which could include:


• Experience working with First Nations/Aboriginal/Indigenous communities 

• Experience working in education administration/coordinator 

• Teaching experience

• Curriculum development experience 



Eduction Needed to Become a First Nations Education Coordinator 

Employers will typically require that you have a degree in education in order to be hired on as a First Nations education coordinator. 


However, many employers will accept a degree in a different field (preferably in liberal arts) provided you have a demonstrated ability to perform the tasks of the job effectively, which is typically accomplished by way of having relevant work experience on your resume.





Skills Needed to Be Successful 

In addition to education and experience, working as a First Nations education coordinator requires a certain set of skills, such as:


• Knowledge of all relevant legislation related to education

• The ability to interpret and apply relevant guidelines, policies and legislation 

• Strong analytical, organizational, coordinating and planning skills 

• The proven ability to set priorities and meet deadlines 

• Working knowledge of curriculum development and pedagogy can be very helpful

• Knowledge of educational policies and procedures for K-12, post secondary and others 

• Knowledge of language, history and culture of the band with which you’ll be working is a very strong asset, and may be a requirement in some cases



Details of the Profession: What is a First Nations Education Coordinator?

First Nations education coordinators are education liaisons that support and coordinate educational programs for First Nations/Aboriginal/Indigenous students of all ages (pre-school, elementary, secondary and postsecondary students).



General Job Description 

Essentially, a First Nations education coordinator’s job is to act as a liaison between the band council, the students, the school district, and the schools themselves, to ensure that students within their constituency are able to reach their long-term educational goals.


In broad terms, this involves acting as an advocate for the First Nations band that employs them, and the students in their constituency, while liaising with the school district to ensure that the goals and methods of the educational programs in place are serving the needs of the students.



Overview of Job Duties

The job of liaising between First Nations band councils and school administrators, while also providing direct support services to students is no small order, so as you can imagine there are several dozen duties and tasks for which First Nations education coordinators are responsible. 


To give you an idea of the breadth and variety of responsibilities involved in this profession, we’ve listed a few below, that cover many different aspects of their work: 


• Assisting in developing a First Nations educational orientation for relevant school district staff

• Assisting with the evaluation of current First Nations education programs and services

• Assisting in monitoring the attendance of First Nations students within the school district

• Developing, coordinating and organizing First Nations educational opportunities and experiences for students throughout the district

• Assisting with strategic planning sessions specific to education

• Working with related committees and staff as required

• Keeping all stakeholders informed of all current legal, regulatory or policy changes with regard to education (provincial/state, federal and band governments)

• Traveling when required to liaise with external agencies and schools, in particular, school district principals, vice principals, First Nations support workers, teachers and other stakeholders

• Traveling when required with band youth to provide knowledge and life experience by touring universities and possibly taking youth on a trip overseas

• Attending education board meetings to discuss progress and planning

• Providing guidance to and supporting students/parents to understand the public education process

• Working with parents (by request) to improve educational outcomes for students 

• Providing support to students to ensure successful completion of post-secondary studies 

• Meeting with tribal council finance department to deal with students' financial requirements, issues and concerns as required

• Assisting in ensuring that all tribal council education policies are reviewed and updated annually or as required

• Developing and launching a tutoring program for K-12 students, and providing direct tutoring support to any students that are struggling or need extra help





How Much Do They Earn?

First Nations Education Coordinator Salary - United States: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the ‘Instructional Coordinators’ occupational group (a closely related occupational group) is $64,450 per year (May, 2018 figures). The lowest 10% of salaries in the group were at or below $36,360, and the highest 10% were at or above $102,200 per year.


Please Note: The salary level of First Nations education coordinators can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• Their level of education and experience

• The size, type and budget of their employer

• Their wage and salary negotiating abilities 

• The region in which they work

• The scope of responsibilities involved in their job



Who Employs First Nations Education Coordinators?

First Nations education coordinators are typically employed by First Nations band councils. They are also employed with private First Nations-run schools and colleges, as well as various non-profit organizations with operations related to First Nations education. 


First Nations education coordinators can also be employed by organizations that are not run by First Nations peoples and councils, most commonly colleges and universities, and non-profit organizations, and possibly under the title of 'First Nations Education Outreach Coordinator".



First Nations Education Coordinator Jobs

Although job opportunities in this field are infrequently posted online, from time to time they will be. Have a look below to see if there’s anything listed in your area.



Is This a Good Career Choice for You?

By now you should have a good sense of what First Nations education coordinators do for a living, and what you’ll need to become one. 


However, you’ll also need to be a good fit for the work, and vice-versa. If you’re going to be effective and have success in this line of work, you’ll need to have the following personal traits and professional ambitions:


• You have a passion for working with students of all ages in a First Nations environment

• You’re interested in an immersive career that helps students reach their goals, while strengthening a community 

• You’re willing to travel within Canada and the United States, and possibly overseas

• You’re willing to work late, or on your days off, in order to attend meetings and accomplish key tasks

• You have the ability to take initiative and maintain tact and diplomacy 

• You’re a team player who is cooperative, service oriented, with great problem solving skills 

• You can maintain a high standard of confidentiality on all matters

• You’re able to treat all band council members, students, community members and education administrators with fairness and respect

• If you’re a non-Indigenous candidate, you can to demonstrate cross cultural competency, and a willingness to learn about Indigenous cultures, communities, customs, practices, and communication styles



Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are occupational guides in our database for careers that are similar in nature to “First Nations education coordinator”, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities:


Community Education Officer

• Community Involvement Animator

• Education Coordinator

• Environmental Education Officer

• International Student Advisor



References for This Career Guide

Please consult the following resources to learn more about what it takes to become a First Nations education coordinator, and other details of the profession:


Services:Education Coordinator.” Alison Green (n.d.). Simpcw First Nation. Retrieved July 16, 2019.

Information:Education.” (n.d.). Fort Nelson First Nation. Retrieved July 16, 2019.

Occupational Employment Statistics:Instructional Coordinators.” (June 18, 2019). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved July 16, 2019.


Please Note: Some of the information gathered for this career guide was sourced from job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as references. 



Scholarships for Becoming a First Nations Education Coordinator

Scholarships in our system are organized by field of study. The fields that are relevant to this profession are listed below on our "Relevant Areas of Study" section below. Any scholarships found within those fields will be suitable, all of which can be found on our First Nations Studies Scholarships and Educations Scholarships pages.



Relevant Areas of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below will serve as an excellent educational foundation for becoming a First Nations education coordinator. 


Top Banner Image: 
Top Banner Image Title: 
First Nations Education Coordinator