Instructional design is an eclectic and specialized field built on unique skill sets used to create better learning experiences and materials. Instructional designers (IDs) have come from wide-ranging backgrounds such as art, computer science, business management, video production, technical writing, foreign languages, mathematics, philosophy, and teacher education.
Successful IDs possess expertise in several key areas such as learning theories and principles, training paradigms, multimedia production, project management, program evaluation, and various web technologies. Another important trait of IDs is the capacity to understand instructional/learning design as an evolving field and assimilate other skills and concepts as they emerge.
With such a dynamic skillset, instructional designers work in many diverse fields such as large corporations, higher education, traditional manufacturing environments, positions within state and national governments, nonprofit organizations, as well as military and military/government contractors. Additionally, the latest trends suggest instructional designers are increasingly self-employed on a freelance or contract basis.
Job prospects are promising. According to BLS, jobs such as Instructional Coordinators, are poised to grow 6% from 2019 to 2029. Additionally, BLS projects Training and Development Specialists, another career for IDs to grow 9% – faster than average – within the same time period.
Whether or not you choose to earn a master’s degree after earning your bachelor’s is highly dependent on your field and career goals. In many fields a master’s degree can increase promotion potential or boost earning power. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median weekly earnings of someone holding a master’s degree in 2021 was $1,574, compared to the average median weekly salary of $1,334 earned by those with a bachelor’s degree. That’s a pay difference of more than 16%.
It’s important to understand that educational requirements and preferences will vary greatly by field and even by organization. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these requirements and preferences to help you stand out from the competition.
People with a master’s degree
*National job opportunities data is based on national medians and figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational outlook handbook.
*Local job opportunities data is based on estimated base pay and figures from Indeed.com.
Instructional designers are responsible for improving learning outcomes in many industries. Think of a field where people need training or enhanced education to excel at their jobs or benefit their organizations. You will find instructional designer (ID) roles behind many of those programs.
Instructional design is evolving quickly as advancing technology and global circumstances change the nature of training and education. The COVID-19 pandemic, for example, has upended many traditional notions about work and learning. Instructional designers are poised to be at the forefront of this and other workplace shifts and adaptations.
Employers expect ID job candidates to possess expertise in several critical areas such as learning theories and principles, training paradigms, multimedia production, project management, program evaluation, and various web technologies. They must also have the capacity to understand instructional design as an evolving field and must assimilate other skills and concepts as they emerge.
The EKU Office of Academic and Career Services is a one-stop shop for all of your career and professional development needs. We offer a variety of services to current online EKU students and alumni to help you with your career development, decision-making and job search.