How Do I Become an Instructional Designer?

Explore the career requirements for an instructional designer. Get the facts about job duties, potential salary and career outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Instructional Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Instructional Designer?

Instructional designers are also known as instructional coordinators, K-12 course developers, or curriculum specialists. Their job is to determine what concepts and skills should be taught in each subject at each grade level. They assess curriculum guidelines and revise them as needed to improve the instruction. They also recommend materials to use to teach the curriculum. As part of their duties they may have training workshops with school administrators and teachers to instruct them on teaching strategies and techniques and to review the curriculum guidelines. Their objective is to assist teachers so that they can successfully teach the curriculum to their students.

Degree Required Master's degree, usually Master of Science or Master of Education
Education Field of Study Instructional design
Key Responsibilities Create learning materials; assess plans already in place; make recommendations for improvements
Licensure Teaching or education administrator license required in public schools
Job Growth (2014-2024) 7% for instructional coordinators*
Median Salary (2015) $62,270 for instructional coordinators*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need as an Instructional Designer?

To work as an instructional designer, you must have a graduate degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Colleges offer a Master of Science and Master of Education degrees in instructional design for individuals who have a bachelor's degree and teaching license. These degrees are commonly offered online and through the traditional in-class delivery method. You can expect to study the process of determining student needs and strategies to meet those needs. Classes teach you to look at educational materials and determine if those items fit the needs of students in your classes.

You also learn to analyze educational materials, select media for use in classrooms, and create interactive lessons for students. A Master of Education may be ideal if you plan to work in education and want to help teachers use technology to shape curricula in schools. If you plan to work in business or government and create technology-supported curricula, a Master of Science in Instructional Design is the degree for you.

What Are My Duties?

As an instructional designer, you would be responsible for creating learning materials for classrooms and training teachers to use technology. You'll conduct assessments of current instruction plans, and make recommendations on how to design courses, integrate technology and instruct students.

What Is the Job Salary and Career Outlook?

The BLS notes that from 2014-2024, the number of instructional designers or instructional coordinators is expected to increase by 7%, although that growth may be limited by budget constraints. According to the BLS, most instructional coordinators earned between $35,950 and $97,770 per year as of 2015. Experience may have an impact on how much you may earn.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

High school teachers, principals and special education teachers all share aspects of their work with instructional designers. They are all involved in establishing a positive learning environment for students. They are all also responsible for following curriculum guidelines and ensuring the appropriate curriculum is used in their class or school. High school and special education teachers need at least a bachelor's degree, which school principals need at least a master's degree. Licensure is required for all of these roles as well.

High school teachers have to develop lesson plans based on the curriculum guidelines. Special education teachers may need to modify the curriculum based on the needs of their students; for each student on an individual education plan they typically create a tailored set of courses. Principals are responsible for ensuring their teachers have the correct curriculum materials and that they understand how to teach the content to their students. They may ask instructional designers to hold workshops or teacher training sessions as well.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »