Certified Instructional Designer: Certification and Career Facts

Instructional designers develop new curricula that utilizes the latest technology. Find out about education and certification requirements, and get information on the career outlook for instructional designers. Schools offering Instructional Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

There is no standardized certification specifically for instructional designers. However, those who work in the public school system may need to hold a license. You can find a number of programs in this field available on-campus and online.

Program Options Bachelor of Science in Instructional Design and Technology, Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design, Master of Education or Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology
Certification or Licensing Licensing may be required for employment in the public schools
Salary $63,750 median as of May 2017 (for instructional coordinators)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do Instructional Designers Need To Be Certified?

If you work as an instructional designer for corporations or the government, you don't need to be licensed or certified. However, licensing may be required if you provide services to or are employed by a public school, and the licensing requirements vary by state. You might need to be licensed as a teacher or an education administrator.

What Education Do I Need To Become An Instructional Designer?

You'll typically need to obtain a master's degree in education if you plan to work in a school setting. You can generally complete the program in two years and should focus your studies on curriculum development. If you already have a degree and teaching license or want to work outside of the education system, you can earn a graduate certificate in instructional design. These programs typically take 6 to 12 months and might offer concentrations in school curricula development or corporate training. A Master of Education in Instructional Design might be an available option.

Should I Consider a Doctoral Program?

If you'd like a research, administrative or teaching career at the university level, you'll need to earn a Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Education. You can design doctoral studies around a particular area of interest, such as interconnectivity, multimedia development and instructional design. Many graduate programs require internships and teaching assistantships in addition to coursework and research projects.

What Will I Learn?

You can usually direct your program courses or electives to center on instructional design and curricula development. You'll learn how to improve teaching techniques and student learning by designing effective instruction and integrating technology. You could be required to complete a project or thesis combining research and practical experience. You'll also learn about the following areas of interest:

  • Online instruction
  • Multimedia presentations
  • Video simulations
  • Games
  • Communication
  • Psychology
  • Behavior analysis
  • Human development
  • Memory
  • Educational psychology
  • Learning and cognition
  • Instructional strategies

Can I Earn My Degree Online?

Master's degree and graduate certificate programs are commonly found online. You'll usually follow the same syllabus as on-campus programs. Though many schools provide materials on the Internet to access at your convenience, you might need to participate in real-time, virtual classrooms on an instructor's schedule. You might need to attend some on-campus lessons if experience or individual evaluation is required for the program.

What is the Career Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), career opportunities for instructional coordinators are expected to increase 11% from 2016-2026 (www.bls.gov). The BLS stated that the increase in demand would reflect the need to develop new curricula that integrate technology. The BLS further reported that favorable career opportunities would exist within schools, government or private industry.

Additionally, you could fill a growing need to instruct teachers on how to use technology in the classroom. Job growth for this avenue was expected to be fueled by a rising number of adults returning to school, increased attention to students with special needs and more foreign-speaking students learning English. The best job opportunities were expected in the areas of math, science and reading.

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:

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