What Can I Do with an Instructional Design Degree?

Initially created as a means to create a comprehensive training program for soldiers during World War II, instructional design is now used to create education and training programs for schools, agencies and companies. If you're interested in developing materials to help others learn, and you have an aptitude for technology, this field may be for you. Read on to learn about career opportunities for graduates of instructional design programs. Schools offering Instructional Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Instructional Design Defined

Instructional design combines the principals and theories behind communication, psychology and education to best understand the processes by which people learn. As an instructional designer, you come up with the method best suited to educate a particular population. You can draw from over 40 different models in designing a learning program, whether for the employees of a company, students in a school or members of an organization. You also have access to the technological tools needed to create various types of multimedia instructional materials, such as websites and simulations.

Important Facts About Instructional Design

Instructional Coordinators Training and Development Managers
Key Skills Decision making, leadership, communication and analytical skills Critical-thinking, interpersonal, leadership, and decision making skills
Similar Occupations Special education teacher, school/career counselor, school principal Human resources manager, compensation and benefits manager, technical education teacher
Work Environment Usually in an office setting, sometimes traveling to different schools within their district Usually overseeing activities in a regional office or training facility
Work Schedule Full-time, typically without summer breaks Full-time during regular office hours, commonly working overtime

Career Options

Completing a bachelor's degree program in instructional design prepares you for employment as an entry-level designer and developer of websites, interactive multimedia and instructional simulations. You may, however, want to increase your employment opportunities by earning a graduate degree as well; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that professionals in this field typically hold a master's degree (www.bls.gov). Graduates of an instructional design degree program often find work in public education or corporate/organizational settings.

Public Education

Very often, public education professionals in this field are teachers at the K-12 or college level who have gained the necessary instruction. In this area, you could be asked to design curriculum for a broad group of students or for specialized areas of study. In addition, you may be assigned the task of integrating various types of computer technology into a school's overall program. Typical careers include:

  • Curriculum coordinator
  • Information technology specialist
  • Music specialist
  • Instructional design assistant
  • Literature specialist

Individuals who do instructional design in schools may be called instructional coordinators. According to the BLS, demand for these professionals is likely to increase by 11% between 2016 and 2026. The median salary for instructional coordinators in 2018 was $64,450, based on data from the BLS.

Corporate and Organizational Settings

In a business setting, you have the chance to develop training programs for employees of private companies, the military and government agencies. You may also do the same for members of outside organizations, such as non-profits, where some kind of group training is required. As with professionals in educational settings, you may be responsible for incorporating various types of multimedia into the training process. Career options can include:

  • Corporate trainer
  • Learning strategies director
  • Instructional designer
  • Project manager
  • Educational consultant

Instructional designers in corporate and organizational environments may be referred to as training and development managers. The BLS reports employment opportunities in this field may expand at faster than average rate of 10% over the 2016-2026 decade. Figures from the BLS show individuals in this profession earned an average salary of $121,730 in 2018.

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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