What Is an Instructional Technology Specialist?

Research what it takes to become an instructional technology specialist. Learn about job duties, education requirements and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Instructional Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Instructional Technology Specialist?

Instructional technology specialists work in educational centers where additional technological training and guidance may be needed. These individuals are usually experts in the field and have a significant background in various areas of technology. Their duties vary according to the size of the center but some responsibilities may include maintaining network functionality, developing technology related curriculum, and being a resource for all necessary parties.

Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Degree Required Associate's or bachelor's degree; master's preferred in academic settings
Education Field of Study Computer science or technology-related field; library or information science for master's degrees
Key Responsibilities Monitor and manage condition of technology equipment, install updates, troubleshoot issues, oversee regular maintenance procedures
Job Growth (2014-2024) 12% (for all computer support specialists)*
Median Salary (2015) $51,470 (for all computer support specialists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does an Instructional Technology Specialist Do?

In a library or a school, instructional technology specialists update databases, social media and Web pages. They also monitor new technological developments and help train faculty and staff on new audio/visual equipment. They provide technical support, assistance, training and tutoring on new computer software, hardware and related equipment. These specialists may also be called upon to train students on media center equipment, fix technical problems and assist in operations during screenings, multimedia lectures and special events.

What Would My Responsibilities Include?

As an instructional technology specialist, you would provide administrative support by managing and monitoring various technology equipment, installing upgrades, troubleshooting, and monitoring regular maintenance procedures. This might include overseeing the website and updating social networks and social media presence, in addition to monitoring listservs, blogs and websites for upgrades and emerging technologies. You might also be responsible for updating online databases for your educational centers, libraries or school.

Some instructional technology specialists work in the classroom where they're responsible for providing faculty and students with tech support services. This means assisting faculty and staff with new classroom technology by developing tutorials, workshops and training sessions on new hardware and software, audio, video and graphics instruments.

What Skills Do I Need?

You'll need knowledge of and experience with a number of software and hardware programs that are used in a professional and academic environment. This includes video, audio and graphic design software, such as Photoshop, Flash, iMovie and Dreamweaver.

In order to work with a variety of media, video and computer technologies, you must not only have wide experience with a number of different technologies and programs, but you must also possess some teaching experience. To help faculty and students address specific technology problems, you'll need strong research, analytical and problem-solving skills. You'll also need the ability to make quick decisions, multitask and communicate well, both orally and in writing.

What Kind of a Degree Do I Need?

Technology specialists who want to work in an academic setting usually need an advanced degree in computer science or a technology-related field. In some cases, substantial professional experience may substitute for a degree; however, an associate's or a bachelor's degree in computer science or technology-related field is required, according to April 2011 job postings from Monster.com. Technology specialists who desire to work in a library setting may also need an accredited Master of Library Science or Master of Information Science degree.

How Much Will I Make?

Although statistics for instructional technology specialists weren't specifically available, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that jobs for computer support specialists were projected to rise 12% between 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). As of January 2017, the 10th to 90th percentile of instructional technology specialists were making from $36,938-$73,183 a year, reports PayScale.com

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instructional technology specialist roles are comprised of two main functions: instruction and technology. Those who enjoy the instructional aspect and working with students could also work as classroom teachers on many levels, but may need a master's degrees. Librarians also need a master's degree and fill a similar role as technology specialists but in a different environment. They help people perform research and locate information in a number of different library settings. If the technology side is of more interest, programmers design code that allow computers to function properly and must have a bachelor's degree.

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