Master's degrees, doctoral degrees and education specialist certificates in instructional technology may be earned in both online and traditional settings. These programs are designed primarily for individuals employed in traditional school settings, though business and government workers may find educational options that are relevant to their own industries. Applicants are generally expected to have teaching experience or a background in education administration. Some programs include internships or teaching assistantships.
Master's Degree in Instructional Technology
Students seeking a master's degree in instructional technology can earn either a Master of Science or Master of Education degree. A master's program is designed for professional teachers and can be used in many academic settings, such as traditional and online classrooms, media labs and administration. Some schools may follow a set curriculum, while others allow students to specialize the program with a concentration in business, technology coordination or systems technologist. Many schools offer these master's programs online.
Applicants of a master's program must typically have a bachelor's degree . Experience, whether work-related or academic, is generally preferred. Some schools may require a graduate school entrance or assessment examinations. Although some programs are offered through distance learning, some schools only accept new students once a year.
Instructional technology programs cover a wide variety of application as well as industry-specific education. Students participate in research, course development and instructional delivery. Programs may require completion of a comprehensive portfolio and examination, as well as an original thesis project. Some topics of study include:
- Developing curricula
- Educational technology
- Business applications
- Internet teaching
- Research methodology
Education Specialist Certificate in Instructional Technology
Students may earn an education specialist (Ed.S.) certificate in instructional technology, receiving training to turn educational theory into application. Programs offer focused studies tailored to the student's interested study area. Ed.S. program applicants with a master's degree may decrease educational requirements. Education specialist programs in instructional technology are designed for academic educators with extensive teaching experience.
Instructional technology programs cover a range of studies, including teaching research, technological media and leadership skills. Students may be required to attend an internship, present original research or perform independent study. Program topics may include:
- Instructional video creation
- Educational software
- Learning processes
- Multicultural curricula
- Human resources and learning
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Doctor of Education in Instructional Technology
Doctoral programs focus mainly on research for practical application of technology in an academic and business environments. Schools offer part-time and full-time options, as well as distance and online education. Programs often include specialization tracks, such as curriculum development, online teaching or technology integration. Doctoral students may frequently participate in teaching assistantships to gain experience and help finance their education.
Doctoral candidates must usually have a master's degree in education or a relevant field. Students entering a doctoral program are normally expected, and may be required, to have teaching or administrative experience. Some programs offer limited admissions, and doctoral candidates with published research, educational technology achievements and extensive research studies may influence an admissions committee.
Programs are designed to be flexible to meet student's time needs and educational goals. Students may add courses as desired, though specific core courses are required. The degree culminates in a final portfolio, a series of exams and a final dissertation. Some topics students may study include:
- Researching curriculum design
- Sociocultural educational needs
- Research statistics
- Learning effects of technology
- Exploring and appraising research
The training offered in an Ed.S. program prepares graduates for career advancement into leadership and administrative positions in corporate and academic settings, as well as private and governmental agencies. Possible job titles include:
- Instructional media designer
- Educational support coordinator
- Instructional technology assistant dean
- Academic technology director
Graduates of a master's program may choose to work in academia as teachers or administration professionals, or branch out into corporate or government environments. A few possible job titles may include:
- Management training specialist
- Media center coordinator
- Internet course creator
- School library manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Instructional technology is used in a number of educational and business positions having to do with training and technological implementation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipated job growth for instructional coordinators should be 7%, as fast as the average for all occupations, between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). In 2015, the BLS reported the median annual salary for instructional coordinators was $62,270.
A graduate degree or certificate in instructional technology provides a way into a specialized career field. Graduates gain a background in developing curricula, research methodology, educational technology and distance education. Successful program graduates often enter into jobs such as instructional media designers, management training specialists, educational support coordinators, and media center coordinators, among others.