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Career Growth for Instructional Designers

Aug 19, 2018

Instructional designers may be well-poised to grow their careers in education as an instructional technologist or curriculum director, a training and development manager or in the consulting field as an instructional design consultant.

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Career Growth Opportunities for Instructional Designers

Instructional designers play an important role in developing learning programs for school-aged children, colleges, and adult learning programs. They must have excellent knowledge of the education and training needs of a range of populations, and be able to design programs and instructional materials in a variety of styles to meet those needs. After working in the field, some instructional designers may wish to advance their career. They might consider specializing in using technology to increase learning as an educational technologist, addressing adult learning needs in industry as a training and development manager, working for a school system as a curriculum director, or working with a range of professionals as an instructional design consultant. Some information regarding this range of careers is presented here.

Job Title Median Salary (2018) Job Growth (2016-2026)* Education or Experience
Instructional Technologist $67,047*** 11% (education, training and library workers, all other) Bachelor's degree and experience
Training and Development Manager $73,660** 11% (training and development specialists) Bachelor's degree and related experience
Curriculum Director $73,089** 11% (instructional coordinators) Master's degree and certification
Instructional Design Consultant $74,720** 11% (education, training and library workers, all other) Bachelor's degree and related experience

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com, ***Glassdoor.com

Career Information

Instructional Technologist

Instructional designers must be on the cutting edge of new technologies used in instructional design. Some may wish to focus and promote their career as an instructional technologist. These professionals analyze, evaluate and develop technological tools to enhance learning. They work with teachers or professors to instruct them regarding ways technology can enhance the courses they are teaching, and they're familiar with best practices in the use of educational technology. Some may develop on-line courses. They typically have a minimum of a bachelor's degree and experience in instructional technology, however a master's in instructional technology may make candidates more appealing to employers.

Training and Development Manager

Some instructional designers work to create training programs for adults, so they may wish to grow their career as a training and development manager. These professionals typically work for the human resources departments at a range of firms. They create training materials and provide seminars or one-on-one coaching to groups or individuals regarding new initiatives, company policies, or areas in need of development. They also evaluate the effectiveness of the programs offered. Training and development managers typically have a minimum of a bachelor's degree and experience in human resources or instructional design.

Curriculum Director

Instructional designers play an important role in the creation of K-12 program curriculum. Those instructional designers that wish to work more directly in the school systems might consider a role as a curriculum director. Curriculum directors work in schools to choose the research-based curriculum that teachers will use, and they develop long-term plans for school improvement. They will provide additional instructional resources and work with groups of or individual teachers to develop their effectiveness. Curriculum directors review data derived from standardized and curriculum-based assessments to ensure that students are meeting benchmarks. A curriculum director will typically have a master's degree in education and hold teaching credentials for the state where they are working.

Instructional Design Consultant

Instructional designers may wish to experience a wider range of projects and development opportunities. So, they could consider a role as an instructional design consultant. Consultants serve as a liaison between teachers, designers, and companies to promote the best instructional design of written and on-line materials. They ensure that the educational materials produced meet curricular and pedagogical needs of clients. Instructional design consultants have a minimum of a bachelor's degree and extensive experience in instructional design. A master's degree may be beneficial within the job search for these positions.

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