Instructional technology is an emerging field that promotes interaction between student and subject matter through a range of tools including computers, interactive media and the Internet. A fully online graduate certificate in the field may provide transfer credits applicable toward an advanced degree such as a Master of Science in Education. These programs are available at colleges and universities.
To obtain an online graduate certificate in the field, students may have to be certified teachers in the state where the host college or university is located. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited school, generally with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above; applicants with lower GPAs may have to pass further tests. Once admitted, students may have up to five to seven years to complete the program, but certificates usually take only around a year to earn with continuous enrollment.
The program focuses on existing learning tools, as well as instructional design, and the software needed to create new or custom-made tools. Course subjects may include:
- Computer Skills
- Distance Learning
- Educational Diagnostics
- Qualitative Assessment of Instruction
- Evaluation of Instructional Tools
- Management and Leadership in Educational Technology
Information & Requirements
Distance learning certificate programs in instructional technology can typically be completed in a fully online format. Students access virtual classrooms to retrieve assignments, view lectures and communicate with classmates or instructors. Discussion forums, chat rooms and web conferencing programs are common methods of interaction.
Instructional technologists typically oversee the use of technology in online educational or training programs at schools, from elementary campuses through postsecondary institutions. It is their job to evaluate and improve the use of technology in the classroom. In addition to schools, instructional technologists may also find positions in corporate training departments, educational publishing companies, and educational software design firms. As of October 2016, the median salary for instructional technologists was $52,202, according to PayScale.com (payscale.com).
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) included instructional technologists in the job category of instructional coordinators, which share similar responsibilities. Projected job growth for instructional coordinators is 7% (about average) for the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). Additionally, instructional coordinators earned a median annual salary of $62,270 as of May 2015, according to the BLS.
Online graduate certificate programs in instructional technology are highly interdisciplinary, allowing experienced teachers to improve their computer skills and educational expertise so that they can direct their careers toward bringing educational software and other technologies into the classroom.