5 Growing Careers in Instructional Design

5 Growing Careers in Instructional Design

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From higher education to the corporate world, instructional design represents an exciting area of opportunity for those who are equally passionate about learning and technology. Today’s top instructional design jobs draw on the power of cutting-edge solutions to deliver engaging and convenient training options that appeal to all types of learners. These solutions must be easy to access and navigate but also capable of conveying complicated information and delivering specific learning outcomes.

Given the inherent challenges of instructional design, dedicated training is crucial. The most successful professionals understand modern learning theory but also know how to implement these insights in the form of educational technology. A variety of positions incorporate both technical and theoretical elements to deliver impressive results within several industries and niches.

Are you interested in instructional design but not quite sure how a targeted degree can help you find work? Keep reading to discover a variety of promising instructional design jobs:

Instructional Designer

The role of an instructional designer can look dramatically different depending on where these professionals are employed—and in what capacity. Many instructional designers work in K-12 and higher ed, but the role is also common at the corporate level. Both instructional areas hold unique challenges and opportunities.

Corporate instructional designers may be called upon in a variety of industries to assist with complicated training initiatives. They’re increasingly common in banking, health care, and manufacturing. Their work can encompass everything from creating industry-relevant module storyboards to coordinating video production.

In higher education, instructional designers are responsible for implementing digital learning solutions that help today’s students master complicated material both through online portals and in lecture halls. While most college-oriented instructional designers primarily work with faculty, they regard students as their final audience.

Because instructional designers work in such a diverse range of environments, their pay varies considerably based on industry and geographic region. Salary insight is available from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, which does not provide specific data for instructional designers, but rather, references ‘training and development specialists’ and ‘instructional coordinators.’

According to BLS data, development specialists working in the business world earned a median $61,570 per year as of 2021, compared to an annual $63,740 for instructional coordinators. Both positions hold a better than average job outlook between 2021 and 2031 with training and development specialists, in particular, expected to see many new job opportunities in the next several years.

Instructional Technology Specialist

Instructional design professionals who prefer the technical aspects of this niche can often find work as instructional technology specialists. These experts hone in on the technical aspects of implementing digital learning solutions. Many are responsible for researching emerging technologies to determine which options can potentially be implemented within online learning systems.

Specialists may also be called upon to develop training content to help education and management professionals implement advanced technological solutions. Many work with teams that include project managers, curriculum developers, and other personnel.

Data collected by PayScale suggests that the average instructional technology specialist earns an annual salary of $52,311. Compensation can vary based on experience and work environment. This job is expected to see greater demand in the near future as a variety of institutions strive to implement cutting-edge solutions for remote learning.

Curriculum Developer

A background in instructional design can prepare professionals for the role of curriculum development. The two positions hold several similarities. Occasionally, these job titles are even used interchangeably.

In general, instructional design is delivery or process-oriented, while curriculum development is content-oriented. The curriculum developer determines what, exactly, will be included in educational materials or programs, while instructional designers determine how that information will be conveyed.

While curriculum development requires some element of technical ability, it tends to focus more on academic content and options for meeting overarching learning objectives. For this reason, many former teachers or administrators find themselves transitioning into this field. Instructional designers who prefer the content-oriented aspects of their work may also find themselves gravitating towards curriculum development.

Data from PayScale highlights average annual earnings of $63,032 for curriculum developers. This position also holds numerous opportunities for advancement. With a few years of experience, it’s possible to take a step up into curriculum development management, which can command an even higher salary.

Instructional Design Manager

With the right degree and a few years of success in entry-level instructional design, it’s possible to advance to the important role of instructional design manager. These high-level professionals oversee teams of instructional designers, curriculum developers, and other employees. They may also act as liaisons between management and workers or, if employed in higher ed, between administration and instructors.

Pay can vary considerably for instructional design managers. A lot depends on the size of the teams they’re responsible for overseeing—and whether they’re employed by colleges or serve corporate entities. PayScale reveals average annual wages of $80,604 with many talented instructional design managers capable of earning over six figures.

Director of Educational Technology

Another exciting management option for instructional design experts, this position shifts the focus from developing technologies and curriculums to administering them in school districts or college environments. These professionals select and manage a variety of technological resources, including everything from G Suite to Canvas LMS. These and other tech solutions should be implemented with the long-term goal of achieving the school or district’s strategic academic plans.

Success in this multi-disciplinary role is most likely for those with diverse experience in teaching, curriculum design, project management, and education administration. Because competent EdTech professionals are in such high demand, this type of position can command impressive earning potential. According to PayScale, this job often offers an average annual salary of $75,000.

Whether you envision yourself working in higher ed or developing tech-oriented training initiatives for corporations, an instructional design degree could prepare you for an exciting career with excellent earning potential. This is your opportunity to drive the impressive learning outcomes of tomorrow.

Johnson & Wales University’s College of Professional offers a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. For more information, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

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