Businesses need people who can design instructional materials for employees to train them in the things they need to know about their jobs. Instructional design is the art and science of creating instructional materials that meet certain educational objectives, and many businesses hire people who can create these materials for their employees.
How Do I Get an Instructional Design Degree?
Instructional design degrees are usually offered through a college’s education department. Instructional design is a pathway that includes courses in the way people learn as well as how to use technology and other resources to design instructional activities. A four-year degree or a master’s degree in instructional design will offer courses that teach these skills as well as content classes in various areas. If you are interested in business instructional design as opposed to instructional design for school students, you might want to take a minor in business or a related field, as well. Merging these two fields can provide you a very good skill for designing instructional materials for businesses.
How Much Do Instructional Designers Earn?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, instructional coordinators who work in school systems earn a median annual salary of $58,830. However, training and development managers for large corporations earn a median annual salary of $89,710, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The difference between these two median salaries reflects the scale of pay along which most instructional designers will fall. Your individual salary will depend on several factors, including the size of the company for which you work, your years of experience, and the amount of work you do for a company.
What Is the Job Outlook for Instructional Designers?
The job opportunities for corporate trainers are expected to grow by about 15 percent over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the job opportunities for educational trainers who work in school systems is expected to grow by about 20 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There may be more opportunity for instructional designers in public school systems, even though the pay is slightly less than in the corporate world. It is often desirable to gain some experience in a job before you apply for your “dream job,” so a job working in the school system may be a stepping stone to a better-paying corporate job at some point. You may also combine the two fields by becoming an educational trainer or instructional designer for a company that serves school systems.
How Do I Become an Instructional Designer?
The first step in becoming an instructional designer is to take a four-year degree or a master’s degree in instructional design from an accredited school. Although there are no certification exams specifically for instructional designers for corporations, you can seek accreditation as an instructional designer for the public school system by taking your state’s exam for teaching certification as an administrator or instructional designer, depending on what is offered.
You can also pursue an alternative route by working as an intern while in college at a corporation and gaining experience as an instructional designer for that industry. It is usually a desirable thing to have previous work experience on your resume when you apply for an instructional design job with a large company. You could also intern in human resources and other areas that are related to instructional design. Fortunately, there is a great deal of cross-over between instructional design and other areas of work such as human resources, corporate training, and computer design and development.
Becoming an instructional designer may mean forging your own career path. No two instructional designers do exactly the same job, so this is a field in which you can truly create your own “dream job.” However, that process may require some hard work in basic, entry-level jobs before you finally land the job you really want.