This guide will introduce you to what an instructional design position involves, where it stands in the current job market, and what to expect with a career in the field.
Education—especially education related to technology—is the future. With a projected growth rate of approximately 43 percent between 2021 and 2025, now is one of the best times to build a career in education.
However, a career in education doesn’t necessarily mean teaching; other career paths include education administration, consulting, and even instructional design.
But what exactly is an instructional designer? What do they do? This professional focuses on specific educational curriculums to support an organization’s learning environment.
Instructional designers analyze and enhance the faculty’s professional development by incorporating workshops, leveraging tools and technologies, and collaborating with subject matter experts to recommend and introduce new and innovative teaching methods, techniques, and strategies.
Learn more about becoming an instructional designer in this complete career profile.
Instructional Designer Jobs
First things first—what educational requirements or qualifications are needed to get a job as an instructional designer?
Many institutions offer a bachelor’s degree in instructional design. However, many professionals earn degrees in social science, communication, English, and education, begin as teachers and instructors, and eventually move into instructional design.
Learn more about the specifics of an industrial design degree in this complete guide.
Coursework for a degree program in instructional design can include the following:
- Instructional design production
- Evaluation methodology and instrumentation
- Issues in measurement and evaluation
- Evaluation process and recommendation
- Foundations of measurement and evaluation
- Instructional design analysis
- Foundations of instructional design
Although earning a bachelor’s degree in instructional design or a related field (as mentioned above) will suffice, a master’s degree will undoubtedly go a long way. Extending your education in instructional design will position you higher in the pool of applicants. However, according to zippia.com, only 25 percent of instructional designers earned a master’s degree, while 61 percent earned a bachelor’s degree.
Instructional Designer Jobs Outlook
Working in the education field as an instructional designer can be incredibly rewarding as the main focus is improving teaching methods and techniques. It’s an excellent opportunity to make a significant impact on student performance.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 20,000 positions related to instructional designer jobs—and similar positions, such as instructional coordinator—will be available over the next decade.
Furthermore, according to BLS, the job growth for the education industry as a whole will increase by 11 percent through 2030. This is due to the extreme need to improve graduation rates and test scores.
Education is such an important part of human development. Instructional designers help identify gaps in existing curriculums, student engagement, and teaching methods and look for solutions to bridge those gaps. Some solutions involve using various innovative methods, particularly technology, social media, and other digital tools. As a result, the need for an instructional designer will only continue to grow as technology continues to evolve and advance and play a key role in education.
Instructional Designer Salary
Now that you know more about what an instructional designer is and does, what does an annual salary look like?
Of course, many factors determine a professional’s annual salary, such as qualifications, experience, geographic location, and organization type. According to ZipRecruiter, here are the average annual salary ranges for different instructional designer positions:
- Entry-level Instructional Designer – $50,000 – $60,000
- Mid-level Instructional Designer – $75,000 – $85,000
- Senior-level Instructional Designer – $95,000 – $105,000
Most instructional designers work on-site alongside teachers, professors, company executives, and school board members, depending on your role. In many cases, they spend a lot of time in the classroom or participating in live training sessions. However, there are opportunities to work remotely or in a hybrid position.
Instructional Designer Job Descriptions
For many professionals who are interested in pursuing a career in instructional design, here are some other related jobs:
- Academic Support Coordinator ($55,000 – $60,000): The Academic Support Specialist is responsible for intervening when a student or group of students may be at academic risk of falling behind in their coursework. An Academic Support Specialist is also an important connection that links the students, parents, and guardians to the rest of the faculty and school district.
- Curriculum Developer ($70,000 – $80,000): The Curriculum Developer, also known as a Curriculum Coordinator, focuses on the educational organization and institution accountability and efficacy. This role involves conducting assessments to make training recommendations and determine areas of improvement for teachers, administrators, and other faculty to meet local and state educational standards and further develop an effective educational environment.
- Educational Technologist ($60,000 – $70,000): The Educational Technologist works with faculty to deliver new technology to support students’ learning needs. They analyze existing teaching methods utilizing technology and introduce new or alternative digital tools, such as learning management systems, to improve teaching effectiveness, student engagement, and student retention.
- Director of Organizational Learning and Development ($170,000 – $180,000): This type of role focuses on professional corporate education and training techniques centered around improving the learning initiatives of human organizational capital. The Director of Learning and Development builds, tests, and deploys learning management systems to support an organization’s training programs to onboard new employees and professional development.
Where to Find Instructional Designer Jobs
If you’re looking for a job as an instructional designer, you can certainly find open and available positions on all the major platforms, such as LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Glassdoor. However, like most highly-desired professions, these job boards become saturated with job postings and applicants. This makes it difficult to determine which position or company is right for you and get anyone to look at your portfolio.
However, there are a few resources that will help you narrow down the search results:
- elearningindustry.com – eLearning Industry is more than a job board. This site includes articles, press releases, webinars, events, and newsletters to help you stay up-to-date with industry news and trends.
- SchoolSpring.com – Designed more for applicants looking for traditional teaching and instructor positions, this is another excellent resource for browsing open educational positions at various educational institutions.
- Instructional Design CENTRAL – Instructional Design CENTRAL is a beneficial resource for aspiring instructional design professionals. Along with its industry-specific job board, this site also includes other content and information to help you begin your career as an instructional designer.
- idjobboard.com – This private job board is a great way to ensure you’re part of a particular group of applicants. With the ability to filter your job requirements, you can search for a position that is exactly what you’re looking for and relevant to your experience and physical location.
Instructional Designer FAQs
An instructional designer focuses on specific educational curricula to ensure they support the development of an organization’s learning environment. They analyze and enhance the faculty’s professional development by incorporating workshops, leveraging tools and technologies, and collaborating with subject matter experts to recommend and introduce new and innovative teaching methods, techniques, and strategies.
Many factors determine a professional’s annual salary, such as qualifications, experience, geographic location, and organization. According to ZipRecruiter, the salary range for an entry-level instructional designer is between $50,000 and $60,000. A mid-level instructional designer’s salary range is $75,000-$85,000, and a senior-level instructional designer’s salary range is between $95,000 and $105,000.
Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in instructional design or a related field is a common requirement for many educational organizations and institutions. Instructional designers also earn degrees in social science, communications, English, and education. Most instructional designers hold a bachelor’s degree in instructional design or a related field. However, earning a master’s degree will put you one step ahead.
Whether you want to work on-site at a public or private school, K-12 or a college or university, or as an independent instructional design consultant, several steps must be completed to land your dream job. To become a successful instructional designer, it is important to: identify a specific focus area, obtain the proper degree or credentials, build a strong portfolio of work, build and expand a professional network, stay updated on all of the industry trends and continually expand your knowledge of instructional design.