If you are like most people, you may not have even heard of the field of instructional design or have any idea what it is that an instructional designer does. There are only a handful of undergraduate instructional design programs in the U.S., and most of them are relatively new. The truth is, very few people start out with instructional design as their career goal: the vast majority of current instructional designers come to the field from somewhere else.
What Is Instructional Design?
Put simply, instructional design is the practice of creating efficient and effective learning experiences. In turn, an instructional designer invents, conceptualizes or creates pedagogically sound educational products or materials. In recent years, instructional designers have played an integral role in the explosion of learning opportunities delivered online, and the Covid-19 pandemic clearly demonstrated the importance of designing instruction to meet the needs of today’s learners. As a result, the demand for instructional designers continues to grow. According to Inside HigherEd, the field grew between 2004 and 2020 by more than 20 percent, with no indication that demand is slowing.
Are You Ready to Make a Difference?
As an instructional designer, you’ll soon realize how your role can have a positive impact on society. Informed by theory and research, instructional designers build intentional learning environments to support a variety of individuals in reaching identified learning goals. When learning improves, learners and communities improve, and that’s a benefit that everyone can appreciate.
What Does It Take to Become an Instructional Designer?
Creativity, accuracy and a general curiosity about “how things work” are some general characteristics of effective instructional designers. If you’re a detail-oriented person who can see how small elements fit into the bigger picture, a career in instructional design could be right for you.
Though not always required, a master’s in instructional design is the standard preferred credential to get started in the field. Here’s where Tiffin University can help. Our Master of Education in Instructional Design is a convenient one-year online program where students are taught by and work alongside the very instructional designers who are building TU’s online programs. This authentic “hands-on” learning experience gives our graduates a clear experience advantage when it comes time to enter the workforce.
What Can You Do with a Master’s in Instructional Design?
Once you’ve earned your degree, you can apply the skills you’ve learned in numerous learning settings and career fields. Not only would you have opportunities in a number of educational contexts, many instructional designers work in corporate settings as well. For example, instructional design career opportunities abound in the fields of healthcare, state and federal government, corporate settings and technology. Depending on where in the country you’re working and what particular job responsibilities you pursue, generally speaking, a career in instructional design is an excellent way to earn a well-paying salary. In 2021, the median annual wage for an instructional designer or instructional coordinator was over $63,000, while instructional design training managers was almost double that. In fact, the need for both roles is expected to grow in excess of 10 percent over the next 10 years.
Are You Ready for a Career Change?
Only you can answer that, but as stated above, most current instructional designers come to the field from somewhere else, and employers sometimes seek out instructional designers with knowledge in a particular field such as medical, marketing, sales, law enforcement or education.
Are you creative and enjoy the education experience but don’t necessarily want to teach? Perhaps you enjoy learning and want to be part of a team that improves the learning experience for others. A rewarding career in instructional design allows you to showcase your creativity and talents, and starting pay for the field is pretty good, too.
It’s not uncommon to make the leap from teacher to instructional designer. Most educators already possess basic instructional design qualifications such as lesson planning, along with analytical, technological and communication skills. For many reasons, the industry is seeing a spike in teachers making a career move to becoming an instructional designer.
How Can I Get Started?
Earning a master’s in instructional design at Tiffin University is a great way to prepare you to get a head start on a well-paying career. With guidance from industry professionals and the chance to receive real-world experience, you’ll not only develop the skill sets needed, but you’ll be prepared to enter a dynamic and growing industry.
Earning an online masters in instructional design provides even more flexibility for a demanding schedule. TU’s program helps students earn instructional design qualifications with the added bonus of flexible start dates and a structure that accommodates learning at different speeds as this program can be completed in as little as one year.
To take the first step in earning your master’s in instructional design, visit Tiffin University’s M.Ed. in Instructional Design page. There, you can see a sample course load, schedule an info session or start the application process.