Instructional design involves developing instructional materials that others can easily understand. It also requires knowing how to best deliver and implement the courses, manuals, and tutorials you've created so they provide the greatest level of impact possible.
But what exactly can you do with a master's degree in instructional design (MSID)? What career tracks exist for those with this graduate degree? Here are just a few options to consider.
Instructional Designer and Developer
Now is a good time to become an instructional designer as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that this category of jobs—which it categorizes under instructional coordinators—is expected to grow by 11 percent over the course of the next few years. This equates to 17,200 more positions by the year 2026.
Use your MSID to work as an instructional designer and your duties will generally include:
- Curriculum development and implementation
- Planning and conducting trainings
- Analyzing test data, and
- Making recommendations regarding which educational materials will be used.
The average annual pay for this role is $64,450 per year, according to the BLS.
Curriculum Specialist or Coordinator
Another option is to become a curriculum specialist or coordinator. In this position, you are responsible for setting the guidelines other educators must follow when creating their lesson plans. This involves evaluating current teaching methods to see which ones are producing the desired results and which ones need to be modified to become more effective.
Salary.com reports that the average salary of curriculum specialists in the U.S. is around $74,641 annually. However, this number depends on a variety of factors ranging from your experience to your education to your additional skills.
Director of Learning Strategies
Several organizations and institutions also hire candidates who have a master's in instructional design to act as their director of learning strategies. This position is also sometimes called "director of learning and development" or "content or learning products director."
Regardless of the actual title, as a director, your duties would include:
- Creating programs and curriculum
- Strategizing about curriculum implementation and delivery
- Ensuring compliance with all regulatory requirements, and
- Collaborating with other partners, leaders, and teams.
You may also be tasked with managing a budget to cover all of the agency's learning programs.
Learning and Development Project Manager
You can also take your master's in instructional design and use it to work as a project manager for learning-based projects. This is a good career track for those who have a passion for developing training and educational materials, but also enjoy planning and implementing projects and seeing them through from start to finish.
The median base salary for this position, according to Glassdoor, is $74,866 per year, with the low end of the salary range starting at $56,000 annually and those at the high end earning wages of $99,000 per year or more.
If you'd like to work in instructional design, yet own your own business (versus working for an educational institution or another business), taking the educational consultant route may be a good option for you.
In this role, you would be tasked with evaluating the organization's current policies, testing procedures (and results), and any other related factors to better advise both the educators and the administrators about what is working well and what areas need improvement. From there, you would also work with them to make any necessary changes to get them closer to their goals.
Professor in Instructional Design
Perhaps you have the heart of a teacher and want to use your education and experience as an instructional designer to hone the passion and skills of future designers. In this case, why not become a college-level professor who teaches instructional design?
Just imagine what would happen if you're given the opportunity to help students learn more about instructional design – past, present, and future. Picture the smiles on their faces as you teach them what they need to know to turn theory into practice, further enhancing their love of the field.
Chief Learning Officer
If your ultimate goal is to be a C-suite executive, becoming a chief learning officer (CLO) could be the perfect career track for you. Top CLO explains that there are certain traits that make a good CLO. These include being adept at teaching, being a catalyst for change, a good reader of people, and have the ability to identify other's talents.
Salary.com shares that the average wage for a CLO is $192,700 per year. However, the actual range is from $160,100 annually to $234,800. Who could possibly pass up this lucrative role?
Saint Leo's Master's in Instructional Design
If any of these career options spark your interest, Saint Leo University offers a master's in instructional design. With courses such as e-Learning Design, Program Evaluation, and Diffusion and Adoption of Innovations: Change Management, you'll gain the skills and knowledge required to work in the instructional design field.
And one of the best things about this master's-level program is that it is available online. This enables you to pursue your degree from the comfort of your home and at a time that is most convenient for you. How's that for a great master's in instructional design program?