If you are considering distance learning, you are already somewhat familiar with instructional design even if you do not know it. Instructional design is the science of developing online coursework and other educational materials accessed remotely by computer. This emerging field is an exciting combination of several interesting disciplines, including writing, graphic design, education, computer science and psychology. An instructional design technician will work with experts in various subjects to translate knowledge into a compact, approachable online format. Instructional designers support student learning outcomes by understanding the ways in which online and adult learners perceive information.
How Much Do Instructional Design Professionals Get Paid With a Degree?
Instructional design is one of the newest areas of specialization in computer technology and the standards that apply to it are still being crafted. As of right now, the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not recognize instructional design. However, the profession does have several communities and associations online and off. Estimates from these sources place the average salary in instructional design around $50,000. New graduates can expect to command a salary around $35,000, and those with several years of experience and relevant software training may make $70,000 or more. Many instructional designers continue to build their credentials in order to transition to team leadership and managerial positions.
What Careers Are Available for an Instructional Design Professional With a Degree?
Virtually all instructional designers work for colleges and universities in the distance learning sector. This is the fastest-growing area of education in the United States today. As a result, it is reasonable to expect that jobs in the field will continue to multiply. For those who do not find this career path to their taste, there are some other options that might be pursued with specialized skills and training. Some instructional designers work as corporate trainers either within a company or on a consulting basis. Others teach instructional design from their own website or as part of college faculty. Because instructional designers bring versatile skills to any organization, they can find projects in any environment where complex information must be learned online.
Why is Distance Learning a Good Choice for Instructional Design?
Instructional design is intimately connected to the world of distance learning. In a certain way, it would make little sense to become an instructional designer without having direct experience of the way the field works in practice. Likewise, the professors that you will encounter when you are learning instructional design are among the leaders in the field. They simply have to be in order to get prestigious university positions. This means that they often have great experience and are enthusiastic about explaining concepts, developing lessons that work and helping each student gain the skills to achieve excellence. In many other fields, the excitement, challenge and passion of discovery is not nearly as present.
Tuition, Scholarships and Other Issues Related to Distance Learning in Instructional Design
Tuition in instructional design is not typically very expensive. Programs typically range from $10,000 to $15,000 per year, although some established programs may be more expensive. However, students should be prepared for some extra expenses involved in purchasing tools of the trade. Instructional design is performed with a wide variety of different software programs and some of these may be quite expensive. That said, these programs typically come at a very deep discount for students. Scholarships are relatively rare, but may be available from professional associations in instructional design that want to support the development of the profession.