An instructional design degree is a strategic option for analytical individuals who have a passion for helping others learn and grow.
Instructional designers frequently work with diverse groups of people to identify their learning needs and to create educational experiences that address those needs. In addition to collaborating with others, instructional design majors often develop leadership and project management skills.
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If you are interested in entering this growing field, pursuing an online instructional design degree could be a beneficial next step.
Online Instructional Design Degrees
Instructional design is the creation and development of educational programs and materials for an intended audience.
Individuals with experience in instructional design can find work in a wide variety of industries, including educational, federal, business, and non-profit organizations. Instructional designers are adept at creating many different types of learning materials. They often tailor the materials to fit their target audience, ensuring that the appropriate skills are able to be understood and utilized.
Examples of potential learning materials created by instructional designers include:
- Handouts and manuals
- E-learning courses
- Modified or redesigned curriculum
The wide range of materials that an instructional designer can create helps to make each learning experience unique to the company or organization for which it is intended. An instructional designer working with an elementary school, for example, would likely create very different resources and materials than someone partnering with a law firm.
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During a bachelor’s program in instructional design, you can learn how to create lessons and resources that meet the needs of a variety of clients. Although curricula will differ between programs, you may study course topics such as:
- Web design
- Performance analysis
- Issues in education
- Learning and the brain
- Instructional design for e-learning
- Adult learning and instruction
- Project management
- Design concepts for online learning
You can also study assessment and learning theory in order to create learning experiences that effectively deliver information to a target audience. Because of their versatility, project management skills, and knowledge of different learning styles, instructional designers are able to find work in many different roles and industries.
Potential career paths in this field include:
- Curriculum designer
- Instructional coordinator
- Training and development specialist
- Web developer and digital designer
- Information architect
- Educational consultant
- Desktop publisher
Instructional design professionals might use their skills to design curriculum for high school students, create training materials for corporate offices, or develop instructional software.
Instructional coordinators often implement instructional design in education, while training and development specialists are often seen as the instructional designers of the business world.
Instructional Design and Technology Careers & Salaries
A bachelors degree in instructional design can lead to professional opportunities in a range of industries and fields.
Many programs also offer the opportunity to specialize in a specific area of instructional design, such as content writing, instructional technology, videography, or web design. Choosing a degree concentration could help you tailor your degree to align with your career goals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, instructional design professionals may pursue roles similar to the following.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Training and Development Managers||$120,130|
|Web and Digital Interface Designers||$79,890|
|Training and Development Specialists||$61,570|
|Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers||$61,350|
|Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers||$59,720|
Some of these positions typically require a master’s degree or additional certification in order to be qualified. For example, Many curriculum designers, or instructional coordinators, hold a masters degree in the field.
Many instructional design students find that they enjoy creating and designing curriculum for classrooms, leading them toward becoming school teachers. Teaching positions in public schools require you to hold a teaching license according to your state’s guidelines.
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The hiring process can also be impacted by various factors, such as location, job requirements, previous experience, and individual knowledge.
Bachelor of Arts in Instructional Design Curriculum & Courses
A typical undergraduate program curriculum in instructional design will vary between schools, but here are some examples of courses you may come across:
- Web Design: In this course, you’ll learn how to design and develop web pages with a focus on accessibility and usability.
- Issues in Education: This course explores prominent issues in education, covering topics like teacher resiliency, differentiation, and flexible classrooms.
- Learning and the Brain: You’ll study the ways in which our brains learn and retain information throughout different stages of life, and you’ll also explore how things like trauma and stress impact our ability to learn.
- Instructional Design for E-Learning: In this course, you’ll learn how to design and create e-learning courses, covering topics like web-based training, synchronous and asynchronous learning, and assessment tools.
- Adult Learning and Instruction: This class covers theories and concepts related to adult learning, including the challenges faced by adults in educational environments and different instructional methods.
- Project Management: This course introduces the framework of project management, so you’ll learn how to identify the needs of stakeholders, how to utilize processes and tools to create and manage a project, and how to stick to a budget and schedule.
- How People Learn: In this course, you’ll explore the factors that impact the ways in which people learn as well as common theories in this area.
- Evaluation and Assessment: This course provides an overview of different assessment methods, and it examines the role of evaluation in successful learning experiences.
- Introduction to Distance Learning: Designed to introduce current methods, research, and tools, this course prepares you to design and implement distance learning classes and curricula.
- Ethical Use of Instructional Materials: In this course, you’ll explore the laws around using licensed material when creating educational content.
Graduates of this type of program should leave with the ability to create comprehensive learning experiences for a variety of target audiences.
It can be helpful to gather some common admissions materials prior to the application process. Although some schools require additional items, you can typically expect to submit:
- SAT or ACT scores (only if required)
- Official high school transcripts
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal statement
Your application is an opportunity to demonstrate to the admissions team why you are a fit for their program. This entails submitting not only your academic achievements but also letters of recommendation and a personal statement that describe your character and aspirations.
Instructional Design Programs Accreditation
If a college or university has regional accreditation, it means that the school has passed a thorough quality check. Attending an accredited program is strategic for several reasons:
- Career opportunities. Employers often check to see whether candidates have earned a degree from an accredited institution. This can help your chances of finding a job after college.
- Educational quality. If it is regionally accredited, the school you attend will likely offer high-quality resources and materials as well as qualified staff and professors.
- Financial aid. It’s necessary to attend an accredited program in order to qualify for federal financial aid.
You can check the accreditation status of your prospective schools by visiting the US Department of Education’s website.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Financial aid and scholarship programs can help qualifying students pay for their education. You can begin the process of applying for government aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA.
Your FAFSA results give you details regarding the amount of federal aid you are eligible to receive based on your personal information. Scholarship opportunities may also provide additional financial support. Scholarships often require you to complete an application form, and they can be offered in any number of areas, including academics and sports. Public and private organizations can offer scholarship programs as well as schools.
What Is an Instructional Design Degree?
An instructional design degree is intended to teach you the necessary skills and tools to design and implement learning products and experiences for a variety of audiences.
Instructional designers may work with specific schools, school districts, or companies. They collaborate with clients to determine their educational needs and objectives, using this information to create goal-aligned trainings and materials.
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During an instructional design degree program, you’ll likely study topics such as web design, multimedia tools, and learning methods, all while building communication, collaboration, and research skills.
Is Instructional Design a Good Career?
Yes, instructional design is a good career for many professionals. Many individuals enjoy working in instructional design because they have the opportunity to use their creativity to problem-solve on a daily basis. Working with clients to address their educational needs is also rewarding for many.
In addition, many positions associated with instructional design have median salaries that are higher than the national average for all occupations. Instructional coordinators and training and development specialists, for instance, have median salaries of $63,740 and $61,570, respectively (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Salaries can range, of course, based on a number of factors, such as location, employer, and prior experience.
What Can You Do with a Bachelor Degree in Instructional Design?
Many instructional design careers involve helping others identify, set, and attain educational goals. For example, many instructional design graduates go on to oversee school curricula as instructional coordinators. A bachelors in this field could also help prepare you for graduate studies, as many instructional coordinators hold masters degrees.
Other graduates work as a training and development specialist or an eLearning designer, implementing programs that help employees learn new skills. Because many programs in instructional design focus heavily on building and developing technical skills, some individuals choose to enter the workforce as graphic, web, or digital designers.
Selecting a degree program that offers a curriculum that aligns with your professional goals could help you in your job search after graduation.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Instructional Design Online?
If you follow a traditional 16 week semester and attend school full-time, it will generally take 4 years to earn a bachelors degree in instructional design.
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Alternatively, if you follow an 8 week semester and stay continuously enrolled year-round, you can often finish in less time. This route includes taking courses over the summer. Since every degree program is unique, it’s helpful to research the specific timelines available for each college or university.
What Degree Do You Need to Be an Instructional Designer?
Different career paths in the field can have different educational requirements. Typically, employers in the field of instructional design expect you to have a minimum of a bachelors degree.
Most instructional coordinators hold a masters, while a bachelors is the minimum education for most training and development specialists. If you are hoping to work for a large corporation, college or university, or government organization, you may be required to obtain a more advanced degree.
Earning an undergraduate degree in instructional design can help you decide on a career path, gain fundamental problem-solving and web design skills, and begin networking in the field.
How Much Do Instructional Designers Make?
The salary that an instructional designer earns will be impacted by factors such as job title, geographic location, industry, and previous experience.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for training and development specialists is $61,570, with most making between $31,340 and $103,240 each year. Similarly, the median salary for instructional coordinators is $63,740.
Some professionals use their technical skills to pursue roles in web development or digital design. Web and digital interface designers have a median salary of $79,890.
Is a Bachelors in Instructional Design Online Degree Worth It?
Yes, a bachelors in instructional design online degree is worth it for many students. Many positions in instructional design are experiencing employment growth at a rate faster than the national average.
For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 11% job growth for training and development specialists and 10% job growth for instructional coordinators over the next ten years. Instructional designers also have the opportunity for creativity and growth throughout their careers.
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Not only can you work with clients to develop learning materials and experiences that meet their needs, but you’re also constantly building leadership, budgeting, and research skills.
Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Instructional Design Degree Program
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Asbury University offers an online instructional design degree program. It aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the high-demand field of instructional design. The curriculum covers instructional design models, theories, technologies, and tools. This flexible program requires the completion of 120 credit hours. It is delivered in online and hybrid formats through a series of 8 week sessions.
Asbury University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Athens State University’s online instructional design program aims to equip students with marketable skills in fields related to learning, training, and multimedia instruction. The program offers bachelor’s degree, certification, and minor options. The bachelor’s degree requires the completion of general education, pre-professional, and elective courses for a total of 124 semester hours.
Athens State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Eastern New Mexico University offers an online program for a Bachelor’s in Instructional Technology and Training. It is a 30 to 58 credit program delivered in a series of classes that are each 8 weeks long. This program seeks to teach students how to design and develop effective instructional and performance solutions and formulate strategies for implementation.
Eastern New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Louisiana State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Learning Experience and Instructional Design. It aims to help students become professionals in the design and development of online learning and training programs. This 120 credit program is offered 100% online. Students may transfer in up to 75% of previously earned qualifying credits toward the degree. The school also has scholarships available for qualifying students.
Louisiana State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Northern Illinois University offers a BS in Applied Management—Instructional Technology, Training, and Evaluation.
The program is designed to prepare students for a variety of instructional development and technology-related positions to maximize human productivity. The program is delivered entirely online. To graduate, students must complete 21 credit hours of core requirements and 19 credit hours for the instructional technology, training, and evaluation emphasis.
Northern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Old Dominion University offers a Bachelor of Science in Career and Technical Education—Technology Education with a specialization in Instructional Design and Technology. This 120 credit program can usually be completed in 4 years. The curriculum discusses human performance technology, how to use technology to enhance educational experiences, and other related topics.
Old Dominion University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Arizona offers an online program for a Bachelor of Arts in Instructional Design in Educational Technology. It aims to teach students how to build, develop, and deliver instructional products and experiences. To graduate, students must complete 120 credits: 43 general education credits, 39 major required credits, and 38 elective credits. Classes are 5 to 6 weeks long.
The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Michigan—Dearborn offers an undergraduate major in Instructional Technology. The program aims to help learners develop expertise in different mediums of technology across a range of workplace settings. Undergraduate students may select a specialization in Health Informatics or Education. Students in the program also get to participate in research, internships, and real-world learning experiences.
The University of Michigan – Dearborn is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of New Mexico offers an online bachelor’s degree completion program in instructional technology and training.
The program aims to equip students for career advancement and broaden their consulting prospects. The 120 credits for this program can typically be completed in 4 years. Each class is 8 weeks long. The curriculum is designed to help students become confident in designing and developing online and face-to-face training materials.
The University of New Mexico is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of West Florida offers a fully online program for a Bachelor of Science in Instructional Design and Technology.
This unique program exposes students to a holistic perspective on human performance and productivity. This program typically takes 48 months to complete and requires the completion of 120 credit hours. Coursework includes classroom assignments, practical activities, applied research, and creative activities.
The University of West Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Getting Your Bachelor’s in Instructional Design Degree Online
If you are interested in helping others understand and achieve their learning goals, then an online instructional design bachelor’s degree may be the right fit.
Instructional designers use their collaboration and research skills to design educational products and experiences for a diverse range of audiences. Career opportunities in instructional design can also include using technical skills to design web pages or e-learning products.
You can start exploring accredited schools offering online education degree programs today to find the instructional design online program and specialization that best align with your interests. The sooner you find the program that’s right for you, the sooner you can begin your educational journey in this field.