10 reasons to get a Master’s in Instructional Technology

There are many reasons why one goes into instructional technology. I personally went into the field because I loved computers and making websites in the late 90s. I have written about this topic before and this is just really an update to my original article.

So what are ten reasons to go into this field?

1. Good pay. Starting salaries between 55-70k (depending on location).
2. Average 5 year salary is 75-90k a year. This goes way up if you are in a management role.
3. Chance to move to high ranks in companies. Many instructional designers are promoted to project manager after a few years and can move up into very senior roles from that point on. 4. Can enter with any bachelors degree. Only requirement is a bachelors degree in any field.
5. Great 2nd career. Great for teachers trying to leave teaching to go into the corporate sector. You basically become a teacher for the corporate world.
6. Lots of jobs. Lots of jobs everywhere. Although keep in mind obviously cities have more jobs.
7. Work from home – many jobs in our field are allowing you to work from home when not on client site.
8. Work with technology. You always get to play with the coolest new gadgets
9. Can work in the corporate world, Government, higher education, or K-12. Really any sector.
10. Every company needs instructional designers. Yep its true. Every single company needs training and guess who designs it? Yep, instructional designers.

Sounds to good to be true? Well it is and isn’t. Our job in a lot of work and many instructional designers are hard workers. It requires a masters degree – so we are a smart bunch (and our master’s programs are tough). When we are finishing up a project there can be long hours and our job involves thinking and strategy – so its not a cake walk. However, we also gets nice breaks in between projects, good pay, good bonuses, etc. Overall its a great career for anyone – with the right kind of motivation, cognitive ability, and love for technology.

What to look for in an Instructional Design and Technology Master’s Degree Program

I see this question posted time and time again on LinkedIn so I figured it was time to blog about it.Here is a list of things you should look for and consider when looking into that ISD Master’s program.

1. Do your research – Not all instructional design programs are the same. Some focus on K-12, Corporate, or Higher Ed. Some focus on all three but more than likely focus on one more than the others.

2. Who are the professors? Do you recognize their names? Have they worked in the field? For instance, if you are planning to go into the corporate world after graduation, make sure the professors (or at least some) have worked in the corporate world as full time instructional designers (not just consulting either but full time jobs).

3. Look at the professors resumes and/or website. Do they have degrees in Instructional Technology (or similar field as our field has 20 different names)? Where did they go to school? Are they involved in professional organizations in the field?

4. Are the professors publishing? Do they present at conferences? Do their topics interest you? What organizations do they belong to and work with? Does any of that align with your goals?

5. Are the professors full time or adjunct? Adjunct professors usually have other full time jobs meaning you and your class may not be their highest priority. A program should have mostly full time professors.

5. What does the program look like? Do they have a comprehensive website? Do they have a facebook page? Twitter? LinkedIn? Not that these are vital but they do show the program is keeping current with social media. Additionally, a facebook page can be a great place to learn about the students and alumni in the program. I would encourage you to join it and see if its active. An active social media page indicates there is a lot of interaction in the program.

6. Where do the students who graduate from that program end up? What kind of jobs do they get?

7. What kind of reputation does that program have? You may not really be able to find this, but are they from a respected university? If you cannot find information about the program from their website (like who are their professors), I would be very hesitant of that program.

8. Talk to students from that program if you can. Students will offer advice that differs from professors.

9. Please before you apply, talk to a professor in that program (PLEASE make sure you talk to a professor in addition to anyone else you talk to). Have a list of questions for them and see what kind of feeling you get – even if its a phone/skype meeting: Please have it. This is a sign of the kind of access you will have to faculty once you enroll.

10. Do you get to work with real clients or is an internship required? You need at least one real experience before you graduate if you want to get a job in instructional design. Look at the job market, every single jobs asks for some experience and everyone else you will be competing with in the job market will have that internship.

I hope that helps. While this list is not everything you need to look for, it is a great start.