Instructional Design and Educational Technology Jobs Explained

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Category: Careers

By Matt Rowley
Posted on

The field of instructional design emerged during a time of rapid modernization, and it has become increasingly relevant with the exponential growth of technology in recent decades. Today, many feel drawn to working in instructional design and educational technology because it combines a wide range of fields and influences, from education best practices to psychology and behavioral analysis.

In this article, we explore the roles of instructional designers and educational technologists, including their similarities and differences, job requirements, and salary expectations.

Instructional Designers and EdTechs

The roles of instructional designer and educational technologist – or “edtech” – are related. They both typically work on developing and implementing learning products, and their day-to-day work often overlaps, but their specialties differ:

  • Instructional designers are focused on optimizing the learning experience.
  • Edtechs are focused on how to use technology to implement learning products.

Instructional Design

Distinct from curriculum development, which concentrates on the content and standards of education, instructional design is typically focused on how students learn rather than what they learn. Although this is primarily used for schools and universities, it can also be used in other learning programs, such as coding boot camps, online learning tools, and other forms of teaching. 

Your job as an instructional designer may include tasks such as:

  • Researching which educational methods are best for teaching different types of content.
  • Creating and modeling processes for improving instruction.
  • Testing methods and reviewing feedback for further improvement.
  • Creating aids and instructions for educators to help them understand and implement new approaches.

Educational Technology

The growth of edtech has created new needs for both organizations and institutions of learning. As an educational technologist, you might work for a company researching and designing edtech solutions or for a school implementing those solutions with students or creating your own.

Job Requirements and Salaries

According to ZipRecruiter, instructional designer positions will likely require you to have earned a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field, plus a master’s degree in instructional design. To qualify for educational technologist positions, a bachelor’s degree in education, information technology or a related field will likely meet the education requirement.

In addition to previous experience in ID or edtech jobs, former teachers or other educators with classroom experience may be attractive to employers. Additionally, experience in web development and video and photo editing will also look good on resumes for positions requiring technical expertise.

As of August 2023, ZipRecruiter reported a national average salary of $80,143 for instructional designers and $62,275 for educational technologists.

Education at CSU

Here at Columbia Southern University, we offer an online master’s degree in instructional design and technology in which students learn how to develop engaging learning environments for diverse sets of learners.

For more information about our online degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate levels, visit our website.

Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography and degree field, affect career outcomes. CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.

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