Career Information* for Instructional Designers

*The following information was collected and reported on by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Instructional design specialists work in schools, organizations and private businesses to help design curriculum or training materials that will effectively convey important information. It usually takes a master's degree in education or curriculum development to qualify for a position as an instructional design specialist.

Duties and Responsibilities of an Instructional Design Specialist

An instructional design specialist uses communication technology and other content mediums to help learners and teachers transfer knowledge efficiently and effectively. In order to make these important evaluations, instructional design specialists determine the current state of a learner understanding, define the end goals and create a media-based medium to assist during the transition. Effective instructional design has a pedagogical foundation and may take any one of a number of forms.

Other important job duties are demonstrated by these advertisements:

  • "Works with identified subject matter experts and course instructors to develop quality content that improves our existing curriculum. Also analyzes data from completed satisfaction surveys to improve overall quality of our programs." - Keystone Mercy
  • "The successful applicant will also have the responsibility of planning and conducting regular needs assessments, analyzing data, as well as designing courses." - Vanguard

Job Requirements

Instructional design specialists generally have a master's degree in an educational specialty or in a technology concentration. Most hiring organizations require that these specialists have a substantial work history in teaching or sometimes in that particular company's industrial sector, if it is a private company rather than an educational institution.

Other job requirements may be similar to these, which are listed on

  • "Should have seven or more years of experience creating training programs that include but are not limited to classroom training, e-learning and web based training. Also should have designed training materials for blended learning." - UnitedHealth Group
  • "A bachelor's degree in Education, Organizational Development or Curriculum and Design is strongly preferred. Experience within an IT department required." - TEKsystems

Employment Outlook

Instructional design specialists should enjoy an exceptionally good job outlook, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( The job growth rate for this profession is going to be much faster than average, as organizations as varied as schools and hospitals search for ways to efficiently convey rapidly changing information to students and employees.

Prospective instructional design specialists should seek graduate work in curriculum and instruction, as well as courses in communication. The median annual salary for these specialists, according to the BLS, is between $52,000 and $70,000, depending on whether the applicant is looking for a position in the public or private sector.