As organizations move their internal training online, instructional designers are becoming highly sought after professionals. In this post we take a look at what they do and average salary levels.
Most commonly, an Instructional Designer (ID) is hired by a business or institution to strategize the best way to train or teach their employees. However, Instructional Design is a broad term that may refer to many different types of roles and positions.
Instructional Design salaries also vary widely, depending upon the job position, the location of the job, the designer's background, and many other factors. In this article, we'll discuss some of the average Instructional Design salaries, and the roles, expectations, and variations of the profession.
What Does an Instructional Designer Do?
IDs may be hired to help teach employees a specific skill or process. They may also be hired to help teach broader skills like customer service, communication, and conflict resolution. They may even be hired to improve employee attitudes, relationships, and motivation. These efforts are designed to ultimately improve employee productivity and job satisfaction, thereby benefiting the business overall.
In order to do this, IDs must identify the knowledge gaps and comprehension challenges of the group being taught, and figure out the best way to impart the knowledge or skills to them. A knowledge of different teaching techniques, learning styles, and current learning software and technology is extremely valuable in this profession. The perfect learning solution can come in many forms: it may involve an internal training course, outside degrees or certification, a mobile learning app, or a social team-building outing or event.
IDs are expected to formulate a set of goals and a systematic plan to achieve them. The strategy should be preceded by a full evaluation, and concluded with a reevaluation in which they report what worked, what didn't, lessons learned, and next steps.
How Much Money do Instructional Designers Make?
The average salary of an Instructional Designer is in the $60,000 to $70,000 range. Starting salary is around $50,000, and Senior salary tops out at around $90,000. However, ID salaries vary widely depending on a number of factors. For example, IDs in the Bay Area or New York make significantly more than an IDs located in small towns, but of course the price of living is dramatically different too.
Working freelance, in the private sector, or in the public sector also affects average salary. Public sector ID positions tend to be more lucrative, for instance. IDs with a graduate degree may average a higher salary, but relevant experience and a good portfolio has proven to be just as valuable to employers or potential clients.
How Do I Become an Instructional Designer?
Take a look at the Instructional Designer Competencies from the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction to get a glimpse of the standard expectations of Instructional Designers. If you're considering getting an advanced degree, there is a helpful list of Top Instructional Design Degrees and Programs at Instructional Design Central.
Familiarity with the top softwares and popular Learning Management Systems will also be extremely helpful, as well as any practice and training in the fields of communication and human resources. There are many ways to become an Instructional Designer and many ways to practice Instructional Design. It's worth exploring all avenues before deciding on the best path for you.