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Instructional Technologist Career Guide

What is an Instructional Technologist?

An instructional technologist is first and foremost a trainer. They use their research and wealth of knowledge in a specific curriculum to develop training and materials for teachers and education systems. Their work can be in development and in assessment, as they sometimes audit school systems to ensure federal and state education standards are being met.  

Instructional technologists are at the forefront of integrating technology in the classroom. They assist teachers with technology support in independent classrooms, and are sometimes directors of technology for a school, overseeing computer labs, technology learning spaces, etc. They can also be in charge of online education programs, online courses, and any virtual learning experience at a school or university.

These technologists thrive in a dynamic role, oftentimes mentoring, researching, developing, and overseeing simultaneously.

What Does an Instructional Technologist Do?

Instructional technologists utilize technology tools to improve a student’s learning experience and to usher education systems into the world of efficient virtual learning. Their day to day can consist of varied responsibilities surrounding education, especially depending on the education level they specialize in. An instructional technologist for a small school system may focus on developing technology labs and introducing tech assistance into the classroom, while an instructional technologist at a university may be more focused on streamlining virtual learning courses. 

Some possible responsibilities include: 

  • Integrating technology into the curricula of various classrooms and grade levels, from pre-K to university.  
  • Developing and overseeing training for teachers and administrators, supporting them in introducing technology into the classroom. 
  • Developing technology programs for specific student needs, whether that be advanced learning, tailoring courses for those with learning disabilities, or developing options for ESL students. 
  • Developing curricula and selecting textbooks as needed to introduce technology principles. 
  • Auditing educational programs and school systems to ensure they are meeting federal and state regulations. 
  • Overseeing virtual learning courses and virtual learning platforms. 
  • Maintaining all reporting and analyzing statistics for online learning programs and related technology tools. 

How Do I Become an Instructional Technologist?

Instructional technologists typically hold a bachelor’s degree in education, education technology, or a related field. It is most common for instructional technologists to hold a master’s degree and to be a continuous learner, always seeking to stay up to date on the latest developments and resources in technology learning. 

A master’s of education in learning and technology and a master’s of education in instructional design are two of the most popular advanced degrees in education technology. Both programs encompass instructional design, research, education, and technology integration. WGU designs its programs to be relevant and practical for the present workforce, as well as the workforce developments to come.  


Best Degrees for an Instructional Technologist:

Learning and Technology – M.Ed.

An online master's degree for current teachers or others looking...

An online master's degree for current teachers or...

An online master's degree for current teachers or others looking to further their careers with a graduate program focused on integrating technology with instructional design principles.

No teaching license required.

  • Time: 73% of grads earned this degree within 18 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,635 per 6-month term.

Coursework in this program covers the following areas of study:

  • Instructional design
  • Research fundamentals
  • Technology integration

Harness the power of technology to teach more kids in better ways with this education master's degree.

Instructional Design – M.Ed.

An online master's degree for current teachers and others...

An online master's degree for current teachers...

An online master's degree for current teachers and others looking to further their careers with a graduate program focused on designing top-notch curriculum.

No teaching license required.

  • Time: 87% of grads earned this degree within 24 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,635 per 6-month term.

Coursework in this program covers the following areas of study:

  • Instructional design
  • Research fundamentals
  • Measurement and evaluation

Improve teaching, training and learning. Learn to build better curriculum with this education master's degree.

Do I Need Certification for this Position?

As with most jobs in education, the certifications and credentials required vary by state. It is very likely that instructional technologists will find themselves required to maintain a state-regulated credential, depending on what school system they work in. Credentials may be different for those working in a K-12 school vs a university. 


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You May Be a Different Teacher When You Return in the Fall

What Skills Does an Instructional Technologist Need?

If you are interested in pursuing an instructional technologist role, it is crucial to have a foundational understanding of education, an interest in technology and computers, and a balance of soft skills that allow you to train and mentor your students and colleagues. Some commonly listed skills in instructional technologist job descriptions include: 

  • Highly organized, with an ability to keep records and assess incoming data 
  • Problem-solving skills with an ability to lead, instruct, work harmoniously in diverse environments
  • An ability to work effectively in a team environment
  • Excellent communication skills 
  • An interest in research, and implementing new technologies
  • High professional integrity and respect for confidentiality 
  • A commitment to education and the bettering of your students 

How Much Does An Instructional Technologist Make?

$57,375

In 2021, instructional technologists made an average of $57,375 per year, according to Payscale. Level of education, certifications, and years of experience are the most common factors in those that experienced higher annual pay. Some public schools require that their instructional technologists be licensed teachers, and those who hold that credential may experience higher pay. 

How is the Projected Job Growth?

Excellent

The job outlook for instructional technologists is excellent, and getting better all the time. The era of COVID-19 catapulted virtual learning into many school systems, homes, and curriculums, in environments that may have previously been resistant. Those who understand the complexities of education technology are in demand in nearly every learning space. Many school systems will continue to integrate distance learning, and other technology options into their long-standing curriculums, presenting a need for instructional technologist teams.

Where Does An Instructional Technologist Work?

Schools

Instructional technologists work in education, primarily in school systems, classrooms, and universities. They might travel from school to school, or have a traditional classroom. It is also possible that their work is fully remote. The environment of virtual learning can be as flexible as an instructional technologist’s workspace. 

 

Interested in Becoming an Instructional Technologist?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.

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