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CAREER GUIDE Master of Education, Instructional Design

WGU degree programs correspond with careers that promise continued growth. WGU creates career growth.

Career guide: instructional designer.

For teachers and trainers to instruct effectively in today's diverse classrooms, they need to know how to leverage technology, design useful instructions, and assess the value of instructional products and programs. A Master of Education in Instructional Design will give you the tools necessary for you to achieve your career goal as an instructional design expert, increase your curriculum development skills, and feel the satisfaction that comes along with developing cutting-edge instructional material.

Wondering if you're cut out to be an expert instructional designer? If you're a licensed teacher, district curriculum developer, corporate trainer, or specialist in art, music, or literature, then the M.Ed. Instructional Design is the natural next step toward achieving your career goals. Courses in instructional design — combined with your training or teaching expertise — will put you on the fast track to a gratifying occupation.

Job listing growth 2016–2026.

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Career opportunities.

Dedicated teaching professionals with the ability to develop effective training guidelines and curricula for employees or students may be qualified for a number of different instructional design careers. Taking into consideration your level of education, skill set, and years of relevant experience, you can plan on working in any of the following positions:

Positions in the field.

  • Instructional coordinator for schools
  • District curriculum developer
  • Instructional material director
  • Educational support services
  • Corporate trainer
  • Training and development manager
  • Training and development specialist
“I set my own goals, and I listened to what I wanted—not what others said I should do. I wanted Learning and Technology. It has opened so many doors! Many opportunities from that career decision were a springboard for me to becoming Teacher of the Year.” Annie Mewborn
M.Ed. Learning & Technology

Job market forecast.

Employment growth for instructional coordinators in an educational setting is expected as many school districts and states are very focused on the teacher's role in the classroom and the effectiveness of curriculum and teaching techniques.

Job opportunities may be even better in parts of the country with higher student enrollment rates, such as in the South, West, and rural areas.

In 2012, Instructional Designer was listed as number 38 on CNNMoney/Payscale's list of best jobs in America, stating that the 10-year job growth was 28.3%!

Instructional design is a growing field. Almost every industry is looking for experts who know how to develop interesting learning materials using today's technology, so with the right qualifications, you can have your pick from a variety of jobs in the location of your choice.

Of course, the state and industry where you work will have an impact on your employment opportunities.

Job growth 2016–2026.

Work environment.

Instructional design experts — also known as instructional coordinators — are employed in a variety of industries, from educational support systems to technical consulting services.

If you're a teacher and you've decided to take your career to the next level by earning an M.Ed. in Instructional Design, you will likely find yourself developing curricula for elementary and secondary schools. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most coordinators work out of an office in their school district, but may spend some of their time traveling to schools within the district to teach professional development classes and monitor the implementation of the curriculum. Instructional design experts who create curricula for schools work year-round, unlike teachers, who often have summers off.

If your instructional design expertise takes you to a career in the business world, you will be creating instructional materials, using current technology, for employees in specialized fields. You could be an instructional materials director, developing teaching content for those who conduct relevant, industry-specific courses. These are office jobs and are typically available in almost every industry.

Professional organizations.

The right education and work experience will give you a starting point in which to launch your career as an instructional designer. The following organizations will also help you out by providing invaluable information about this growing field:

Job search resources.

Ready to hit the job search? These websites will help you track down instructional design careers that meet your needs:

Salary stats.

The salary of an instructional design expert varies by industry and state of employment, but earning potential is good, generally speaking. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for instructional coordinators was $62,460 in May 2016. Often times, there is potential for bonuses and profit sharing.

Average salary of jobs with related titles.


A career in instructional design involves the systematic development of rules and specifications for instructional systems, using learning theory and research-based strategies, to improve learning outcomes. It involves adapting the learning environment to meet the needs of individual students and creatively using technology as a tool to help them absorb information effectively. You will be qualified to create, analyze, and evaluate training materials for corporate classrooms and educational institutions.

A Master of Education in Instructional Design will help you become a highly qualified teacher or trainer in the setting you choose. Through your coursework, you will obtain the technological skills needed to design effective instructional materials for a variety of learners. Whether you work in public school, college, an office setting, or a consulting firm, a career in instructional design is sure to keep you challenged and fulfilled.

Your career’s next step: Earn a degree.

Ready to jump-start your career in instructional design? The next step could be earning your M.Ed. in Instructional Design. Accredited, competency-based WGU offers this degree online for at a surprisingly affordable flat-rate tuition. Flexible enough for a working adult’s schedule with the option to accelerate, your degree may be closer than you think!