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What Does An Instructional Design Specialist Do?

An instructional design specialist is responsible for developing instructional materials mainly used for training and education. Among their responsibilities include identifying and understanding the program or project's needs, performing extensive research and analysis, consulting with experts, devising training and assessment plans, and ensuring that all instructional materials adhere to a program or project's objectives. Moreover, as an instructional design specialist, it is essential to maintain an active communication line with staff while implementing the company's policies and regulations.

Here are examples of responsibilities from real instructional design specialist resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Work collaboratively with multi-functional team leads, including programming, graphics, and QA, to consistently implement strategies across curriculum.
  • Create, fix, and maintain SharePoint wikis for the WSLN training department.
  • Develop and design eLearning life sciences, leadership and compliance/regulatory courses that are 508 and SCORM compliant.
  • Meet with SME (s) on a regular basis to maintain course objectives and follow needs analyses.
  • Coordinate all development, delivery, and revisions with staff curriculum lead and subject matter expert/instructor (SME).
  • Design and maintain templates and standards used by the training team for development of documentation, instructor guides, and eLearning.
  • Create animated and interactive PowerPoint presentations and self-pace hands-on tutorials.
  • Lead development of Sharepoint portal taxonomy and functionality for other business areas.
  • Construct practical simulations that provide learners opportunities to apply knowledge within online modules.
  • Provide learning strategy and implementation support for migrating traditional post-secondary courses into an online format.
Instructional Design Specialist Traits
Analytical skills have to do with gathering information from various sources and then interpreting the data in order to reach a logical conclusion that benefits the business.
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.
Decision-making involves being able to make a decision between 2 or more options in order to reach the best possible outcome in a short amount of time.

Instructional Design Specialist Overview

Between the years 2018 and 2028, instructional design specialist jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become an instructional design specialist?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of instructional design specialist opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is 11,500.

Instructional design specialists average about $24.58 an hour, which makes the instructional design specialist annual salary $51,119. Additionally, instructional design specialists are known to earn anywhere from $38,000 to $68,000 a year. This means that the top-earning instructional design specialists make $30,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become an instructional design specialist. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include a curriculum writer, technology teacher/technology coordinator, curriculum coordinator, and college scouting coordinator.

Instructional Design Specialist Jobs You Might Like

Instructional Design Specialist Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 10% of Instructional Design Specialists are proficient in Instructional Design, Training Materials, and Course Content. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Communication skills, and Decision-making skills.

We break down the percentage of Instructional Design Specialists that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Instructional Design, 10%

    Organized storyboards and instructional design documents from faculty and instructional designers to create reusable learning modules based on Quality Matters standards.

  • Training Materials, 8%

    Identified learner characteristics that supported specific objectives and training strategies for the validation and evaluating of training practices and training materials.

  • Course Content, 7%

    Design and develop dynamic instructional interactions and simulations to create interactive, engaging course content.

  • Subject Matter Experts, 7%

    Worked with identified subject matter experts and course instructors to develop quality content that improved existing curriculum.

  • Training Programs, 5%

    Developed and reviewed all educational, instructional, and training programs to include content and curriculum development in educational outreach.

  • Powerpoint, 5%

    Created animated and interactive PowerPoint presentations and self-paced hands-on tutorials.

"instructional design," "training materials," and "course content" aren't the only skills we found instructional design specialists list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of instructional design specialist responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for an instructional design specialist to have happens to be analytical skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "instructional coordinators evaluate student test data and teaching strategies" Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that instructional design specialists can use analytical skills to "assist in the selection of instructional technology based on needs analysis, curriculum competencies and past experiences with technology. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many instructional design specialist duties rely on communication skills. This example from a instructional design specialist explains why: "instructional coordinators need to clearly explain changes in the curriculum and teaching standards to school staff." This resume example is just one of many ways instructional design specialists are able to utilize communication skills: "expected to follow pre-written lesson plans and modify to fit various age groups as necessary.follow company protocol and constant communication with supervisors"
  • Another skill that is quite popular among instructional design specialists is decision-making skills. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a instructional design specialist resume: "instructional coordinators must be decisive when recommending changes to curriculums, teaching methods, and textbooks." This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "exercise independent judgment within defined practices and procedures to determine appropriate action. "
  • A thorough review of lots of resumes revealed to us that "interpersonal skills" is important to completing instructional design specialist responsibilities. This resume example shows just one way instructional design specialists use this skill: "instructional coordinators need to be able to establish and maintain positive working relationships with teachers, principals, and other administrators." Here's an example of how this skill is used from a resume that represents typical instructional design specialist tasks: "conduct needs analysis meetings with subject matter experts using strong interpersonal communication skills to identify training needs. "
  • As part of the instructional design specialist description, you might find that one of the skills that might be helpful to the job is "leadership skills." A instructional design specialist resume included this snippet: "instructional coordinators serve as mentors to teachers" This skill could be useful in this scenario: "enabled smes to retire from training and move on to more critical roles in leadership. "
  • See the full list of instructional design specialist skills.

    Before becoming an instructional design specialist, 54.9% earned their bachelor's degree. When it comes down to graduating with a master's degree, 24.7% instructional design specialists went for the extra education. If you're wanting to pursue this career, it may be possible to be successful with a high school degree. In fact, most instructional design specialists have a college degree. But about one out of every eight instructional design specialists didn't attend college at all.

    The instructional design specialists who went onto college to earn a more in-depth education generally studied business and educational technology, while a small population of instructional design specialists studied education and english.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become an instructional design specialist. We've found that most instructional design specialist resumes include experience from Georgetown Holdings, Boston College, and Colorado State Fair. Of recent, Georgetown Holdings had 2 positions open for instructional design specialists. Meanwhile, there are 1 job openings at Boston College and 1 at Colorado State Fair.

    Since salary is important to some instructional design specialists, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Halliburton, Baker Hughes, a GE company, and Raytheon Company. If you were to take a closer look at Halliburton, you'd find that the average instructional design specialist salary is $72,181. Then at Baker Hughes, a GE company, instructional design specialists receive an average salary of $70,789, while the salary at Raytheon Company is $69,816.

    View more details on instructional design specialist salaries across the United States.

    Some other companies you might be interested in as a instructional design specialist include IBM, Microsoft, and UnitedHealth Group. These three companies were found to hire the most instructional design specialists from the top 100 U.S. educational institutions.

    For the most part, instructional design specialists make their living in the education and technology industries. Instructional design specialists tend to make the most in the health care industry with an average salary of $60,472. The instructional design specialist annual salary in the professional and energy industries generally make $58,599 and $57,816 respectively. Additionally, instructional design specialists who work in the health care industry make 66.2% more than instructional design specialists in the education Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious instructional design specialists are:

      What Curriculum Writers Do

      Curriculum writers are professionals who are responsible for developing new academic instructional materials, lessons, and activities to be used by teachers or instructional staff from school districts, media companies, and other businesses. These writers are required to conduct professional development sessions for all staff about the design and changes in the new curriculum. They must produce instructional videos to help educators and coaches in preparing educational and instructional materials. Curriculum writers must also head a pilot project to evaluate potential opportunities for extended learning through virtual classroom and distance learning strategies.

      We looked at the average instructional design specialist annual salary and compared it with the average of a curriculum writer. Generally speaking, curriculum writers receive $6,635 lower pay than instructional design specialists per year.

      While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both instructional design specialists and curriculum writers positions are skilled in training materials, course content, and subject matter experts.

      These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. An instructional design specialist responsibility is more likely to require skills like "instructional design," "training programs," "project management," and "learning management system." Whereas a curriculum writer requires skills like "assessment items," "literacy," "language arts," and "science curriculum." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

      The education levels that curriculum writers earn is a bit different than that of instructional design specialists. In particular, curriculum writers are 6.7% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than an instructional design specialist. Additionally, they're 1.0% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Technology Teacher/Technology Coordinator?

      Now we're going to look at the technology teacher/technology coordinator profession. On average, technology teacher/technology coordinators earn a $2,937 lower salary than instructional design specialists a year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Instructional design specialists and technology teacher/technology coordinators both include similar skills like "powerpoint," "professional development," and "student learning" on their resumes.

      In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, instructional design specialist responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "instructional design," "training materials," "course content," and "subject matter experts." Meanwhile, a technology teacher/technology coordinator might be skilled in areas such as "classroom management," "mathematics," "technology curriculum," and "special education." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

      In general, technology teacher/technology coordinators study at similar levels of education than instructional design specialists. They're 5.0% less likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 1.0% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Curriculum Coordinator Compares

      A curriculum coordinator facilitates the development and implementation of curriculums at schools, colleges, and other organizations that offer learning services. They primarily assist teachers in improving school curriculums by conducting research and assessments, monitoring students' academic progress, developing learning resources and materials, coordinating with internal and external parties, promoting educational programs, and securing the supplies that the curriculum requires. Additionally, a curriculum coordinator participates in implementing school policies and recommends new policies based on research findings.

      Let's now take a look at the curriculum coordinator profession. On average, these workers make lower salaries than instructional design specialists with a $5,055 difference per year.

      By looking over several instructional design specialists and curriculum coordinators resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "training materials," "course content," and "subject matter experts." But beyond that the careers look very different.

      As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from instructional design specialists resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "instructional design," "training programs," "project management," and "learning management system." But a curriculum coordinator might have skills like "classroom management," "special education," "k-12," and "educational programs."

      Additionally, curriculum coordinators earn a higher salary in the education industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $43,954. Additionally, instructional design specialists earn an average salary of $60,472 in the health care industry.

      When it comes to education, curriculum coordinators tend to earn lower education levels than instructional design specialists. In fact, they're 5.5% less likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.4% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a College Scouting Coordinator

      College scouting coordinators recruit members for their team that they see potential in. The easiest way for these coordinators to look for recruits is to organize tryouts to evaluate an athlete's attitude, physical skills, and other factors that can spell success for their team in the future or at the professional level. When they see an athlete with potential, they keep tabs on them and report their progress with their recommendation to either the coach, manager, or owner of that team.

      College scouting coordinators tend to earn a lower pay than instructional design specialists by about $1,104 per year.

      While their salaries may vary, instructional design specialists and college scouting coordinators both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "powerpoint," "professional development," and "sharepoint. "

      Even though a few skill sets overlap, there are some differences that are important to note. For one, an instructional design specialist might have more use for skills like "instructional design," "training materials," "course content," and "subject matter experts." Meanwhile, some college scouting coordinators might include skills like "counselors," "scholarship," "special events," and "student records" on their resume.

      In general, college scouting coordinators make a higher salary in the retail industry with an average of $68,983. The highest instructional design specialist annual salary stems from the health care industry.

      In general, college scouting coordinators reach lower levels of education when compared to instructional design specialists resumes. College scouting coordinators are 17.2% less likely to earn their Master's Degree and 2.3% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.