Increasing Demand For Instructional Designers
Instructional and learning designers continue to enjoy an array of employment and career advancement opportunities. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced academic institutions and private corporations to prioritize online learning, these organizations sought practical ways to take their training and education online. Simultaneously, they found a great need for professionals who could design content as engaging as it was effective. Given the trajectory the field has taken, it’s no wonder the Chronicle of Higher Ed recognized Instructional Design as the “hottest job in higher education.”
Current State Of Instructional Design
While the lockdowns have passed, the massive boom in demand for professionals skilled in creating courses and training programs for learners—both online and in-person—has continued. Now every industry (not just education) recognizes how proper Instructional Design makes learning more accessible, efficient, and ultimately better aligned with desired outcomes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the need for training and development specialists to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2031 . So, while the education sector is a natural fit for Instructional Design professionals, you can find Instructional Designer jobs in nearly every industry .
Expected Instructional Design Experience
Requirements will differ for these positions across industries and institutions. Larger or more specialized organizations may have their Instructional Designers collaborate with curriculum designers, instructional technologists, educational consultants, and other learning professionals. In some positions, Instructional Designers must wear multiple hats and handle numerous responsibilities throughout the design process.
A bachelor’s degree in an education discipline with some experience, or at least a very well-developed portfolio of works, will be required for almost every position. Many employers will prefer—or even require—a master’s degree in Instructional Design or a related field. Most positions will require experience with learning technologies, such as course authoring software like Adobe Captivate or Articulate 360, and Learning Management Systems like Blackboard or Canvas. Some may even require expertise with a specifically named software application, so carefully read employee qualifications before applying for any job.
Primary Industries With A Demand For Instructional Designers
With the continued demand for trained Instructional Designers, we found that the primary industries posting the most Instructional Designer jobs (based on a review of job aggregator sites, including ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, SimplyHired, and eLearning Industry) as of January 2023 are:
It’s no surprise that higher education institutions provide the most opportunity for Instructional Designers. A McKinsey report on online education shows an 11% increase in online enrollment for the largest online universities, while the total enrollment for all universities faces a 3% decline. As EdTech start-ups enter the education market, fueled by the demand to meet gaps in online learning, established universities face increased pressure to develop content that attracts digital natives. There’s never been a better opportunity for Instructional Designers who want to work in education.
Educational institutions hiring Instructional Designers as of January 2023 included: John Hopkins University, Texas State University, University of Oregon, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Health Care Services And Hospitals
As medical education and digital technology systems in healthcare grow increasingly intertwined, Instructional Designers are crucial to the future of healthcare . Instructional Design concepts and models are essential in providing systematic training and educational programs that can help improve patient safety . As a result, providers across all areas of the healthcare industry are looking to Instructional Designers to develop their education and training solutions.
Healthcare service providers hiring Instructional Designers as of January 2023 included: The Mayo Clinic, UnitedHealth Group, Optum, Kaiser Permanente, and the American Psychiatric Association.
Banking And Lending
For those Instructional Designers with experience in financial management or wealth advisory positions, the banking and lending industry is rife with open positions. In finance, Instructional Designers develop training to support an institution’s efforts in financial planning, banking, lending, and adherence to regulatory requirements.
Banking and lending institutions hiring Instructional Designers as of January 2023 included: US Bank National Association, Wells Fargo, Capital One, and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Enterprise Software And Network Solutions
Few industries move as fast as software development, and the same forces that have contributed to the rise of digital and remote learning also contribute to the significant growth of companies that provide enterprise software and network solutions . Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers have constant demand for Instructional Designers to create and update learning solutions for employees and customers alike.
Enterprise software and network solutions companies hiring Instructional Designers as of January 2023 included: Blueridge IT Solutions, Inc., Oracle, Intuit, ADP, and Intelliswift Software.
If you’re unsure of which industry to get into or crave new challenges in different fields, you could choose to work in consulting. Consulting firms are regularly looking to grow and expand their corporate training programs and require talented professionals eager to collaborate in service to some of the largest businesses in the world.
Consulting services hiring Instructional Designers as of January 2023 included: Booz Allen Hamilton, GP Strategies, Accenture, High Street Consulting, and CoreAxis Consulting.
Other Jobs Related To Instructional Design
If you’re interested in exploring a career in learning and training development but aren’t sure you want to commit to Instructional Design, you have other options. Many of the above industries also hire for similar positions, collaborating with or complementing Instructional Design. Consider searching for the following jobs to see what jobs you may qualify for:
Learning Experience Designer (LXD)
While the responsibilities and duties of an LXD are similar to that of an Instructional Designer, their work focuses on making training and course experiences as learner-centered, accessible, and engaging as possible, rather than on the systematic design of instructional strategies.
eLearning developers are entirely focused on digital learning and are specialists in utilizing authoring software and other learning technologies to design online courses. Whether remote or on-site, they work in organizations and institutions to create, test, and update instructional content across various online platforms.
Project management is an essential skill for Instructional Designers, so some choose to oversee the scope, schedule, and budget of learning-related projects as full-time project managers. Project managers are in demand across the corporate sector, though any large enterprise organization will have open positions in project management.
Curriculum design focuses entirely on creating learning materials and course content. A curriculum designer will collaborate with a learning designer to determine a course’s overall learning goals, instructional strategies, and evaluation methods, and then build out the content. Curriculum designers are in great need across the education industry to develop content for online and in-person learning environments.
This list is just the tip of the iceberg for exploring instructional and learning design opportunities. A cursory search for Instructional Design jobs will pull up job openings in retail, the aerospace industry, manufacturing, and more. Choose the sector that best aligns with your interests and values, research the general requirements, and pursue the experience and education that will best prepare you for your future career .