Instructional design is a booming profession. The growing use of elearning has resulted in a higher demand for professionals capable of developing effective courses.
The great thing about instructional design is that it is a flexible profession as well. It is easy to pick a niche and specialize in that area.
If you don’t want to specialize, you can always take the generalist approach.
While you may not make as much money, the benefit is that you’ll constantly be challenged given the large variety of projects you will be capable of doing.
If you prefer to stay away from elearning then that is an option as well. Instructional designers create live-training programs almost as much as elearning. I can recall one training project I was on where the entire program included a live instructor.
While I wouldn’t recommend specializing in just live-training (especially given the wide-spread use of elearning), it’s still going to be a part of many projects you take on.
If you’re interested in getting started in this field, then you’ve made an excellent choice – but you may be wondering what you need to do to break-in, or if you need a formal education?
In a recent survey of 1,120 instructional designers, 46% indicated that they had an instructional design degree. In other words, it’s not a hard requirement by any means. I would know. I’ve created thousands of hours of elearning and live-training programs and I don’t have an official degree in the field.
The most valuable thing you can do as an instructional designer is gain experience. Experience will trump a degree 100% of the time. After you gain some experience, you can consider getting a certification in the field for additional distinction – but a formal degree is not necessary.
Still, there are benefits to getting a degree in instructional design. At the very least, you’ll give yourself a solid foundation when starting out. That said, you can also pursue a degree after you have had a few projects so you can apply real-world experience to what you learn.
Regardless of the path you choose, instructional design is proving to be a rewarding career both professionally and financially.