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Leaving the Classroom Episode 16: A Day in the Life of a Government Instructional Designer

#becomeaninstructionaldesigner #governmentinstructionaldesign #governmentjobs #idolcoursesacademy #instructionaldesign #instructionalsystemspecialist #leaving the classroom podcast #leavingtheclassroom Jun 20, 2023

Leaving the Classroom: A Transitioning Teacher Podcast

A Day in the Life of a Government Instructional Designer with Monica Garcia 

In this episode, Kristi talks to Monica Garcia. Monica works as a supervisor for a team of instructional designers in the government sector, specifically the Air Force Career Development Academy. She discusses how she upskilled using IDOL courses Academy and how a career in government ID is an untapped resource.

Listen to the episode here:


Connect with Kristi on LinkedIn  and Monica on LinkedIn

Enjoy the podcast transcription:

Kristi Oliva  Hello, everyone. Welcome to leaving the classroom. I'm Kristi Oliva. I'm so glad you're here. Today's topic is a day in the life of a government ID and I have a special guest here to talk about it. So today I have with me Monica Garcia, member of IDOL Courses Academy and a government ID welcome Monica.

Monica Garcia  Hi, thank you so much for having me.

Kristi Oliva  Oh, no problem. Thank you for being here. So why don't we start off by you just walking us through how you got involved with IDOL Courses Academy and what you were doing before that.

Monica Garcia  So I saw IDOL Courses Academy on LinkedIn. I use LinkedIn not just to connect with people, but also as a source for information and resources. And that kept popping up on my feed. So I felt like it was divine intervention. And I kind of needed to just invest in myself and take the leap into the courses. But I was actually an ID before I started IDOL for about seven years prior. So my journey actually started by I was a military instructor, I taught air traffic control for at the schoolhouse. And as part of that, it allows us to develop curriculum and be part of lesson planning. Much like you do in the civilian classroom, we have to build lesson plans and identify where we're going to have those connection points with the students. But then I found out that, hey, there's more to it, you can get a qualification which we call the 1750 series. And that allows for higher pay grade. So once I separated from the military, I jumped into that. And so I've been doing it since probably about October of 2013. And I've made my way up the GS scale. So I'm actually now a supervisor over other IDs for an organization called the Air Force Career Development Academy.

Kristi Oliva  Oh, wow, that's so cool. So when you joined IDOL, then what was your ultimate goal? What did you want to get out of your experience?

Monica Garcia  I wanted to see what it was like outside the Air Force bubble. So even though I've been doing ID for a while, I've only done it for the Air Force. So I had never seen, I only had the Air Force lens when it came to instructional design and what the requirements were. And I was really looking to expand my breadth of experience and breadth of understanding when it came to maybe corporate, or even maybe looking at freelancing. And so it was really eye opening to see a different viewpoint of it. Because you have so many different perspectives, and experiences in IDOL. So it was really, really cool to join it. And so what is

Kristi Oliva  And so what is your current title? You said, You're over a manager over other IDs? Are you an ID Manager?

Monica Garcia  No, actually, so the actual job title for the 1750 series is Instructional Systems Specialist. So my official job title is supervisory instructional system specialist. But in the work area. I'm a branch chief. So we have two curriculum development branches in the Air Force Career Development Academy. And I'm one of them. So I actually supervise five instructional systems specialists, as well as 50 CDC writers, which are the military component and subject matter experts for each of the career fields that they're associated with.

Kristi Oliva  Wow, that sounds so cool. So why don't you walk us through like what a typical day looks like? Now I know as an ID, there's no typical day or especially in probably in your management role. There's no stereotypical day. But why don't you walk us through what your basic duties are on the day to day basis? What are you doing each day?

Monica Garcia  As you said, it's like every day is different. It literally is like anything could happen day because you never know what kind of curveballs you're gonna get thrown. In our line of work we're developing the training for the airmen, once they graduate, their initial skills training and are actually at their first duty station, so it teaches them their job. So a day could look like getting task analysis worksheets from the SMEs or it could be assessment questions that they were writing, or storyboarding based on the information that they've gotten. We're developing probably about five to six courses simultaneously right now. So it really is dependent on the different phase that that course is being developed. So my team is actually working in a team concept. So each person actually does a different part of the ISD process. So one person works on analysis, one person works on storyboarding, or design one person does the development. We use Articulate. So they're primarily building the content, we use Moodle for our LMS. So they're also programming that and loading the content. So if we have a course due everyone's pushing to get that course out, but literally, it changes every day. And that's really what I love about it.

Kristi Oliva  What would you say is like the benefits of working in the government space, as opposed to maybe the corporate space or higher ed?

Monica Garcia  Definitely job security. So you have a lot of companies that are in the news right now for layoffs, in the government sector, your job is is protected. So when COVID hit, we all even if we weren't reporting to work, we all had guaranteed paychecks, with the exception of a lot of government decisions that are made when it comes to like the budget that does impact our paychecks. But as a whole, it's probably the most secure sector that you can work in. It also has incredible benefits. Like I have insurance that just is taken out of my paycheck, and is a very, you'd have really good secure insurance, or retirement capabilities. If you're a military veteran, you can actually apply your time to how you accrue leave, how you accrue sick pay. So it's it really is that job security of anything else.

Kristi Oliva  And so if somebody wanted to go find a role as a government instructional designer, where would they go? Would they find those roles on LinkedIn? Or is there another place they should be searching?

Monica Garcia  Definitely, they want to go to and they can search using just by typing in 1750, 1 7 5 0. And that will bring up all the jobs as soon as you type that in. Everything that pops up says Instructional Systems Specialist, instructional system specialist. And it is every agency in the federal government. I literally looked up jobs just before I came on, to speak to you and there were jobs in Homeland Security working for the Army working for the Navy working for the Department of Treasury, working for the Secret Service. So there are ID jobs in every sector of the government. So it's really cool. It also helps if you're trying to find a certain location. Unfortunately, a lot of military bases are in really undesirable locations in the middle of nowhere. So it's really, you want to think about that, too. But then there's also areas where you might have several bases, or federal locations. So a lot more opportunities are opened up.

Kristi Oliva  Are there remote roles?

Monica Garcia  There are some remote roles, but they are a lot fewer than those that you would find in corporate, the telework has kind of gone away. And a lot of the federal organizations However, I did just hear about someone who got a job with Homeland Security, and it was 100% remote. And it was a GS 13, which starts at about 98,000 a year.

Kristi Oliva  Wow. Well, as you probably know, this podcast is geared towards teachers. So even though you're you weren't a former teacher, if you know enough about teachers, I'm sure to answer this question. But if you had to pick a couple of skills, two or three skills that a teacher already has, and can transfer to an ID role, specifically in the government space and work under you possibly, what would those be?

Monica Garcia  Well, I can tell you what I'd look for.

And you might be working on something and all of a sudden, your boss comes in and says okay, no, we need to have this course out first. And so you're gonna have to, you have to know how to problem solve and really be able to be flexible on shifting your priorities, but also the creativity. I noticed teachers you have to get really creative with how you approach different student personalities. And so that's really important to just that being personable. The emotional intelligence is really important because you're going to be working with people, working with SMEs, working with different career fields. So understanding how to work with people is such an important skill as well.

Kristi Oliva  And so if somebody wants to contact you and find out more about theses government roles and maybe you have questions about further questions about what you're looking for, what's the best way for them to get in touch with you?

Monica Garcia  Best way is either they can find me on LinkedIn, there are a lot of Monica Garcia's, it's kind of a common name. And I have a lot of numbers after my name. But if you search Monica Garcia, I'm the one working for the Air Force or you can email me at [email protected] and I'd be happy to answer any questions that they have.

Kristi Oliva  Awesome. Well, thank you, Monica. This has been I've learned so much I did not know that very many of these government jobs existed. So this is really something that even I might look into. 

Kristi Oliva  Do you want to leave the classroom and become an ID like Monica? I know courses Academy we help you build your professional portfolio, revise your resume, prepare for interviews and give you valuable feedback on what you design. Sign up for IDOL courses Academy using my code CLASSROOM100 and get $100 off enrollment today. It's time to take control and make the career change that will change your life. It changed mine. See you next time.

Send your stories or your questions to [email protected] or share them with me on Instagram  @leavingtheclassroom.