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Teachers in Need of a New Career Path: Think Instructional Design

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Teachers in Need of a New Career Path:  Think Instructional Design

Are you a teacher that seeks a new career?  Are you unsure where your skill set will be valued? Have you considered Instructional Design? If you haven’t, I encourage you to do so for many reasons. 


Hi there! I am Melissa. I am a learning designer and educator. I have been teaching for approximately 14 years but found I needed a new venture. I reflected on my teaching experience and discovered there were tasks I performed in my role as a teacher that I really enjoyed such as design and content development. 

When I started researching careers for teachers outside of the classroom, I discovered the instructional design field and fell in love with it. Now I want to teach you what I have learned in this journey.


Why Instructional Design is a Good Fit

Instructional design is a good career path for teachers because teachers possess many transferable skills. Furthermore, the majority of teachers are hardworking individuals that are willing to learn new things. 

Let’s look at some skills you possess as a teacher that are also needed as an instructional designer. Even though the job requirements and skills vary according to the company, this example lets you see that you do possess some basic skills needed to perform the job tasks.


Skills Needed in Both Career Fields

  1. Analyze learners’ needs.                                        
  2. Write objectives/goals.                                            
  3. Develop lesson plans.                                             
  4. Create learning activities. 
  5. Develop curriculum.
  6. Develop test items.  
  7. Evaluate test scores.              
  8. Facilitate discussions.


There are many other skills teachers need to develop to become an instructional designer. Look at an example of a job description of an Instructional Designer I position. 

Instructional designers need to be knowledgeable of the instructional design models. One popular model is ADDIE. They also need to be able to create courses or training material using different delivery methods. Since instructional designers work with subject matter experts and developers, team work skills and time management skills are a must.

Search for jobs in instructional design. You will notice that many companies are asking for the mastery of authoring tools such as Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, and Lectora. They also want employees that can use animated software such as Vyond or Powtoon, or video editing software such as Camtasia. 

You may be wondering, but how am I going to make a transition from teaching to instructional design if there are so many things I need to learn? The first thing is to ask yourself if this is something you see yourself doing. Do you feel passionate about it? Is it worth the hard work? If you answered yes, then I will give you some tips.


How to Transition from Teaching to Instructional Design

Making a transition into any career field is challenging. However, there are a few things you should do to make the transition to instructional design more enjoyable. 

List of Things You Should Do

1. Conduct your research. 

The more you know about the field, the better. I recommend reading these books to begin with: Design for How People Learn, The Accidental Instructional Designer, Instructional Design for E Learning, and Map It. I also highly recommend reading  Christy Tucker’s website articles. Christy Tucker was a music teacher that became an instructional designer and she shares useful information to help you make the transition.

2. Join social media groups related to the instructional design field.

I personally recommend the Facebook group Becoming an IDOL. This group changed my life. The creator, Dr. Robin Sargent, is an experienced instructional designer that has worked in Higher Ed as well as corporate. Her mission is to help people like you to be able to achieve your goals of becoming an IDOL.

3. Find a mentor and take online courses.

I was researching and studying on my own and even though I had learned a lot, there was a point in my journey I just got stuck and overwhelmed. The solution was a mentor. I enrolled in IDOL Courses Academy and my motivation came back. I have learned so much in this academy. This is a hands-on course that will teach you everything you need to know to land an interview and be successful on the job. It is not just plain theory, you have to build a portfolio to get the certificate! Not only that, but you also have paid experience opportunities.

What I Have Learned

  • How to create a portfolio and what I need to include
  • Theories in the ID field
  • How to create eLearning 
  • The complete instructional design process
  • What software programs are mostly used
  • How to update my resume and LinkedIn profile
  • How to prepare for interviews 
  • How to improve my work

Other online courses you may take into consideration are from the learning platforms, Udemy and LinkedIn Learning. Udemy and LinkedIn Learning provide different courses related to different career paths. I bought different courses on Udemy for $10.00. On the other hand, LinkedIn Learning has a monthly subscription of $29.99 monthly. 

Note: Check your local library to see if the library has a subscription. If so, you will have free access with your library card and a pin. I received completion certificates in both Udemy and

4. Build a portfolio.

What I have learned throughout my job search is that the majority of employers want to see proof of your skills. Many ask you for links to your portfolio and others ask you for work samples. When I started seeing this repeatedly, I told myself that I urgently needed to build a portfolio.

I had no idea on how to build an instructional design portfolio. That is when I decided to enroll in IDOL Courses Academy. The academy includes video tutorials on how to begin from scratch. Imagine, I am almost done building my portfolio on WordPress and before I had no idea on how to use that website builder. 

A portfolio is a great way to practice ID skills if you do not have experience in the field. One highly recommended website by many instructional designers to get inspiration and ideas is The creator is Kristen Anthony. She is a Front End developer and Learning Experience Designer. 

5. Do Volunteer Work

One way to get experience is doing volunteer work. I did volunteer work with Designers for Learning. This non-profit organization will give you the opportunity to work on real world projects. They also offer courses such as a Mobile Design Sprint and Design in the Open. Other volunteer work can be done at and

6. Learn from others.

Learn from people in the field. Connect with them and see their work. Who inspires you? LinkedIn is a powerful tool to search for jobs and connect with different people. Be sure that your LinkedIn profile looks professional and includes the necessary information to help you stand out or be seen by recruiters.

Before being in the IDOL Academy, I thought my LinkedIn profile was fine, but I knew it needed work. I learned that it needed a total transformation and that was possible thanks to a tutorial created by Dr. Robin Sargent. For that reason is that a mentor is important. You need someone to review your work and give you recommendations on how to improve it.   

Another benefit of the IDOL Academy is that you will be part of a private facebook group with instructional designers or people transitioning into the field. There are many teachers in the group, so you will feel right at home. 


Do I Need a Master’s Degree in Instructional Design?

I asked that same question many times. It depends on what type of instructional designer you want to be and where you want to work. Higher Ed always asks for degrees in the field of work. On the other hand, corporate focuses more on job experience or a portfolio showcasing your skills. 

There are different master’s programs or certificate programs. What you need to take into account is that many people who did decide to study say they still lack the necessary skills to strive at the job. Their programs were mainly focused on theory. For that reason, they feel unprepared. 

If you do decide to invest in your education, make it worthwhile. Look for a program that not only focuses on theory, but gives you the hands-on experience as well. I highly recommend IDOL Courses Academy.

Final Thoughts

Believe in yourself and work hard to reach your goals. I have seen many success stories in IDOL Academy and you may be the next one. If you are passionate about designing and creating learning experiences for learners, instructional design may be the path for you! 


By Melissa Rios La Luz


Melissa is a mother, educator, and learning designer passionate about content design and development. She possesses a Doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching and has worked with learners of different age levels and cultural backgrounds. Her mission is to help learners acquire new knowledge and skills to be successful in the workplace and life.