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Is Instructional Design a Good Career? The Pros and Cons of a Career in Instructional Design

Feb 21, 2024
Is Instructional Design a Good Career? The Pros and Cons of Instructional Design Career

Are you considering an instructional design career? You’re in good company.

Demand for Instructional Designers and related learning and development professionals continues to grow at an impressive pace, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic forced training and education experiences to be taken online.

Not only did a new, virtual way of learning become the norm, but training and education materials had to adapt to become even more engaging and effective without the in-person, hands-on learning experience students and trainees once knew. Now, as companies and institutions learn how to take training online and offline, a new curriculum is needed to support more flexible learning environments.

And who is tasked with creating these digital courses, training modules, and online learning communities? Instructional Designers.

If you’re wondering if instructional design is a good career for you, keep reading!

What is Instructional Design?

Instructional Design is an industry that develops well-designed and engaging learning experiences and environments. Instructional Designers focus on creating highly effective instructional models to enhance learning outcomes. 

Effective instructional design aligns with the unique needs and preferences of learners. It uses gamification, psychology, and other tactics to bridge the knowledge gap for students and trainees. Instructional design most notably emphasizes multimedia, interactive gaming, and assessments to facilitate active learning.

What does an instructional design career look like?

An Instructional Designer understands how people learn and creates practical learning activities to educate and train. The day-to-day for an Instructional Designer may vary, especially for those in different industries, though a standard task list might look like this.

  • Identify topics and knowledge to include in training modules
  • Create content, activities, and assessments 
  • Develop instructional materials (such as assessments, courses, videos, games, quizzes, presentations, worksheets, etc.)
  • Develop activities to facilitate learning and education
  • Design digital and print media to enable learning materials (such as animations, graphics, and interactive video)
  • Evaluate improvements to existing training content
  • Adapt educational content to new formats (such as print materials to digital materials)

You can find a lucrative instructional design career in many different industries and workplace settings, including corporations as a Training Educator or learning institutions as a general Educator. You may work in an office, from home, as a consultant, or as a full-time employee. The options are endless and flexible, which is one of the positive aspects of an instructional design career!

Is instructional design a good career?

Humbly speaking, we think instructional design is more than a good career—it’s a fantastic opportunity! Not only are there incredible opportunities for growth within the industry, but the day-to-day is also intriguing, challenging, and rewarding.

Opportunities are growing as more companies and educational institutions integrate their training and learning with digital communities and virtual, on-demand settings. As the industry learns to incorporate new technology and VR, the demand for Instructional Designers with knowledge and experience in these emerging platforms will increase tenfold. 

When considering salary, the median pay for an Instructional Designer in 2022 was $63,080. Remember that salary varies depending on geographical location, industry, and experience level.

Instructional design is a good career for people who:

  • Enjoy helping others achieve their goals
  • Enjoy teaching, training, or educating others
  • Have prior experience in education or training (but we can help if you don’t!)
  • Excel at analyzing gaps and opportunities for improvements
  • Communicate well in person and digitally through writing and design
  • Explore new, creative ways to communicate and create
  • Are up-to-date on the latest trends and methods in teaching and psychology

Many former teachers and professors find instructional design a promising career for their skill set. They still reap the reward of helping students achieve their goals while making learning fun, plus they get to work in a more corporate setting with traditional work hours—and even with remote work opportunities!

As with many, instructional design careers have qualities that some may find challenging. Some of these qualities include:

  • Less consistent schedule that revolves around students and course schedules
  • An ever-changing environment as new methods and technologies arise
  • Lack of a “playbook” as many instructional designers choose how to run their own shows
  • Complete freedom to design courses and materials without parameters or rules

While some people may find these qualities too overwhelming to enjoy a career as an Instructional Designer, those who will excel in the profession find them an exciting challenge to tackle!

How do I start my instructional design career?

If you’re looking for a way to break into the instructional design industry, you’ve come to the right place! The IDOL Academy is the first and only vocational school for Instructional Design & Online Learning Development. 

In just 24 weeks, you’ll learn the skills needed to become an Instructional Designer for companies like Intuit, Uber, The Walt Disney Company, and Amazon. To read more about our IDOL students’ experiences, you can find dozens of success stories.

IDOL Academy is the faster, more affordable way to begin your instructional design career. Unlike a traditional degree, IDOL Academy has a continuously updated curriculum that encourages technical training and practical experience. In other words, it is exactly what potential employers are looking for.

Not only will you enjoy immersive lessons, weekly assignments, live practice sessions, and 1-1 personalized feedback, but you’ll also get career coaching, business coaching, career readiness support, graduation certification, and portfolio training. (And that’s only the beginning of the list!)

Find out if instructional design is a good career for you by exploring all the IDOL Academy offers!