For everyone beginning an instructional design journey, the endgame is the same: instructional design jobs. You all want to get to work!
However, if you jump straight into a job board search, you might be overwhelmed. That’s because preferred skills for instructional designers vary based on the type of role and the organization.
Your focus as you learn about instructional design may shift depending on the instructional design jobs you’re interested in. So let’s review what different instructional design jobs are out there and what role you might play as an instructional designer.
Get to Work in Instructional Design: understanding the different instructional design jobs
Unfortunately, no one-size-fits-all job description can be copied and pasted for all instructional design jobs.
Every company has different expectations for its instructional designers. Your skills will vary based on what type of instructional designer you are.
The Straight-Up Instructional Designer
In its purest form, an instructional designer creates a learning experience. They curate the learning content and create outlines. In addition, this instructional designer usually conducts a training needs analysis.
Then, they use the analysis data to write learning objectives and begin the storyboard process. Instructional design jobs like this require a deep understanding of models like ADDIE or SAM. Additionally, an instructional designer knows how to engage adult learners and create a learning experience that meets their needs.
In this role, you would live in the analysis and design phases. You might go as far as creating a visual storyboard in PowerPoint. The slides could be used as a template for the eLearning development.
But, here’s where the role ends, when development begins. In this role, it’s nice to know the capabilities of eLearning authoring tools. However, you wouldn’t have to know the ins and outs of developing.
The Elearning Developer
Here, the eLearning developer steps in. An eLearning developer grabs the baton after the outlining and storyboarding are complete.
In an eLearning developer role, you would bring the learning experience to life and make it usable. Skills like course building in Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, or iSpring are essential for this role.
Other ways you might bring content to life as an eLearning developer include video development or screencasting. Skills you would need here include audio and video editing or using tools like Techsmith SnagIt.
A great eLearning developer works alongside an instructional designer to ensure the final product is aligned with the learning objectives.
The Hybrid Instructional Designer
Unless, of course, your instructional design role is a hybrid. The third type of instructional design role is a combination of the first two. While many organizations have two separate people or teams- one for the design and one for the development, it’s not uncommon for the same person to wear both hats.
In this case, the instructional designer owns the entire ADDIE process. Therefore, this type of instructional designer plays an important role in every phase.
When the pandemic hit, the need to convert instructor-led training to eLearning was massive. Existing instructional designers had to scramble to develop eLearning and video-based training. In addition, developers were being asked to jump into the analysis and design of courses they developed. That’s why the hybrid instructional designer is a popular role and why so many instructional design job posts include development skills.
The 360 Instructional Designer
If you didn’t think an instructional designer could add even more responsibilities to their plate, think again! The last role an instructional designer might play is a jack-of-all-trades.
On top of owning the instructional design process and developing the course content, an instructional designer might also have a hand in implementing the course on a learning management system (LMS).
In this role, the instructional designer also has LMS administrator responsibilities like:
- setting up the course for distribution
- troubleshooting bugs
- grabbing the data collected
You can read more about learning management systems and how instructional designers use them in this article.
Different Instructional Design Jobs
Now that you understand your role as an instructional designer let’s talk about the different instructional design jobs.
When I explain the instructional designer in each of these job types, I will be focused on that hybrid instructional designer role.
There are three main instructional design jobs, and I’ve worked in all three, so let’s dive in!
The Corporate Instructional Designer
A corporate instructional designer is on staff in one organization and works with that organization’s team. This instructional designer gets to know the learning audiences in each department they create training for, which is a nice benefit of corporate work. The learning personas might shift over time, but you’re generally creating for an audience you already understand.
Your tasks as a corporate instructional designer might include the following:
- Content research
- Working with subject matter experts
- Holding stakeholder meetings
- Project management
- Creating course outlines
- Leading scoping meetings
- Designing storyboards
- Building eLearning content
- Creating guides for instructor-led training
- Ensuring SCORM compliance
The tools you need to be familiar with may include eLearning authoring software and audio, video, and image editing software. Each organization will have the tools it prefers and usually allows for some on-the-job training.
For example, if you use Storyline, you can apply for a job with a company that uses Captivate. The skills are transferable, and it would be up to that hiring manager to decide what will work in that specific role.
Scorm compliance is an instructional designer’s responsibility in the corporate world. So what is it?
It stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. It’s how you can track learner data within an LMS. Things like course completion, slide completion, assessment scores, all that valuable data that helps you evaluate the course.
Corporate ID Salary and Perks
I know this is another important aspect of figuring out what kind of instructional designer you want to be! I’m going to be pulling salary data for the Instructional Design Company’s home state, Florida. Specific salary information will vary based on your location, but this should give you a good baseline.
The median salary for corporate instructional designers is around $73,000. The range is anywhere from $57,000 to $88,000 (source: salary.com). Like any job, the compensation can depend on the company and your experience and skills.
One perk of corporate ID work is that it’s typically a full-time role with benefits in a traditional work environment.
The Higher Education Instructional Designer
Next up in our list of instructional design jobs is higher education. These are instructional designers who work for colleges or universities. Depending on the institution, the instructional designer might be a contractor or be on staff in a full-time role.
One crucial difference between corporate and higher education is the learning audience. In higher education, instructional designers have two different audiences.
Designing for Faculty
Mandatory compliance training like ethics, sexual harassment, and security awareness needs to be completed by staff yearly. Those courses have to be created and updated! That’s where you would come in as the instructional designer.
Also, faculty participate in frequent staff development. Those courses are designed on a schedule and could include leadership training or other best practices in education.
In this role, there’s a lot of overlap with the corporate instructional designer role. The process for designing this type of training is similar and requires many of the same skills.
Designing for Students
The other audience the instructional designer works with is the students. In this role, you’d work with professors to create courses for students.
Student courses might be in-person or online. However, both follow a different structure. For example, a semester-long course requires the following:
- Required readings
- Sequential modules
- Curriculum mapping to course competencies
- Student learning outcomes
- Program outcomes
- Learning objectives
Here, the tools used here are a little different. You’ll usually rely on an education-based LMS like Google Classroom, Canvas, or Blackboard. Typically, your development happens within that LMS, without relying on other authoring software.
Higher Education Salary and Perks
The salary range for higher education is lower than corporate, from $43,000 to $51,000 (source: indeed.com. However, for full-time, on-staff instructional designers, the same traditional benefits apply to the corporate world.
Additionally, there’s one big perk of working in higher education. Many universities allow you to complete courses at a discount. If you’re interested in getting a graduate degree, working in higher education can make that more attainable.
The Freelance Instructional Designer
Last but not least, freelance instructional designers work on different projects for different clients. When we talked about the 360 instructional designer, that’s the kind of role most freelancers have.
A freelancer has to find and bid on projects. So, they get to choose the kind of work they do. Subsequently, that work can change from project to project. On the other hand, an established freelancer can be pickier about the projects they work on. This allows you to find your niche within instructional design and stick to it.
As a result, the tasks you’d complete as a freelance vary wildly. Some projects will be similar to corporate, and some will be similar to higher education.
When you work as a freelancer, you constantly have to market yourself to find your next project. However, when you do great work, you get repeat business!
Freelance Salary and Perks
Looking at the freelance platform Upwork, you’ll find hourly rates for instructional designers span anywhere from $35-$90.
In addition, the flexibility and creativity of freelance work are some of its biggest perks!
Wrapping it up
So, what kind of ID do you want to be? Hopefully, this has helped you narrow it down. You can join me in the Hangout if you have questions about the different instructional design jobs. We have a great community of instructional designers that can help you out!
Ready to take the next step in your instructional design journey? Consider joining our Instructional Design and Tech Accelerator System and Certificate Program. You can learn the tricks and tools of the trade while building your portfolio!
The Testimonials are In:
Working with Shanwtay and Katie at the Instructional Design Company was a dream come true. Their creativity, expertise, and professionalism throughout the entire process was beyond top notch. I engaged them to help turn my first book into a training course, and I could not be happier with how the final product turned out. If you have an instructional design project and you’re considering which company to work with, you can stop your search and thank me later. They are truly the best in the business.
I joined the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program because I struggled to find jobs in instructional design beyond the development phase. I’ve done a couple of training programs with lots of random projects, but I was overwhelmed, not connecting the dots, and not good at structuring my writing to hit learning objectives. I was looking for motivation and direction at beginning a better Instructional Designer.
After taking the Instructional Design & Tech Certificate program and joining my fantastic team for support, I found the structure and approach to be what I need to take my next steps, evening improving my skills in the development stage.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I love how this course let’s you work at your own pace. I got great tips and learned many things. The ongoing support for multiple people and groups is what I love the best. You are never alone in this process. I have been able to adjust my resume and began creating a portfolio of work I’ve completed to add when applying for jobs. I use many of the PowerPoint skills in my lessons and trainings. I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting to become an instructional designer.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I have searched for the last few years to find some suitable career change where I wouldn’t have to earn another degree and where I could use the talents and skills I already have as a teacher. When I came across the Instructional Design Accelerator course, I loved the fact that Shawntay was a former teacher and could relate to a teacher’s need to transition from the classroom. This was what sold the course for me. Her experiences are invaluable especially when translating teacher duties to instructional designer duties. I would (and have) recommended this program to other teachers I know who are looking to transition out of the classroom. I do appreciate ALL of her feedback on my projects!
L&D Project Manager
The Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator certificate program is one of the most comprehensive ID programs out there for beginners. If you’re looking to grow your schools in ID and development then I highly recommend this program. Not only will this program give you an overview of theory, but you will receive a thorough walkthrough of how to apply what you have learned. Although I had already secured a position in Learning & Development when I bought this course, it helped me to move up into a new position as a Learning & Development Project Manager!
Future Instructional Designer
If you have any interest in ID, sign up for this program NOW! Shawntay and her team are top notch! The course content exceeded my expectations in a big way and the encouragement and support continues to be so valuable. You will not feel alone going through this course, you will learn so much, you’ll have many cheerleaders, and you will have fun!
Future Instructional Designer
I am really enjoying this program! It’s prerfect for someone who is thinking about a career shift to Instructional Design and does not have a lot of experience. This is my first real introduction to Instructional Design and it’s been the perfect beginner course to help me get my feet wet. The modules are broken down well and it’s great to go at your own pace and at your own time. The modules themselves are very comprehensive and you learn a lot from all of them. I really like how each one build upon each other and you’re working towards the bigger project of designing your first training course from scratch. I’m learning so much from going through this course! I was provided great feedback from Katie and Shawntay through the process via Trello Boards, comments on the Google documents, and Facebook group. This course has been well worth the time and effort and I appreciate the fact that I will always have the resources available to me after I complete the training (just in case I’m not quite ready to transition yet).
Future Instructional Designer
I can’t say enough great things about the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program! The length of the program is perfect; it doesn’t feel rushed and there’s just the right amount of structure to give you the accountability you need. There are so many opportunities to get live answers to any questions you have related to the course content or anything ID-related! This program gave me the support and structure I needed to both feel affirmed in the relevant skills I already had coming in and to fill in the gaps I had as a career-changer going into ID. Shawntay, Katie, and all the coaches are super helpful and supportive. I now feel confident that I have the tools and access to resources I need to apply for ID jobs without wondering if there’s something I’m “missing” in the preparation process. I’d highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to transition into ID or who just wants to brush up on their skills in the field.
Krista Johnson Awomoyi
Freelance Instructional Designer
I’d highly recommend the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program. I’m blown away by how much I learned in just 12 weeks. I had ID experience prior to taking this course and was just looking to get a better understanding of applying adult learning principles. This course well exceeded my expectations! Not only did I gain a clear understanding of adult learning principles, I was also able to apply those principles by creating assets for your portfolio using PowerPoint, Adobe Premiere Pro and Storyline. The hands on support that we received was top notch.
This program is one of the most robust yet fulfilling L&D programs I’ve seen. I learned so much about the industry and about the limitlessness of my own capabilities. I am so appreciative of Shawntay and all of the trainers who took part in the program. They went above and beyond with not only guiding, but communicating live and working one on one or in small groups. If you are on the fence, I say take the leap and you will not regret it! There’s so much to learn, not only from the trainers, but also the learners in your group. Everyone comes in with their own skills and can be additional support and guidance for you. Thank you for creating this program!
Instructional Designer Training Facilitator
Shawntay is an amazing individual. She is very knowledgeable in all aspects of ID and eLearning. She is also very compassionate and loves to help and see everyone around her grow and prosper. Shawntay has been a great mentor to me and she has helped me mature as an instructional designer and eLearning developer. She has provided me with opportunities when others have overlooked me. I am very grateful to have met and built a lifelong relationship with Shawntay.
I recently got hired into my first instructional design / training position and Shawntay was one of the first people to congratulate me!
Freelance Instructional Designer
My teacher-to-instructional-designer journey began two years ago when I left my teaching comfort zone and started my first freelance ID job. Now, I’m stepping out of the classroom and taking my freelance work full-time, so I’m thrilled to be joining the Tech Accelerator program. Adding technologies like Articulate 360 and Adobe Premiere Pro to my qualifications will help me take my courses to the next level and attract more clients!
Teacher Transitioning into Instructional Design
I am genuinely grateful for this course. I wanted a real-world perspective and feel like I got it. I’m teaching now, but nearing retirement age but can see myself working as an instructional designer well into my retirement years. My other goal is to take as many courses in statistics as possible in hopes of bringing some mathematical precision to the ROI question. Like you say, getting accurate metrics to measure ROI can be a challenge, but I intend to work on that part. That’s unimportant right now, what is important is the fact that I feel like this course was well worth every penny I spent and I would to it again in a heartbeat. I have too much going on right now, but as soon as I get some time freed up I intend to take your course in project management.
Turns Your Written Thoughts Into a Masterpiece!
Shawntay Skjoldager can turn your written thoughts into a masterpiece. She is great to work with and the most organized person I know!
President and CEO, The Creative Entreprenuer
Shawntay has been incredible!
Shawntay has been incredible and her team is responsive and effective in translating my training programs into professional presentations. Don’t hesitate to contact her for your project.
Beth B. De Lima, MBA, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP
President and Principal of HRM Consulting, Inc.
IDC is My Secret Weapon to Soar Above My Competition!
The IDC team has been my secret and special weapon of success. They have delivered above and beyond with every single project out in front of them. They have met and beat timelines. They have been Uber responsive every step of the way. I keep them on speed dial and have and continue to recommend them to friends and clients. If you are in need of instructional design and plenty more, this is THE ALL-STAR team that will more than deliver and help make you and your project soar above the competition.
LT. COL. Jason O. Harris
U.S. Air Force Officer, Special Operations Pilot, U.S.A.F. Academy Instructor, Motivational Speaker
A Tremendous Asset to the Project Team!
Working with Shawntay and the Instructional Design Company has allowed our university to meet the growing demands of our programs. Shawntay’s expertise allowed for the course development to be completed on time and met all of the university requirements. Shawntay’s project management skills were phenomenal and allowed my team to work on other areas while she completed this project for us. Her work is of high quality and her professionalism and willingness to help made her a tremendous asset to the project team.
Academic Quality Assurance Specialist, Abilene Christian University
Creative & Highly Talented!
Shawntay is a creative and highly talented instructional designer. She brought a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and leadership that enabled her to own the design and creation of a full scale facilitator curriculum and train-the-trainer program. It was a pleasure to partner with Shawntay, her project management and communication skills ensured the project was on time and on budget.
Breaks Down Mammoth Projects
“Shawntay is quick study and carefully synthesizes information for presentations that are clear, concise and captivating. Her personality draws the audience in and her content mastery is excellent. A team player and organizer, Shawntay has the ability to break down mammoth projects, keep everybody on time and on task.”
Author, Speaker, Strengths Coach
“I have had many opportunities to work with Shawntay—mainly in the support of implementing new eLearning initiatives. I have been very impressed by her ability to quickly learn how to use rapid eLearning development tools and effectively use them to create multiple courses within a short timeframe. Shawntay’s enthusiastic nature, attention to detail, and dedication to her work make her a pleasure to work with and a great asset to both Texas A&M University-Commerce and the broader training community within the Texas A&M University System.”
Director of Learning Strategy, Caveo Learning
Top Notch Professional
Working with Shawntay has been an immense pleasure. She is atop notch professional who brings enthusiasm and extensiveexpertise to professional curriculum development and execution. Her knowledge of tried and true techniques to maximize the effectiveness of presentations is invaluable.
Nancy Drapeau, PRC
Vice President of Research, CEIR - Center for Exhibition Industry Research
Fortunate to Find Shawntay!
“I was fortunate to find Shawntay when our organization was looking to expand and update our educational offerings. Shawntay proved herself to be an educational and personal development expert who immediately made an impact with our clients throughout Europe. Everyone who came into contact with Shawntay was immediately impressed by her level of expertise and willingness to share her knowledge with those around her. I would not hesitate to recommend Shawntay to anyone looking for an education subject matter expert.”
Director of Qualifications and NSD Services, Mary Kay Inc.
Short Turn Around. On Time. Under Budget!
“We hired Shawntay to develop a training facilitator’s guide and PowerPoint slide deck for an operations manual heavy with technical content. The project was made more challenging by a very short turn around, 5 business days, and the fact that the operations manual wasn’t complete and was being updated simultaneously with the facilitator’s guide and slide deck. Despite these challenges, Shawntay delivered as promised. On time and under budget.”
Dave Beeman, CPP
Vice President, Andy Frain Services
Need an Expert Who Consistently Delivers?
“Working with Shawntay you will immediately notice her professional presence and poise, but over time her tenacious pursuit of excellence and her skills in instructional development and adult learning will really impress you. I worked with her at Mary Kay, and was able to experience firsthand her great rapport with regional partners in Europe, understanding their unique sales force training needs. In addition, Shawntay consistently exhibited grace under pressure, made executive decisions to move business forward. If you are looking for an expert who consistently delivers and goes the extra mile to get things done, contact Shawntay!”
Marketing Director, Academic Partnerships
Quality Products & Solutions!
“I had had the pleasure of knowing and working with Shawntay on more than a few occasions. I found her to be a very good business partner and very committed to delivering a quality product or solution in a timely manner. I have always had a positive experience in partnering with Shawntay and would recommend that you consider leveraging her talent.”
Judy Owen, CPC
Transformational Leadership Coach
“Invest in yourself and take your skills to the next NEXT level!”
Get yourself signed up for Shawntay Skjoldager’s Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program today and be on your way to success! Within the first week of taking her course, you will experience growth! Be sure to plug into her Facebook Q&A sessions for personalized help, too. This is THE course to take if you are new to instructional design or have landed on the training team and need help getting started.
Managing Partner, PHiG
“Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!”
Shawntay has exceptional knowledge and experience with all aspects of creating and implementing effective, performance based training for adults. She is exceptional at needs analysis – identifying target audiences and collaborating with business owners to keep training focused on business needs. And she is great to work with – always providing great support to get projects done on-time and on-target. She is always on the look-out for new and more effective ways to engage learners. Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!
eLearning Developer/Instructional Designer, Vivos Therapeutics
I have known and worked with Shawntay as a education program director and use the expertise of ShawntayMichelle for the development of my presentations. The service has always been “spot on” with professionalism, care and attention. Shawntay’s recommendations to my ideas make me look good to my clients.
Al Lomas CMP, CEM, CMM, CFE
Owner, Certified Consulting Services
“Shawntay Skjoldager reached in and made my training life so much easier!”
I am new to the training design and development world and I was SO excited to get in there, but I really lacked the real-world knowledge that would set me apart from my peers. And, then Shawntay Skjoldager walked into my life with an outstretched hand and a seemingly endless list of ways to knock every training out of the park. From the Training Analysis Form to the Tay Tay tips, this course made my life so much easier and even ironed out the review process that I had been struggling with for months.
Take time to invest in your own learning and make sure to put Shawntay Michelle at the top of your personal development list!
Training Specialist, LegalShield