Online Master’s Degree in Instructional Design

Online masters degree programs in instructional design are ideal programs for individuals seeking a career as a school administrator. Programs can typically be tailored to fit elementary, intermediate, secondary, or postsecondary learning. However, most programs will usually prepare students for implementing educational programs in colleges and universities, and have even begun to teach courses specifically for adult and nontraditional learning. Graduates in the field can even gain a position in personnel development with large businesses and corporations by designing and implementing training programs.

Classes for an Online Master’s Degree in Instructional Design

In most cases, online masters degree programs in instructional design are designed specifically for professionals already working in administration or education. Most will focus on implementing new teaching methods through the use of technology, while others allow students to choose an area of focus such as implementing new instruction methods with children, or at the high school or college level. With the emergence of online education for adult and nontraditional learners, many programs focus on using modern technology and online school portals to administer classes and teaching methods. In most cases, students should be able to complete an online instructional design masters program in two to three years. Some classes that students may see include:

  • Instructional Design Issues for Technology-based Instruction
  • Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Technology-based Instruction
  • Literature Reviews for Educational Research
  • Developing Research Proposals
  • Issues in Measurement and Evaluation

In almost all online instructional design masters programs, students must complete a final capstone project or thesis before graduating. Students completing a capstone project are usually responsible for designing, developing, and evaluating an instructional tool or methods based on its effectiveness in a given field. Students who opt for a final thesis must demonstrate a mastery of the knowledge gained during the program, and demonstrate how this knowledge can be applied in a specific area in education, business, or technology.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Instructional Design

While a number of positions are available for an individual possessing an online masters degree in instructional design, one of the most common is in postsecondary education administration. These individuals are usually in charge of overseeing student services, developing curriculum for academic programs, or designing and implementing research initiatives at colleges and universities. Depending on the size of the school, and the specific area they work, job requirements can vary greatly as some focus specifically on admissions, while others may focus on developing and implementing new curriculum in a specific department. Thanks to the rapid growth of online college degrees many new positions exist in the field for designing and implementing online programs for a given field.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 129,000 jobs for postsecondary administrators in 2010. More than 73% of all jobs in the field were at colleges, universities, community colleges, and trade schools, while the remainder were employed at junior colleges. The BLS also reported that the field is expected to grow by 19% through the year 2020. Growth is expected to come from increased enrollment at postsecondary institutions.

While a bachelor’s degree is normally the minimum required to gain an entry-level position within the field, most large colleges and universities will require individuals to have at least a master’s degree. Ideally, the right candidate will possess a master’s degree, in addition to experience working within a specific field or subject such as administration, or business.


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