What Will Your eLearning Salary Be Like In 5 Years? 6 Factors To Consider

What Will Your eLearning Salary Be Like In 5 Years? 6 Factors To Consider
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Summary: Whether you’re new to the eLearning industry or have been designing eLearning courses for a decade, it’s important to keep an eye on the state of our salaries. In this article, I’ll offer a closer look at what eLearning salary will be like 5 years from today and I’ll share 6 factors that may influence eLearning salary.

The eLearning Salary Forecast: What eLearning Professionals Should Know

If only there were a crystal ball exclusively for eLearning professionals, where we could gaze into the future of the eLearning industry, spot upcoming trends, and find out what the eLearning salary might be like 5 years from now. Luckily, we don’t need a fortune teller to predict the pay rate of tomorrow, as the today’s statistics and overall career outlook can tell us what the future might hold for eLearning pros.

In order to better understand where the eLearning industry is we must take a closer look at where it stands today. According to the eLearning Guild’s 2015 Global eLearning Salary & Compensation Report, the average global base salary for eLearning professionals is about $78,310, which is a 2.5% increase from 2013 [1]. In the United States this number is around $81,079 per year, which is 2.7% higher than the average in 2013 [1].

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that expects 18,500 Instructional Design Coordinator jobs will be added to the eLearning industry between the years 2012 and 2022, which is a 13% increase over the course of the decade [3].

All of these numbers lead to one conclusion: the eLearning industry is growing at a rapid rate, and the salaries of qualified eLearning professionals is growing right along with it. The eLearning salary increase is expected to continue at the same pace (2.5%) over the course of the next five years [1]. There are, however, a few factors that may influence your personal eLearning salary forecast.

6 Factors That May Affect Your Future eLearning Salary

  1. Location.
    Where you work actually has a significant impact on how much you can expect to make 5 years from now. Based upon the findings of The eLearning Guild’s 2015 Global eLearning Salary & Compensation Report, the salary of eLearning professionals in Australia was an average high of $105,610. eLearning pros in India, however, had an average low of in $29,236 per year [1]. Even the salaries within the United States, itself, vary greatly. For example, those in the San Francisco metro area may earn as much as $101,410 per year, on average, while those in the Detroit area might expect to bring in about $65,249 annually [1].
  2. Tech knowledge.
    The tools and technologies of the trade are always changing and evolving. Those who stay on top of trends and learn about the newest eLearning tools are more likely to earn higher salaries now and in the future. For example, eLearning professionals who are familiar with HTML5 and cloud-based authoring tools are probably going to have the upper hand, as the eLearning industry is headed in this direction. This is why it’s so essential to learn about the newest trends and technologies. It not only gives you the opportunity to develop better eLearning experiences for your learners, but also to negotiate a better eLearning salary.
  3. Experience level.
    According to PayScale.com, which is an online salary database, Instructional Designers earned a median salary of $59,878 in 2015 [2]. They also note that entry-level Instructional Designers in the United States had a median salary of $53,295, but experienced Instructional Designers had a median annual salary of $68,727 [2]. Experience typically equals better pay, as employers are more likely to increase your salary if you have developed the necessary skill sets and have a proven track record in the field. For this very reason, it’s always a good idea to seize every opportunity to gain experience, such as attending workshops or volunteering for projects that can help develop specific skills.
  4. Position.
    The position you hold is one of the most significant determinants of your future eLearning salary. If you are in a leadership role, such as a manager of an Learning and Development team at a corporation, you will typically earn more than those who do not have a leadership position. You will, however, also have more responsibilities to go along with your higher pay. The road to becoming a manager does require advance planning. For example, if you want to lead an eLearning team in your current organization, consider taking leadership classes or attending communication courses to prepare yourself for the corporate ladder climb.
  5. Education.
    Typically eLearning professionals, who have higher degrees in Instructional Design such as doctorate and master’s degrees, earn more than those who do not. Not only does the degree carry weight, but the experience and knowledge that come along with it. Those who are willing to pursue degrees show that they are determined, focused, and ready to take the initiative. They want to learn everything they can about the eLearning industry, and employers will usually pay more for their expertise.
  6. Specialty.
    Finding a specialty that ideally suits your interests and talents can significantly increase your eLearning salary over the course of the next five years, and beyond. Specialists stand out from eLearning professionals because they have mastered a particular platform or industry. These eLearning professionals are sought after by companies who are looking for a particular set of skills, which means that they can also charge more for their services.

You have the power to write your own paycheck five years from now by planning your course of action today. Take these eLearning salary factors into consideration when you’re creating your professional goals to ensure the future success of your eLearning career.

As is the case with most professions, over the course of time a variety of myths, exaggerations and misconceptions surface about the pay involved. In the article, 5 Common Misconceptions About Instructional Designer Salaries, I’ll shed some light on the most common misconceptions about instructional designer salaries, all instructional designers involved in the eLearning Industry should be aware of.


  1. The eLearning Guild Releases 2015 Global eLearning Salary & Compensation Report
  2. Instructional Designer Salary (United States)
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Instructional Coordinators
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