Why Do You Need An Instructional Design Degree?

Why Do You Need An Instructional Design Degree?
Summary: The issue of whether an Instructional Design degree should be a prerequisite is a hotly debated topic in the eLearning industry. Some believe that earning a degree gives instructional designers the model, theory, and tech knowledge they need. Others are of the opinion that on-the-job experience and self-study can instill that same knowledge. In this article I will take a look at why you may want to consider an Instructional Design degree.

Having An Instructional Design Degree

As is the case with virtually any industry, structured education versus the solitary pursuit of knowledge is always a topic of conversation in the world of eLearning. There are pros and cons associated with either side of the proverbial coin, and the decision of whether or not to obtain an Instructional Design degree is all a matter of personal preference and professional goals. Here are a few of the most convincing arguments in favor of earning an Instructional Design degree.

  1. May help to improve your job prospects.
    If you take a look through job posting boards or eLearning classified advertisements, you'll probably find that a number of the positions require an Instructional Design degree, ranging from a Bachelor's to a Master's, depending upon the skills and experience the position calls for. Even though many hiring managers will consider you based upon your job history and qualifications, some of them won't even glance at your resume if they are looking for someone with a degree.
  2. Expands your knowledge and understanding of Instructional Design principles.
    Pursuing an Instructional Design degree gives you the opportunity to expand your horizons and gain an in depth understanding of Instructional Design theories, models, and learning behaviors. You will have the ability to collaborate with peers and benefit from their skills and experience, so that you can learn about new approaches that will be of use to you when designing and developing eLearning courses in the future. Ultimately, it offers you the chance to gain diverse experiences, so that you can take on any challenges and obstacles that you may have to face throughout your career as an Instructional Designer.
  3. May lead to greater job stability.
    Countless studies, surveys, and research reports have found that earning a college degree leads to greater job stability. This is particularly true in times of economic uncertainty. If you choose to work for an eLearning corporation, then you are less likely to lose your job than those who do not have a degree in the Instructional Design field. In fact, historically speaking, college graduates in virtually all industries have lower unemployment rates than those who have only earned a high school diploma.
  4. Can help to boost your earning potential.
    Undoubtedly, one of the most convincing reasons to get an Instructional Design degree is the increased earning potential. If you obtain a degree, you are more likely to earn a higher salary over the course of your lifetime than someone who has only received a high school diploma. Even if you choose to go the freelance route after graduating, clients will be more likely to hire you to design and develop their eLearning courses if you mention an Instructional Design degree in your portfolio.
  5. Builds a network of eLearning contacts.
    When you graduate from an Instructional Design program, you don't have just a degree. You also have a valuable list of contacts. You can call upon these people when you're in need of assistance for your next eLearning project, or even to see if they have any job prospects that may be of interest to you. This network gives you access to a variety of opportunities that you would not have had otherwise. While social media and online forums give you the ability to communicate with other eLearning professionals, the people with whom you've attended an Instructional Design program already know you on a personal level and will be more likely to call upon you when opportunity comes knocking.

When just a degree isn't enough

The simple truth is that there are some eLearning professionals who won't achieve the same degree of success as others, even if they have earned an Instructional Design degree. This is primarily due to the fact that, above all else, the constant pursuit of knowledge and the ability to apply the knowledge that you've learned is the secret to becoming a successful Instructional Designer.

You must be able to learn on your own, even after you have left your Instructional Design degree program, by taking full advantage of the educational resources that are available to you. Read books, eBooks and industry-related articles, always stay on the cutting edge of new and emerging technologies, and visit Top Instructional Design blogs that can expand your proverbial horizons on a continual basis.

When all is said and done, there is no substitute for real world experience. As such, taking on a diverse range of projects and steadily growing your online portfolio is key to getting a job and enjoying a thriving eLearning career in the industry. Even if you do pursue a degree, don't forget that it's not an all-encompassing education. You need to be able to fill in the holes and perpetually develop your skill sets and talents, so that you can always stay one step ahead of the industry trends and offer your audiences powerful and engaging eLearning courses that truly showcase your talents.

While getting a degree may not be an absolute necessity for eLearning professionals, it does offer its fair share of benefits. However, if you want to create truly effective eLearning experiences for your audience, then you must be willing and ready to become a lifelong student yourself, in constant pursuit of Instructional Design knowledge and experience.

Instructional Design Career Resources

  • How to Choose the Right Online Instructional Design Certificate Program
    If you have been considering an online instructional design certificate program, then you've come to the right place. In this article, I will go over the basics of Instructional Design certificate programs; share 7 tips for choosing the right Instructional Design program, and even highlight 18 Online Instructional Design Certificate Programs that you may want to consider.
  • How to Choose the Right Instructional Design Bachelor Program
    In this article, I'll delve into the significant factors you need to consider prior selecting the right Instructional Design bachelor degree program. At the same time, I will highlight some of the Top Instructional Design Bachelor degree schools that you may want to think carefully about during your search.
  • How to Choose the Right Instructional Design Master’s Program
    In this article I'll share some top tips that can help you to select the ideal instructional design masters program. Additionally, I will highlight a number of universities that offer Instructional Design master's degrees.
  • How to Choose the Right Instructional Design PhD Program
    If you're interested in Instructional Design at the University level, or if you want to expand your instructional design knowledge base even further, then you may want to consider an instructional design PhD program. These programs are ideally suited for those who have prior experience in the educational sector and want to gain a more comprehensive understanding of Instructional Design technologies, theories, and models. In this article I'll highlight some Universities that you may want to consider, but first I'll share some tips that will help you choose the right instructional design PhD program for you.