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Most people have never heard of a career in educational or instructional technology. That's a shame since the demand for instructional technologists, also known as educational technology specialists, is expected to grow 23 percent—much faster than average—through 2018.
One big bonus for anyone interested in educational technology degrees
and careers? Salaries earned by technologists are typically higher than those earned by regular teachers or instructors. Educational technology jobs are one of the highest paid speciality career paths for educators.
Anyone who loves teaching or training and also enjoys working with computers may find instructional technology jobs to be very rewarding. Teachers, trainers, HR specialists, editors and writers are among a few of the professionals who might benefit by making a career change and re-focusing their skills in the expanding area of ed tech.
Educational Technology Jobs & Salaries
Because ed tech specialists work in many sectors—either corporate training environments or the K-12 school system—there is no average salary for this career. In 2010, instructional technologists and instructional coordinators earned an estimated average salary of about $58,000. The middle 50 percent earned $43,000 to $76,000. The highest 10 percent earned more than $95,000. Specialists who hold master's degrees in educational technology
or instructional technology make the highest salaries.
Teachers and instructors who earn degrees in teaching online can specialize in either teaching K-12 or in using technology to develop computer-assisted learning systems for adult learners, most of whom are taught through corporate training centers.Those who work as trainers or course developers in corporate environments typically make about 10-20 percent more than those who work in the K-12 educational system.
If you are searching for great online jobs in educational technology, check out Get Educated's free job board
for online instructors, teachers and designers. Updated several times a week, these ed tech job listings range from course designers to online instructors. Most of these positions can be done remotely or at a distance.
What is Educational & Instructional Technology?
Educational technologists work in some capacity helping tie computer or web-based technology to learning. There is surging demand for instructional technologists who can "teach" teachers how to integrate technology into the residential classroom. Some of the jobs open to educational technology specialists include:
- Course developer or designer
- Technology coordinator
- Online learning specialist
- Web-based learning manager
- Multimedia designer
- Technology integration specialist
- Computer learning lab coordinator
- Instructional designer
- Learning applications (apps) designer
- Virtual reality specialist
- Flipped classroom developer
- Web instructor
- Online teacher, mentor or trainer
- Computer mediated learning metrics manager
- Distance learning director
- Educational software consultant
Educational technologists sometimes work as curriculum specialists. They may help train instructional coaches or work as quality directors for instructional materials. When working as curriculum specialists, they may evaluate how well a school or training program’s curriculum meets students’ needs. They may author multimedia educational materials and textbooks. They may engage in research and observe instructional practices to recommend methods for improving curriculum or converting traditional course materials to web-based delivery and assessment systems.
Instructional technologists may develop curricula, select textbooks and other materials, train teachers, and assess educational programs for quality and adherence to federal and state regulations and standards. They often assist teachers in integrating technology in the classroom. Some work as directors of computerized learning labs. They may purchase, install, implement and troubleshoot all factors that affect the integration of technology in the classroom. In addition to developing curriculum and instructional materials, those who work as instructional coordinators may plan and provide on-site education for teachers and administrators. Instructional coordinators mentor new teachers and train experienced ones in the latest instructional methods.
At the primary and secondary school level, instructional technologists often specialize in specific subjects, such as reading, language arts, mathematics or science. An increasing emphasis on the quality of education is driving demand for instructional technologists who can adjust local curricula to meet state and federal mandates for accountability. These same educational technologists are often responsible for implementing and interpreting web-based metric systems that provide reports of educational efficacy or success levels.
At the K-12 level, educational technology career openings will be best for those who specialize in special education, reading, math or science. For more on careers in educational technology at the K-12 level, check out the resources and professional networking opportunities offered by the International Society for Technology in Education
Online Degrees in Educational Technology
The minimum educational requirement for most instructional technology coordinator positions in public schools is at least a master’s—usually in education—plus a state teacher or administrator license. Instructional coordinators should have training in curriculum development and instruction or in the specific field for which they are responsible, such as mathematics or history. Licensed teachers can often add a certificate
at the graduate or undergraduate level to qualify for state licensure in this educational field.
Instructional coordinators must be licensed to work in public schools. Some states require a teaching license, whereas others require an education administrator license. Licensing is not usually required in private education or to train adults in corporate settings. Study the licensing requirements for the state in which you wish to work. Typically the path to becoming an instructional coordinator follows the same path as either becoming a teacher or becoming an educational administrator.
Educational Technology Career Change
Many people begin working in instructional technology jobs after working for several years as teachers or trainers. Writers sometimes specialize in education or curriculum writing. Working in education as an administrator, such as a principal or assistant principal, or in an advisory role as a master teacher is another great way to gain experience.To bypass licensing, which may be required to work pre-K-12 in public schools, consider an entry-level job at a private school or take work as an adult educator in corporate environments.
If you are specifically interested in teaching online, check out the Get Educated guide to teaching online
or our related advice piece in how to become an online instructor