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Does an instruction design job make sense financially?

If you want to learn more about job prospects in instruction design in the United States, this blog is for you.

We are often told to choose our careers by following our passions. This is certainly ideal, but realistically, responsibilities add up. So, it is also necessary to consider whether our career makes sense for our financial situation.

Thus, I decided to research and find relevant sources and statistics that can help you decide if the instruction design profession makes financial sense.

A single number for how much an instruction design earns is insufficient since wages depend highly on factors such as the region’s cost of living, the applicant’s experience, and the specific company. My first step was to find some data from credible government resources. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes a biennial occupational outlook handbook that provides a detailed job outlook analysis for numerous occupations in the United States. Although the report does not have a specific category for instructional designers, its job descriptions for the instruction coordinator, training & development specialist, and training & development manager roles resemble those of instruction designers closely.

Next, I cross-checked with some famous job portals to see if they corroborated the government data. The result of my analysis is shown in the Figure 1.

Figure 1: Mean Annual Salary of Instruction Designers and Managers in the US

According to Glassdoor, the annual average base pays of an instruction designer and manager is $71k and $80k, respectively. According to PayScale, an instruction designer and manager’s average yearly base pay is $64k and $78k respectively. According to Indeed, the annual average base pay of an instruction designer is $63k, and that of a manager is $69k. According to ZipRecruiter, an instruction designer’s average yearly base pay is $80k, and that of a manager is $86k. According to Salary, the annual average base pay of an instruction designer is $60k, and that of a manager is $120k. Finally, based on 3k surveys from 30 countries, the E-Learning Guild estimated the annual average salary of the US e-learning professionals to be $84k. Please note these are average statistics; the actual number varies based on location, years of experience, industry, and company size.

If you have any questions about a career in instruction design, please feel free to reach out on LinkedIn, Twitter, or email me.

What are your thoughts on instruction design wages? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Please also respond to this poll on your experience with the instruction design roles, it will help other people learn from your experience.



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Shubhi Thakuria

Shubhi Thakuria

An Indian soul in Silicon Valley, creating meaningful, motivational, and memorable learning experiences using design, data, technology and love :)