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What are typical instructional designer salaries? Do some companies pay a lot more for this position than others? What does a top earner make in this field?

What skills should you learn to increase your salary?

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Kay in Latrobe, PA

96 months ago

It depends on where you live. The DC area pays well. The Atlanta area does not. Salaries in the DC metro area run from $45,000 (a newbie and possibly in a nonprofit environment) to $125,000+ for someone with 8+ years of experience, senior level, managing a design team in a consulting environment. If you have your own ID shop and have experience, you could make more. Most jobs around here for someone with 3 - 4 years are in the $55K to $85K range. The more technical expertise and knowledge the more you can leverage.

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ID in New York, New York

77 months ago

In the southern California area, an ID can expect anywhere from $65,000 to $80,000. The higher end of the scale is harder to get as a new hire, but I know plenty of people who made that after being at the company for a few years.

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lhaines in Houston, Texas

61 months ago

I've been searching for ID professionals at the PhD level, specific experience in the geophysical space. Unfortnately not a lot of people have that type of experience. If they do? They aren't so willing to travel overseas for a year or so. My client is willing to pay up to $95.00 per hour. I've found that typically people make about half that for contracts located here in the states.

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JD in Irvine, California

61 months ago

There aren't that many PhDs in instructional design, much less with your subject matter expertise. $95 per hour for an international assignment does not strike me as adequate. In addition, hourly rates are not typically quoted for an overseas assignment of that duration. For example, does that include relocation, travel expenses, repatriation, housing allowance, etc.? You have to look at the total compensation package, so it's not enough to say that it's twice what people make stateside. That's apples and oranges.

Most instructional designers, PhDs or not, have the ability to work with SMEs to extract content, no matter the subject matter. Perhaps you could persuade your client that a talented instructional designer without a PhD who is paired with SMEs would do the job quite nicely.

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Sreddy in Overland Park, Kansas

46 months ago

Hi lhaines,
Is that position still available? I know its been over a year!!!

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IDWannabe in San Diego, California

40 months ago

I wonder if it's easy to get a job as an ID at institution of higher education or eLearning company with a MS degree after 5 years as an instructor and 3 years of being a project manager in addition to being a web designer/front-end web developer working for various companies plus freelance clients for 10+ years before and during full time employment?

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NoMail in Rochester, New Hampshire

28 months ago

IDWannabe in San Diego, California said: I wonder if it's easy to get a job as an ID at institution of higher education or eLearning company with a MS degree after 5 years as an instructor and 3 years of being a project manager in addition to being a web designer /front-end web developer working for various companies plus freelance clients for 10+ years before and during full time employment?

Most high level and/or academic positions as an instructional designer require a masters (or PhD) in instructional technology/design, instructional systems, or educational technology. One of the things most well-educated instructional designers know is that a large portion of instructors do not necessarily understand instructional design principals. Unfortunately, there is a lot of ignorance in companies hiring instructional designers so you might be able to slip through the cracks (many do).

Having web development skills is definitely desirable. As someone mentioned above the more technical skills the better your employment opportunities. ID is more than just teaching, it is about understanding learning and the learners (student-centered is the name of the game right now). It is about evaluating needs and finding the right solution/methodology based on those needs.

Being an instructor hardly makes someone qualified to be an ID. The experience is certainly useful and can make the difference when compared to someone without that experience. Being an ID is more than the physical aspect of developing training/educational materials. That is like saying a computer scientist only writes programs. However, you will find many people that only develop materials that claim the title of ID, yet they cannot tell you the first thing about cognitive dimensions and Bloom's taxonomy (and how to implement them). Further, a good ID can write a GOOD learning objective, and I don't mean the crap you find at the beginning of most textbooks.

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