Education Media Design Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's & Online Course Info

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What will you learn in an education media design degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of a bachelor's and master's degree and potential careers.
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Studying Education Media Design: Degrees at a Glance

Education media design professionals apply technology to achieve instructional and training goals. These professionals understand the principles and theories of education and the types of emerging technologies that support them. They may work in the education, government or the private sector as teachers, training and development specialists, instructional designers or writers. Working in the industry requires skills in designing instructional videos, corporate training programs and interactive websites, to name a few. A bachelor's degree prepares you for entry-level positions in the field, while a master's degree provides you with the knowledge to work in systems design or as a teacher.

Bachelor's Master's
Who is this degree for? People seeking entry-level technical or training positions in various industries Individuals seeking a career in teaching or education systems design
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) - Training and development specialist ($55,000)*
- Technical writer ($65,000)*
- Instructional systems designer (unknown)
- Instructional coordinator ($59,000)*
Time to Completion 4 years, full-time 2 years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 120 credits
- Capstone project
- Internship
- Roughly 30 credits
- Thesis or graduate project
- Supervised fieldwork
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent Bachelor's degree in a related discipline
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *O*Net OnLine (May 2011 figures).

Bachelor's in Instructional Media Design

Bachelor's degree programs in instructional design and technology prepare students to develop education materials using a variety of technologies. Some programs teach the theoretical and practical knowledge used in digital multimedia, technology and instructional design. The digital multimedia portion of a program's curriculum helps students develop skills in digital imaging, graphics and presentations, and may include courses in programming and telecommunications. The instructional portion of the program provides training about facilitation techniques and education strategies.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Training and development specialists are expected see a 20%-28% increase in jobs over the 2010-2020 decade*
  • In 2011, technical writers earned relatively competitive median annual salaries of $65,000*
  • Programs deliver a combination of technical training in programming, design and Web page development; employers across industries seek people with these skills

Cons

  • Competition against master's degree holders might present a challenge
  • Fluctuations in the economy influence the availability of some positions in education settings
  • A career in teaching requires additional funding and time to complete state licensure requirements

Source: *O*Net OnLine (May 2011 figures).

Courses and Requirements

Students in these programs learn about the application of technology in an educational environment, instructional material production techniques and 3-dimensional modeling through technical courses. Some programs offer minors in areas like photographic media, computer science, information systems, Web design and digital media. Common courses in these programs include:

  • Interactive distance learning
  • Computer-based instruction development
  • Instructional video
  • Web-based instruction
  • Electronic imagery
  • Photography
  • Interactive instruction

Online Degree Options

Online bachelor's degree programs are available and usually include courses similar to their campus-based counterparts. In these programs, students learn to assess the needs of employers and students and design curricula, textbooks and Web interfaces for use in corporate and academic settings.

Stand Out with This Degree

Many school districts require that employees possess a teaching or administrator license in addition to teaching experience. Determining your state's teaching licensure requirements and working to accomplish them prior to graduation may make it easier to begin a career in the field.

Also consider completing any elective capstone or other projects prior to graduation. These projects may allow you to obtain hands-on experience designing and delivering interactive education products, knowledge which may impress employers.

Master's in Instructional Media Design

Master's degree programs in instructional media design prepare students to assume leadership roles in education and training facilities. Students in these programs learn how to integrate technology into education settings using digital media productions. In addition, they learn how to evaluate the effectiveness of instructional programs and emerging technologies and research how people learn through technology.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Earning this degree might make positions in academia, educational administration and leadership available to you
  • Internships provide hands-on experience, which is required by many employers
  • Employers might prefer candidates with higher education, placing you a step ahead against competitors with bachelor's degrees in the field

Cons

  • Bachelor's degree holders earned comparable median annual salaries; in 2011, technical writers earned $65,000 while instructional coordinators earned $59,000*
  • You might be applying to positions available to bachelor's degree holders
  • Some instructional systems design positions may require a doctoral degree

Source: *O*Net OnLine (May 2011 figures).

Courses and Requirements

Students in these master's degree programs take courses that explore advanced topics in education media and instructional design. Classes cover topics like advanced video production, adult learner psychology, emerging educational technologies, advanced productivity tools, advanced instructional design and microcomputer practicum.

Research plays an important role in these programs, and quantitative and qualitative education research courses are commonly included in most curriculum. Most programs also include a culminating experience that requires completion of a thesis, media production project or portfolio.

Online Degree Options

Online master's degree programs are available and deliver instruction in the same topics as those covered in traditional on-campus programs. Elective classes in these programs include media literacy, non-fiction video, advanced video production, instructional graphics and digital technologies. Online programs might also require that students complete a portfolio and oral review.

Stand Out with This Degree

Some employers prefer applicants who are proficient in using common digital media authoring tools. Consider taking courses in the design and delivery of common distance-education applications, such as Blackboard, to develop this skill.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSE in Instructional Technology - Adult Learning/Higher Ed
      • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - Online College Teaching
      • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - College Teaching/Learning
      • Master: Higher Education - College Admin./Leadership
  • Campus and Online Programs
    2. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Instructional Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
      • M.Ed. in Early Childhood
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.Ed. - Education Technology and E-Learning
      • M.Ed. - Instructional Leadership
      • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • MEd - General Education
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Teaching and Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    6. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Education - Instructional Design
      • Master: Education - Curriculum and Instruction
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Education - Instructional Technology
      • MS in Education - Instructional Technology and Instructional Technology Specialist Certification
      • MS - Special Education with Wilson Reading Certificate
  • Athens, GA

    University of Georgia

  • Syracuse, NY

    Syracuse University

  • East Lansing, MI

    Michigan State University

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • MSE in Instructional Technology - Adult Learning/Higher Ed
  • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
  • Master: Higher Education - Online College Teaching

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Full Sail University

  • MS - Instructional Design and Technology

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Grand Canyon University

  • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
  • M.Ed. in Early Childhood

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • M.Ed. - Education Technology and E-Learning
  • M.Ed. - Instructional Leadership
  • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Teaching and Learning

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Master: Education - Instructional Design
  • Master: Education - Curriculum and Instruction

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Saint Joseph's University

  • MS in Education - Instructional Technology
  • MS in Education - Instructional Technology and Instructional Technology Specialist Certification
  • MS - Special Education with Wilson Reading Certificate

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