Educational Media Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

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Get the truth about salaries in the field of educational media. Read the job descriptions and learn about education requirements and career prospects to decide if a career in educational media is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career in Educational Media

Some educational media positions for you to consider are instructional technologist and designer, librarian (also called library media specialist) and corporate trainer. Consider the following pros and cons to determine if a career in educational media is right for you.

Instructional Technologist and Designer Librarian Corporate Trainer
Career Overview Develop learning products designed for different types of learners and assist teachers in integrating educational technology into their classrooms Help people, often K-12 students, locate and use all types of educational media, including digital media Design and develop employee training materials, increasingly in e-learning platforms, that are aligned with company goals
Education Requirements Typically a master's degree in instructional technology/design A master's degree in library science or educational media is most commonly required A bachelor's degree for career entry as a training specialist; some employers prefer to hire training managers with a master's degree in a relevant field
Program Length 1-2 years beyond a bachelor's degree 1-2 years beyond a bachelor's degree Typically four years for a bachelor's degree and 1-2 more for a master's
Certification and Licensing Instructional technologists/designers who work in K-12 public schools need a state license School librarians in K-12 public schools need a state license and often teacher certification Some employers require professional certification
Work Experience Often requires 2-4 years of related experience Many entry-level positions available to candidates with a master's degree Training specialists may need 0-8 years' experience; training directors may require a minimum of 10 years' experience
Job Outlook for 2012-2022 Average job growth of 13% for the related instructional coordinator job category* Slower-than-average job growth of 7%* Average job growth of 11%*
Median Salary (2014) About $61,500* About $56,000* About $57,000 for entry-level training specialists to about $102,000 for training directors*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Instructional Technologist/Designer

Educational media or technology programs prepare graduates to seek employment as instructional designers and/or technologists. Instructional design and technology are related and increasingly overlapping fields. Instructional designers are familiar with learning models and theories as well as computer technology to create educational media. Professionals in these fields may design and develop e-learning products, assess learner needs and outcomes, provide consultation services and help teachers integrate different forms of educational technology effectively into their lessons. In addition to K-12 and higher education, you may find work in corporate, government agency or military training.

Requirements

To work in this field, you need to be comfortable working with computer technology, specifically computer-based training software like Adobe Captivate, desktop publishing software, graphics software like Adobe Flash and software for creating and editing digital video and webpages. Additionally, you need a strong foundation in learning theory and models. Programs in educational technology, educational media and instructional design are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels to provide training in the technical and theoretical aspects of this career field. Although a bachelor's may be considered a minimum education level for several positions, master's degree programs are more prevalent and are increasingly considered standard preparation.

To work as an instructional designer/technologist in public K-12 education, you will need a license. The specific type and requirements for licensure as instructional technologists or educational media specialists vary by state, but several graduate certificate and master's degree programs in instructional/educational technology or educational media are designed specifically for licensure, which may include meeting teacher licensure requirements. If you're currently a teacher looking to move into this career, many programs are designed for working teachers and have an online or hybrid format.

In April 2013, employers of instructional technologists/designers sought applicants with the following qualifications to fulfill a range of duties:

  • A Wisconsin university sought a full-time instructional designer to provide faculty support and develop Web-based educational materials. The employer preferred candidates with a master's degree in instructional design, educational technology or related field, though a bachelor's degree is considered a minimum requirement. Experience using digital audio and video, creating educational media with Adobe's eLearning Suite and creating instructional graphics are among the additional preferred qualifications.
  • An international restaurant chain wanted an instructional designer for its Louisville location. Working with the training and development team, the person in this position would help plan and create organizational training tools through collaboration with multiple parties. A bachelor's degree in a related field and 5-6 years' experience is required along with skills in graphic design, eLearning, research and project management.
  • A Massachusetts high school wanted to hire an educational technology specialist to assist teachers with integrating technology into their classrooms through, in part, creating digital learning resources. Though a bachelor's degree meets minimum requirements, a master's degree is preferred. The candidate needs a Massachusetts teaching license and certification as an instructional technology specialist.

Standing Out

Since employers increasingly prefer to hire instructional technologists/designers with master's degrees in instructional design, educational media and related fields, pursuing a graduate degree can open up more opportunities for you and will likely set you apart from candidates without a master's degree. Many master's degree programs require you to develop an electronic portfolio to demonstrate your skills to future employers. Devoting special attention to your portfolio may also help you stand out from other job applicants.

Though licensure is typically required for instructional technologists working in public school systems, licensure/certification isn't required for other positions in this wide-ranging field. Nevertheless, you may find that becoming professionally certified enhances your career prospects. The educational technology field has several professional associations, including some that offer professional certifications. The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), for example, offers the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) credential. Some employers prefer to hire candidates with this credential, for trainers of adult learners in the workplace. You can qualify for this credential with three years of related work experience, as well as by passing an exam and completing a work product assessment.

Librarian

Librarians help people locate information in a variety of media. As a librarian, you may find work in specialized government, law or medical librarians as well as in public libraries and schools. School librarians are also called school media specialists and work with numerous forms of educational media. In this role, you're likely to help teachers include and use digital media, as well as traditional media, in their classrooms. You also work directly with students, providing research guidance on projects that involve print and digital materials, as well as help them write papers or create digital media presentations.

Requirements

In general, librarians are required to earn a master's degree in library and information science. Employers may prefer to hire candidates who graduate from a graduate program approved by the American Library Association (ALA). Though not all school librarians or educational media specialists hold a master's degree, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) recommends that school librarians earn a master's degree from an ALA-accredited program or an AASL-recognized master's degree program with a specialization in school librarianship. Several master's degree programs in educational media offer a specialization in school librarianship and meet specific state requirements for licensure, which vary by state and may include earning a teaching license.

Here are a few job options that were posted in April 2013:

  • An Austin school district sought a school librarian for a middle school. Applicants needed a degree in a relevant field, such as library and information resources, in addition to Texas certification as librarian/media specialist or learning resources specialist. A minimum of two years of teaching experience is also required. Duties included developing online resource collections, working with teachers to integrate a variety of educational media into their lessons and the ability to communicate across multiple media platforms.
  • A California university wanted a digital communications librarian to create online resources and serve as a reference librarian for digital resources. This position also involved managing the library's online presence. Qualifications included a library science or related degree, technical skills in Web authoring and marketing skills. Preferred qualifications include the ability to work with software like Adobe Creative Suite.
  • A middle school in a Texas school district sought a librarian with a certification or endorsement as librarian or learning resources specialist. The job involved consulting with teachers about educational media and providing library resource guidance to students.

Standing Out

Becoming a member of the American Library Associate (ALA) can help you get a job and advance in your career through its several membership benefits. Some of these are professional development activities and access to publications that help you stay abreast of the transformations taking place in all kinds of libraries. In addition, you might benefit from numerous networking opportunities, such as industry conferences. Furthermore, whether you need to earn continuing education credits for certification purposes or simply expand your professional knowledge, the ALA offers several online learning options.

Corporate Trainer

Many graduates of educational media graduate programs set their sights on the corporate world, which offers several opportunities in training. Corporate trainers may have a wide variety of job titles, including training coordinator, e-learning developer and management development specialist. Professionals in the training and development field provide orientations for new employees as well as instruction for career development. This work may involve evaluating what training is needed, developing digital and classroom-based learning materials, creating training budgets and evaluating the success of the training.

Requirements

Since this is a human resources (HR) field, many professionals have educational backgrounds in HR. To enter this job, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that a bachelor's degree in HR or business administration is typically required. Knowledge of instructional design and educational psychology can also be helpful, and employers may also seek candidates with training in related areas, like educational media, instructional design and education. Subject matter knowledge, related to the company's services or products, may also be required.

Among other opportunities in May 2013 were the following three job posts for corporate trainers:

  • In California, a company sought a training project manager to help implement an electronic medical records system. The employer wanted candidates with a relevant bachelor's degree and a minimum of ten years' experience as a corporate trainer. Job tasks included creating training plans for new staff and developing Web- and classroom-based training materials.
  • A San Antonio food service company wanted an instructional designer/corporate trainer with a bachelor's degree in human development, instructional design or a related field and experience working with workflow diagrams. Consulting with subject matter experts and developing course content and electronic learning materials were among the job duties.
  • A Florida engineering company sought a learning and technical certification specialist to develop technical training materials and deliver learning modules using interactive learning techniques. This position involves training other trainers. A bachelor's degree in an education field is required as well as 3-5 years' experience in training and development.

Standing Out

Though licensure isn't generally required to enter this field, some employers may give preference to candidates with related professional certifications. As with instructional designers who work with adult trainees, corporate training specialists and managers may benefit from earning certification through the American Society for Training and Development, which offers the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance credential.

The International Society for Performance Improvement also offers professional certifications for professionals in training and development. The Certified Performance Technologist credential, for example, may help employers recognize your specific abilities and skills as well as provide direction for further professional development. To apply, you need three years' experience in training and development or a related field, like HR management or instructional design. The organization evaluates your application, which documents several work projects and demonstrates how they apply field standards. Recommendations are also required.

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: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - College Teaching/Learning
      • Master: Higher Education - College Admin./Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Early Childhood Administration
  • Campus and Online Programs
    2. Louisiana State University Shreveport

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M. Ed. General Online
  • Online Programs Available
    3. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    4. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Education - Education Technology and E-Learning
      • Ed.D. - Instructional Leadership
      • PhD in Education - Instructional Leadership
      • Ed.D. - Education Technology and E-Learning
      • Ed.D. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Ed.D. - General Education
    Master's
      • M.Ed. - Education Technology and E-Learning
      • M.Ed. - Instructional Leadership
      • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • M.Ed. - General Education
    Certificate
      • Education Specialist - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Education Specialist - E-Learning
      • Education Specialist - Early Childhood Education
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A. - Emphasis in Alternative Licensing
      • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A.
    Bachelor's
      • Early Childhood Education, B.A. without Licensure
  • Campus and Online Programs
    8. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Instructional Design and Technology
    Certificate
      • Cert - Instructional Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Argosy University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Teaching and Learning (EdD)
      • Curriculum and Instruction (EdD)
    Master's
      • Curriculum and Instruction (MAEd)
      • Teaching & Learning: Integrated Concentration (MAEd)
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Trident University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • MSE in Instructional Technology - Adult Learning/Higher Ed
  • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
  • BS in Early Childhood Administration

Which subject are you interested in?

Louisiana State University Shreveport

  • M. Ed. General Online

What is your highest level of education completed?

The George Washington University

  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

American University

  • Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Education - Education Technology and E-Learning
  • M.Ed. - Education Technology and E-Learning
  • Education Specialist - Curriculum and Teaching

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Christian University

  • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A. - Emphasis in Alternative Licensing
  • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A.
  • Early Childhood Education, B.A. without Licensure

What is your highest level of education completed?

Full Sail University

  • MS - Instructional Design and Technology
  • Cert - Instructional Design and Technology

What is your highest level of education?