The Pros and Cons of a Career as an Educational Media Designer
Educational media designers, also known as instructional designers and coordinators or curriculum specialists, create and develop educational content for public schools, colleges and businesses, including curriculums and methods that are used by teachers in their classrooms. Find out the pros and cons of becoming an educational media designer to decide if it's the right career for you.
|PROS of a Being an Educational Media Designer|
|Job prospects are expected to be favorable from 2012-2022 (13% for instructional coordinators)*|
|Generous retirement and health plans through the public school system*|
|Working to improve academic achievement can be satisfying*|
|Opportunity to positively impact the education of many students*|
|CONS of Being an Educational Media Designer|
|Requires additional education and training beyond a bachelor's degree*|
|May be required to work long hours and to travel within a certain territory*|
|Can be difficult to break into this career path without prior experience**|
|Accountability demands may result in job-related stress*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **CareerBuilder.com.
Job Duties, Salary and Career Info
Educational media designers often work for the public school system, private schools, colleges, universities or corporations that produce educational content. They may work with all subjects and grade levels or they may specialize in specialize in one specific subject area, such as math, science, language arts or reading.
Educational media designers in public school districts work under the direction of school district superintendents and work collaboratively with school district administrative personnel, school principals and teachers. Educational media designers in the public school system may have many job duties, including training teachers, introducing new teaching methods and strategies, researching new curriculum and technologies, assessing and monitoring educational programs and implementing technology in classrooms.
Job Prospects and Salary
The BLS reported that the educational media designer career was expected to grow by 13% between 2012 and 2022. This growth rate is about as fast as the average for other career fields.
Educational media designers may work for public schools, colleges, education support services or government offices. Overall, educational media designers earned a mean annual salary of about $64,000 in May 2014, according to the BLS. The mean annual salary for elementary and secondary school education media designers was about $68,000. Those working for colleges earned a mean salary of about $58,000. Those working for educational support services earned a mean salary of about $66,000 and those working for government entities earned a mean annual salary of about $69,000.
What Are the Requirements?
According to the BLS, educational media designers need to complete master's degree, and some may also need a teacher's or administrator's state-issued license. Specific requirements depend largely upon the education supervisor's state of residence and his/her employer's guidelines. Education media designers need the following skills:
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills
- Strong organizational skills
- Excellent decision-making skills
- Proficient use of computer hardware and applications
- Ability to work with team members and independently
- Commitment to continuing education
- Ability to multi-task and meet deadlines
What Employers Are Looking for
Following are some educational media designer job postings to give you an idea of the skills and experience employers were looking for in March 2012:
- An educational publishing company in Soho, NY, sought a mathematics instructional designer to design and develop an online math intervention program. The selected candidate would be a fast learner and detail oriented and have creative problem solving skills. The primary job responsibilities included writing learning scripts, sequencing lessons and creating visual designs. The prospective employee must have had at least three years of prior experience in instructional design and educational technology as well as prior teaching experience in mathematics. Applicants must have a teaching a certificate and a bachelor's degree in mathematics, education, educational technology or instructional design.
- An educational publishing company in Manchester, NH, wanted an instructional designer who can create hybrid programming for online college courses. The instructional designer would work collaboratively with subject area experts to create learning activities. The company needs someone who can juggle multiple projects and meet deadlines. Requirements included at least three years of experience in postsecondary instructional design, a master's degree and experience working with computerized design and learning management programs.
- A software company in Greenfield, IN, needed an instructional designer to create training materials for businesses that use the company's software programs. The instructional designer must be creative and innovative. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in instructional design, at least three years of experience in instructional design, excellent communication skills, strong interpersonal skills and management skills.
- A college in Marion, IN, looked for an instructional designer to help design and develop both online and campus-based courses. The instructional designer would analyze courses for effectiveness and work collaboratively with a team to improve course designs. Applicants must have held a master's degree in instructional design, at least two years of experience in instructional design, experience using graphic design programs such as Adobe Photoshop, excellent communication skills and project management skills.
How to Make Your Skills Stand out in the Field
The educational media designer career field can be fairly competitive, especially in smaller towns and cities with a small number of schools. Educational media designers can stand out among other applicants by exceeding general education requirements and skills. Other factors that may appeal to potential employers include:
- Proficiency in a second language, particularly Spanish
- Previous teaching or administrative experience
- Evidence of continued education and training in education
- Proficiency in computerized design programs
Other Careers to Consider
If you enjoy graphic design and do not want to be limited to using your artistic talents only in the education field, you may want to complete a degree program in graphic design. Graphic designers need to have at least a bachelor's degree. They may work for print media, Web-content companies or advertising companies. Graphic designers earned a mean annual salary of about $49,000 in 2011, according to the BLS. However, those working in the federal executive branch category earned an annual mean salary of about $76,000.
Those who want to have an input concerning curriculum choices and provide leadership may want to consider a career in educational administration. Educational administrators may work as principals for elementary or secondary schools or they may work as curriculum directors for an entire public school district. The BLS reports that educational administrators earned a mean salary of about $90,000 in May 2011.
If you enjoy the company of children, you may want to consider teaching as opposed to a career in educational media design. Teachers often design their own curriculum or alter a given curriculum to meet the needs of individual students. Teachers must complete a bachelor's degree program in education and, to work in public schools, earn state licensure. Elementary and teaching careers were expected to grow by 17% from 2010-2020. Elementary teachers earned a mean annual salary of about $55,000, and secondary teachers earned a mean annual salary of about $57,000 in May 2011.