Demand for Instructional Designers

I’d like some help answering the following question I received this morning:

May i know the demand for instructional designers increase in the near future?

A similar question came up on the eLearning Guild discussion board a few months ago. At that point, the best anyone came up with from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was predictions for Instructional Coordinators and Training and Development Specialists. By the BLS classification, instructional coordinators are more academic (think curriculum planners for a school district) and training and development specialists are in the corporate realm. There’s no separate figures specifically for instructional designers though.

For instructional coordinators, the BLS has predicted 22% growth between 2006 and 2016 (the most recent prediction available). For training and development specialists, they predict 18% growth during the same time period. Both of those predictions are for faster than average growth.

But neither of these is really quite right. Does anyone have any better numbers specific to instructional design or e-learning? What about outside the US? I have no idea where to even look for statistics for other countries. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Update 4/12/10: I just found this chart from No real specifics, but at least it gives a general trend over time.

8 thoughts on “Demand for Instructional Designers

  1. In reply to Mary (8/19/10), I do believe that someone like you who is willing to put the work in can get back into the field.

    I have a couple of suggestions:

    • Join LinkedIn if you haven’t already, and start connecting with people. LinkedIn helps make your network more visible, if nothing else. Don’t worry if your current connections aren’t instructional designers; you may still find a way to talk to an actual human being in your job search rather than trying to get through online applications.
    • Review the Tools to Learn posts and comments from the Learning Circuits Big Question for June. You can get perspectives from multiple people who are successful in the field about what is important to learn.
    • I’m not sure you’d have much luck getting a junior position, but volunteering is a great idea, and age shouldn’t be a detriment there. If you volunteer for a local (noncontroversial) nonprofit, historical society, unemployment services office, etc., you can build a portfolio demonstrating that you can use a current tool like Captivate or Articulate.
    1. Unfortunately no. As you can see, I didn’t get any comments on this post. I was really hoping someone would have some better data.

      I did find this chart from Indeed, which shows a nice upward trend over time.

      Just based on my personal experience, the market in the RTP area seems to have picked up in the last month or so. I heard nothing from recruiters for several months, but I’ve had several emails and calls in the last 4 weeks. My coworkers have said the same thing.

      1. Hi Christy,

        I was in ID for about 15 years after being a medical writer and editor, did lots of IT and technology training as well as medical, sales financial. I designed, wrote and developed the materials, worked with SMEs., did pilot testing and some evaluation. I have an MEd in iD from 91. For several reasons (personal) I left the field and want to return. The major thing I am lacking is specific tools, knowledge and hands on experience with eLearning. Am aware of some of what’s out there and and not too intimidated, but I have little knowledge. Have not done ID for nearly five years. Do you have any suggestions as to how to get back in? I am out of touch with majority of colleagues, who are now way ahead of me. I am in my early 50’s so that makes it tougher. I have thought of taking courses, but don’t want a long route, and there are so many tools/choices, which to learn? I am even willing to take a junior position to get experience, or volunteer to help, but my age may not help that. What do you think? Is it even possible? This is a great resource! Thank you, any thoughts much appreciated. I live in MA.

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