Is an ID degree better than a general teaching degree? This really depends on what you want to do professionally. If you're more a people person and want interaction with students on a daily basis, a teaching degree might be a better option. While developing programs, the ID profession is often a solo job, but it can also combine the subjects of computers and education to better teach students. Plus, instructional design offers opportunities that teach the program's use to educators. The best way to make such a decision is to talk to those who work in the field. Many times, colleges offer alumni connections and mentor programs. Investigate such an avenue to make your decision.
As an instructional design educator, you will be teaching students how to use the programs and how to implement the programs into the class curriculum. If you are considering combining the degrees, talk to those who work in the field to find out if there is an advantage to this. Additionally, talk to your counselor and ask about accelerated programs for bachelor's and master's degrees. Verify the school is accredited with DECT.org and a recognized school by your future employer.An option to combine the two would be earning a masters in education and teaching ID. If you are ready for the six to nine year time commitment, it could be an incredible opportunity for you.
Time commitment is always an issue when deciding on a degree plan. After the pre-requisites are completed, an additional two to three years are needed to complete a bachelor's degree. Following that, a masters degree is strongly encouraged. In total this can add up to six to nine years of schooling, depending on how driven, determined, and tired you are.
Job opportunities are available for those with a bachelors, especially those who are returning for their master's degrees. The cost can add up as well. Average cost for a 3/hr bachelors class is $700-900 where a masters can add up to $10,000 to $100,000.
Talk to a counselor about employment options, internships, mentor programs and co-op programs. Ask fellow students pursuing this degree what they know about job options, internships, co-op programs and contacts. This allows you to network and get your foot in the door for future employment.
If you like developing course curriculum's for students and teachers as well as students with special needs (dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, autism), then instructional design could be a great fit for you. Investigate the field by talking to other students who have graduated from the college you are considering or presently enrolled. Ask about internship programs, mentor programs, and volunteer opportunities. If you can, spend a day with someone who works in ID, ask questions about the programming and development process, salary, job security, relocation requirements, and advancement potential.
Find programs that have been developed for educators, study it and attempt to teach it to yourself. This helps you see the finished product and decide if you would be able to teach this program to others.
There are online courses that offer certifications in ID but the classes usually will not apply to any degree program, especially graduate level and above.
If you do decide to take the route of certification only, be sure to talk to those who have taken the classes and ask about job opportunities following completion. Contact the Distance Education and Training Council (DECT.org) to make sure the classes are at least accredited, giving them more credibility when the certification shows up on your resume.
Weekend classes claiming to help you become certified as an ID programmer in just three days are numerous. Do the research to verify this will be recognized by potential employers. Again, talk to others who have taken the program, ask counselors or send out a question on the bulletin boards of ID degree holders, asking about weekend certifications.
Just like any computer related job, the opportunities are limitless. Working for school districts, state and federal boards of education are all options. Curriculum designers do more than write lesson plans and syllabus; they use teaching and learning theories to create curriculum to best help a specific group of students learn.