How to Embark on a Career in ISD

When it comes to a career in ISD, the ever-expanding global marketplace continues to fuel demand for qualified professionals. As businesses grow, so do needs. These needs start at the foundation of a company’s mission and extend to all connected with its goods and services.

Great Opportunity in ISD

The great news when it comes to embarking on a career in ISD? The field, with its mighty reach and needs, has a great job outlook. Are you searching for a career that is rewarding, insightful, and rooted in development at both a basic and expert level? If so, check out the stats we’ve uncovered. A browse through them will tell you that there’s great opportunity and purpose in a variety of positions. These positions include training and development manager, learning manager, and education director.

ISD professionals are also in demand in a variety of industries such as:

  • Professional
  • Scientific
  • Technical services
  • Educational services
  • State, local, and private
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare
  • Social

Furthermore, the demand will continue to grow as long as people need training and education. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the projected growth for training and development managers from 2016-2026 is faster than average (10-14%). In fact, as a direct effect of today’s mobile workforce, rapidly changing technology and growing global market, businesses need to make performance improvement and training a top priority. Job prospects should be favorable due to the constant need for workplace training and education.

This is great news for training and development professionals who strive to bring the most innovative approaches and cutting-edge practices into their work.

Industry Needs

Employers need great trainers and educators to help keep their workforce at top operating efficiency and effectiveness. To compete in this global economy requires that a company put their best forward, always. Certainly, this includes the most valuable asset of any organization, its human potential. Armed with the right resources and information, professionals can take a company from okay to outstanding. To get there, organizations need to have their finger on the pulse of innovation, strategic initiatives, and extreme attention to detail. All of these require training and education.

A Great Chance to Impact

According to this article by Inside Higher Ed, great instructional systems designers are hard to find. Why is this? Well, one reason raised is an inadequate supply and increasing competition for talent. If you’re a professional looking to make an impact, this reason should excite you and potentially compel you to get in the game.

Is the Field Worth It?

Well, check it out. The median salary for and ISD professional in a management position is $105,830 annual per year.

In May 2016, the median annual wages for training and development managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:


Training and development managers held about 34,000 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of training and development managers were as follows:


Overall, job prospects should be favorable due to constant need for workplace training and education. Job openings will stem from growth and the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.


A Time to Explore

Examples of ISD management-type positions include:

  • Development manager
  • Education and development manager
  • Education director
  • Learning and development director
  • Learning manager
  • Staff training and development manager
  • Training and development coordinator
  • Training and development director
  • Training director
  • Training manager

If you’re thinking about a career in one of these areas, let’s explore this field together in a little more detail.

A Day in the Life of an ISD Professional

Training and development managers typically plan, direct, or coordinate the training and development activities and staff of an organization. You’ll be expected to do much of the following:

  • Oversee training and development staff
  • Assess training needs
  • Align training with the organization’s strategic goals
  • Create and manage training budgets
  • Develop and implement training programs
  • Review and select training materials from a variety of vendors
  • Ensure training program relevancy
  • Teach training methods and skills to instructors and supervisors
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of training programs and instructors

What’s Required?

Most ISD professionals in a management position need at least a bachelor’s degree and/or 3 years of experience. Some employers prefer or require training and development managers to have a master’s degree. Additionally, employers look for a concentration in training and development, human resources management, organizational development, or business administration. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, training and development managers may benefit from a background in instructional design, behavioral psychology, or educational psychology. Increasingly, employers are looking for workers with experience in information technology as organizations introduce more e-learning and technology-based tools.

Time to Grow?

It’s always a great time to learn and grow. We live in an ever-changing, complex world of new technologies and global landscapes. This creates a natural need for the ISD field. If you want to expand your critical thinking, communication, business, design, strategic, analytical, and creative skills required to make an impact in this industry, then do it! Start building your professional credential so you can get out there and enjoy a career in a dynamic field that offers flexibility and opportunity.

Professionals from a variety of backgrounds are part of UMBC’s Learning and Performance Technology Graduate program. UMBC offers a variety of resources to help students maintain work/life balance while enriching their careers. Courses are available online to accommodate working professionals from across the nation. If you would like to learn more, contact us to learn how you can get started today.


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