What’s the Typical Instructional Designer Salary? (2022 Figures)

Looking for details about the average instructional designer salary in the US? Want to know just how much you can make? Wondering where instructional design professionals get paid the most?

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The pandemic caused the demand for instructional designers to soar.

Instructional designers are now tasked to create online courses that can be taken on the internet or in a virtual setting. They use the contemporary best practices of educational theory and apply these metrics to the instructional materials to create new courses. The online courses must deliver a learning experience effectively and provide feedback to determine how well the students engage with the material and what they learn.

In the guide below, we’ll detail the average base salary, average total compensation, and other details for instructional designers.

 

Ready for a Career Upgrade?

Instructional designers must be qualified to be hired for this position.

The minimum qualification includes a certification from a recognized school. The instructional design certification is the equivalent of a master’s degree.

Most positions require at least 2 years of experience as an educator before being qualified to advance to the level of an instructional designer. Those who have 4-5 years of experience command the highest salaries.

If you need to get training, there are plenty of courses you can take online from subject matter experts, including the “Become an Instructional Designer” online class from LinkedIn Learning and others.

Once you’ve gotten certified and start looking for jobs, you’ll also want to create an instructional design portfolio, which you can easily do with a website builder like Squarespace.

 

How Much Do Instructional Designers Make?

Top SalaryIndeed reports that the average base salary for an instructional designer in America is $65,839 plus a $3,000 annual bonus.

Indeed found the highest salary for instructional designers in Washington, DC ($97,999) followed by Tampa, Florida ($79,765), and Austin, Texas ($70,015).

Zip Recruiter puts the average salary for an instructional designer higher at $80,182 noting that salaries range from the low of $39,000 to the high of $132,500. The lower quarter percentile group earns an average of $62,000 annually. The higher quadrille group earns an average of $93,500 per year. This works out to be $5,167 to $7,792 per month.

Salary.com reports instructional designers make $67,690 to $84,690 with the median base salary being $76,190.

 

10 States Where Instructional Designers Earn the Most Money

Here is the list of the median salaries for instructional designers in the top 10 states/territories, showing the highest paid positions as reported by Salary.com:

  1. Alaska: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $85,390
  2. California: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $85,090
  3. Washington, DC: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $84,690
  4. New Jersey: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $84,190
  5. Massachusetts: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $82,890
  6. Connecticut: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $82,390
  7. New York: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $81,690
  8. Washington (state): Median Instructional Designer Salary: $81,390
  9. Rhode Island: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $80,290
  10. Delaware: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $79,990

 

10 States Where Instructional Designers Earn the Least Money

Here is the list of the median salaries for instructional designers, found in the lowest-paying 10 states/territories as reported by Salary.com with the lowest salary of all states shown last:

  1. Arkansas: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $70,290
  2. Arizona: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $70,290
  3. Nebraska: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $69,890
  4. New Mexico: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $69,590
  5. Tennessee: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $69,190
  6. Montana: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $69,090
  7. Wyoming: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $67,790
  8. West Virginia: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $67,490
  9. Mississippi: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $66,290
  10. South Dakota: Median Instructional Designer Salary: $65,190

There is about a $20,000 difference in annual pay when working as an instructional designer in the lowest-paying state of South Dakota ($65,190) as compared to the highest-paying state of Alaska ($85,390). Alaska also has a nice annual dividend benefit from the Alaska Permanent Fund that pays each of its residents $2,000 per year.

 

Careers for Instructional Designers

Under the general category of an instructional designer, there are specialty positions that are tailored for different levels and skills. They are training specialists, instructional learning analyst, eLearning instructional designer, curriculum designer, and project manager. Let’s compare them.

Training Specialist

The typical salary for a training specialist is $55,422 according to Payscale.com.

The top five states with the highest salaries for a training specialist are:

  1. Washington: The average salary is $64,844.
  2. New York: The typical salary is $64,290.
  3. Texas: The average salary is $59,302.
  4. Georgia: The typical salary is $58,193.
  5. Illinois: The average salary is $57,639.

In this position, you will design and create the training materials needed by various groups. You will also usually be called upon to use these same materials to teach the programs. The teaching may be done in-person or remotely through online group live streams and using a virtual educational system to connect with students and follow their progress.

Training Specialist

This job position is usually part of the human resources department. In a corporate environment, you will work to assist in training new employees, and in the continuing education of existing employees.

Instructional Learning Analyst

The typical salary for an instructional learning analyst is $57,208.

The top five states with the highest salaries for an instructional learning analyst are:

  1. Washington: The average salary is $66,933.
  2. New York: The average pay is $66,361.
  3. Texas: The typical salary is $61,213.
  4. Georgia: The average salary is $60,068.
  5. Illinois: The average pay is $59,496.

An instructional learning analyst uses technological advancements and data mining to understand how people absorb new information and retain it for practical use. Insights from the analysis and research support efforts in this field to design the most impactful learning modalities that incorporate real-world information in the teaching methods.

Instructional Learning AnalystThis is not academic efforts for just research purposes. Instead, these practical investigations help make the lessons more useful in a practical sense to increase job performance and improve productivity.

eLearning Instructional Designer

The average salary for an eLearning instructional designer is $62,424.

The top five states/territories with the highest salaries for an eLearning instructional designer are:

  1. Washington, DC: The average salary is $72,412.
  2. New York: The average salary is $71,788.
  3. Washington: The average salary is $69,915.
  4. Georgia: The average salary is $66,794.
  5. Illinois: The average salary is $53,048.

The focus of an eLearning instructional designer is on developing dynamic online educational systems that are effective and make the best use of many media formats. An eLearning instructional designer must stay up-to-date on all the online delivery platforms (such as Blackboard, Canvas, and Zoom) and how to use them to deliver the online educational programs effectively. It is critical to have a clear understanding of the differences between in-person classes and online teaching to be able to manage the limitations created by online experiences.

E-Learning Instructional Designer

Curriculum Designer

The average salary for a curriculum designer is $75,303.

The top five states/territories with the highest salaries for a curriculum designer are:

  1. Washington, DC: The average salary is $84,693.
  2. New York: The average salary is $81,703.
  3. Washington: The average salary is $81,323.
  4. Illinois: The average salary is $78,203.
  5. Texas: The average salary is $74,773.

Curriculum DesignerThis special field focuses on creating educational curricula for students in kindergarten to 12th grade. The deliverables required for a curriculum designer include such things as lessons that are targeted to the appropriate age levels, student worksheets, teachers’ guides, standard testing methodologies, and student progress reporting.

Project Manager

The average salary for a project manager in this field is a rewarding $138,218. The pay is so high because this job is very difficult and requires a senior executive with more than five years of experience in project management.

The top five states/territories with the highest salaries for a project manager are:

  1. California: The average salary is $172,772.
  2. New York: The average salary is $166,276.
  3. Massachusetts: The average salary is $155,771.
  4. Washington, DC: The average salary is $153,837.
  5. Illinois: The average salary is $146,649.

A project manager who focuses on informational design projects is usually in a senior administrative position. In this position, you will supervise a large team of instructional designers and have bottom-line responsibility to make sure the project is delivered on time, on budget, and meets the specifications required.

The instruction design team may have a wide variety of professionals with specific expertise in media, content creation, and interface design. The project manager defines the instructional design project, creates a development plan, set the timeline, and the work schedule for it.

Project Manager

A dedicated project manager needs to be able to keep the team organized and manage the workflow to keep the project on schedule. To be able to perform successfully and meet the staged project deadlines, a project manager must have high-level technical competence, excellent problem-solving skills, people skills, and be flexible in the face of unexpected challenges.

For those who advance in a career as an instructional designer and who are good at managing people, this can lead to a project manager position after sufficient years of experience with associated work success. Candidates earn consideration for these positions by taking on increasing development team management responsibilities.

For a closer look at how to become an instructional designer check out this article.

 

What do instructional designers say about the work?

In this video, you can see Onna, age 28 who makes over $90,000 per year as an instructional designer working for a Big Data company. She describes what she does and how much she likes her work.

In this video, the narrator, Ant Pugh, describes exactly what an instructional designer does and explains what the instruction designer is responsible for doing in each part of the process.

 

Useful Resources

 

Conclusion

It is a good time to become an instructional designer because the demand for qualified and certified professional instructional designers is increasing and that puts pressure on the salaries to increase as well.

If you are thinking about exploring the training need to enter this career path, then, check out my list of the best instructional design courses to get the training and the certification you need.

If you are hunting for a job in this sector and you are willing to relocate, then, you can expand your search to include the states where the pay is the highest and compare the cost of living in those states.

Many states with high-paying jobs also have a modest cost of living so you will do extremely well financially if you move there and work as an instructional designer.

Often, you can get a moving allowance to help pay for your costs to move as well.

Looking forward to your success!

1 thought on “What’s the Typical Instructional Designer Salary? (2022 Figures)”

  1. Potential Career Fields: Healthcare Instructional Designer, Hospital Training Coordinator, Medical Learning Design Professional, Curriculum Development Specialist

    Reply

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