What degree/certificate programs exist?

Feb 10, 2011

Got this question from a blog reader:

"As part of our development, a few of us in the OD department are looking into programs/certifications that will help us as we move from producing on-demand learning events to creating learning that is part of a learning plan.  Can you recommend any programs"

152 Replies
Jamie Bozif

I am a teacher now, but interested in learning more skills incase I want to move out of the classroom.  I thought that Intructional Design, E-Learning, & Ed Tech, might be the way to go. I'd like to learn how to create courses and learn to use a vareity of media, graphics, music, etc.  I took one Ed Tech class a few years ago through San Diego state University, but haven't returned sense.  I did enjoy the course, but didn't like that while the course was an online class there were still scheduled meet ups.  This can someitmes be hard as a working adult. I'd like to start taking some ed tech/learning deisgn and still trying to figure out if I should just continue with SDSU or take classes online at the University of Missouri-Columbia. 

Is anyone here familiar with both the programs at San Diego State University and the University of Missouri-Columbia?  Can you tell me your experiences at both?

Does the title of your degree really matter when it comes to finding jobs?  I have seen a variety of titles....Instructional Design, E-Learning, Online Educator, Ed Tech..


Thank you so much for your time and help!


Karla Vicento

I haven't attended to any but based on thebestschools article I'd choose University of Missouri simply because their courses are more  teaching-oriented and since you are a teacher this is te best choice. Just read these competencies:

   Understanding the theories & perspectives in using technology to support teaching and learning
   Developing a rich knowledge of technology tools and infrastructure that support learning
   Designing processes to support planning, implementing, and evaluating technology & learning
   Building strategies that advance teaching and learning with technology
   Creating staff development strategies that promote the effective use of technology throughout the curriculum

And I don't think you should worried about other students' feedback since these are subjective things. Once may like it while another hate it. I'd rather choose a college based on which one meets my requirements and what I can learn from courses over there.

And yes, I believe a degree matter while finding  a job as well as experience. Surely, if you are experienced but don't have a degree, it may take you much longer to find a job. And your pay may not be as high as of those who have a degree. This is not a fact but my friend works her butt off but since she doesn't have a degree in design, her salary isn't high. So, having a degree, though it is only a piece of paper that can be easily obtained by following 11 tips by dissertationwriter.org but it won't say much about you, matters to employers.

Nevertheless, the choice is yours. My only advice would be to make the one you won't regret.

All the best.

Hugh Gardner

I'm looking at this now, because despite using Articulate since 09, Captivate since version 2, and Camtasia since it launched I still get stonewalled because HR folks want that MS Ed checkbox filled.  I'm currently working as a "Instructional Designer" in name only, most of my workload is admin for vendor systems.  I love Articulate and puzzling solutions in it and other content creation programs and really want to do that all of the time.  If folks have any advice on if I should pursue the degree to increase chances of landing a full time ID gig or other tips, I'd love to hear them.  

Carolina Fautsch

Oregon State has a new ISD certificate program, which is very competitively priced!

I went with UW-Stout. It's over twice as expensive as OSU, but I don't regret it. I felt it was very thorough and it has a great reputation for providing job resources. Probably more corporate-focused than teacher-focused, though.

Nancy Lamb

Is there any update to this question? I'm going to be 60 next month, and I need to get back to work. I have a Training Specialist Certificate -- which was as much about managing training projects as it was course delivery. But it's not current technology. I hold a Certificate in technical communications as well. 

Trouble is I find employers aren't valuing what I have to offer and I don't know where to restart. I've owned a business for 8 years after leaving the last contract - which was a while ago. Even though I produced all the communications for a multi-million dollar IT department, managed all content and documents, and handled testing, writing, and reporting ... companies just blow me off.  

I don't mean to be negative - - I've just been looking for work forever and can't find anything. Since 2008, recruiters have told me I've been off corporate payrolls for too long. (at that point, I was off 6 months, not 8 years)

With a disabled spouse, I can't afford to keep living here unless I land a good job. And I don't want to throw more money at education that ends up unmarketable.   

Any thoughts? 

Christian deTorres

Traditionally, many Instructional Design programs don't put too much emphasis on specific technology, as the courses focus more on learning and design concepts. If you have a strong foundation there, and just want a tech update, a Master's degree might be overkill.

I graduated several years ago from UMass Boston's Instructional Design, which I enjoyed and got a lot out of. However, given the recent state of the program, I'm not sure I'd recommend it today.


Hello there, 

I know this is an old thread, but it is very pertinent, since I am currently researching ID related Masters programs. I need something fully online, since I work full time and have family obligations. Has anybody heard or have any experience with the Learning Design & Technology Master's Program at UMUC (University of Maryland)? 

Peter Rushton

edX is online and free to audit

Not always a huge fan of the edX platform -- but free is free -- and edX offers a range of courses that can be taken online and audited for free -- or they offer a certificate for a minimal charge -- and all from major universities / institutions.

All Courses:

General education and teacher trianing courses -

All Programs:

Teaching/Learning related programs:

Instructional Design and Technology
-- from Univerisity of Maryland
-- https://www.edx.org/micromasters/instructional-design-technology

Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement
-- from Univeristy of Michigan
-- https://www.edx.org/micromasters/michiganx-leading-educational-innovation

User Experience (UX) Research and Design
-- from U Michigan
-- https://www.edx.org/micromasters/michiganx-user-experience-ux-research-and-design

in Spanish from Gallileo University (Guatamala)

There are a host of software related courses -- web development and programming -- as well as for creating edX course for their online platform which may have LMS general applications. 

edX Course Creator

 Hope this helps as an alternative to other suggestions. 

joanne k

Hi Nancy, You are running into the hidden "age discrimination". Since you can't do anything about your age, may I suggest focusing on how to market your many talents. If you haven't already met with your state's Workforce Commission I highly, highly recommend you do so. Most commissions offer a lot of assistance for folks in your situation. Texas WC helped me significantly. Also, you can learn a lot by just hanging out on e-Learning Heroes and reading ANYTHING by Tom Kuhlmann. He runs a blog called The Rapid E-Learning Blog.

Hang in there, you can do this!


Alison  L.

Sooo THAT IS interesting re: Edx! a few of those course “titles” by “University” looking a lot like the same courses by the same universities over at COURSERA... there, the individual courses are actually part of a “Specialization” ... but you can still take (and pay for ~40) individual classes.

I guess it is “what looks better on a resume when dealing w Professional Development?

The first 3 years during and after my M.Ed in Instructional Systems Design (now defunct program At PSU Great Valley) were a steady stream of mostly Long Term remote gigs, but then 2015, either gigs dried up or they wanted to pay around $30/hour.

So i guess *i* am a bit of the thumbs down on Grad School for ID. Seems like if your e-portfolio is solid , the degree doesnt mean much. :-/

of course that is just MY experience, & 2 cents, could be wrong / your milage may vary.



Sent from my iPhone

Peter Rushton

Had a quick look at Coursera -- and would suggest looking there first if looking for this type of learning experience. It seems a much better platform -- with course content at a higher level -- and presentation (videos) more professional.

Lots of related titles there as well -- https://www.coursera.org/courses?languages=en&query=instructional+design.

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