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Emerging Occupations

Instructional Designer

In general, instructional designers develop instructional materials and activities for education and training in wide range of settings (for example, Kindergarten to Grade 12, post-secondary, corporate, non-profit and military).

This is an emerging occupation. It may have evolved from an existing occupation or emerged in response to consumer needs or technological advances.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 3,900
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Course Developer, Educational Technologist, Instructional Technologist, Learning Designer, Learning Experience Designer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

This occupation has not yet received an official NOC code. However, it is considered similar to the following historical NOC codes. CAUTION—As this occupation is only similar to these NOC codes, related details and labour market information may not be accurate:

  • 2006 NOC: Education Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers (4166) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Education Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers (E035) 
  • 2011 NOC: Education policy researchers, consultants and program officers (4166) 
  • 2016 NOC: Education policy researchers, consultants and program officers (4166) 
Skills Shortage*

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

*This data is for a NOC group that is similar to the Instructional Designer occupation
Average Wage*
*This data is for a NOC group that is similar to the Instructional Designer occupation
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Instructional Designer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

*The Instructional Designer is similar to this NOC group
Education Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers

Interest in conducting research, developing the structure, content and objectives of new programs, and creating teaching materials and other resources for program delivery


Interest in co-ordinating information to conduct statistical analyses; and in administering educational policies and programs; may administer specialized testing and assessment programs


Interest in consulting to provide ongoing professional development and training to teachers; may supervise the work of other policy researchers, consultants and program officers

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 04, 2021

Instructional designers study the ways people learn and teach, and use technology and multimedia tools to design effective and efficient learning environments and activities.

Instructional designers work on development teams that may include editors, technical writers, programmers, subject matter experts, copyright officers, digital media technologists, graphic designers and other instructional designers. For more information, see the Editor, Graphic Designer, Technical Writer and Web Designer occupational profiles.

Instructional design (also known as Instructional Systems Design) is often based on 5 phases of development known as the ADDIE model: analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate. Other models may be used, depending on the instructional environment.

Duties may vary depending on whether instructional designers work for an educational  or other type of organization. But in general, instructional designers:

  • Work with subject matter experts (SMEs) or content experts to identify learning goals, content and assessments
  • Develop instructional objectives and ensure that content, learning activities and assessments match those objectives
  • Identify the type and level of learning and select appropriate instructional strategies to elicit and support learning
  • Structure content and activities for student learning
  • Identify sequencing strategies
  • Identify and select media to support learning (for example, visual aids for face-to-face learners, video conferencing and online discussion forums for distance learners)
  • Develop learner assessments and evaluate course materials
  • Adapt instructional materials created for one format to another format (for example, adapt materials developed for face-to-face learning to online learning)
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 04, 2021

Instructional designers generally work standard weekday hours in offices or from home. They may sit at a computer for long periods of time. Overtime may be required to meet project deadlines.

Instructional designers must constantly update their knowledge and skills to keep up with advancements in this rapidly changing field.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 04, 2021

Instructional designers need:

  • A desire to share knowledge with others
  • A desire to learn about and use new technology
  • An understanding of student needs and learning styles
  • Creative problem-solving skills
  • Written communication skills
  • An ability to work well with a team
  • An ability to build positive relationships with subject matter experts

They should enjoy coordinating information in innovative ways while preparing teaching materials, evaluating student progress and helping others achieve their goals.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 04, 2021

Most emerging occupations develop from more than 1 occupation, so instructional designers may come from a variety of education and training backgrounds. Prior to enrolling in an education program, prospective students should contact associations and employers in this field to investigate education options and employment possibilities.

Instructional designers need an understanding of:

  • Learning and instructional principles
  • Lesson planning and curriculum development
  • Project management
  • Educational technology and the role of new media (online course delivery, e-learning, web-based instruction)
  • Web tools (for example, blogs, podcasts, social media)
  • Course development software
  • Course or learning management systems

Many instructional designers move into this occupation from other occupations. For example, some start by graduating from post-secondary programs in education. They then work closely with instructional designers and participate in professional development activities. These activities can include reading, personal experimentation and attending seminars and conferences. In this way, they acquire the necessary writing, programming and project-management knowledge and skills.

Similarly, some instructional designers acquire the necessary computer skills through work experience and professional development activities. Whatever their background, instructional designers must continuously upgrade their knowledge in this rapidly changing field.

A master's degree in education, instructional design, online learning or educational technology is recommended.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

University of British Columbia

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 04, 2021

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 04, 2021

Emerging occupations typically are the result of:

  • An increased human need (for example, new services)
  • Technological advances
  • Greater specialization within an occupation

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, it can be difficult to define advancement opportunities or employment outlook. Some Albertans already are working in this emerging occupation but future demand for instructional designers is unknown.

Instructional designers are employed by:

  • Provincial education departments
  • Post-secondary schools
  • Private vocational schools
  • Online learning and software application companies
  • Online publishing companies
  • Training departments of large companies
  • Educational organizations (non-government)
  • The military

Some positions may combine the duties of an instructional designer and a classroom facilitator. A teacher's certificate usually is required for employment with provincial education departments.

Experienced instructional designers in large organizations may advance to supervisory positions.

Instructional designers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4166: Education policy researchers, consultants and program officers. In Alberta, 79% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 4166: Education policy researchers, consultants and program officers occupational group is expected to have an average annual growth of 1.9% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 77 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 04, 2021

Freelance instructional designers may work on a contract basis on specific projects. Annual incomes therefore vary from one instructional designer to another, and may vary from year to year.

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, no salary data specific to infection control professionals is currently available.

*The instructional designer is similar to this NOC group
Education policy researchers, consultants and program officers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $17.00 $43.38 $30.83 $30.10
Overall $22.45 $57.13 $36.71 $34.28
Top $25.00 $57.69 $40.32 $40.78

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
Educational Services
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Communications
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Education and Library Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 04, 2021

The Institute for Performance and Learning website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 04, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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