How to Become an Instructional Technology Specialist

How to Become an Instructional Technology Specialist: Career Path Guide

If you want to become an instructional technology specialist, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as an instructional technology specialist:


• You have a keen interest in information technology as it applies to education

• You enjoy collaborating with educators

• You are able to perform basic hardware troubleshooting

• You have a strong understanding of CSS, HTML and JavaScript

• You have programming experience and knowledge of databases, such as MySQL

• You understand how certain technologies can be applied to benefit instruction


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as an instructional technology specialist. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become an Instructional Technology Specialist

In order to become an instructional technology specialist, you typically need to have a bachelor’s degree in Education, Curriculum Development, Information Technology or Instructional Technology, although you may be required to hold a graduate degree in one of these areas depending on the employer and the job. However, you may instead need an advanced degree in a specific academic field, as some instructional technology specialists are placed within schools, programs or departments based on their respective discipline-specific backgrounds.


For example, universities and colleges that employ instructional technology specialists, particularly those that hire them for a specific faculty, may require candidates for these positions to hold an advanced degree in an area pertaining to that faculty, as they may be responsible for instructing some classes in that area. Open Instructional Technology Specialist jobs in a university’s Linguistics department for example, may require you to have a Ph.D. in Linguistics.


In instances such as the example above, candidates for these particular jobs would not be expected to hold an additional degree in Instructional Technology or a related field; they may qualify for these jobs with self-taught knowledge, provided their resume reflects advanced skills with instructional technology.


The universal similarity among the various educational paths to becoming an instructional technology specialist is that you need to develop and maintain current knowledge of instructional design methodology and always be aware of current trends in educational technology, which includes developing and maintaining knowledge of new types of technologies, software and programming languages. This will involve pursuing continuous education throughout your career, through formal coursework, independent study, attending workshops, or other methods. 




What is an Instructional Technology Specialist?

Instructional technology specialists, also known as instructional technologists and academic technology specialists, are information technology professionals who facilitate technology use at schools and universities through a variety of interactive methods.


Instructional technology specialists that work in specific faculties of post-secondary institutions may also have an academic specialty that field.



Instructional Technology Specialist Job Description

Instructional technology specialists are responsible for providing technical guidance to school and university instructors who are transitioning their courses to hybrid and online models, which feature both classroom and Internet-based instruction.


Instructional technology specialists must meet with instructors and other faculty members to determine what courses need to be designed or re-created in order to properly teach online courses or hybrid classes, as well as to help teachers decide what types of technologies they will need to fulfill their classroom goals and meet course objectives. They must then design technology-based curricula that instructors can use to meet those goals.


Instructional technology specialists are also responsible for supporting and faculty, students, and others in the use of instructional systems, software, and programs that have been integrated into instruction. Such technology may include Learning Management software (Blackboard), Lecture Capture software, Web Conferencing software and other software, systems and programs.



Instructional Technology Specialist Job Duties

• Provide staff and faculty with constant feedback regarding the proper use of instructional technology

• Make continuous improvements in key processes, techniques, and procedures related to the instructional technology program

• Monitor the use of instructional technology in order to ensure that the resources and activities related to instructional technology are enhancing the school’s mission and academic content

• Search for and implement new instructional technology, including software and websites

• Assist with the planning surrounding the effective implementation of curriculum in order to ensure that instructional technology is used in accordance with student needs

• Encourage learning activities that aim to take advantage of using and creating internet resources



Who Hires Instructional Technology Specialists?

The following types of employers hire instructional technology specialists on a part-time, full-time, contractual basis:


• Private and public elementary, middle and high schools

• School boards

• Vocational and community colleges

• Online schools

• Universities

• Instructional technology consulting companies



Find Instructional Technology Specialist Job Opportunities 

Instructional Technology Specialist Jobs - Canada


Instructional Technology Specialist Jobs - United States





Experience Needed to Become an Instructional Technology Specialist

Many organizations that employ instructional technology specialists require candidates for those jobs to have demonstrated experience in certain areas, to show that they are capable of taking initiative and exercising independent judgment, and are competent when doing so.


A career as an instructional technology specialist typically requires experience in the following areas:


• May need college level teaching experience

• Experience establishing and/or maintaining instructional software databases

• Experience implementing technology into a classroom

• Instructional design and development experience in technology within an educational setting

• Experience providing technical to support 



Skills Needed to Become an Instructional Technology Specialist

In order to become successful as an instructional technology specialist, you need to posses a certain set of technological skills, interpersonal skills, and educational skills. These skills and traits will not only allow you to perform your job duties with competence, they are in high demand with those that employ instructional technology specialists.


Interpersonal Skills


• Ability to collaborate with faculty and other instructional technology specialists

• Ability to understand the technological needs of specific faculties and educational institutions with regards to classroom and hybrid instruction

• Able to keep current on research trends and significant developments in the area of technology, curriculum, instruction, and assessment

• Able to build healthy, professional relationships with staff and faculty


Technical Skills


• Able to perform basic hardware troubleshooting, maintenance and simple remedies

• Strong understanding of HTML5, CSS3, HTML, XHTML, XML, JavaScript, AJAX, JQUERY, and Internet standards and protocols

• Programming experience in ASP.NET, JAVA, and PHP

• Knowledge of databases (MySQL,MS SQL)


Educational Skills


• Ability to effectively instruct students and faculty in the use of certain technologies

• Able to understand the benefits of certain technologies for certain fields of study

• Knowledge of how technology can be used to assist different types of learners, including advanced students and those with learning disabilities



Instructional Technology Specialist Jobs

Our job board below has "Instructional Technology Specialist" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Instructional Technology Specialist Salary

The income level of instructional technology specialists can vary, depending on their personal qualifications, the size of their employer, and many other factors. There is no reliable salary and income information available specifically for Instructional Technology Specialists, although we can get a good idea of what they earn by looking at the salary information of closely related professions.


Instructional Technology Specialist Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Information Systems Analysts and Consultants occupational group earn an average wage of $37.95 per hour. The Survey also states that Albertans working in the Assistant Professors occupational group is between $75,000 and $100,000 per year.


Instructional Technology Specialist Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Information Systems Analysts and Consultants occupational group is $63,981 per year. Service Canada also states that the average salary level of Canadian workers in the University Professors occupational group is $87,393 per year.


Instructional Technology Specialist Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Instructional Coordinators occupational group is $60,050 per year. The BLS also states that the median salary level of American workers in the Postsecondary Teachers occupational group is $68,970 per year.



Careers Similar to Instructional Technology Specialist

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Instructional Technology Specialist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Computer Programmer

Education Coordinator

IT Analyst

Systems Integration Engineer

University Professor



References: How to Become an Instructional Technology Specialist

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an instructional technology specialist:


Alberta Learning and Information Service website:

Stanford University - Academic Technology website:

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website:



Scholarships for Becoming an Instructional Technology Specialist

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming an Instructional Technology Specialist can be found on our Computer Science Scholarships and Education Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Majors that Apply to Becoming an Instructional Technology Specialist

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming an instructional technology specialist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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