The School of Education is offering a new master’s program that promises to prepare students for one of the country’s most in-demand professions.

The job outlook for instructional design and development is one of the brightest in the country.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected close to 11,000 new jobs in the field to open between 2014 and 2024 with a median salary of more than $60,000 per year.

Now the UAB School of Education is debuting a new Master of Science in Instructional Design and Development degree program. The five-semester, 30-hour program will be fully-online and classes are set to begin this fall.

Photo of Students with Computer

Jenelle Hodges, Ph.D., the Master of Science in Instructional Design and Development program manager, says demand for this master’s program is strong, and that she has already received many inquiries about the new degree offering.

“The local job market has been asking for this for some time,” she says.

Instructional designers have the know-how to evaluate the learning needs of a particular audience and to create the training manuals, curricula, software and e-learning experiences that the audience wants.

“Today, instructional designers work in hospitals, corporations, companies, universities and school districts,” says Hodges. “Even at UAB, we have a strong instructional design presence.”

Hodges says UAB’s new master’s degree in instructional design and development will offer cutting-edge courses in instructional design principles, learning theory and universal design and usability principles.

One of the courses, universal differential instructional design and development, will teach students about various instructional methods and assessment strategies for creating curricula that meets a student’s needs.

“How people learn is a major focus today,” says Hodges, “and the ability to offer different options for learners is so important.”

Hodges also says applicants will not have to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). “A lot of graduate programs are moving in that direction, and we didn’t feel that the GRE would tell us who would succeed in the program. We wanted to open it up and not put that as a hindrance.”

Once students complete the coursework, they must submit a digital portfolio in addition to passing an oral examination, she says.

“Our goal,” says Hodges, “will be to make sure that our students are the best and most sought-after instructional design graduates entering the job market.”