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From social media to online degree programs, technology has revolutionized the way students learn and gather information. Educational and instructional technology degree programs can help educators understand how technology impacts learning, and how to coordinate and effectively implement its use in the classroom. A number of education professionals can benefit from this type of instruction regardless of grade level or institutional type.

What to Expect from an Educational Technology Degree Program

Educational technology programs help teachers, education administrators and related professionals understand how -- and when -- to use technology in the classroom. Students learn how to assess institutional or classroom technology needs, integrate various media into learning environments, and evaluate technologies' short- and long-term impact on student engagement and learning outcomes. Courses tend to vary from one program to the next, but common themes include:

  • Instructional design theories
  • Developing online courseware
  • Education theory and technology
  • Gamification
  • Web-based instruction
  • Mobile learning

Educational programs in technology are available at a variety of degree levels, from certificates to doctoral specializations. Some may be designed to compliment existing credentials or classroom experience, for educators looking to gain specialized training in the field. Prospective students should contact their school of interest to learn more about specific program offerings and enrollment requirements.

Potential Careers for Educational Technology Majors

Educational technology degree programs can benefit professionals from a number of fields. The following are just a few of them, along with key career trends and requirements, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Instructional coordinators - Instructional coordinators oversee school curricula and teaching standards. They develop and implement teaching materials and assess them for effectiveness. Most instructional coordinators have at least a master's degree in a field like teaching or education administration. Because understanding how technology impacts learning can help coordinators make better decisions about its use in classrooms, specialized training in educational technology could be a valuable resume booster. The BLS projects demand for these professionals to grow about 13 percent nationwide between 2012 and 2022. Demand for coordinators may be especially strong in schools, districts and even states implementing new instructional standards and curricula.
  • Postsecondary instructors - College instructors teach academic and vocational subjects with the goal of helping adult students transition into -- and succeed in -- the modern workforce. Most have at least a master's degree in an area relevant to the courses they teach. They often design and manage their own courses, so understanding how to effectively use educational technology can be tremendously helpful. This is especially true among those teaching online courses. The BLS projects employment of college instructors to increase 19 percent nationwide from 2012 to 2022. Competition for tenure-track positions should remain fierce.
  • Librarians - Libraries serve as research centers for schools, colleges and entire communities, and most of them depend on the same technologies as traditional classrooms. Librarians help patrons with research; coordinate on-site classes and activities; and order, organize and maintain books, computers and other media. Understanding how to best select and implement educational technology can be a key part of a librarian's job. Librarians must have at least master's degrees in library science or a related field, but some employers prefer candidates with additional credentials, like teaching certificates. The BLS expects demand for librarians to rise seven percent nationwide between 2012 and 2022. Completing educational technology programs might give some candidates an advantage in this tight job market, especially as libraries invest more in electronic media and other technologies.

The scope of professionals that could benefit from educational technology programs extends well beyond these careers. Elementary and high school teachers and principals might also consider enrolling in such programs, as might training coordinators serving private businesses. Potential students can learn more about any of these careers by visiting the BLS online or by contacting schools offering educational technology degrees directly.

Sources:
"Instructional Coordinators," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm
"Librarians," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/librarians.htm
"Postsecondary Teachers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Education-Training-and-Library/Postsecondary-teachers.htm

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