How to become an Instructional Designer?

Subject: How to become an Instructional Designer?
From: Steven Baratz <sbaratz -at- mindspring -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 13:10:33 -0700

I have been reading this list for a few months while looking into the fields of technical writing and instructional design, and I am leaning toward the latter. There seems to be quite a bit of "crossover" between these fields, but I'm more interested in multimedia and education than in developing help systems and "how-to" manuals.

I have a recent teaching credential but I would prefer to design instructional materials rather than lead a classroom. I could develop corporate training or K-12 educational curriculum/activities; I am open to possibilities. Prior to becoming a teacher I was a web designer/developer and photographer.

Sure, I could go back to school and get an M.A. in Instructional Technologies. I was enrolled in a program before I went for the teaching credential, but I'd much rather work, for many reasons. Work experience far outweighs academic experience in practical terms, although degrees can open doors...

How to get around the old Catch-22, that it takes experience to get experience?
What are roads, traditional or otherwise, to become an Instructional Designer?
Is there such a thing as an "entry-level" job?
What type of "samples" can reasonably be expected?
Does one need to choose one field over another: Tech. Writing "vs." Instructional Design?
Ideas and suggestions, relevant personal experience and advice are all appreciated.

Steven Baratz Creative Services
(415) 863-3353 tel/fax
(415) 378-2458 cel
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