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Career and Education Opportunities for Instructional Systems Specialists in Vancouver, Washington

Instructional systems specialists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Vancouver, Washington area. There are currently 2,970 jobs for instructional systems specialists in Washington and this is projected to grow 16% to about 3,450 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for instructional systems specialists are expected to grow by about 23.2%. Instructional systems specialists generally develop instructional material, coordinate educational content, and incorporate current technology in specialized fields that provide guidelines to educators and instructors for developing curricula and conducting courses.

A person working as an instructional systems specialist can expect to earn about $30 hourly or $63,760 per year on average in Washington and about $27 hourly or $56,880 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for instructional systems specialists are better than earnings in the general category of Specialized Education in Washington and better than general Specialized Education category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: special education supervisor, technology coordinator, and educational specialist.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Vancouver where you can study to be an instructional systems specialist, among forty-eight schools of higher education total in the Vancouver area. The most common level of education for instructional systems specialists is a Master's degree. You can expect to spend about six years training to become an instructional systems specialist if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Instructional Systems Specialist

In general, instructional systems specialists develop instructional material, coordinate educational content, and incorporate current technology in specialized fields that provide guidelines to educators and instructors for developing curricula and conducting courses.

Instructional systems specialists formulate and conduct teacher training programs and conferences dealing with new classroom procedures, instructional materials and equipment, and teaching aids. They also conduct or participate in workshops and conferences designed to promote the intellectual and physical welfare of students. Equally important, instructional systems specialists have to recommend, order, or authorize purchase of instructional materials and visual aids designed to meet student educational needs and district standards. They are often called upon to research and ready recommendations on curricula and materials for school systems. They are expected to observe work of teaching staff to review performance, and to recommend changes that could strengthen teaching skills. Finally, instructional systems specialists interpret and enforce provisions of state education codes, and rules and regulations of state education boards.

Every day, instructional systems specialists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to speak clearly. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for instructional systems specialists to design tests and procedures that measure the effectiveness of curricula, and use these tools to establish whether program objectives are being met. They are often called upon to ready or approve manuals, guidelines, and reports on state educational policies and practices for distribution to school districts. They also advise and teach students. They are sometimes expected to ready grant proposals and program policies and goals, or help in their preparation. Somewhat less frequently, instructional systems specialists are also expected to design classroom-based and distance learning training courses, using needs assessments and skill level analyses.

Instructional systems specialists sometimes are asked to address public audiences to explain program objectives and to elicit support. They also have to be able to direct efforts of staff working on cataloging and maintaining educational materials and equipment in curriculum libraries and laboratories and talk with members of educational committees and advisory groups to obtain knowledge of subject areas, and to relate curriculum materials to specific subjects, individual student needs, and occupational areas. And finally, they sometimes have to formulate and conduct teacher training programs and conferences dealing with new classroom procedures, instructional materials and equipment, and teaching aids.

Like many other jobs, instructional systems specialists must be able to take change and lead and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Vancouver include:

  • Elementary School Teacher. Teach pupils in public or private schools at the elementary level basic academic, social, and other formative skills.
  • English Professor. Teach courses in English language and literature, including linguistics and comparative literature.
  • Farm Management Adviser. Advise, instruct, and assist individuals and families engaged in agriculture, agricultural-related processes, or home economics activities. Demonstrate procedures and apply research findings to solve problems; instruct and train in product development, sales, and the utilization of machinery and equipment to promote general welfare. Includes county agricultural agents, feed and farm management advisers, home economists, and extension service advisors.
  • Graduate Research Assistant. Assist department chairperson, faculty members, or other professional staff members in college or university by performing teaching or teaching-related duties, such as teaching lower level courses, developing teaching materials, preparing and giving examinations, and grading examinations or papers. Graduate assistants must be enrolled in a graduate school program. Graduate assistants who primarily perform non-teaching duties, such as laboratory research, should be reported in the occupational category related to the work performed.
  • High School Teacher. Instruct students in secondary public or private schools in one or more subjects at the secondary level, such as English, mathematics, or social studies. May be designated according to subject matter specialty, such as typing instructors, commercial teachers, or English teachers.
  • Middle School Teacher. Teach students in public or private schools in one or more subjects at the middle, intermediate, or junior high level, which falls between elementary and senior high school as defined by applicable State laws and regulations.
  • Teaching Assistant. Perform duties that are instructional in nature or deliver direct services to students or parents. Serve in a position for which a teacher or another professional has ultimate responsibility for the design and implementation of educational programs and services.
  • Vocational Instructor. Teach or instruct vocational or occupational subjects at the postsecondary level (but at less than the baccalaureate) to students who have graduated or left high school. Includes correspondence school instructors; industrial, commercial and government training instructors; and adult education teachers and instructors who prepare persons to operate industrial machinery and equipment and transportation and communications equipment. Teaching may take place in public or private schools whose primary business is education or in a school associated with an organization whose primary business is other than education.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Instructional Systems Specialist Training

Concordia University - Portland, OR

Concordia University, 2811 NE Holman Street, Portland, OR 97211-6099. Concordia University is a small university located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,709 students and an admission rate of 65%. Concordia University has a master's degree program in Curriculum and Instruction which graduated twenty-nine students in 2008.

Portland State University - Portland, OR

Portland State University, 724 SW Harrison, Portland, OR 97201. Portland State University is a large university located in Portland, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,959 students and an admission rate of 80%. Portland State University has 2 areas of study related to Instructional Systems Specialist. They are:

  • Curriculum and Instruction, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated seventy-four and five students respectively in 2008.
  • Educational/Instructional Media Design, master's degree which graduated 8 students in 2008.


Certified Instructional Technologist: The Certified Instructional Technologist Program is an increasingly recognized voluntary credential; based on the Instructional Technology component of the Certified Environmental, Safety and Health Trainer (CET) certification; a voluntary certification measuring instructional knowledge and confirming extensive experience as a trainer; a proven way to achieve personal and professional satisfaction for demonstrated competency and accomplishment; .

For more information, see the National Environmental, Safety & Health Training Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver, Washington photo by Matthiasb

Vancouver is located in Clark County, Washington. It has a population of over 163,186, which has grown by 13.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Vancouver, 98, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Vancouver are priced at $95,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred eighty new homes were built in Vancouver, down from four hundred twenty the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Vancouver are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 21.7% of Vancouver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Vancouver is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Vancouver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Vancouver is home to the Vancouver Square and the Vancouver Plaza as well as Leverich Park and Wintler Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arbours Shopping Center, Millport Shopping Center and Vancouver Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Vancouver can choose from Comfort Suites Vancouver, Homewood Suites Portland-Vancouver and Best Western Hotel and Suites Vacouver Mall Dr for temporary stays in the area.