Beyond Corporate America: Non-traditional career paths for training and development graduates
Kathleen Iverson, Roosevelt University Training and Development Department Chair
If you visit the RU Training job board, you’ll find many opportunities for instructional designers and e-learning specialists. In fact, instructional design was listed as No. 38 in
2012 in Money Magazine’s list of best jobs. Many MATD grads work for major organizations in Chicago and nationally including Allstate, Hewitt & Associates, Grainger, United Airlines, ADP, Ritz-Carlton, Hilton, and McDonald’s Hamburger University, to name just a few. Historically, opportunities in large, multi-national organizations are the bread and butter career paths for learning and development. Big companies have lots of employees to train and have the financial resources to support corporate-wide training and performance initiatives. But what about those who are interested in putting their T&D skills to work in the non-profit sector, academia, or even in another field or career entirely? Although it may take a bit more time and effort to uncover opportunities, the jobs are there. Start by reading a previous article, “Training and Development for Non-Profits” for specific examples of our grads who are currently working in this sector.
Find your place
Where to look for those non-traditional gems of opportunity for T & D grads:
Academia: Due to the explosion of online learning in higher education, most universities have a staff of instructional designers and instructional technologists who take existing curriculum and redesign it for online delivery, much like the rush in the corporate arena to redesign traditional training for e-learning delivery. Opportunity for online teachers has also grown rapidly. If you are considering a career in higher education, check out HigherEdJobs for career opportunities in online teaching and instructional design.
Association Management: Chicago and other major cities including New York and Washington D.C. are home to large, successful associations that provide education and certification to professions. Several recent graduates have been drawn to career opportunities in association management, enjoying the opportunity to design and deliver curriculum in very specialized fields including medicine, law, and actuarial science. For career opportunities specific to this field check the job board at the ASAE.
Community-Based Organizations: From grassroots organizations to churches to social service agencies, many graduates have pursued careers focused on service to others. Opportunities for instructional design and delivery are prevalent as the basis for much work in social service organizations lies in education and performance improvement. For opportunities in non-profit organizations you might check NPO.net.
Right, where you are: Other grads have built careers in finance, teaching, career development, coaching, consulting, even, fashion design, and have shared with us that the skills they developed in our curriculum have helped them to become better managers, leaders, supervisors, and planners. After all, good design is good design, regardless of the purpose.
Share your story
If you are a current or past student and working in or pursuing a “non-traditional” ISD, training or organization development career path, please share your story with us—what led you to this career? How do you apply what you are learning or have learned in our program to your job?