In the nine years since The Learning Guild last published a report on degrees and certifications, a lot has changed for the L&D practitioner. The interdisciplinary nature of jobs like instructional designer, learning experience designer, educational technologist, instructional systems designer, etc. feeds an ever-growing list of desired skills; the word “evolution” comes up time and again in the literature. As cited by Basdogian et al. 2020, Riter (2016) says, “Great instructional designers must become experts in a near-limitless set of overlapping solutions to produce tractable, informed decisions” (2045). 

This report takes a look at facts—from salary expectations to the education requirements and competencies most frequently appearing in job announcements. But we also asked practitioners what they have to say about their experiences choosing and completing programs, and whether overall they found the efforts worthwhile. We also hear from some who offer suggestions for navigating around stated criteria. 

Accompanying this written report we offer three videos; the first two from faculty in well-established graduate programs for L&D practitioners. They discuss their programs, whether and why they feel academic work in the field is important, and offer tips for choosing a degree program—or perhaps a certificate. The third video features a hiring manager discussing what she is looking for in a new hire and how academic credentials fit into that.