Course Developer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about a career as a course developer. Research the job description, education requirements and certification options to make an informed decision about starting a career in the field of training and development.

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Course Developer Job Description

According to job postings found on CareerBuilder.com in December 2013, course developers often work with human resources departments to provide employee training programs. Professionals may develop courses about company policies, new equipment or professional skills. Some course developers create training modules that are be used by other instructors. Developers may also present training courses to employees directly.

Course developers might also find employment within educational institutions. Some schools and colleges hire these specialists to help faculty members develop curricula. Course developers in this role might focus on a particular area of study, such as history, or on specific Web-based courses.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2012, instructional coordinators, who help develop curriculum for schools, earn a median annual income of $60,050. Alternatively, human resources specialists earn a median of $55,800, and training and development managers for businesses bring in $95,400 per year. During the 2012-2022 decade, instructional coordinators are projected to experience 13% employment growth, while human resources specialists should see 8% growth, and jobs for training and development managers should rise by 11% (www.bls.gov).

Course Developer Job Duties

Job duties vary based on industry, but some common duties for course developers working in human resource departments may include researching company needs and drafting course outlines. During the research phase, course developers review multiple variables, such as corporate structure, employee knowledge base, employee training preferences and training deadlines. Course developers use this information to determine how to structure each course, what skills to cover and what communications tools to utilize.

After creating potential training courses, developers test these courses to verify they are effective. Testing may involve having small groups of employees go through training courses. After each group completes a course, they often fill out surveys to determine what they learned from training. Answers from these surveys allow course developers to adjust training modules as needed.

Course developers and instructional designers employed by colleges and universities may work in an advisory role. Their duties might include helping faculty to devise online lesson plans and then implementing those plans. They may need to have an understanding of Web design technologies, such as HTML and Dreamweaver. Those who work with elementary and high schools may play a more direct role in creating lesson plans, assignments and a formal curriculum for a specific course.

Course Developer Job Requirements

Education

According to the BLS, workers in the human resources and training industry are often required to have the minimum of bachelor's degrees for employment. Job postings for course developers listed on CareerBuilder.com in December 2013 also showed an employer preference for applicants with bachelor's degrees.

Undergraduate degrees in human resources may prepare workers for this career field, but other majors, such as communications or education, may also provide necessary job training. Human resources courses may cover training and development, labor relations, problem-solving, business law and organizational behavior. Other relevant degree programs include those in instructional design and technology. Such programs provide students with the technical training to create corporate training seminars or produce instructional simulations. Those who wish to work in course development for an educational institute may be required to have a bachelor's or master's degree in the area they wish to work, as well as a teaching credential.

Certification

Not all employers require certification, per the BLS, but since course developers are in a niche field within human resources, certification may help them prove their years of experience and expertise to potential employers. Several trade organizations within the industry offer certification programs, including the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI).

While there may not be many course developer certification programs, HRCI does offer a more general option: the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification program. Eligibility for the PHR exam includes several years of experience within the industry. The exam covers topics such as workforce planning, business management, labor relations, risk management and human resources development.

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