Academic programs in educational technology at the associate’s or bachelor’s degree level are rare. Most of the programs in educational or instructional technology lead to a master’s or doctorate degree.
It’s recommended that aspiring educational technologists earn their bachelor’s degree in an education-related field.
Another option is to earn an undergraduate degree in a field that most closely matches your career goals. For example, if you plan to work in educational software design, you may wish to earn a bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering or Computer Science.
Once you're ready for a master's degree, head over to our rankings for the Best Online Master's in Educational Technology Degrees and Best Master's in Educational Technology Degrees.
Below, we’ve broken down some of the most common degrees in educational technology. Use this to help you chart a course to your dream career in ed tech.
Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Learning Design and Technology
These programs are typically designed for K-12 educators. Many of these degree tracks include coursework in educational policy, developmental psychology, and advanced pedagogy. Students generally require one to three years to complete an M.Ed. degree.
Sample curriculum (University of Southern California): Learning and Motivation; Media Selection and Evaluation; Assessment and Evaluation; Human Lifespan Development; and 6 credit hours for a capstone project. Total credit hours: 30.
Master of Science (M.S.) in Instructional Technology
An M.S. program tends to be less focused on K-12 instructional strategies. In a Master of Science program (or, less commonly, a Master of Arts program), students can study theories of cognition and learning that are more applicable to adult learners. These programs are often best suited to students who will work in a corporation or non-profit organization.
Sample curriculum (University of North Carolina Wilmington): Design and Development of Instructional Technology; Multimedia Design and Development; Managing Instructional Development; Evaluation and Change in the Instructional Development Process; 15 credit hours within a chosen specialization; and 3 credit hours for thesis or capstone project. Total credit hours: 36.
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Technology
Unlike Ph.D. programs, Doctor of Education degree tracks tend to focus on applied research and industry practice. These programs often provide opportunities to specialize in a specific ed tech niche. Available concentrations might include web and mobile development, educational software, online learning (or distance learning), and technology integration.
Sample curriculum (Boise State University): Emerging Trends in Educational Technology; Global and Cultural Perspectives in Educational Technology; Leadership in Educational Technology; Project Management in Educational Settings; 15 credit hours in research methodology courses; and 11 credit hours for dissertation. Total credit hours: 66.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Technology
Ph.D. degrees in Educational Technology or Instructional Technology are not as common as Doctor of Education degrees. These programs tend to be highly selective. In most programs, the curriculum is best suited to scholars and researchers with an academic career rather than practicing educators.
Sample curriculum (New York University Steinhardt): Foundations of Cognitive Science; Foundations of the Learning Sciences; Advanced Seminar in Research and Practice in Instructional Technology; and 36 credit hours in research methodologies and dissertation work. Total credit hours: 57.