Technology Specialist Emphasis

IDT Tech SpecialistThe Department of Instructional Design and Technology offers a Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology with a Technology Specialist emphasis. Coursework for this new degree can be completed online. Field experiences can be arranged through the graduate students' schools.

Admission Requirements

  • Admission requirements of the School of Graduate Studies, including the successful completion of undergraduate coursework with an overall undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75 (or a GPA of at least 3.0 for the final two years of undergraduate coursework).  If undergraduate GPA requirements are not met, the department will consider for admission applicants who have completed at least 12 semester hours (SH) of graduate coursework with a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.2 or higher from a regionally accredited university.
  • Admission requirements of the IDT department include:
    • Submission of a 1,000 word essay describing their reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in the field of IDT.
    • Submission of three letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to the candidate’s academic potential.
  • Proof (1) of an Illinois teaching certificate and (2) of passing the Illinois Test of Basic Skills within five years of admission if certified prior to July 1, 1988, or if not certified in the State of Illinois.  If not seeking certification, a signed statement attesting to that is required.
  • Demonstration of meeting the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) by submitting a self-assessment of competencies.  Applicants who lack basic competencies in microcomputer application software and/or have identified NETS-T deficiencies may be required to take additional courses or complete a faculty-approved plan of selected development activities.

Degree Requirements

Students pursuing the MS degree with a Technology Specialist emphasis may choose a 32-sh research plan or a 35-sh work plan.  Field experiences are arranged by the student in K-12 settings and must be approved by faculty members.  Most students take two to three courses per semester, completing the program in approximately two-and-a-half years.  Students have six years to complete the program.

Career Opportunities

Our program opens up new or expanded career opportunities to educators by preparing graduates to provide leadership in the use of technology in K-12 classrooms and schools.  Graduates will be able to effectively facilitate the integration of technology in their own classrooms for teaching and learning.  They may also become technology specialists working with educators at a building level.  In addition, certified teachers can apply for an Illinois Type 10 Technology Specialist Certificate.

Graduates will demonstrate the ability to...

  • Use instructional methods and strategies to support content learning through effective use of technology.
  • Teach technology concepts and skills related to learning technologies and technological literacy to students, educators, and administrators.
  • Provide curriculum support and integration of technology across subject and content areas for enhanced instruction and learning.
  • Provide technology support, mentoring, and professional development opportunities to educators.
  • Apply instructional design principles to access and create instructional material using interactive multimedia, web-based, and other emerging technologies.
  • Assist in accessing, acquiring, and maintaining hardware, software, and network products.

Program Curriculum

Core Requirements (11 SH)
  • IDT 500 - Preseminar (2)
  • IDT 505 - Foundations of Instructional Technology (3)
  • IDT 510 - Principles of Instructional Design (3)
  • EIS 500 - Research Methods (3)
Technology Specialist Emphasis (15 SH)
  • IDT 517 - Integration of the Internet and Multimedia in Education and Training (3), includes 10 to 12 hours of field experience
  • IDT 529 - Integration of Computer-Based Technologies in Education and Training (3), includes 10 to 12 hours of field experience
  • IDT 534 - Technology Issues and Professional Development in Education and Training (3), includes 10 to 12 hours of field experience
  • IDT 539 - Hardware, Operating Systems, and Networking in the Schools (3), includes 40 hours of field experience
  • IDT 595 - Technology Planning and Research (3), includes 100 hours of field experience

During each of the courses, students will add to their Technology Specialist Portfolio, which documents their knowledge, skills, and dispositions in relation to the Technology Specialist standards.

Exit Options (6 or 9 SH)
  • Research Plan (IDT 600 Applied Project [3] or IDT 605 Thesis [3]) and one 3-SH directed elective course (3) OR
  • Coursework (IDT 603 Graduate Portfolio [0]) and three 3-SH directed electives courses (9)

Professional Development in Technology IntegrationIllinois Technology Specialist Endorsement

Graduates can apply for an Illinois Technology Specialist Endorsement and take the required state tests if they have a valid Illinois teaching certificate.  If the K-12 endorsement is desired, the M.S. Program with the Technology Specialist emphasis must be completed.  If only a Technology Specialist Endorsement is desired on a current teaching license for an existing grade range, the candidate can complete the Educational Technology Specialist Post-Baccalaureate Certificate.

The required tests are:

  • Basic Skills (formerly 096, now #300). There should be no need to retake the basic skills test if the candidate is a currently certified teacher in Illinois.
  • Tech Specialist content exam (#178)
  • APT K-12 (#104)

The test dates, registration information, study guide and test framework are all available at

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program

Instead of completing the MS Degree, certificated teachers can complete a 24-sh course of study through a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC).  The certificate requires eight courses: IDT 505, IDT 510, EIS 500, IDT 517, IDT 529, IDT 534, IDT 539, and IDT 595.  Students have three years to complete the PBC.  After completion of the PBC, candidates can apply through the IDT Department for an Illinois Type 10 Technology Specialist certificate if they have a valid Illinois teaching certificate and pass the required state tests.


Western Illinois University is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teachers Education (NCATE).  The Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology with a Technology Specialist emphasis and the Technology Specialist PBC Program are approved by the Illinois State Board of Education for meeting the Technology Specialist standards.