Corporate Trainer Finds New Career Path in Instructional Design


- Mary Kent

Term : January, 2013
Department : Education
Program : Instructional Design

Mary Kent has always been an educator. She started her career by pursuing an elementary school teaching credential. From there she transitioned into leadership training, eventually working her way up the corporate ladder as a professional trainer and supervisor of her company’s training team. She worked at the same corporation for 13 years, adapting her techniques and methods every time her employer offered in-house accreditation or specialized training.

“All of my certifications were within my company,” Kent says. “I was always really interested in getting a certification that stood alone. Every year, when it was performance appraisal time, when I was asked what I wanted to accomplish within the next five years, I always put it down as a goal.”

She finally got her chance when in 2011, when her employer laid off the majority of the training department. It was then that she discovered UCSC Extension’s Instructional Design and Delivery program.

“When I got laid off, I thought I’d go back to work,” she says, though she soon realized that she needed “a little time to do career exploration to revitalize myself. After reexamining everything, I realized that instructional design was something I was drawn to—it was something beyond a paycheck…I realized that Extension offered programs that could help me. UCSC Extension made it a really helpful, smooth experience.”

Though much of her experience is in the corporate world, she is also interested in consulting and working alongside nonprofits and small organizations that are seeking leadership guidance. Kent is impressed by her instructors’ accessible and knowledgeable approach to teaching. She completed her certificate in Instructional Design in December 2012 and shortly thereafter was hired as an employment and training specialist. Since she has spent many years commuting all over the Bay Area to work, Kent is ready to invest her talent in her local community.

“If I could develop a training program for a smaller nonprofit, that would be a dream job of mine,” she says. “Long term I would like to be a consultant like my instructors. Some of the information they peppered into their classes got me excited, thinking, I could do this. I have a lot of experience that would lend itself to that kind of career path.”

Visit our Instructional Design for Educators and Corporate Trainers program page to learn more about UCSC Extension’s unique offerings. Browse upcoming Instructional Design courses.

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