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Training and Development Specialist Career Guide

How to Become a Training and Development Specialist

Training and development specialists are responsible for creating, administering, and delivering custom training programs on behalf of businesses and organizations. These professionals must be flexible during their daily tasks since they work with a variety of personality types and technology platforms.

The need for training and development specialists is expected to grow by 9% between 2019 and 2029. So if you enjoy helping others increase their knowledge and have a passion for helping others succeed, then a job as a training and development specialist might be for you.

A few business people working at a laptop.

What Is a Training and Development Specialist?

Training and development specialists work on behalf of corporations and other businesses to create, develop, and carry out training and development programs for management and other employees. Examples include equal employment opportunity, diversity, management leadership, and conflict resolution training.

These specialists need a broad skill set to perform their jobs successfully. In-depth knowledge of the industry in which they’re training, the ability to effectively communicate, and flexibility to change as different situations demand, creativity when developing training materials, and a passion for helping management and other employees learn the information they need to do their jobs is key.

What Does a Training and Development Specialist Do?

Training and development specialists perform a wide variety of tasks daily. Some of the most common include:

  • Assessing training needs. Specialists gather information from employees, managers, and other instructors using surveys, interviews, and consultations.
  • Creating and preparing training materials. After reviewing and creating a wide variety of training materials, specialists choose the most appropriate medium, which can include manuals, online learning environments, and other course materials.
  • Training employees. Specialists train employees via seminars, workshops, and one-on-one training sessions using a variety of instructional techniques. 
  • Handling administrative tasks. Keeping track of related expenditures, scheduling classes, integrating different systems and other equipment, enrolling employees, evaluating existing training programs, and selecting and booking venues as needed.
  • Acting as an employee liaison. Training and development specialists support and mentor new employees while also monitoring and presenting employee performance and keeping track of employee attendance.
  • Managing training budgets. Most companies allocate a certain amount of money for their training and development programs, and it’s up to specialists to provide this training while remaining within the budget.

What Education Does a Training and Development Specialist Need?

To obtain a job as a training and development specialist, you’ll need to have at least a bachelor's degree in human resources management or a related field. This kind of degree program will help you learn specifics about working with people, communication, leadership skills, and more. You’ll also need to have experience training employees and other relevant industry work experience in most instances.

Human Resource Management – B.S. Business Administration

A SHRM-recognized online business degree program:...

A SHRM-recognized online business degree program:...

A SHRM-recognized online business degree program:

  • Time: 65% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Human resource specialist
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  • Recruiting manager
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Earn your B.S. in Human Resources and help build strong organizations.

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What Certifications Does a Training and Development Specialist Need?

The specific certifications that training and development specialists need to have can vary by industry and employer, although some of the most common are:

  • Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD): You’ll need to have at least five years of relevant experience to obtain this certification, which covers 10 areas of expertise and involves two exams (a Knowledge Exam and a Skills Application Exam).
  • Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM™): This certification focuses specifically on the role of a training manager and helps you learn to manage corporate training programs.
  • SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP: The SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) certifications test competency for early- and mid-career professionals, as well as senior-level practitioners.
  • Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP): For professionals with at least three to five years of talent development experience, the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) certification covers 10 areas of expertise, including performance improvement, instructional design, training delivery, learning technologies, evaluating learning impact, managing learning programs, integrated talent management, coaching, and knowledge and change management.


woman helping man at computer hr

What Skills Does a Training and Development Specialist Need?

Training and development specialists need a wide variety of skills to do their job successfully. Some of the most common include:

  • Excellent verbal, written, and presentation skills. It’s a training and development specialist’s job to convey information clearly and concisely, which involves solid oral, written, and presentation skills.
  • Communication. Because you’ll work with a variety of departments and individuals with various backgrounds, you’ll need strong interpersonal and communication skills to be successful as a training and development specialist.
  • Organization. Whether the organization is large or small, specialists need to remain organized while developing and implementing different training methods and strategies.
  • Adaptability. Training and development strategies frequently change, so specialists need to remain flexible to adapt to their environment quickly.
  • Listening. A big part of effectively training employees and developing their skills involves active listening to encourage engagement.
  • Strategic and critical thinking. You’ll need to strategically approach training and be willing to analyze the results, continuously improve, and solve problems as they arise.
  • Researching teaching methodologies and tools. Includes remaining up-to-date on the latest learning and training trends and implementing them accordingly.
  • Software. Includes proficiency with the MS Office suite, as well as each company’s e-training software (where applicable) and other training platforms and methods.
  • Time management and multitasking. A training and development specialist is often pulled in many different directions at once, so it’s up to them to prioritize where they spend their time throughout the workday.

How Much Does a Training and Development Specialist Make?


The BLS reports that training and development specialists earn a median annual salary of $62,700 per year, which works out to about $30.14 per hour. This includes entry-level positions with salaries of $33,900 and more advanced positions with salaries of $107,060. Some of the factors influencing a training and development specialist’s salary include years of experience, level of education, and location.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


The BLS reports that the need for training and development specialists is expected to grow by 9% between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than average. This number represents an increase of about 28,200 jobs during these ten years. Some of the factors driving this increase include employees needing to complete continuing education and skill development courses, the introduction of new media and technologies in the workplace, and innovations in training methods and learning technologies.


Where Do Training and Development Specialists Work?


Training and development specialists work with people in nearly every industry. Some of the largest include:

-Professional, scientific, and technical services

-Finance and insurance

-Educational services; state, local, and private

-Healthcare and social assistance

-Administrative and support services

Interested in Becoming a Training and Development Specialist?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this exciting career.

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