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Training and Development Specialist Career


What is a Training and Development Specialist?


Training and development specialists foster an environment of continuous learning and growth within an organization. They conduct needs assessments, design curricula, facilitate training sessions, and evaluate the effectiveness of employee training programs. Their role involves staying informed of the latest educational and training techniques, understanding the organization’s unique requirements, and tailoring programs to meet these needs. By implementing strategic training initiatives, they support employees’ professional development and help businesses achieve their long-term goals.


What Does a Training and Development Specialist Do?

A typical day for a training and development specialist may involve a wide range of tasks, including: 

  • 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 various training materials, specialists choose the most appropriate educational medium, including manuals, online learning environments, and course materials.   

  • Training employees. Using various instructional techniques, specialists train employees via seminars, workshops, and one-on-one training sessions. 

  • Handling administrative tasks. Specialists may enroll employees in courses, design schedules, integrate systems and other equipment, evaluate existing training programs, and select and book venues as needed. 

  • Acting as an employee liaison. Training and development specialists support and mentor new employees while 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 keeping track of expenditure and remaining within the budget.

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 Talent Development (CPTD): For professionals with at least four to five years of talent development experience, the Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) 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.


What Education Does a Training and Development Specialist Need?

Becoming a training and development specialist generally requires the following:

  1. Education: A bachelor's degree, typically in human resources, business administration, or education, is a good foundation. Some positions might require a master’s degree in human resources, instructional design, or organizational development.
  2. Experience: Many roles require experience in HR or a related area, which can be acquired through internships or entry-level positions. Experience in teaching or a specialized industry can be advantageous.
  3. Certification: Obtaining certification such as the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) or the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) can enhance a résumé and is sought after by some employers.
  4. Continuing education: As industries evolve, keeping skills up to date through continuous education is critical. This might include attending workshops and seminars or enrolling in advanced courses that reflect current best practices in the field.

Where Do Training and Development Specialists Work?

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

  • Finance and insurance
  • Healthcare and social assistance
  • Administrative and support services
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services
  • Educational services at the state, local, and private level

Best Degrees for a Training and Development Specialist


Human Resource Management – B.S. Business Administration

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

A SHRM-recognized online business degree program:

  • Time: 65% of graduates finish within 24 months.
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 41 total courses in this program.

Skills for your résumé you will learn in this program include:

  • Agile project management
  • Employment and labor laws
  • Recruiting strategies
  • HR technology
  • DE&I understanding

Earn your B.S. in Human Resources and help build strong organizations.


Human Resource Management – M.S.

A SHRM-recognized master's degree in human resource management...

A SHRM-recognized master's degree in human resource management

  • Time: 61% of graduates finish this program within 18 months.
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term
  • Courses: 10 total courses in this program

Skills for your résumé that you will learn in this program include: 

  • Performance Management
  • Communication
  • Management
  • Planning
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Human Resource Information System (HRIS)

Earn your M.S. in Human Resources and help companies create excellent cultures.


Education Technology and Instructional Design – M.Ed.

The M.Ed. in Education Technology and Instructional Design from WGU is for...

The M.Ed. in Education Technology and Instructional Design from WGU is for instructional designers tasked with creating engaging and immersive virtual learning experiences that can substitute for on-ground instruction.

No teaching license required.

  • Time: 62% of students finish this program in 10 months.
  • Tuition: $4,125 per 6-month term
  • Courses: 12 total courses in this program.

This program includes two tracks for students to choose from:

  • The K-12 pathway
  • The Adult Learner pathway

Skills for your résumé included in this program:

  • Learning Experience Design
  • Assessment and Learning Analytics
  • Learning Technology
  • Research Methodology

Develop training and instruction expertise to help you in the classroom, in educational settings, or in corporate world.

How Much Does a Training and Development Specialist Make?


The average salary of a training and development specialist can vary widely depending on geographic location, experience, and the specific industry in which they work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for training and development specialists in 2022 was approximately $63,080. However, salaries at the high end of the spectrum, particularly in corporate settings or high-demand industries, can reach well above that median, with the highest 10% of specialists earning more than $108,530.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


The BLS expects the demand for training and development specialists to grow by 6% between 2022 and 2032, which is faster than the average across all occupations. This growth can be attributed to the continuous need for workplace training and education. Companies focus on professional development to improve productivity and retain talent, driving demand for trained specialists.


What Skills Does a Training and Development Specialist Need?

Training and development specialists need diverse skills to do their job successfully. Most notably: 

  • Excellent verbal, written, and presentation skills. A training and development specialist’s job is to convey information clearly and concisely, which involves solid oral, written, and presentation skills. 

  • Communication. Because specialists work with various departments and individuals with different backgrounds, they need strong interpersonal and communication skills as well as DE&I awareness to be successful.

  • Organization. Specialists must remain organized while developing and implementing different training methods and strategies, whether the organization is large or small.  

  • Adaptability. Development strategies and best practices frequently change, so specialists must remain flexible and adapt quickly to their environment.

  • Listening. A big part of effectively training employees and developing their skills involves active listening to encourage engagement. 

  • Strategic and critical thinking. Specialists 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. Specialists must stay current on the latest learning and training trends and implement them accordingly. 

  • Software. It’s critical that specialists are proficient with the Microsoft Office suite, 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. They must stay organized, keep a calendar, and wisely prioritize where they spend their time throughout the workday.

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Interested in Becoming a Training and Development Specialist?

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