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Training and Development Specialist Career

How To Become A Training and Development Specialist

We all remember our favorite teachers: the really dynamic ones who spoke to you in a way that you could simply and clearly understand. Maybe you’ve had a mentor that gave you the same feeling, or a coach. Or maybe, you are that person. 

Training and development specialists help professionals in a wide range of industries feel the satisfaction of understanding and advancement, every day. If you enjoy helping others, brainstorming creative approaches to problem-solving, and leading discussions, the world of training and development may be for you.

A smiling young female creative professional sits on a stool before a group of employees.  She gestures as she speaks to a new employee training class.

What is a Training and Development Specialist?

A training and development specialist is an outgoing and enthusiastic team player. Their interpersonal skills shine above all else. These are the people that feel confident carrying a conversation in almost any setting or scenario. They are talkers, listeners, and creative explorers.  

Training and development specialists have an interest in data, as well as people. They are interested in understanding why a message gets across and what makes an idea stick. They pay attention to patterns and successes, and they are savvy with their use of technology and social media. They are adaptive, cooperative communicators with integrity and a determination to help an organization meet its goals. 

What Does a Training and Development Specialist Do?

Training and development specialists spend time researching, presenting, and analyzing training information. Their day to day can consist of varied responsibilities surrounding training and development and can vary based on industry, chosen field, and whether or not they work on an in-house or outsourced basis. Typical duties of a training and development specialist include: 

  • Assess training needs through surveys, interviews with employees, or consultations with managers or instructors
  • Design and create training manuals, online learning modules, and course materials
  • Review training materials from a variety of sources and choose appropriate materials
  • Deliver training to employees using a variety of instructional techniques
  • Assist in the evaluation of training programs
  • Perform administrative tasks such as monitoring costs, scheduling classes, setting up systems and equipment, and coordinating enrollment

Do I Need a Certification for this Position?

There are multiple training and development certifications available to those interested in becoming a training and development specialist. While none of these certifications are required, they do give candidates a competitive edge and may be expected by employers when applying for jobs. Our master’s in instructional design and learning and technology, set students up to confidently pass the following certifications:

How Do I Become a Training and Development Specialist?

Regardless of industry, training and development specialists are required to have a bachelor’s degree, typically in training and development, human resources, education or instructional design. Most major companies prefer a master’s degree when pursuing top-tier candidates. 

A master's degree in learning experience design and educational technology provides training and development specialists with a base knowledge of instructional design, research, education, methodology and instrumentation, technology integration, and measurement and evaluation. This type of master’s degree will enhance your knowledge and understanding and give you crucial experience in training and development.

Strong communication skills, attention to detail, and creativity are among the most desired skills for an aspiring training and development specialist.

Best Degrees for Training and Development Specialists

Educational Studies – B.A.

These online, non-licensure educational studies degrees prepare...

These online, non-licensure educational studies...

These online, non-licensure educational studies degrees prepare you to make a difference in a field that interests you.

Based on your career goals and interests, you can choose an educational studies program in one of 10 content areas that meets your needs while working toward employment in school settings, corporate training, or instructional design. These programs do not lead to a teaching license.

  • Time: Completion time varies depending on the specialty track you choose.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,475 per 6-month term.

Candidates for this special education degree program often include:

  • Elementary Education
  • Elementary and Special Education
  • Mild to Moderate Special Education
  • Secondary Biology Science Education
  • Secondary Chemistry Science Education
  • Secondary Earth Science Education
  • Secondary Physics Education
  • Middle Grades Science Education
  • Secondary Mathematics Education
  • Middle Grade Mathematics Education

Students in this program will be prepared for careers including:

  • Instructional support
  • Community outreach
  • Training
  • Education staff (museums, learning centers, etc.) 
  • K-12 opportunities that do not require a teaching license

Learning Experience Design and Educational Technology – M.S.

The M.S. in Learning Experience Design and Educational...

The M.S. in Learning Experience Design and...

The M.S. in Learning Experience Design and Educational Technology 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: 70% of grads finish similar programs in 18 months
  • Tuition and fees: $3,490 per 6-month term

This program includes two tracks for students:

  • The K-12 Learning Designer pathway
  • The Adult Learning Designer pathway

Coursework in this program includes:

  • Learning experience design
  • Instructional technology
  • Curriculum planning

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

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: 70% of graduates finish within 35 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

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

  • Human resource specialist
  • Director of talent acquisition
  • Recruiting manager
  • Organizational learning specialist
  • Vice president of HR

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

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Start the 1st of any month—as soon as you complete enrollment!

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What Skills Does a Training and Development Specialist Need?

Training and development specialists are patient, thoughtful, and creative thinkers with strength in interpersonal skills. They are typically great speakers, who enjoy sharing information in a clear, concise, and effective manner. 

Commonly desired skills for this role include: 

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent presentation skills 
  • Adept with a variety of multimedia training platforms and methods
  • Ability to evaluate and research training options and alternatives
  • Ability to design and implement effective training and development
  • Creativity with a knack for coming up with new approaches 

How Much Does a Training and Development Specialist Make?


The median annual salary for a training and development specialist in 2020 was $62,700, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top industries for training and development specialist salaries were professional, scientific, and technical services ($73,690), finance and insurance ($65,860), and educational services ($64,610). Healthcare and administrative services follow.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


As the labor force continues to age, the demand for qualified trainers and development specialists rises. Employees in all industries are required to continue training and development, especially in areas of new media and technology, thus creating a need for those who can lead the training. Employment opportunities are projected to grow 9% in 10 years, according to the BLS, which is higher than the national average for job growth across all industries.

Where does a Training and Development Specialist work?


Professional training and development specialists are needed in a variety of industries and can expect to find positions in almost every city. Some specialists may find roles in-house at larger businesses and agencies, while others may work for a training or development firm, which outsources their employees to clients based on specific training efforts and needs.

Interested in Becoming a Training and Development Specialist?

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

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