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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 and technology or instructional design provides training and development specialists with a base knowledge of instructional design, research, education, methodology and instrumentation, technology integration, and measurement and evaluation. These types of master’s degrees 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

Instructional Design – M.Ed.

An online master's degree for current teachers and others...

An online master's degree for current teachers...

An online master's degree for current teachers and others looking to further their careers with a graduate program focused on designing top-notch curriculum.

No teaching license required.

  • Time: 87% of grads earned this degree within 24 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,635 per 6-month term.

Coursework in this program covers the following areas of study:

  • Instructional design
  • Research fundamentals
  • Measurement and evaluation

Improve teaching, training and learning. Learn to build better curriculum with this education master's degree.

Learning and Technology – M.Ed.

An online master's degree for current teachers or others looking...

An online master's degree for current teachers or...

An online master's degree for current teachers or others looking to further their careers with a graduate program focused on integrating technology with instructional design principles.

No teaching license required.

  • Time: 73% of grads earned this degree within 18 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,635 per 6-month term.

Coursework in this program covers the following areas of study:

  • Instructional design
  • Research fundamentals
  • Technology integration

Harness the power of technology to teach more kids in better ways with this education master's degree.


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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?

$62,700

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?

9%

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?

Varies

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.

View degree programs