Training and development specialists help plan, conduct, and administer programs that train employees and improve their skills and knowledge.

Duties

Training and development specialists typically do the following:

  • 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

Training and development specialists help create, administer, and deliver training programs for businesses and organizations. To do this, they must first assess the needs of an organization, and then develop custom training programs that take place in classrooms or training facilities. Training programs are increasingly delivered through computers, tablets, or other hand-held devices.

Training and development specialists organize or deliver training sessions using lectures, group discussions, team exercises, hands-on examples, and other formats. Training can also be in the form of a video, self-guided instructional manual, or online application. Training may be collaborative, which allows employees to connect informally with experts, mentors, and colleagues, often through the use of technology.

Training and development specialists may monitor instructors, guide employees through media-based programs, or facilitate informal or collaborative learning programs.

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Work Environment

Training and development specialists held about 306,400 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of training and development specialists were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services                    13%
Healthcare and social assistance 12
Educational services; state, local, and private 11
Finance and insurance 11
Administrative and support services 7

Training and development specialists spend much of their time working with people, giving presentations, and leading training activities. They may need to travel to training sites.

Work Schedules

Most training and development specialists work full time during regular business hours. Some work more than 40 hours per week.

Education and Training

Training and development specialists need a bachelor’s degree, and most need related work experience.

Education

Training and development specialists need a bachelor’s degree. Specialists may have a variety of education backgrounds, but most have a bachelor’s degree in training and development, human resources, education, or instructional design. Others may have a degree in business administration or a social science, such as educational or organizational psychology.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Related work experience is important for most training and development specialists. Many positions require work experience in areas such as training and development or instructional design, or in related occupations, such as human resources specialists or teachers.

Employers may prefer to hire candidates with previous work experience in the industry in which the company operates, or with experience in e-learning, mobile training, and technology-based tools. However, some employers may hire candidates with a master’s degree in lieu of work experience.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Many human resources associations offer classes to enhance the skills of their members. Some associations, including the Association for Talent Development and International Society for Performance Improvement, specialize in training and development and offer certification programs. Although not required, certification can show professional expertise and credibility. Some employers prefer to hire certified candidates, and some positions may require certification.

Advancement

Training and development specialists may advance to training and development manager or human resources manager positions. Workers typically need several years of experience to advance. Some employers require managers to have a master’s degree in a related area.

Personality and Interests

Training and development specialists typically have an interest in the Helping and Persuading interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Helping interest area indicates a focus on assisting, serving, counseling, or teaching other people. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people.

If you are not sure whether you have a Helping or Persuading interest which might fit with a career as a training and development specialist, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Training and development specialists should also possess the following specific qualities:

Analytical skills. Training and development specialists must evaluate training programs, methods, and materials, and choose those that best fit each situation.

Instructional skills. Training and development specialists often deliver training programs to employees. They use a variety of teaching techniques and sometimes must adapt their methods to meet the needs of particular groups.

Interpersonal skills. Training and development specialists need strong interpersonal skills because delivering training programs requires collaborating with instructors, trainees, and subject-matter experts. They also accomplish much of their work through teams.

Speaking skills. Speaking skills are essential for training and development specialists because they often give presentations. Specialists must communicate information clearly and facilitate learning by diverse audiences.

Pay

The median annual wage for training and development specialists was $61,210 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,680, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $104,200.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for training and development specialists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services                          $71,460
Finance and insurance 64,530
Educational services; state, local, and private 62,720
Healthcare and social assistance 55,910
Administrative and support services 54,160

Most training and development specialists work full time during regular business hours. Some work more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook

Employment of training and development specialists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Employees in many occupations are required to take continuing education and skill development courses throughout their careers, creating demand for workers who lead training activities.

Employment of training and development specialists is projected to grow in many industries as companies develop and introduce new media and technology into their training programs. Innovations in training methods and learning technology should continue throughout the next decade. For example, organizations increasingly use social media, visual simulations, and mobile learning in their training programs. Training and development specialists will need to modify their programs in order to fit a new generation of workers for whom technology is a part of daily life and work.

Because training and development contracting firms may have greater access to technical expertise in order to produce new training initiatives, some organizations outsource specific training efforts when internal staff or resources are not able to meet the training needs of the organization.

Job Prospects

Overall, job opportunities should be good. Job prospects should be best for those with experience developing online and mobile training programs.

For More Information

For more information about training and development specialists, visit

Association for Talent Development

International Society for Performance Improvement

 

FAQ

Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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This information is taken directly from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Truity does not editorialize the information, including changing information that our readers believe is inaccurate, because we consider the BLS to be the authority on occupational information. However, if you would like to correct a typo or other technical error, you can reach us at help@truity.com.

I am not sure if this career is right for me. How can I decide?

There are many excellent tools available that will allow you to measure your interests, profile your personality, and match these traits with appropriate careers. On this site, you can take the Career Personality Profiler assessment, the Holland Code assessment, or the Photo Career Quiz.

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