What Does a Training and Development Specialist Do?
If you want to help people do their jobs better, consider a career as a training and development specialist.
Also called training coordinators or training specialists, trainers help other employees gain new skills and knowledge. They design, plan and run training programs to help improve business performance.
Training programs vary by organization, from new employee orientation to management training to technology that changes how work gets done.
Training specialists assess training needs through surveys, interviews with employees and by talking to managers. They use the best training approach for the topic and the audience, which may include classroom instruction, audiovisuals, role-playing or individual computer sessions. Training can be in person, online or a hybrid of the two.
Flexibility is the key. In order to coach different types of people, training specialists must figure out how each person learns.
If this sounds like you, keep reading to learn more.
- Assess organizational or individual training needs
- Create training materials
- Deliver training programs online or in person using different learning methodologies
- Set up equipment and training space
- Lead group discussions
- Evaluate effectiveness of the program and adjust as needed
- Schedule classes and complete other administrative tasks
How To Become a Training and Development Specialist: FAQs
What steps do I need to take?
The educational background of development specialists varies. Most companies look for a combination of information technology skills, work experience and an understanding of the industry where the training is needed. Some organizations prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree.
Many community colleges offer two-year programs and specialized training courses. Areas of specialization include training and development, human resources, education, management science or instructional design.
All trainers need to learn leadership, how to work with different types of people and how to draw in employees who don’t think training is a priority.
What other qualifications do I need?
Experience in e-learning, mobile training and technology-based tools is beneficial. Graphic design skills are a plus when creating training programs.
Certification is usually not required but it may open up new opportunities. The Association for Talent Development (ATD) and International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) offer many options. Some common certifications include Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) and Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP).
Where do training and development specialists work?
Trainers are needed everywhere, from corporations to government agencies to smaller businesses.
Is there a demand for training specialists?
Yes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the need for trainers will grow 8% from 2021 to 2031. That breaks down to about 36,500 openings for trainers every year during that decade.
What skills and personal qualities would make someone a good fit for this job?
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Strong interpersonal skills and ability to connect
- Good instructional skills
- Organized and able to set priorities
- Good critical thinking skills