Training and development specialists plan and conduct employee training and development programs. Management has increasingly recognized the need for employees to develop skills, enhance productivity and quality, and build loyalty. Employee development programs provide all three. Because the work environment has become so complex and the pace of technological change so rapid, training has become an essential method for helping employees keep up, while boosting morale at the same time. At the same time, training has become more effective and efficient due to advances in adult learning theory.
Training and development specialists must be able to work well with individuals while working toward the goals of the organization. The field requires a number of different skills. They need to be good communicators, both verbally and in writing. Because of the increasingly diverse work force, they must be comfortable working with people from a broad range of cultural backgrounds. They must be able to reconcile conflicting ideas and points of view and work under high pressure. They must possess a fair-minded, congenial, and persuasive personality.
In 2002, training and development specialists earned a median annual salary of $42,800. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10%, who earned less than $24,760, and the highest 10%, who earned more than $72,530. The following shows the median annual salaries for the industries employing the highest numbers of training and development specialists:
- Management of companies and enterprises – $49,660
- Insurance carriers – 45,830
- Local government – 43,740
- State government – 40,960
- Federal government – 37,560
Training and Education
Educational backgrounds for training and development specialists vary greatly. For entry-level positions, employers usually prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees in human resources, personnel administration, or industrial and labor relations. Some employers prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees in a technical or business field, while others prefer a well-rounded liberal arts education. College courses leading to a career as a training and development specialist can be found in the departments of business administration, education, instructional technology, organizational development, human services, communication, or public administration.
Usually a broad assortment of courses in the social sciences, business, and behavioral science is preferred, although some jobs require a specialized background in engineering, science, finance, or law. For those seeking advancement to top management positions, a master’s degree in human resources, labor relations, or in business administration with a concentration in human resources will be necessary. You can explore more about training for training specialist careers by clicking on this link for schools offering education degrees.
In 2002, training and development specialists held about 209,000 jobs. About 80% of salaried jobs were in the private sector. 18% were employed by local, State, and Federal government.
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of training and development specialists is expected to increase faster than the average, in part due to the increasing importance being attached to employee development by companies and other organizations. Demand will also increase due to legislation that sets standards for occupational safety and health, equal opportunity, wages, health, pensions, and family leave, as well as expansion in international human resources management and human resources information systems. Job growth will be somewhat tempered by the increased use of computers, making workers more and more efficient. Competition will be keen among qualified college graduates and experienced workers.