Training and Development

Quick Facts: Training and Development Specialists
2017 Median Pay $60,360 per year 
$29.02 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation Less than 5 years
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2016 282,800
Job Outlook, 2016-26 11% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2016-26 32,500

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Training and Development Career, Salary and Education Information

What Trainers and Development Specialists Do

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


Training and development

Duties of trainers and developers

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.

Work Environment for Training and Development specialists

Training and development specialists held about 282,800 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of training and development specialists were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services: 14%

Healthcare and social assistance: 13%

Finance and insurance: 11%

Educational services; state, local, and private: 10%

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

The vast majority of training and development specialists work full time during regular business hours. About 1 in 5 worked more than 40 hours per week in 2016.

How to Become a Training and Development specialist

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


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.


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.

Important Qualities

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

Communication skills. Specialists need strong interpersonal skills because delivering training programs requires collaboration with instructors, trainees, and subject-matter experts. They accomplish much of their work through teams. Specialists must communicate information clearly and facilitate learning by diverse audiences.

Creativity. Specialists should be creative when developing training materials. They may need to think of and implement new approaches, such as new technology, when evaluating existing training methods.

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.

salaries for Training and Development specialists

The median annual wage for training and development specialists was $60,360 in May 2017. 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 $33,150, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $102,340.


In May 2017, 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: $69,830

Finance and insurance: $63,230

Educational services; state, local, and private: $61,570

Healthcare and social assistance: $54,390

Administrative and support services: $52,460

The vast majority of training and development specialists work full time during regular business hours. About 1 in 5 worked more than 40 hours per week in 2016.

Job Outlook for training and development managers

Employment of training and development specialists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, 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.

Employment projections data for training and development specialists, 2016-26

Employment, 2016: 282,800

Projected Employment, 2026: 315,300

Change, 2016-2026: +11%, +32,500

Careers Related to training and development specialists

Career and Technical Education Teachers

Career and technical education teachers instruct students in various technical and vocational subjects, such as auto repair, healthcare, and culinary arts. They teach academic and technical content to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to enter an occupation.

Compensation and Benefits Managers

Compensation and benefits managers plan, develop, and oversee programs to compensate employees.

Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists conduct an organization’s compensation and benefits programs. They also evaluate position descriptions to determine details such as classification and salary.

Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers plan, direct, and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization. They oversee the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff; consult with top executives on strategic planning; and serve as a link between an organization’s management and its employees.

Human Resources Specialists

Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They often handle other human resources work, such as those related to employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training.

Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, coordinate its implementation with teachers and principals, and assess its effectiveness.

Labor Relations Specialists

Labor relations specialists interpret and administer labor contracts regarding issues such as wages and salaries, healthcare, pensions, and union and management practices.

School and Career Counselors

School counselors help students develop the academic and social skills needed to succeed in school. Career counselors help people choose careers and follow a path to employment.

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers oversee staff and plan, direct, and coordinate programs to enhance the knowledge and skills of an organization’s employees.

Career and Technical Education TeachersBachelor's degree$55,240
Compensation and Benefits ManagersBachelor's degree$119,120
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis SpecialistsBachelor's degree$62,680
Human Resources ManagersBachelor's degree$110,120
Human Resources SpecialistsBachelor's degree$60,350
Instructional CoordinatorsMaster's degree$63,750
School and Career CounselorsMaster's degree$55,410
Training and Development ManagementBachelor's degree$60,360
Labor Relations SpecialistsBachelor's degree$63,200


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Training and Development Specialists,
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