Employee Training and Development Specialists Overview
Educational backgrounds of employee training and development specialists vary based on duties and levels of responsibility. College graduates who earn a related certification will enjoy the best job and advancement opportunities. Interpersonal skills are a must for human resources occupations such as employee training and development specialists. Over the next decade, much faster than average growth is expected for employment opportunities.
Nature of the Work for Employee Training and Development Specialists
Human resources workers including employee training and development specialists have the goal of attracting, motivating and retaining top quality workers. While administrative duties used to be par for the course in human resources departments, now workers take on additional, more complex duties such as consulting on corporate strategy or policy changes.
Employee training and development specialists work with people daily and need to have good interpersonal skills. They work with employees to improve skills and thus lower job turnover, increase productivity and moral and improve job satisfaction.
Employee training and development specialists are responsible for organizing, planning and directing a variety of training activities. These trainers must consult with training manager and supervisors to determine performance improvement measures, conduct orientations and arrange job training for new hires. They help employees learn to do their current jobs better and learn skills needed for the next step up. Along with their supervisors, they learn to improve their interpersonal skills to deal with employees effectively. They may boost existing skills or teach new ones in addition to leadership or executive development programs for employees looking to advance. These programs help develop employees into leaders as part of a corporate succession plan. As mergers and consolidations happen, training specialists are there to make job transitions smooth or to create retraining programs to accommodate technological changes to job duties. Employee training and development specialists sometimes work for government-supported job-training programs, serving as case managers and helping participants build basic skills to function in the workforce. They determine what clients need to learn and help them do so with the most appropriate methods. Post-training, clients may receive job placement assistance or work with employer relations representatives.
Employee training and development specialists are involved in planning and program development. First they must assess training needs by consulting with managers or conducting surveys. Employee training and development specialists may evaluate the effectiveness of their programs to ensure they’re helping the firm meet their goals and see results.
The responsibilities and training methods of employee training and development specialists may vary greatly based up on the nature, goals and size of the firm. Training may be hands-on skill-based in a laboratory or on a shop floor, knowledge-based in a classroom setting or a combination of the two such as a formal apprenticeship training program which includes both classroom training and work experience. In addition, web-based training modules are becoming more popular. These interactive programs can be used for either individual or group instruction with other multimedia programs or simply to accommodate a geographically diverse need of students. Distance learning alternatives and the capability of attending seminars and conferences via satellite or other computer-aided technologies can be particularly helpful for the hearing- or sight-impaired as well.
Usually employee training and development specialists work in offices, but because some training may occur off-site or at another regional or international office, travel may be required.
Generally, a 40-hour workweek is typical, but longer hours are sometimes needed to accommodate training schedules or an increased workload.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Employee Training and Development Specialists
The level of responsibility and job duties vary considerably, and in turn so do the educational backgrounds of employee training and development specialists. Entry-level positions typically go to college graduates with degrees in human resources, human resources administration or Group ID: 020CA55B labor and industrial relations. However, some employers seek candidates with a business or technical background or those with a well-rounded liberal arts education.
A bachelor’s degree is typical for employee training and development specialists, but since many colleges and universities don’t offer human resources-specific degrees until the graduate level, students can take relevant courses or concentrations in human resources or training and development.
In this field, an interdisciplinary background of social sciences, business administration and behavioral sciences is helpful. Finance, law, engineering or science knowledge may be necessary for more specialized positions. Courses in organizational structure, industrial psychology and principles of management are commonplace and accounting and finance are becoming more and more important for this career.
At the entry-level, workers complete administrative tasks such as creating employee handbooks or data entry. On-the-job training programs help them advance and later move into a supervisory level as employee training and development specialists.
Experience is one of the most important qualifications for employee training and development specialists. An internship or work-study program during college will appeal to employers. Employee training and development specialists must be committed to the organization’s goal and have impeccable communication and interpersonal skills. Some of these skills can be learned through other activities such as volunteering and teaching and it’s not uncommon for workers in this field to come from careers in education, social services administration, business or the military.
For employee training and development specialists, communication skills—both written and spoken—are imperative. With a diverse workforce, they need to communicate effectively among different cultural backgrounds, experiences and education levels. Foreign language skills can be a huge advantage especially when working with international corporations or those that hire large immigrant workforces. Stress, conflicting viewpoints, persuasion and exuding integrity are all a part of a days work for employee training and development specialists.
Employee training and development specialists can seek certification or take professional development courses to help improve chances for advancement by improving and proving skills, competency and credibility. The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) Certification Institute offers a certification to training and development managers for example that covers nine areas of expertise. Candidates must pass an exam and demonstrate successful work experiences. The organization also offers 16 short-term certificate and workshop programs covering a range of training and development topics.
Top 10 Most Popular Human Resources Schools
1. American InterContinental University (Multiple Campus Locations)
2. University of Phoenix (Multiple Campus Locations)
3. Webster University (Saint Louis, Missouri)
4. Community College of the Air Force (Montgomery, Alabama)
5. University of Oklahoma, Norman Campus (Norman, Oklahoma)
6. Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant, Michigan)
7. Park University, NW River Park Dr. (Kansas City, Missouri)
8. Cornell University (Ithaca, New York)
9. Colorado Technical University (Multiple Campus Locations)
10. SUNY Empire State College (Saratoga Springs, New York)
See All Human Resources Schools
Top 10 Most Popular Online Human Resources Schools
1. American InterContinental University - Online School
2. University of Phoenix - Online School
3. Colorado Technical University - Online School
4. Saint Leo University Online
5. Purdue University Global
6. DeVry University - Online School
7. University of Arizona Global Campus
8. Penn Foster High School
9. South University’s Online programs
10. Strayer University - Online School
See All Online Human Resources Schools
Employment and Job Outlook for Employee Training and Development Specialists
Number of People in Profession
Changing Employment (2008-2018)
Employment is projected to grow much faster than average (increase 20% or more).
In 2008 there were 216,600 employee training and development specialists working across virtually every industry.
Over the next decade, employment is expected to grow much faster than the average. A certification and a college degree will lead to the best opportunities.
Between 2008 and 2018, employment will grow about 22 percent in the human resources industry. Some of the growth is due to legislation and court rulings on equal employment opportunity, occupational safety and health among others, which will help boost the demand for employee training and development specialists. Economic conditions can and corporate downsizing can adversely affect employment of employee training and development specialists, but demand should increase as businesses build back up.
As changes in technology make older workers skills obsolete and jobs become more complex overall, companies are expected to spend more money on job training programs to keep their staff up to speed. Many highly-trained baby boomers are on the way out of the workforce and replacements will need to be trained. Plus, as companies want to recruit and keep the best employees in any given field, employee training and development specialists will be called upon.
Consulting, employment and management services firms will likely hire more employee training and development specialists as more companies look to hire them on a temporary basis to cut costs and deal with the complexity of their position.
College graduates with certification will find the best job opportunities and those with a bachelor’s degree in human resources, human resources administration or industrial or labor relations will do even better. A liberal arts, technical or business background is often also favorable to employers. Business cycles and economic conditions both impact the demand for employee training and development specialists. Expanding businesses will need these workers in droves, while consolidating operations would require few to none.
Beyond new employment growth, job opportunities will arise as workers retire or leave the occupation for other reasons.
Earnings and Salary for Employee Training and Development Specialists
Annual wages for employee training and development specialists vary depending upon training, experience, location and size of firm. The median annual wages for employee training and development specialists are $51,450. The highest 10 percent are above $85,160, the lowest 10 percent are under $29,470 and the middle 50 percent are between $38,550 and $67,450.
Annual Salary for Employee Training and Development Specialists
On average, Employee Training and Development Specialists earn $52,120 per year.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook