What Does a Training and Development Specialist Do?

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A training and development specialist is leading an information session for a group of new employees.


Workplaces thrive when employees have the skills and knowledge to complete their duties. Human resources (HR) professionals, such as training and development specialists, ensure that everyone in their organization has the skills and knowledge they need to be productive and successful.

Development and training programs can improve employee retention and have a positive impact on an organization’s bottom line. A training and development specialist can help an organization create and run these programs to optimize employee growth and corporate profitability. Students can prepare to pursue a training and development career by earning an online bachelor’s in organizational psychology degree.

The Role of a Training and Development Specialist

A training and development job description can vary, based on where a specialist works. However, the position’s main objective is to create, develop and maintain training and development programs that optimize employees’ knowledge and skill sets. Training and development specialists provide employees with information about an organization’s policies to ensure that they know what’s expected of them.

Specialists can offer training in various ways, including the following:

  • Training manuals
  • Presentations
  • Videos
  • Online modules
  • Course materials

They can record their own videos or write their own course materials about topics, such as fair treatment, harassment and discrimination. Establishing workplace standards on important subjects, such as harassment, can help minimize the potential risk of negative behaviors and situations.

Those in training and development roles may work with department managers to shape programs to fit an organization’s specific goals. If an HR manager finds that most employees don’t know about the company’s health and safety policies, the training specialist can assemble the necessary materials and distribute them. Likewise, if a senior manager decides to refurbish an office with new computers and software, the training specialist can instruct employees on how to set up and use the new equipment.

Beyond walking employees through different sessions and materials, training and development specialists are responsible for some administrative tasks, such as budgeting for equipment, videos, manuals and learning modules. They also coordinate scheduling for classes and presentations to ensure that employees can be present and participate in all sessions.

How to Become a Training and Development Specialist

Typically, the steps to become a training and development specialist, including education requirements and work experience, consist of the following:

Step 1: Earn a Degree

Various routes can lead to a training and development career. However, most individuals begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in organizational psychology, HR, business administration or instructional design. A degree in social sciences can prepare individuals for practical situations in their future careers

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

After earning a bachelor’s degree, many individuals apply for entry-level jobs in HR. They can begin gaining experience with other professionals who specialize in training and development or instructional design. It can benefit individuals to get hands-on work experience in a specific industry, such as technical services or health care. Employers are more likely to hire candidates who have several years of experience in a certain field for higher-level training and development positions.

Step 3: Obtain Certification

Certification can benefit individuals seeking a career in training and development. While certification isn’t always a requirement, some employers prefer to hire training and development specialists who have additional credentials. Professionals can become certified through organizations such as the Association for Talent Development (ATD) or the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI).

Step 4: Develop Skills

Earning a degree, working in the field and obtaining certification can help prospective or current training and development specialists develop or enhance skills considered fundamental for success in the role. These include the following:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Written and oral communication
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Teaching and instructional

Training and Development Specialist Salary and Job Growth

The factors that may affect the salary an individual earns in the role include education level, years of experience, organization size and job location. The median annual salary for the position was $61,210 as of May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Training and development specialists in the lowest 10% of earners made less than $32,680, while the highest 10% earned more than $104,200.

Job growth for the profession is projected to increase by 9% between 2019 and 2029, a faster growth rate than that projected for the average career during the same period. As of 2019, approximately 327,900 individuals worked as training and development specialists in:

  • Administrative services
  • Health care
  • Education
  • Professional services
  • Finance
  • Scientific and technical services
  • Insurance

Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Psychology

Training and development specialists play an important role in their organizations. Whether leading presentations or distributing materials, training specialists can have a meaningful impact on employee success by fostering informed and productive workplaces. Rider University’s online bachelor’s in organizational psychology program prepares students for careers as training and development specialists through courses such as Fundamentals of Management & Organizational Behavior; Team Management; Employee Selection & Training; and Managing Workforce Diversity.

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a training and development specialist, explore how Rider’s online bachelor’s in organizational psychology program can help you pursue your professional goals.


Recommended Readings

Employee Relations: Job Outlooks and Career Paths

What Does an Organizational Psychologist Do?

What Is Business Psychology, and Why Is It Important?


Houston Chronicle, “Importance of the Role of Human Resources in Companies’ Training”

Inc., “Training and Development”

International Society for Performance Improvement, Mission and Vision

ONET Online, Training and Development Specialists

ResearchGate, “The Impact of Training and Development on an Organization’s Profitability”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Training and Development Specialists