How Can I Become a Training and Development Specialist?

A Training and Development Specialist can work at large corporations, financial institutions and governmental agencies to conduct, evaluate and develop employee training programs. These programs often range from a simple new employee orientation that reviews the overall company to a major business process change, information technology usage or health and safety precautions. Applicants must have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and boast excellent presentation and written and oral communication skills.

Educational Requirements

To become a Training and Development Specialist you must have a bachelor’s degree. The educational backgrounds of specialists vary but must be in the business, human resources, instructional design, social sciences or training and development fields. Many organizations are seeking candidates with a background in computer science or information technology, as technology continues to play a major role within the field.

Work Experience for a Training and Development Specialist

Relevant work experience is critical for training and development specialists as many positions require knowledge of teaching, training and development and instructional design. Many employers now prefer prior industry work experience to better relay the needs of the company. Therefore, a combination of information technology and industry work experience will make you an excellent candidate for the position.

Certifications and Licenses

There are a number of professional human resource associations that provide classes to help improve the skills of their members. Many of these organizations, such as the American Society for Training and Development, offer certification in training and development which can offer the candidate credibility. Many employers prefer to hire those with these certifications.

Critical Qualities of Training and Development Specialists

There are four important qualities that a candidate must have to work as a training and development specialist including:

  • Analytical skills
  • Instructional skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Speaking skills

Analytical Skills

Since training and development specialists must assess training programs, methods, materials and select those which are best for each situation, they must be able to thoroughly analyze information. Finding the best training program for a specific software implementation, change in procedure, new hire orientation or a simple class topic is an extensive process to ensure the correct information is being provided.

Instructional Skills

In addition to analyzing training programs, training and development specialists must also deliver training programs to the employees using a number of teaching techniques. In many instances, they must adapt the teaching methods to meet the requirements of specific groups and situations. Therefore, a solid set of instructional skills will allow the specialist to improve the training.

Interpersonal Skills

Specialists must also boast strong interpersonal skills to collaborate with other instructors, subject-matter experts and trainees in order to effectively deliver the required information. Much of the work is accomplished through teams.

Resource: Do You Need Strong People Skills to Work in Human Resources?

Speaking Skills

Finally, exceptional speaking and presentation skills are critical for training and development specialists to effectively conduct presentations. Information must flow and be communicated clearly to foster learning among a diverse audience. Being able to connect with the audience and their different learning styles is critical to the transfer of knowledge between instructor and participant.


To be hired as a training and development specialist, you must acquire the necessary education and certifications as well as boast the four primary skills. Like in many other fields, the competition for training and development specialist positions is high, so differentiating is the key to success.

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