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If you’re won­der­ing “what is the pri­ma­ry goal of train­ing and devel­op­ment?” it’s like­ly that you’re debat­ing whether it’s a good idea to move for­ward with your career in human resources, spe­cial­iz­ing in help­ing orga­ni­za­tions train their employ­ees. Many peo­ple who are just get­ting into the field are curi­ous about “what is the objec­tive of train­ing and devel­op­ment?” Here, we’ll explore the answer to sev­er­al ques­tions, includ­ing “what is employ­ee train­ing and devel­op­ment?” “what is train­ing and devel­op­ment in HR?” and “what is HR train­ing and development?”

What is HR Training and Development?

While many train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­fes­sion­als work with­in the human resources depart­ment of their orga­ni­za­tions, they usu­al­ly aren’t involved with the day-to-day oper­a­tions that most pro­fes­sion­als asso­ciate with the human resources depart­ment. Train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­fes­sion­als aren’t work­ing through employ­ee dis­putes or set­ting up direct deposit — they’re work­ing direct­ly with com­pa­ny lead­ers to devel­op employ­ee train­ing pro­grams that are engag­ing and help increase the com­pa­ny’s bot­tom line. 

Train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­fes­sion­als are a vital part of any com­pa­ny’s well-being. All too often, the bur­den of train­ing and devel­op­ment lands on a small human resources team with­out the train­ing and edu­ca­tion they need to devel­op effec­tive train­ing pro­grams. Today, more com­pa­nies are real­iz­ing the impor­tance of hir­ing a qual­i­fied train­ing pro­fes­sion­al to devel­op employ­ee train­ing pro­grams and ensure that employ­ee edu­ca­tion is in line with the com­pa­ny’s goals. 

When employ­ees know how to do their job well, they’re hap­pi­er, and they’re more like­ly to stay with the com­pa­ny long-term. Train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­fes­sion­als have the abil­i­ty to direct­ly impact both employ­ee sat­is­fac­tion and com­pa­ny per­for­mance by devel­op­ing tar­get­ed, effi­cient, effec­tive train­ing pro­grams that help employ­ees take their craft to the next level. 

Orga­ni­za­tions need to con­stant­ly adapt to chang­ing mar­kets, and it’s impor­tant that they’re able to devel­op effec­tive train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­grams to help their employ­ees do the same. No mat­ter what the indus­try or size of the com­pa­ny, the impor­tance of human resource train­ing and devel­op­ment can’t be over­stat­ed. Train­ing and devel­op­ment isn’t just about under­stand­ing what employ­ees need to know in order to do their jobs well — it’s also about col­lab­o­rat­ing with man­agers to under­stand the skillsets they want their employ­ees to improve upon, and cre­at­ing effec­tive train­ing pro­grams that engage employ­ees and pro­vide com­pa­nies with last­ing results. 

Accreditation for Training and Development Programs

Region­al accred­i­ta­tion is regard­ed as the gold stan­dard for col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties in the Unit­ed States. While region­al accred­i­ta­tion can apply to human resources bach­e­lor’s degree pro­grams, these accred­i­ta­tion orga­ni­za­tions also accred­it all high­er edu­ca­tion pro­grams. The U.S. is divid­ed into six accred­i­ta­tion regions, and sev­en accred­i­ta­tion bod­ies over­see the qual­i­ty of high­er edu­ca­tion pro­grams in these regions. 

Region­al accred­i­ta­tion bod­ies include: 

  • North­west Com­mis­sion on Col­leges and Uni­ver­si­ties (NWCCU)
  • High­er Learn­ing Com­mis­sion (HLC)
  • WASC Senior Col­lege and Uni­ver­si­ty Com­mis­sion (WSCUC) 
  • Accred­it­ing Com­mis­sion for Com­mu­ni­ty and Junior Col­leges, West­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Schools and Col­leges (ACCJC)
  • South­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and School Com­mis­sion on Col­leges (SACSCOC)
  • Mid­dle States Com­mis­sion on High­er Edu­ca­tion (MSCHE)
  • New Eng­land Com­mis­sion on High­er Edu­ca­tion (NECHE) 

Be sure to look for one of the above cer­ti­fi­ca­tions when choos­ing your bach­e­lor’s degree pro­gram. Train­ing and devel­op­ment degree pro­grams that are region­al­ly accred­it­ed let poten­tial employ­ers know that you’ve cre­at­ed a pro­gram that qual­i­fies you to work as a train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­fes­sion­al. If you choose a pro­gram that is not accred­it­ed, you run the risk of your degree not being rec­og­nized by poten­tial employ­ers, which can severe­ly affect both your earn­ing poten­tial and your abil­i­ty to get a job. 

There are also spe­cif­ic human resources orga­ni­za­tions that accred­it pro­grams. While the absence of a human resources accred­i­ta­tion does not nec­es­sar­i­ly mean a pro­gram lacks qual­i­ty, the pres­ence of a human resources-spe­cif­ic accred­i­ta­tion lets you know that the pro­gram you choose has met the high stan­dards of expert human resources orga­ni­za­tions. Many human resources degree pro­grams fol­low the stan­dards set by the Soci­ety for Human Resource Man­age­ment, a pri­vate orga­ni­za­tion that works to help human resource orga­ni­za­tions ensure that their pro­grams are prepar­ing HR pro­fes­sion­als for the workforce. 

The HR Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Insti­tute is rec­og­nized as the pre­miere HR-spe­cif­ic accred­it­ing body for human resources train­ing and devel­op­ment degree pro­grams. The HR Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Insti­tute is inde­pen­dent and non-prof­it, so poten­tial stu­dents can trust that a pro­gram accred­it­ed by the orga­ni­za­tion is tru­ly prepar­ing them to enter the real world of train­ing and devel­op­ment. In addi­tion to offer­ing pro­gram accred­i­ta­tion, the HR Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Insti­tute also offers cer­ti­fi­ca­tions to HR pro­fes­sion­als that can help make them more com­pet­i­tive in the workplace. 

Types of Training and Development Degrees

As you begin search­ing for more infor­ma­tion on your train­ing and devel­op­ment bach­e­lor’s degree, you’ll find that there are many degree options that can help you move for­ward in your career. Before you choose a bach­e­lor’s degree in train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­gram, you’ll need to decide whether you want to earn your train­ing and devel­op­ment degree online or in a tra­di­tion­al, in-per­son program. 

Both tra­di­tion­al and online pro­grams offer many ben­e­fits to stu­dents. Some schools also offer hybrid options, which allow stu­dents to enjoy the ben­e­fits of both online and tra­di­tion­al pro­gram­ming with­in one degree pro­gram. If you’re not sure what type of pro­gram makes the most sense for your sched­ule, reach out to an advi­sor at the schools you’re con­sid­er­ing to dis­cuss your options. 

Stu­dents who have work or fam­i­ly respon­si­bil­i­ties that can inter­fere with their sched­ules may pre­fer online school­ing options, while stu­dents who are able to ded­i­cate all of their time to their school­work may pre­fer an in-per­son learn­ing envi­ron­ment. Online pro­grams offer more flex­i­bil­i­ty, while on-cam­pus options can offer eas­i­er access to pro­fes­sors and the social envi­ron­ment of a tra­di­tion­al classroom. 

It’s impor­tant for stu­dents who are con­sid­er­ing online pro­grams to pay close atten­tion to whether their class­es are offered asyn­chro­nous­ly or syn­chro­nous­ly. Asyn­chro­nous pro­grams don’t require stu­dents to be online at cer­tain times, rather, they’re able to com­plete their course­work on their own time. Syn­chro­nous pro­grams require stu­dents to be online at cer­tain times and may require real-time par­tic­i­pa­tion in projects and discussions.

Whether you choose an in-per­son or online train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­gram, you’ll have many degree options, including: 

  • B.A. in Human Resources with spe­cial­iza­tion in Train­ing and Development
  • B.S. in Learn­ing and Edu­ca­tion Studies
  • B.S. in Teach­ing and Learning
  • B.S. in Human Development
  • B.S. in Applied Learn­ing and Development
  • B.S. in Human Resource Development
  • B.A. in Applied Psy­chol­o­gy and Human Development

While earn­ing your train­ing and devel­op­ment degrees online, you’ll take a num­ber of cours­es that will help you learn how to best help an orga­ni­za­tion train its employ­ees. Class­es that may be a part of the cur­ricu­lum in your online train­ing and devel­op­ment degree pro­gram include: 

  • Psy­chol­o­gy
  • Intro­duc­tion to management
  • Industrial/organizational psy­chol­o­gy
  • Sta­tis­tics
  • Eth­i­cal issues in the workplace
  • Human resources management
  • Per­for­mance management
  • Busi­ness communications
  • Staff devel­op­ment and training

While many of the above cours­es are offered in var­i­ous train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­grams, your degree in train­ing and devel­op­ment online may offer dif­fer­ent options. With­in your online bach­e­lor’s degree in train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­gram, you may have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to spe­cial­ize in a cer­tain area by tak­ing elec­tive cours­es. If you know the indus­try in which you’d like to work after grad­u­a­tion, it can be smart to take elec­tive cours­es that allow you to get infor­ma­tion on the ins and outs of your cho­sen indus­try before your first day on the job. 

Certifications in Training and Development

Before you begin the process of earn­ing your train­ing and devel­op­ment degree, it’s impor­tant that you under­stand the cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in train­ing and devel­op­ment that may be help­ful in mov­ing your career for­ward after you graduate. 

Many orga­ni­za­tions are just begin­ning to rec­og­nize the need for human resources pro­fes­sion­als to earn cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in train­ing and devel­op­ment. Going above and beyond your degree pro­gram by earn­ing a train­ing and devel­op­ment cer­tifi­cate can help you become com­pet­i­tive in the job mar­ket, espe­cial­ly if you’re work­ing towards an entry-lev­el posi­tion. If you’re already work­ing, it’s pos­si­ble that your employ­er will pay for your cer­tifi­cate in train­ing and devel­op­ment. If you decide to talk with your employ­er about poten­tial tuition reim­burse­ment for your cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in train­ing and devel­op­ment, be sure to find out if there are any stip­u­la­tions to which you need to adhere in order to con­tin­ue receiv­ing aid. Some employ­ers require that employ­ees receiv­ing tuition assis­tance main­tain a cer­tain grade point aver­age or agree to con­tin­ue work­ing for the com­pa­ny for a cer­tain num­ber of years fol­low­ing their aid award. 

Train­ing and devel­op­ment cer­ti­fi­ca­tion options that can help fur­ther your career include: 

  • Cer­ti­fied Pro­fes­sion­al in Train­ing Man­age­ment (CPTM): One of the most sought after cer­tifi­cates in train­ing and devel­op­ment, becom­ing a CPTM shows poten­tial employ­ers that you know how to use the orga­ni­za­tion’s goals to cre­ate effec­tive train­ing pro­grams that improve the com­pa­ny’s bot­tom line. Dur­ing CPTM cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, human resources pro­fes­sion­als are pre­pared to work as train­ing man­agers. Four core com­pe­ten­cies are taught in CPTM cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, includ­ing train­ing man­ag­er respon­si­bil­i­ties, how to build a trained orga­ni­za­tion, using tools and mod­els to inform train­ing deci­sions, and how to use tools and mod­els to inform day-to-day train­ing-relat­ed tasks.
  • Senior Pro­fes­sion­al in Human Resources (SPHR): This learn­ing and devel­op­ment cer­ti­fi­ca­tion teach­es human resources pro­fes­sion­als how to use deliv­ery, tim­ing, and con­tent meth­ods to improve train­ing, devel­op­ment, and employ­ee reten­tion. This cer­tifi­cate also teach­es stu­dents how to ana­lyze busi­ness trends to inform next steps, includ­ing iden­ti­fy­ing tal­ent and cre­at­ing career pro­gres­sion paths for employ­ees. In order to qual­i­fy for this cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, stu­dents must fit into one of three cat­e­gories: four years of expe­ri­ence as a human resources pro­fes­sion­al and a mas­ter’s degree (or high­er degree), five years of expe­ri­ence as a human resources pro­fes­sion­al and a bach­e­lor’s degree, or sev­en years of expe­ri­ence as a human resources pro­fes­sion­al and a high school diploma. 
  • Project Man­age­ment Pro­fes­sion­al (PMP): Train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­fes­sion­als reg­u­lar­ly man­age large train­ing projects direct­ly relat­ed to orga­ni­za­tion­al growth. Earn­ing a PMP cer­tifi­cate can show poten­tial employ­ers that you know how to work through large-scale pro­grams. If you’re just get­ting start­ed in the human resources field, you may want to get some on-the-job expe­ri­ence before apply­ing to earn your PMP cer­tifi­cate. Most peo­ple who com­plete this cer­tifi­cate pro­gram have at least ten years of experience. 
  • Senior Cer­ti­fied Pro­fes­sion­al (SHRM-SCP): One of the most advanced train­ing and devel­op­ment cer­tifi­cates, SHRM-SCP cer­ti­fied pro­fes­sion­als know how to use per­for­mance met­rics to design train­ing pro­grams and HR strate­gies. Orga­ni­za­tions know that they can trust SHRM-SCP pro­fes­sion­als to cre­ate pro­grams that make the best use of employ­ees’ time by ensur­ing that train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­grams are direct­ly aligned to desired orga­ni­za­tion­al outcomes. 
  • Asso­ci­a­tion for Tal­ent Devel­op­ment (ATD) Cer­ti­fied Pro­fes­sion­al in Learn­ing and Per­for­mance (CPLP): If you’re earn­ing your degree while also work­ing in human resources, you may be inter­est­ed in learn­ing more about the CPLP cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. This cer­ti­fi­ca­tion mea­sures ten com­pe­ten­cies impor­tant to top-notch train­ing and devel­op­ment per­for­mance includ­ing instruc­tion­al design, train­ing deliv­ery, learn­ing tech­nolo­gies, man­ag­ing learn­ing pro­grams, eval­u­at­ing learn­ing impact, per­for­mance improve­ment, change man­age­ment, inte­grat­ed tal­ent man­age­ment, and coach­ing. Human resources pro­fes­sion­als inter­est­ed in earn­ing a CPLP cer­tifi­cate must have at least five years of work expe­ri­ence in the field. 

The field of human resources requires that pro­fes­sion­als con­stant­ly stay on top of best prac­tices and new trends in the field. Ear­ing cer­tifi­cates in train­ing and devel­op­ment ensures that you con­tin­ue learn­ing beyond your degree pro­gram. When poten­tial employ­ers see that you’ve earned train­ing and devel­op­ment cer­tifi­cates, it’s clear that you’re will­ing to put in the extra work nec­es­sary to help take your orga­ni­za­tion to the next level. 

Careers in Training and Development

Thank­ful­ly, there are many entry-lev­el jobs in train­ing and devel­op­ment that are acces­si­ble to recent grad­u­ates. While fresh grad­u­ates from train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­grams may lack expe­ri­ence, they under­stand the lat­est research and best prac­tices in the indus­try and can bring a new per­spec­tive to orga­ni­za­tions that are strug­gling to devel­op and imple­ment qual­i­ty train­ing programs.

Jobs in HR train­ing and devel­op­ment include: 

  • Field Learn­ing Man­ag­er: A field learn­ing man­ag­er works direct­ly with employ­ees to pin­point areas where train­ing is need­ed. The field learn­ing man­ag­er then works to devel­op a train­ing pro­gram that both address­es employ­ee needs and stays in line with com­pa­ny goals, then deliv­ers the train­ing pro­grams to the employ­ees. Field learn­ing man­agers work close­ly with heads of var­i­ous depart­ments to under­stand employ­ees’ needs.
  • Edu­ca­tion and Train­ing Man­ag­er: Edu­ca­tion and train­ing man­agers may devel­op their own edu­ca­tion and train­ing pro­grams for employ­ees, or they may super­vise oth­er train­ing and edu­ca­tion providers to ensure that the pro­grams they devel­op are cre­at­ing effec­tive, effi­cient results. 
  • Train­ing Super­vi­sor: In this posi­tion, human resources pro­fes­sion­als over­see oth­ers who are pro­vid­ing train­ing to employ­ees. They may work with employ­ees to devel­op pro­grams or may over­see the devel­op­ment of train­ing pro­grams. Train­ing super­vi­sors are often respon­si­ble for ana­lyz­ing data to ensure that train­ing pro­grams are effec­tive, as well as work­ing close­ly with train­ing providers to dis­cuss how they can improve their train­ings and their deliv­ery when work­ing with employees.
  • Human Resources Man­ag­er: A human resources man­ag­er is respon­si­ble for over­see­ing all aspects of human resources, includ­ing train­ing and devel­op­ment. Many human resources man­agers begin their HR career in a spe­cial­ty area (such as train­ing and devel­op­ment) and branch out to a more gen­er­al man­age­r­i­al career to fur­ther sup­port their organization. 
  • Human Resources Spe­cial­ists: Pro­fes­sion­als in this posi­tion offer their orga­ni­za­tions a unique edu­ca­tion and per­spec­tive on a spe­cif­ic area of human resources. Many train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­fes­sion­als fall into the human resource spe­cial­ist category.
  • Assis­tant Man­ag­er of Train­ing and Devel­op­ment: Train­ing and devel­op­ment assis­tant jobs are a good start­ing point for many train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­fes­sion­als who are just wrap­ping up their bach­e­lor’s degrees. The assis­tant man­ag­er train­ing and devel­op­ment job descrip­tion explains that pro­fes­sion­als in this posi­tion work close­ly with the com­pa­ny’s train­ing and devel­op­ment man­ag­er, learn­ing the ins and outs of devel­op­ing train­ing pro­grams for the com­pa­ny and using data to inform train­ing and devel­op­ment deci­sions. The train­ing and devel­op­ment assis­tant job descrip­tion may also include work­ing close­ly with com­pa­ny super­vi­sors in order to ful­ly under­stand the com­pa­ny’s long-term goals, allow­ing you to help the train­ing and devel­op­ment man­ag­er cre­ate pro­grams that are aligned to the com­pa­ny’s desired future.

As you can see, there are many job titles in train­ing and devel­op­ment. While you may have spe­cif­ic jobs in cor­po­rate train­ing and devel­op­ment in mind for after you grad­u­ate, be sure that you don’t base your deci­sion on whether or not to pur­sue a job on the job title alone. Dif­fer­ent titles mean dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies, and you’ll want to be sure that you read the job descrip­tion care­ful­ly (and maybe even reach out to human resources direct­ly) to learn more about the posi­tion and whether it could be a good fit for your career goals. 

If you’re going into your edu­ca­tion with a spe­cif­ic career goal already in mind, be sure to stay on top of indus­try trends. Many orga­ni­za­tions are just begin­ning to real­ize the val­ue of cre­at­ing effec­tive, engag­ing train­ings, and are open­ing up new jobs in human resources train­ing and devel­op­ment. Stay­ing on top of new job titles in the indus­try can help you ensure that you’re apply­ing for the jobs that are best aligned with your pre­ferred career trajectory.

Training and Development Salary

Before you choose a degree pro­gram, it’s smart to learn about rea­son­able entry-lev­el salary expec­ta­tions. In the Unit­ed States, entry-lev­el human resources pro­fes­sion­als make an aver­age of $43,431 per year. This num­ber sky­rock­ets once entry-lev­el human resource pro­fes­sion­als make the tran­si­tion to human resources man­ag­er. In the Unit­ed States, human resources man­agers make an aver­age of $81,185 per year

The train­ing and devel­op­ment sec­tor of human resources may offer a faster pro­mo­tion track than oth­er human resources jobs. While many human resources jobs oper­ate heav­i­ly on soft skills (such as sat­is­fy­ing employ­ee dis­putes), train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­fes­sion­als receive hard data that mea­sures the effec­tive­ness of their train­ing pro­grams. Train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­fes­sion­als may also receive bonus­es when their train­ing helps the com­pa­ny move for­ward toward long-term goals.

There are many things you can do while earn­ing your degree to increase the prob­a­bil­i­ty that you’ll get a high­er-than-aver­age entry-lev­el train­ing and devel­op­ment salary offer. Using elec­tive class­es to cre­ate a spe­cial­ty area with­in your degree pro­gram can help employ­ers in your niche see your val­ue. Intern­ships (both paid and unpaid) can also show poten­tial employ­ers that you’re will­ing to work hard and that you come with expe­ri­ence that proves your abil­i­ty to suc­ceed in a cor­po­rate envi­ron­ment. If you’re not able to get an offi­cial intern­ship in your field, use vol­un­teer oppor­tu­ni­ties in your area (such as work­ing with a senior cen­ter to devel­op skills train­ing pro­grams for res­i­dents) to prove that you know how to devel­op pro­grams that help peo­ple learn.

Professional Organizations

In all career fields, net­work­ing is key. Get­ting to know oth­ers in your field can help you learn about job oppor­tu­ni­ties first, and can give you an inside route to learn­ing about best prac­tices. There are many ways to net­work. Using social media to con­nect with oth­ers in your field can be help­ful, as can join­ing pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tions that make it easy to chat with fel­low train­ing and devel­op­ment pros.

Con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion is also a smart way for train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­fes­sion­als to con­tin­ue learn­ing about best prac­tices in your indus­try. When you take part in con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion pro­grams, you aren’t just get­ting the chance to learn more about how to pos­i­tive­ly affect your com­pa­ny — you’re also get­ting the chance to con­nect with oth­er human resources pro­fes­sion­als and build con­nec­tions that could ben­e­fit your career lat­er in life. 

In addi­tion to net­work­ing and tak­ing con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion class­es, it’s also a good idea to join pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tions that can pro­vide orga­nized, reg­u­lar oppor­tu­ni­ties to con­nect with oth­ers in your field. Pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tions avail­able to train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­fes­sion­als include: 

Relat­ed Rankings:

25 Best Bach­e­lor’s in Train­ing and Development

15 Best Online Bach­e­lor’s in Train­ing and Development

10 Most Afford­able Online Bach­e­lor’s in Train­ing and Development