How to Become a Human Resources Training Manager

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Corporate trainers, also called training and development managers or specialists, are becoming a common sight in HR departments everywhere as the economy continues its rebound.

A 2014 Forbes article reported on this trend, sighting the soaring corporate training sector, which grew 15 percent in 2013 alone, representing the highest growth rate in 7 years. This growth brought the value of corporate-sponsored training to more than $70 billion in the U.S. and more than $130 billion worldwide.

This impressive growth followed two previous years of increases (10 percent in 2011 and 12 percent in 2012), revealing what economists already know: corporate training is always a good indicator of a strong economy, as it is often recognized as among the most discretionary of all corporate spending areas.

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Corporate training, reported Forbes, is also growing due to organizations suffering from a “skills supply chain” challenge, with the majority of organizations (70 percent) citing a lack of capable employees as one of their top challenges. Now, research shows that the top areas of corporate spending are in management and leadership.

Careers in Corporate Training and Development

As the modern workplace evolves, thanks to advances in technology and global business practices, continual training remains a major focus of organizations and businesses across the country. Therefore, corporate trainers continue to be some of the most sought-after professionals in human resources.

Corporate trainers are focused on the planning, scheduling, and administration involved with training professionals in a corporate business environment. These professionals play an important role in the transition of new employees into the workplace, thus allowing them to become productive and efficient members of the corporate environment.

Corporate trainers also often conduct ongoing employee training for current employees. Therefore, their work often extends to facilitating the introduction of new technology or policies to a company’s employees.

Although the most obvious aspect of a corporate trainer’s job involves the actual training process, these HR professionals actually spend a considerable amount of time planning, organizing, and improving training programs, which consists of selecting and revising curricula.

The Job Duties and Responsibilities of HR Training Specialists and Managers

Training specialists are responsible for developing and conducting training programs for new and existing employees, which includes the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Consulting with management and supervisors to stay current on organization policies, procedures, business initiatives, technologies, and regulations
  • Coordinating corporate training programs with hiring and training periods and events
  • Formulating curricula and instructional delivery methods as to accommodate hiring and training requirements
  • Overseeing the creation and development of instructional training methods, such as individual training, group training, lectures, demonstration, conferences, and workshops
  • Selecting teaching aids that assist in training, such as handbooks, demonstration models, multimedia visual aids, webinars, and computer tutorials, among others
  • Testing trainees as to measure progress and effectiveness of training programs
  • Reporting on employee training progress to department management and supervisors
  • Maintaining accurate training records
  • Receiving feedback from employees regarding effectiveness of training methods

Degree Programs and Certification Options for HR Training Specialists and Managers

Corporate trainers, like so many other professionals in the human resources field, must typically possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree in an HR-related field. Undergraduate majors most often sought in this field include human resource management, education, and communications. Many corporate trainers begin their HR careers as human resource assistants, generalists, or HR specialists.

Advancing in the corporate training field often requires a master’s degree in an HR- or adult education-related field. Because these HR professionals must have a comprehensive foundation in both business and HR, MBA programs with a concentratoion in human resource management are also commonplace.

Other degree options for these professionals include:

  • Master of Science (MS) in Training and Development
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Corporate Training
  • Masters of Organizational Development, Training, and Learning
  • Master of Science (MS) in Human Resource Management
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Corporate Training and Knowledge Management

Coursework in a program focused on corporate training often includes:

  • Instructional design and technology
  • Adult learning theory and instructional strategies
  • Effective evaluation design
  • Organizational development
  • Strategic organizational design
  • Learning organizations
  • Performance consulting
  • Reputation management
  • Intercultural training
  • Managing the training function

Professional certification is commonplace in the human resources field, and corporate training is no different. Some of the most recognized national certification programs in corporate training include:

    • Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
      • SHRM-CP (certified professional)
      • SHRM-SCP (senior certified professional)
    • HR Certification Institute (HRCI)
      • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
      • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
      • Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR)
      • Human Resource Management Professional (HRMP)
      • Human Resource Business Professional (HRBP)
      • California Certification for PHR and SPHR certified professionals
  • Association for Talent Development
    • Certified Professional in Learning and Development (CPLP)

Salary Statistics and Job Outlook for HR Training and Development Professionals

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of training development managers is expected to increase 11 percent and employment of training and development specialists is expected to increase 15 percent between 2012 and 2022.

The BLS also reports that the median annual salary for training and development managers was $94,500, as of May 2012, while the median annual salary for training and development specialists was $55,930 during the same period.

The 2013 Human Resources Compensation Survey Report-U.S. by Towers Watson showed the following, average salaries for training and development professionals, as of 2013:

  • Training and development executive: $179,400
  • Employee development/training generalist: $73,300

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