"Mini-Guide" HR Training Degrees

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All of the talent in the world can be divided into two camps: “diamonds in the rough” and those who have been trained to the point of optimal performance. Whether it’s an athlete whose technique has been honed by many coaches or a new recruit who spends his first week learning the company software, training is inevitable in every career. In this mini-guide, we will focus specifically on trainers in human resource management.

What exactly is training, as a field of study and employment?

In simple terms, this is the human resource management that that focuses on improving performance of individuals and groups in organizational settings. This can be done in many ways, including instructional design and various other teaching formats that address workplace issues (like developing human capital and resolving organizational conflicts).

Why do companies invest billions of dollars in training?

Paying trainers may seem like a lavish expenditure but it actually makes perfect sense, for several reasons. First, it reduces turnover. This is a matter of pure psychology – an employee who feels that her boss actually cares for her developmentwill put more into his role.

Another reason is that today’s global economy is changing far too quickly for any worker to rest on the laurels of this morning’s status quo. If a worker was making widgets yesterday, he’ll probably be making circuit chips today – and still need to be trained for tomorrow’s advances in nanotechnology. In short, a trainer keeps workers ahead of the speed of light (or at least the steep learning curve).

What are some examples of master’s and doctoral degrees in training?

•    Education/Adult Education and Training: Education doesn’t end after you get your pigskin, which is precisely the idea behind this kind of degree. It helps take motivated adults to the next level(s) in their careers.
•    Training and Performance Improvement: Many top performers will happily tell you the secret to performance improvement is to keep improving, period. That’s what this kind of degree teaches you how to do – keep the top performers at the top, and improve the less productive ones.
•    Global Training and Development: We live in a global economy, and this degree keeps professionals up-to-date on cultural and regulatory nuances.
•    Corporate Training and Knowledge Management: Whether you work (or want to work) for a company with 5 people or 50,000 people, a corporate training curriculum teaches how to handle any scale, any scenario.

Is a training degree right for me?

In theory, just about anyone can become a trainer with enough hard work and education. But certain people are more cut out for the job than others. For example, you know that guy who is really good at explaining arcane topics to 5-year-olds? How about that lady who is a whiz at supervising both her large team and another team in India? Or the other lady who can befriend seemingly anyone she meets at the bus stop, store, or party? All three of these are examples of great candidates for a degree in training. Together, they have these three traits:

  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Commitment to organizational goals
  • Skills in teaching, supervising, and volunteering

What are some typical courses of a degree in training and development?

•    Introduction to Training and Performance Systems
•    Needs Assessment
•    Designing Training and Assessment Systems
•    Evaluating Training and Performance Improvement Systems
•    Return on Investment in Training and Performance Improvement
•    The Role of Technology in the Global Training Marketplace
•    Trainer as Consultant in the Global Marketplace
•    Innovation and Change
•    Action Research

What types of jobs can I qualify for with a training and development degree?

The career possibilities are endless, and largely centered around Human Resources departments of all kinds of companies and industries large or small. For instance, you could become a Director of Human Resources, a position that puts you in charge of hiring and retention. Recruitment Specialists, Employment Interviewers as well as Employment and Placement Managers also fit into this category.

Training and Development Managers, Training Specialists and Training Managers are titles that can be used interchangeably. They focus on the classes, webinars, and resources in-house or contractor employees need in order to continue being assets to the company.

Or you might end up with a title like “Director of Industrial Relations,” which involves the nitty-gritty of labor policy. If your company has unionized employees, you’ll be in charge of negotiating bargaining agreements, grievances, determining wages and pensions as well as staying on top of economic trends and labor laws.

Other interesting job titles and duties:

  • Equal Opportunity Employment (EE0) Officers: Enforcing diversity initiatives and handling workplace complaints as an EEO Officers
  • Instructional Designer: Creating online training tutorials for new-hires
  • Career Development Specialists: Helping employees succeed in all kinds of industries
  • Performance Analysts: Measuring and giving suggestions about product performance in terms of market demand, revenue or client satisfaction

What is the work environment like for a training graduate?

Entry-level employees in this field typically learn by performing administrative duties and enter on-the-job training programs in which they learn how to classify jobs, interview applicants, and administer employee benefits before being assigned to specific areas of in the human resources department, such as training and development.

Training and development managers and specialists create and conduct training and development programs for employees within an organization. Managers commonly supervise the specialists and determine the types of training needed. Business executives recognize that training offers a way of developing employee skills, enhancing productivity and quality of work, and building worker loyalty. 

What are the educational requirements for a career in training?

Many colleges and universities do not offer degree programs in training and development, personnel administration, human resources or labor relations until the graduate degree level. Students can take individual courses in these subjects at the undergraduate level. An interdisciplinary background is appropriate in this field of study, and a combination of courses in social sciences, business administration, and behavioral sciences is useful. Many labor relations jobs require graduate study in industrial or labor relations. A master’s degree is highly recommended for those seeking management positions.  

The specific work environment depends upon the type of training involved on the job. Knowledge-based training is usually conducted in a classroom setting. Skills training could involve a combination of hands-on instruction, demonstration, and practice. This could take place in a factory or laboratory, depending upon the type of industry involved. 

How much money can a successful trainer earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Training and Development Managers had a median pay of $95,400 per year in 2012. The job outlook for 2012-2022 is 11% (as fast as average). [1]


[1] bls.gov/ooh/management/training-and-development-managers.htm

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