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How to Become an Employee Training Specialist

Find out how to become an employee training specialist. Research the job duties and education requirements, and find out how to start a career in employee training.

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Do I Want to Be an Employee Training Specialist?

Employee training specialists are responsible for the orientation and training of new and existing employees within an organization. Their work depends on the type of business; it may be technical and hands-on in nature, or it may involve teaching in a classroom.

Most training specialists join human resources departments as entry-level college graduates and move into specialist roles with experience and additional training. These professionals usually work in comfortable office settings; however, travel between offices may be necessary. Jobs are typically full-time during normal 9-to-5 business hours.

Job Requirements

To become an employee training specialist, applicants generally need to earn a bachelor's degree in a subject of study like human resources or business administration. A few years of experience is generally required in the field. The following table offers a list of common requirements for employee training specialists.

Common Requirements
Degree Level Bachelor's degree*
Degree Field Human resources, business*
Certification Voluntary*
Experience 1-4 years of experience***
Key Skills Verbal and written communication skills, clerical skills, learning strategies, teaching skills, performance assessment**
Computer Skills Word processing, Computer-Based Training (CBT) software, document management software**
Technical Skills Video-conferencing, overhead projector use**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net Online, ***Monster.com job postings (October 2012)

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

Most entry-level employee training jobs require a bachelor's degree at a minimum. Some colleges offer bachelor's degree programs specializing in areas like adult education and training or human resource training and development. These programs hone in on subjects related to training, such as adult learning, human development, teaching methods and educational psychology.

Students who choose another major still can build employee training skills by making prudent course choices. For example, courses in business and human resources can provide a good foundation for working in training. Also, since employee training specialists need superior verbal and written communication abilities, taking classes that hone these skills could prove beneficial. Additionally, gaining confidence in public speaking and proficiency in presentation software commonly used in training sessions might provide a career advantage.

  • Become proficient in a second language. Competence in a second language can be an asset for employee trainers, especially those who work for international companies or for companies where non-English speakers make up a significant portion of the workforce.

Step 2: Gain Experience in Teaching or Human Resources

Most positions in employee training require some experience. Some college programs offer internship programs in human resources, which can produce subsequent job opportunities that involve training. Volunteering, especially in a leadership capacity, also can provide valuable training experience. Some employee training specialists enter the field via teaching careers.

Step 3: Seek Entry-Level Employment

Entry-level human resources positions could open the door to a career in employee training. Most employers prefer experience in facilitation or a human resource-related position to enter the training specialty. Those who advance as employee training specialists generally display impeccable interpersonal skills and an aptitude for effective teaching. Promoting business goals and having a good rapport with supervisors is also necessary for success. Depending on the type of business, technical knowledge of training systems can be vital.

Success Tips:

  • Become certified. A variety of voluntary certification programs are available for those working in the employee training field. The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) offers a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CLP) course that candidates can apply for after three years of work experience. Certification, combined with a college education and experience, may provide an employee training specialist with more opportunities and a better chance of advancement.
  • Consider an advanced degree. A master's degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA), might be needed to move up to a managerial position in some organizations. These higher-level positions generally have more responsibility, such as supervising more employees, and a higher earning potential.
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