What Does a Training Manager, Director, or Specialist Do?

Do you have what it takes to do the job?

Businesswoman is leading a training meeting in an office.
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Training and development managers and specialists conduct and supervise training and development programs for employees. This includes assessing where training is most needed, conducting the training, and evaluating the effectiveness of that training.

One of the biggest areas of need is in the use of technology. Software programs are updated frequently with new features, and sometimes newer and more efficient software gets introduced to a marketplace. For employees to get the most out of the programs they are using and be as efficient as they can be, it often can be cost effective to regularly train staff on new features and how they are most applicable to a company's goals.

In addition to enhancing productivity and quality of work, training can increase morale and build loyalty to the firm. Employees generally appreciate knowing their employers are willing to invest in making sure they are as well-trained as possible.

What do training staff members do?

Training staff members have a variety of responsibilities depending on the size and complexity of their organizations, and they need to stay on the cutting edge of knowledge in their fields.

Training managers first need to be able to assess productivity and identify inefficiencies. When they see inefficiencies, they need to develop a training plan to address them that fits within the company's goals and objectives and fits within the training staff's budget. This includes acquiring training materials, if necessary, and developing a specific training program that addresses the weaknesses that have been identified.

From there, training programs must be implemented, evaluated, and adjusted as necessary to be sure they are as effective as possible.

Training Activities

Trainers conduct orientation sessions and arrange on-the-job training for new employees. They help rank-and-file workers maintain and improve their job skills and possibly prepare for jobs requiring greater skills or for promotions.

They help supervisors improve their interpersonal skills in order to deal effectively with employees. They may set up individualized training plans to strengthen an employee's existing skills or teach new ones.

Training specialists in some companies set up leadership or executive development programs among employees in lower level positions. These programs are designed to develop potential and current executives to replace those retiring.

Trainers also lead programs to assist employees with transitions due to mergers and acquisitions, as well as technological changes.

In government-supported training programs, training specialists function as case managers. They first assess the training needs of clients, then guide them through the most appropriate training methods. After training, they either refer clients to employer relations representatives or give them job placement assistance.

Training methods include on-the-job training; schools in which shop conditions are duplicated for trainees prior to putting them on the shop floor; apprenticeship training; classroom training; and electronic learning, which may involve interactive internet-based training, multimedia programs, distance learning, satellite training, videos, and other computer-aided instructional technologies, simulators, conferences, and workshops.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), training and development jobs are projected to grow at a rate of 10 percent for the decade ending in 2026. This is better than the growth rate of 7 percent projected for all professions as a whole. The growth mainly is attributed to the rapid development of new technologies employees need to learn to use.

As of 2017, median pay for training and development managers was about $108,000 annually, and more than 90 percent of those in the position earned more than $59,000 annually.