Careers in Training and Development Part 1: A bright outlook

There has never been a better time to consider a career in training and development. As the complexity of our world increases, so does the need for those who can design, deliver, and direct the process of knowledge acquisition and management. According to O-Net, a repository of occupational information developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, the job outlook for trainers is bright. “Bright Outlook occupations are expected to grow rapidly in the next several years, or will have large numbers of job openings.” According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the career opportunities in training and development are expected to increase by 11% over the next decade, demonstrating the high demand for experts in workplace learning in our knowledge economy.

Many are drawn to the field of training because they want to have a direct impact on the lives of others. Creating opportunities for learning and development can have a positive and lasting effect that translates to increased job satisfaction, earnings, opportunity, and quality of life. The skills required of trainers can be applied in any industry; Fortune 500 businesses, healthcare, government, non-profits, and education all need the skills of a learning professional to elevate the performance of their constituents.

Some enter the field because they seek a creative outlet. Instructional designers use their knowledge of learning, cognition, and technology to craft innovative ways to deliver learning applications that get results. Many in the field enjoy the necessity for continuous learning to stay up-to-date on the latest innovations in learning and technology.

Careers in training also provide almost unlimited options for reinvention. Some may begin their career as an instructional designer, translating learning objectives into curriculum and programs, then move into delivery, using face-to-face or virtual tools to facilitate learning experiences, others may focus only on technology, creating e-learning solutions, or choose a management track that leads to the C-suite. Those with an entrepreneurial spirit can form their own consulting firm or join an existing firm. Some individuals specialize in a particular industry—healthcare, finance, or technology—while others work across sectors.

If you seek a career where you can: make a positive impact on the lives of others, utilize creativity and design skills, benefit from career progression and mobility, and experience continuous learning and challenge, then training and development might be the field for you.

Resources
O-Net Training and Development: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-1151.00
Bureau of Labor and Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/OOH/business-and-financial/training-and-development-specialists.htm#tab-6

Questions for Discussion:
1. What aspects of the field of training interest you?
2. Which specific areas of opportunity in the field of training do you feel are most likely to grow? Why?

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73 comments

  • Part of me wanting to change my career and receive a Master’s Degree was in a sense “buy myself career insurance” for the future. When I was younger, I never thought about my future and just worked to pay bills and “live in the now.” Now that I am older, I think about my future much more than instant gratification, and I wanted a career with lasting longevity, especially as you age. There are so many unfortunate statistics out there that once you are over the age of 50 leaving a career will not be necessarily your choice (https://www.propublica.org/article/older-workers-united-states-pushed-out-of-work-forced-retirement). I could attest for my own Dad who once become a certain age in pharma sales, was passed up for roles and also laid off for younger folks who didn’t have 4 kids by the age of 30 and was ok with taking a lesser paycheck. I’m extremely independent, and the thought of not having useful skills in the workforce as I age terrifies me. So here I am. Why I picked this career path – because I do see a future in it, I love helping and growing others, and I love being creative. I’m hoping a career in L&D will check the boxes among my passions as well as give me that “insurance” I need to have a long and fruitful career. I also think it’s important to help others grow their skills so they also have that valuable “insurance” for the future. Working gives so many people purpose in life and I want to be able to help as many people as possible sustain that purpose.

  • I enjoyed reading this article. I never really considered T&D outside of human resources, but the career path described in the article paints a picture or where I can potentially start a career change. The transition from human resources to training seems achievable. The growth in job opportunity, impact on others, earning potential and job satisfaction sounds rewarding and certainly draws my attention. I especially like the idea of entering the field as a creative outlet and applying innovative learning styles in technology.

    The field of learning and technology, I feel, has the most opportunity to grow. Technology is constantly changing and people are always on the move. Technology has to be able to reach people wherever they are.

    • I’m glad you found this helpful. I also started in HR and transition to training. I think both fields offer opportunity, but for me, I knew that I enjoyed the focus on learning and development that training offered.

  • I found this post to be very informative. I am currently looking to change careers or find a way to enhance my current career. This post has helped me gain more insight into T&D. I am excited to learn more about the field and how I can transition into it. It is also great to know that careers in T&D are on the rise. I really like the idea of being able to create content as it relates to what field you’d work in. Also, the flexibility to work across different industries.

    I think the T&D has room to grow in the education field. As technology advances, there are more and more ways people can go about learning and there are more ways to teach people. I think the education field can use new ways to teach students.

  • If I did not have any knowledge regrading training and development field this article would be a great resource to get more informed about this field. I would’ve never known there is so much opportunity in this field. Even though I am passionate about human resources, training and development is not a bad career choice if I would like to make a change of careers. Especially being that human resources and training development mirror each other it would be a great fit for me. Training and development is growing rapidly and people are not aware of the many opportunity this field have in store. I always been passionate about helping to development people and my community through mentorship and volunteering. This field would be a great choice to fulfill that void and be compensated for my efforts.

  • This is a very informative read! I find the instructional design aspect interesting in the field of Training. I feel that there will be numerous technological improvements in the field of training in the coming years. It is extremely important to keep up with the constantly evolving technological trends in the market, whether it’s your competitors or the industry you’re in.
    Evaluating training programs measures their effectiveness and helps optimize the training outcomes. Quality initiatives, ethics, communication, emotional intelligence, and diversity training programs still need improvement in most organizations today. Unlike Training, Development is broad and is an ongoing set of multi-faceted activities. Training and development share a strong correlation and truly help employees in career progression and learning. Growth, whether it’s personal or professional, is very important to me and I strongly believe that there is no limit to learning. Increased job satisfaction, morale, efficiency, reduced turnover, etc. are just a few benefits of well-designed training and development programs in an organization.

  • Personally I find the changing field of ideas the most interesting, and its something that would keep me on my toes in the long run. I’ve always been attracted to new ideas, even if they’re kind of out there, its still interesting to learn. The most growth will most likely be within technology with e-learning. The massive shift towards being constantly connected, and having at least one device handy will make delivery of learning instantaneous and allow for organizations to start programs whenever they see fit.

  • This was a very good article to read! I say this because I want to pursue a career in Training and Development. I figured the need for training and development professionals in the workforce would increase. However, it is nice to have the reassurance of being able to have a career in that field is nice. I found it interesting that with a role in T&D, it has various positive outcomes which is highly beneficial for the success of the company. Personally, the motivating factor for wanting a T&D position is the want to impact the lives of others. Some HR positions are not as hands on with being able to change lives, but with this position, I would be able to do so which is highly awarding. Another aspect I found interesting what the idea of being able to bring creativity and design skills to this role. I think that the area of opportunity in the field of training which are mostly likely to grow is in diversity and inclusion. With how quickly the workforce is becoming diverse, I believe this is an area that has potential to grow. This is due to companies having to adapt to more diverse individuals being included in the workforce.

  • Good Read! I agree with the statement that many people want to get in the field of training because it has a direct impact on peoples lives. I feel there will always be a need for training and development regardless of the industry. I was shocked to see the article state this industry will increase by 11% within the next decade, but it makes sense. The aspects of the field of training that interest me is translating learning objectives into curriculum based programs. I am currently one of many presenters at my current organization during new hire orientation. I enjoy going over a step by step process of using certain systems with our employees to make sure they understand. The area in training that is most likely to grow would be technology because it’s evolving in every other aspect of business as well. One way my company evolved with our training program and the use of technology is we give all new hires tablets to use for interactive training during orientation as opposed to paper binders we used in the beginning of the year.

  • It’s understandable that T&D is a growing field. I say this because it provides organizations with opportunities to grow and remain relevant, giving employees the opportunity to contribute to the organization in novel ways. The ability to equip employees with new skills and expand or change their roles is certainly the aspect that interests me the most. Coming from a non-profit background, I recognize how rewarding it is to create opportunities for your clientele and staff alike, which seems integral to the field of T&D. If anything, I would predict that the areas of this field most likely to grow are those involving new technology, modernizing the training programs for employees and making them more efficient. The types of training that can be done remotely are consistently increasing and it is likely that this trend will also continue. It will be interesting to see the directions in which different organizations go with ongoing technological advances in the area of T&D.

  • The best aspect of any training program consist of recognition of skills of trainee, flexibility of training and the learning support to trainee. Each of the item is equally important. We need to recognize the existing skills of the trainee to motivate them for further training and getting acquainted with needed skills. Today, the world has changed in every aspect and we have so much in our plates to work on that we need flexibility more than ever. Courses must be designed in a way that the trainee can complete it on it own pace since everyone’s learning pace is different. Support is also an important aspect because we can always need help when we learn new things be it new concepts, new software etc. Therefore, easy access to help is quite necessary. It can be through phone, email or face-to-face.

    I think use of technology because I personally think that HR (TD) still needs to catch up on the technological side. The theories may remain classic but their way of application can be changed to stay updated with the others. Personally, I also think that diversity and inclusion are the areas where we need to work the most because still there a lot of firms where diversity and inclusion is not discussed openly.

  • I am very surprised to hear that the training field will grow by 11%. This is interesting to me because it seems as though technology is slowly but surely replacing all the roles in the workplace. I remember working at Home Depot a few years ago, every bit of news we received about the company or any training course was to be done online. No one talked to us in person about anything and I remembered thinking that it was unusual to never have an onsite trainer. Years later (yesterday to be exact) I walk into a Wendy’s and notice there is a kiosk to place your order on instead of an actual cashier.

    I am most interested in the creative outlet. Being creative in this field would promote endless opportunities as well as welcome new ideas all while keeping you up to date on latest trends and innovations. Creativity not only challenges you but it also stimulates your mind and challenges you to think outside of the box.

    I think the technology portion in the field of training will most likely continue to grow. Technology is one of the few things that continues to get better with time. We are constantly being introduced to software or equipment that can do almost anything and with time, it continues to become more and more impressive as well as useful. Technology is something that will never have a point when it is at a standstill, there will continue to be more developments.

  • Interesting post. I’m glad to see that the consensus is that the field will be growing. I agree that as the world continues to grow in capability the need for more and more skilled people will increase. I fear that the increasing use of artificial intelligence will lower the demand for low skilled labor and will raise the demand for those with knowledge, tech skills, and interpersonal skills. I wrote about this during my business degree and also for my blog as economics and career are popular topics currently.

    I am interested in facilitating learning both face to face and virtually. I feel that virtual education is on the rise. Honestly I’m surprised that Roosevelt isn’t more involved in virtual learning. I worked for a university from 2010 to 2015 and they were light years ahead of what I am doing online at Roosevelt when I started working there almost a decade ago. The school where I did my MBA also had robust online capabilities that mimicked classroom learning. I can see taking my experience in the industry and working with schools or doing consulting in this area. All are good options.

  • 1) The aspect that really interests me a lot when it comes to Training and Development is the designing part of the training programs (Instructional designing). I like to think creatively and try to put in different thought processes when it comes to learning and development. I enjoy communicating with people and understanding them by becoming more empathetic (stepping into their shoes to think from their perspective). I really like the concept of Training need analysis and designing and delivering the course based on the employee and organizational requirements. Instructional designing is a mix of technology and learning. Virtual platforms like Skype and Zoom meetings are now used to conduct training programs since a lot of companys operate globally and technology has supported to make the training programs more cost-effective especially for employees at different locations.The instructional designer must be able to put the best possible efforts to integrate learning and technology in the interest of the learners so that the training becomes successful leading to increase in performance and job satisfaction.

    Another aspect that interests me about Instructional designing is training evaluation and feedback. This is the final and most important step which helps in understanding whether the recipients were able to understand the training program and how was it helpful for the employees to improve their job performances. 360 feedback is widely used in order to receive feedback since it helps in receiving feedback from the managers, supervisors, co-workers, subordinates, etc. According to me, Kirkpatric Model is highly suitable to conduct the training evaluation.

    2) According to me the areas that will have high opportunities in training are learning technology and understanding the importance of Change management and Diversity and Inclusions. Since companies are becoming more global and are operating across different countries, it is not only necessary to understand cultural diversity but employees must feel inclusive (they must feel welcomed and involved). These areas are very sensitive and may affect employee performance. Also, Change Management is crucial. With companies becoming global and operating internationally, organizations must be able to deal with the transition and transformation of their technologies, goals, and processes. If employees are reluctant to change, these transformations will not be successful and will lead to high employee turnover and a reduction in profits. Learning new technologies has become a high-priority since it makes work easier. Computers have reduced the job of human beings and have made it easy for organizations to maintain large database in an easier manner. Hence, it is necessary for employees to learn the use of various computer programs, especially in HR since it helps in optimizing Workforce Management.

  • Oscar Javier Felix

    I am interested in keeping up to date with new procedures be it internally or legally. Coming from a staffing agency, not keeping up with things like I-9 compliance or check the box regulations can be detrimental and lead to lawsuits or a bad reputation for the company. Another aspect that interests me is technology and training. As we grow globally a lot of training is no longer in person. It is important to use technology in a way that doesn’t replace the human element but embraces it.

    Regarding the areas of opportunity, the two strongest ones are technology and cultural/diversity awareness/sensitivity. As I mentioned integrating technology is no longer an option but a necessity in this world, especially in the HR field. The cultural opportunity is how to create training programs that embrace culture/diversity. The increase in social awareness requires HR (TD) to take it serious.

  • htran1mailrooseveltedu

    Overall I think this is a very interesting article. It helped me to understand more about career in training.

  • The ATD model is my favorite model it helps you maximize your goals in terms of productivity. this is a great article very informative.

  • This is a great article. The ATD model is one of my favorite models, it offers the right tools and it identifies what needs to be done for every situation to reach an effective and successful end result.

  • This is an amazing article. It is impressive as how the ATD model could identify improvements needed to be done, as well as providing the tools needed to fix those improvements

  • What an excellent article. I like that not only is it a creative field where one can design instruction and help improve worker performance, but everyone is involved in the learning process and is challenged in a positive way. There needs to be more positivity in the workplace. This field is for sure a highly rewarding one.

    • This is a very informative article. The aspect about the field of training that interests me the most is the opportunity to have a creative outlet. People working in this field need to be able to think creatively and outside the box in order to design new methods to get their material across. This field would constantly challenge an individual to keep pushing their limits and apply new approaches to educational programs.

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