How to Become a Corporate Trainer
Corporate trainers are responsible for enhancing employee skills and knowledge with the ultimate goal of improving an organization’s performance. While they typically work directly for organizations, corporate trainers might also work for consulting companies or be self-employed. To become a corporate trainer, you need strong instructional skills as well as knowledge of training theory and assessment methods.
Most corporate trainers have at least a bachelor’s degree in human resources, education, instructional design, organizational development or a similar discipline. Those specializing in technical training will also benefit from having formal training in a relevant area such as robotics or mechanical training. Graduate level programs are available as well. Schools such as Pepperdine University and Bowling Green State University offer organizational development masters level courses through their business schools, while Fielding Graduate University offers certificate, masters and PhD programs through its School of Human and Organizational Development. In the case of Pepperdine’s program, candidates for participation in the masters program must have at least three to five years of work experience and be currently employed.
Public speaking skills and a grasp of instructional techniques are fundamental requirements for a corporate trainer. Your duties typically include determining training needs for the organization, selecting and liaising with outside training suppliers, monitoring the effectiveness of training programs and scheduling training classes. These aspects of the role require analysis, organizational, administrative and interpersonal skills.
To enhance your job prospects, the Association for Talent Development (ATD), formerly the American Society for Training and Development, offers a certification program that focuses on 10 critical knowledge areas. These include training delivery, learning technologies, evaluating training, coaching and instructional design. The certification test includes 150 multiple-choice questions. Candidates must also submit a training-related work sample. The cost as of November 2014 was $799 for ATD members and $999 for non-members. There is extensive preparation required to earn the certification. The ATD website estimates it takes most candidates eight to 10 weeks to prepare, and 40 to 80 hours to complete the program. Trainers must continue to accumulate certification points every three years to maintain their certification.
Job and Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for training and development specialists such as corporate trainers are expected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022. This is above the average expected growth rate for all occupations. Corporate trainers with years of professional experience and supervisory skills can advance to direct supervisory roles such as Training and Development Manager or broader roles such as Human Resources Manager. With the rise in online training and the use of various training technologies, candidates for future roles can benefit from computer science or information technology knowledge.