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How to Become a Training and Development Specialist

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Training and development specialists work at corporations, financial institutions and government agencies. Specialists develop, conduct and evaluate employee training programs, and programs can be as varied as new employee orientation, business process change awareness, and safety precautions for information technology use. Applicants typically have at least a bachelor's degree. Becoming a training and development specialist involves developing good communication and presentation skills.

Assess your current skill level by taking a readiness assessment such as the American Society of Training and Development Certified Learning Profession readiness assessment. A typical career path involves transitioning from other employment, such as teaching. Expertise in particular fields, such as security, marketing or technology, enhances your chances of getting into this field.

Develop good presentation skills. Effective training depends on engaging materials that do more than present bullet points. Incorporating multimedia and providing persuasive stories makes training both more interesting and more likely to achieve the desired objective.

Develop strong project management skills. Training development projects typically require coordination and planning much as any other application development project.

Become proficient in the use of social media technology. Writing for blogs, wikis and forums play an increasing role in training and development. Technology in general plays an important role in today's corporate education. Games and simulations, for example, provide opportunities for students to practice skills in protective environments. Learning to develop these specialized learning tools requires the use of complex software programs.

Test your competency and aptitude by reviewing sample certification questions. Required knowledge includes topics related to improving human performance and training program evaluation.

Get certified as a learning professional. Successful completion of certification exams allows you to market yourself as a professional. For example, the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance Certification designation from the American Society of Training and Development, shows that you have the training and development skills that employers are looking for.

Research companies local to your area that are hiring training professionals. Prepare for your interviews by assembling a portfolio of your training and development work such as presentations, lesson plans or coaching tips.

About the Author

Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.

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