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How to Become a Training and Development Manager

Candidates need a combination of education and related work experience to become a training and development manager.


Although a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for many positions, some jobs for training and development managers require a master’s degree. Managers can come from a variety of educational backgrounds but often have a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or a related field.

Some employers prefer or require that managers have a master’s degree, usually with a concentration in training and development, human resources management, organizational development, or business administration.

Training and development managers also may benefit from studying instructional design, behavioral psychology, or educational psychology. In addition, as technology continues to play a larger role in training and development, a growing number of organizations seek candidates who have a background in information technology.

Work Experience

Related work experience is essential for training and development managers. Many positions require work experience in training and development or another human resources field, management, or teaching. Some employers also prefer experience in the industry in which the company operates. Increasingly, employers look for workers with experience in information technology as organizations introduce more e-learning.


Although not required, certification can show professional expertise and credibility. In fact, many employers prefer to hire certified candidates, and some positions may require certification. The American Society for Training and Development and International Society for Performance Improvement offer certification programs in the training and development field.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. Training and development managers use critical-thinking skills when assessing classes, materials, and programs. They must identify the training needs of an organization and recognize where changes and improvements can be made. 

Decision-making skills. Training and development managers must decide the best training programs to meet the needs of the organization. For example, they must review available training methods and materials and choose those that best fit each program.

Interpersonal skills. Training and development managers need strong interpersonal skills because delivering training programs requires collaborating with staff, trainees, subject matter experts, and the organization’s leaders. They also accomplish much of their work through teams.

Managerial skills. Managerial skills are important for these managers, who are often in charge of a staff and are responsible for many programs. Training and development managers must be able to organize, motivate, and instruct those working under them.

Speaking skills. Speaking skills are essential for training and development managers, who often give presentations. They must be able to communicate information clearly and facilitate learning by diverse audiences. They also must be able to effectively convey instructions to their staff.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition