How to Become a Training and Development Manager

Do you have a passion for people? Is teaching a pursuit you’d like to explore but prefer to do in an office setting? Do you take pride in helping others succeed in becoming the best version of themselves, both personally as well as professionally?

If so, a career as a training and development manager may be worth some serious consideration. And a great way to get your foot in the door is with a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management from the Collat School of Business at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. This 100% online degree program can provide you with the requisite expertise, credentials, knowledge and skill sets to enter and excel in this high growth, highly competitive career option.

What Is a Training and Development Manager?

Development and training managers are human resource specialists who are charged with planning, coordinating and/or leading the continuing education opportunities offered by an employer. Needed and sought after in a variety of industries — including technical services, finance, health care, education and government entities — training managers equip associates with the capabilities to perform their jobs more effectively. However, “more effective” is defined based on an employer’s goals and needs.

For a variety of reasons, companies have experienced a high level of employee turnover, with new or long-existing staff deciding to leave for other opportunities, sometimes in an entirely new line of work. This has led to a skills gap for businesses that have struggled with retention.  According to a recent survey conducted by the Association for Talent Development, 83% of polled employers said they’re in the midst of a skills gap. Close to 80% indicated they don’t have one now, but expected to be in such a predicament before too long. Similarly, a Society for Human Resources Management poll found that less than one-third of businesses considered themselves to be effective in retaining top employees.

Human resource management, in collaboration with training and talent development professionals, are often hired to help close skills gaps by implementing the proper programs that can help workers become more proficient in their roles and gain more work experience —especially if they’re relatively new to the job.

What Does a Training and Development Manager Do on a Day-to-Day Basis?

The tasks and assignments that are specific to training managers can vary considerably based on the needs, business goals and desired outcomes for an employer or organization. Requisite knowledge and skills in computer engineering are far different than what might be needed for nurses or orderlies in a health care practice to excel. But there are some general responsibilities that training and development managers tend to lead, regardless of their work environment.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a few of them:

  • Oversee training and development programs.
  • Oversee staff associated with teaching the curriculum.
  • Participate in instructional design of training materials.
  • Consult with employees to gauge the needs for training.
  • Align training exercises with on-the-job requirements.
  • Regularly update and coordinate programs so training meets the needs of the business.
  • Manage training budgets for costs associated with skills development.

The duties of a training and development manager may include one, several or all of these activities.

How Do You Become a Training and Development Manager?

From an academic perspective, the road to becoming a training and development manager isn’t set in stone. Because employers prefer to hire those with business savvy, stellar communication skills and strong critical-thinking skills, a bachelor’s degree is strongly preferred over those who do not have one. A bachelor’s degree in training and development is ideal, but several academic programs teach the kind of skill sets that align with this role. These include business, social science and communications and a number of other bachelor’s degree programs that are similar to those, according to the BLS. Some employers prefer to hire candidates with a master’s degree, ideally in academic disciplines such as business administration, organizational development, employee training and development or a graduate degree in human resource management.

There are a variety of other ways to go about obtaining additional expertise in human resources management that don’t necessarily have to include graduate school. Organizations such as the International Society for Performance Improvement, the Association for Talent Development as well as the Society for Human Resource Management all offer classes that build upon the foundational aspects of training and development that are taught in undergraduate programs. SHRM also offers a way for current and prospective training development managers to become licensed in HR work as an SHRM-CP.

What Is a SHRM-CP and How Does It Differ from a SHRM-SCP?

The SHRM-CP — the CP standing for “certified professional” — is a special credential that helps to demonstrate a higher level of proficiency and expertise in human resources management, which employers may take into consideration during the hiring process when reviewing resumes. Another certification program that SHRM offers is the SHRM-SCP, or Senior Certified Professional. While SHRM-SCPs and SHRM-CPs perform some similar functions in the workplace, SHRM-SCPs tend to be more involved in the formation of human resources policies and procedures for an organization or an HR firm. SHRM-CPs, meanwhile, are more engaged in the implementation of HR policies.

Neither the SHRM-CP nor the SHRM-SCP certification programs require test takers to have a bachelor’s degree to be eligible for the respective exams. The SHRM-SCP does, however, require students to have completed at least 1,000 hours of work experience in HR within a calendar year. Additionally, the SHRM-SCP program is designed for people who either already have a SHRM-CP credential (for at least three years) or who have worked in an HR-related capacity for a minimum of three years.

The tests themselves can be quite rigorous. They’re both computer-based and run approximately four hours in length, which includes the 20 minutes allotted for breaks. This means students have 3 hours and 40 minutes of testing time to complete the 134 questions in the respective exams.

Through the online Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Development Management program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, you can more effectively prepare for either of these examinations. Classes such as Business Communications, Operations Management, Employment Law and Human Resource Management provide key insights so you’re familiar with the questions posed and can answer them intelligently. Additionally, all of the coursework that’s  included in the bachelor’s degree program at the Collat School of Business are certified by SHRM.

Group of coworkers looking at white board with displaying a line graph

What Key Skills Does an Effective Training and Development Manager Possess?

Academic qualifications are important for this role, but so are a number of other qualities that professionals need to bring with them to be successful. Here are a few of them:

Ability to Effectively Communicate

Whether it’s new policies that an employer has enacted or coordinating knowledge-enhancement programs for current staff members, training and development managers are constantly working with people for instruction and teaching purposes. To be effective in this capacity, they must be able to communicate in a manner that resonates with everybody. They also need to be able to determine the best way that workers receive information (in-person, e-mail, phone, text message, etc.) and adjust their messaging accordingly. Communicating effectively also means being good at listening and taking feedback from their supervisors.

Ability to Think Critically

There are a wide variety of classes and programs that can help employees become more proficient in a given discipline or area. This means managers have to be discerning about which one(s) to select. A combination of good critical thinking and decision making skills give training and development managers the ability to select the ones that they suspect will work best based on the goals of their employer and the desired outcomes for the workers involved.

Ability to Collaborate

Unlike other professionals, where the day-to-day work can largely be done independently, training and development managers are in regular interaction with organizational leaders, staff, subject matter experts and new hires. Because of this, they must be able to work well in team environments. In this way, collaboration and communication go hand-in-hand; you can’t have one without the other.

Business Savvy

The core mission of a training and development manager is to help an organization’s staff members become better at something. Training can help, but a development manager must first be clear about how a business operates so that the training can be aligned with the business’ goals and how it functions. This is one of the reasons why these professionals often come from business backgrounds or have experience in business administration.

Ability to Lead

Any management role — training and development included — requires leadership. From organizing training programs to assessing employees’ needs for training — training and development managers must be able to demonstrate a certain level of authority and ownership in their work so that both their supervisors and employees can be confident the training programs put together will be effective.


Frequently, training and development managers are charged with overseeing the budget for what it costs to get employees more proficient in certain activities or responsibilities that have a learning curve. Thus, they need to be aware of what money is available and communicate when additional funding may be needed to their supervisors.


A substantial portion of what training and development managers do involves teaching. But to teach effectively, instructors must be teachable themselves. This requires being willing to accept feedback and being open to adjusting teaching styles if it’s deemed to be necessary or in the best interest of the workers receiving training or instruction.

Naturally Inquisitive

Training may not always pay dividends. Even when the material in a program appears to be straightforward, it’s possible that the workers that are taking part in the training are unable to translate the things they’ve learned into their day-to-day work processes. If that’s the case, HR professionals must possess a keen eye for detail and always be thinking outside the box. They need to be constantly examing which approaches are working, which aren’t working and what subtle or whole scale changes need to be implemented to obtain better results? In this way, the ability to think critically and inquisitiveness go hand in hand.

Conversant with Technology

Many professions entail at least some proficiency with technology, and training and development management is no exception. For example, according to the Association for Talent Development, virtual learning is increasingly becoming a core business skill for learning and development professionals — even in the aftermath of COVID-19, when remote environments were the norm. That’s largely because more employers are open to having their employees work entirely from home or at least occasionally.

Learning expert and master trainer Diana Howles says professionals who “up their virtual learning game” can help trainees better retain the information they’ve learned. In addition to knowing how certain platforms work, virtual training proficiency also entails understanding why certain engagement activities should or should not be used.

How Much Do Training and Development Managers Stand to Earn?

Relative to other professions, training and development managers make a generous living. According to the BLS, the median annual pay for them in 2021 was $120,130. The top 10% earned more than $207,420 while the lower 10% made just shy of $64,400. That lower figure is still competitive, given the median annual household income in the U.S. in 2020 was $67,521, according to the Census Bureau.

In addition to being potentially high-paying, this profession is experiencing substantial growth, with the number of jobs projected to increase by 11% by 2030 compared to 2020, according to BLS data. The average annual growth rate among all industries is roughly 8%.

Many individuals are interested in entering this line of work. The online Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Development Management can provide you with the capabilities and skill sets employers are looking for when you start applying for a job. Whether you’re interested in the strategy side of this profession or implementation and operation, an online bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham can help you launch your career. Get in touch with an enrollment advisor to learn more about this exciting online program.

Recommended Reading:

What Can You Do with a Human Resources Degree? Career Paths and Job Outlook

Study Human Resource Management the Right Way



Training and Development Managers by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

SHRM Certified Professional by the Society for Human Resources Management

SHRM Senior Certified Professional by the Society for Human Resources Management

Virtual Trainer Capability Model Helps Trainers Upskill and Excel by Association for Talent Development Income and Poverty in the United States: 2020 by the United States Census Bureau

Talent Development Professionals Play Critical Role in Addressing the Workplace Skills Gap by Association for Talent Development