Training is one of many specialized subdivisions in the field of human resources. While human resource managers typically deal with things like staffing and personnel issues, total quality management, recruiting, and hiring and firing of employees, a training specialist’s job is much more defined within the field. A training specialist is, essentially, exactly what it sounds like: A person who offers training in a job-specific area. While training in new technologies is understandably seeing unprecedented popularity, training specialists don’t just teach people how to post and download files to their LAN and understand their computer networks. Currently, companies are having training specialists focus on specific areas of technical knowledge or on-the-job capabilities needed for particular positions. These skills include computer applications, phone systems, product assembly, policies and procedures, and inventory planning. Training specialists present information, direct structured learning experiences, and manage group discussions and group services. They are teachers for professionals. Like anyone in the field of human resources, a training specialist is required to possess excellent interpersonal and communications skills and is expected to increase the skills, productivity, and quality of work among trainees.
To achieve these goals, training specialists plan, organize, and implement a wide range of training activities for both new hires and veteran employees. They conduct orientation sessions and arrange on-the-job training for new hires. They conduct workshops and arrange training for veteran employees, targeting skills that need improving or helping them prepare for jobs requiring greater skill. Some companies have training specialists devise programs that develop executive potential in lower-level employees, “grooming” them for a higher profile job.
To come up with development programs and plans that address the needs of the company, training specialists must identify and assess the training needs within the company. To do so, trainers meet with managers and supervisors and even conduct surveys. They also have to evaluate training effectiveness and be ready with alternative ideas if they are not seeing the necessary improvement.
The methods a trainer uses depend on the size and nature of the organization’s goals. For the most part, training methods include on-the-job training, classroom training, apprenticeship training, monitored simulations or problem-solving scenarios, and programmed instruction that can involve interactive, multimedia instructional technologies. According to the American Society for Training and Development, traditional workshop and classroom work is being replaced by modular training in short, flexible courses focused on specific needs. It is common for trainers to utilize the new technologies that they are teaching about in the actual training sessions.
Applicants for jobs in the field of human resources must hold bachelor’s degrees. If trainers are seeking managerial spots or consulting practice, a master’s degree is beneficial, if not required. It is a good idea to have both academic expertise and experience in your field if you want to be a training specialist. For instance, a trainer in charge of computer literacy would have an advantage with a degree in computer science, but since strong communications and interpersonal skills are also required, degrees in English, psychology, and business are also highly regarded. Professional education is also a benchmark for trainers since they are going to be responsible for the professional education of numerous employees over the course of their careers.
Since training specialists fall under the umbrella of human resources, all personnel, training, and labor relations occupations are closely related. Many of the people in this field also find success in careers that require expertise in interpersonal skills-rehabilitation, college and career planning, placement counseling, law, psychology, social work, public relations, and teaching.