Online Master's Programs in Training and Development

Updated on: 12/13/2018

An online master's in training and development prepares graduates to work in human resource departments in various areas. Graduates with this degree assess company performance and long-term goals, and they create programs to improve employee competence. Working professionals with an undergraduate degree in business or communication who wish to further their professional opportunities may benefit from an online master's in training and development.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that careers in training and development will increase 10-11% between 2016-2026, particularly in management and specialist positions. This guide outlines the fundamentals of earning a master's in training and development online, including program options and career prospects.

What to Know about Online Master's in Training and Development Coursework

Earning an online master's in training and development provides students with leadership and communication skills required for work in corporate education. Graduates are equipped with a broad skill set that allows them to find work in offices and for corporations of all sizes.

Program requirements and duration will vary from school to school, though all accredited programs will adhere to an academic standard and offer similar core coursework. Each program will also likely offer concentrations and advanced coursework. Students interested in a particular subfield or specialty should conduct careful research to make sure they find a degree program that meets their needs.

Again, most schools offer degrees on campus and online, which are taught by the same faculty and follow the same curriculum (though that is not always the case). Distance learners may opt to accelerate their online program and graduate more quickly than had they attended traditional class on campus. Some schools also allow students to blend their education by taking classes online and on campus.

What Common Courses Are Offered in a Master's in Training and Development Program?

All accredited degrees in training and development generally follow a comparable curriculum. The classes below exemplify common courses for an online master in training and development. Be sure to research your schools of choice to confirm that they offer the track in which you are interested.

Ethics in Decision-Making

Coursework covers the theories behind values-based leadership. Students analyze case studies, practice their communication skills, and facilitate discussions among peers. Most training and development master's programs require this course.

Strategic Workforce Planning

This class covers strategic workforce planning models by breaking down the necessary processes and components needed to create a successful training program. Students also learn the steps required to implement and evaluate a training program in the workplace.

Training Programs and Integrative Technology

Students learn how to choose technology for training aids by considering potential outcomes, needs of adult learners, and other organizational methodology. Coursework may also cover multiple media platforms, computer-based education, and performance analysis of various training models.

Education and Industry Consultation

This class readies students to work in development and training offices or as consultants. Coursework includes client assessment, consultation evaluation, and the foundations of professional relationships. This class emphasizes human resource development for companies of all sizes.

The Adult Learner

This course highlights the needs of adult learners, with emphasis on the sociological and psychological theories behind the concept of learning as an adult. Topics cover the diversity in backgrounds, motivations, and characteristics of adult learners. Students consider foundations for training and development specialties.

What Specializations Are Available in a Master's in Training and Development Program?

In addition to the standard curriculum, many master's in training and development online programs offer elective coursework options to students looking to specialize their degree. Specialized courses help set apart graduates in the job market by equipping them with skills other applicants may not have. The list below features common electives for students seeking an online master's in training and development.

Adult Learning

Adult education differs greatly from childhood learning and professionals looking to implement training programs will need to learn the dynamics and psychology behind teaching adults.

Leadership Dynamics

To be an effective manager, students must possess strong leadership and relational skills. Through lectures, interactive discussions, and analysis of practical interactions in the workplace, students learn fundamentals of leadership dynamics and their function in the workplace.

Social Justice

Coursework equips students with the skills needed to implement social awareness programs in the workplace. This class introduces students to social justice through research of applicable movements throughout history. Students analyze theoretical scenarios regarding social equality in the workplace.

What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?

Like other graduate degrees in business, an online master's in training and development requires 30-40 total credit hours. Most students graduate in two years, but many online programs may offer an accelerated format, allowing students to graduate in one year. Part-time enrollment is also common for distance learners.

Graduates with an online master's in training and development often go on to earn various certifications in human resource management from the Society for Human Resource Management and the Human Resource Certification Institute. Obtaining certification often requires additional class time and professionally administered examinations.

How Can I Choose a Quality Online Master's in Training and Development Program?

Most curricula will offer similar fundamental coursework, but concentrations, specializations, and electives will differ from program to program. In selecting a program, make sure your school of choice offers the specialty in which you are interested.

Also, identify your prospective school's accreditation status. Schools receive accreditation by adhering to nationally or regionally determined academic outcomes. Regional accreditation is awarded by one of six organizations based around the country in exchange for upholding educational standards. Nationally accredited schools receive recognition from national accreditation agencies and typically focus on vocational training.

Online training and development programs at the bachelor's and master's level may also receive programmatic accreditation from organizations such as the Human Resource Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management.

Career Opportunities with a Master's in Training and Development Degree

Training and development professionals create and deliver training plans for organizations and companies. These individuals begin by assessing the needs of a corporation and developing customized training programs for training facilities and classrooms. To enter this field, you must earn at least a bachelor's degree in communications or training and development. Anyone looking to move into management or gain employment at a larger company would benefit from an online master's in this field.

The careers listed below exemplify jobs attainable for graduates with a master's degree in training and development. Note: some roles may require additional training or certification.

Training and Development Manager

Training and development managers create and direct staff educational programs. These seminars and trainings enhance the skills of an office's staff. Companies in nearly all fields hire training and development managers. Careers at the management level require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in business, but with the additional skills gained through an online master's in training and development, you will enhance your marketability in this field.

Median Salary: $108,250 per year

Currently Employed: 34,500

Expected Job Growth in Next 10 years: +10%

Training and Development Specialist

Specialists in training and development create, plan, and conduct programs to train staff of large and small companies to improve their performance in the workplace. Most industries employ training and development specialists. To be a specialist in this area, you need a bachelor's degree and years of relevant job experience. By earning a master's in training and development, many employers will forego the requirement for previous experience.

Median Salary: $60,360 per year

Currently Employed: 282,800

Expected Job Growth in Next 10 years: +11%

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators oversee teaching standards and curriculums at the elementary through college level. These professionals create classroom learning materials and organize their implementation with school faculty. Instructional coordinators also assess the effectiveness of these new programs. To enter this field, individuals need a bachelor's degree and work experience in education. To become a specialist, professionals benefit from a master's in training and development.

Median Salary: $63,750 per year

Currently Employed: 163,200

Expected Job Growth in Next 10 years: +11%

Source: BLS, 2018

What's the Expected Job Growth for Training and Development Careers?

By 2026, the BLS and PayScale projects employment of professionals working in training and development to increase by 11%. Your field of interest and geographic location may affect this figure. Since positions in training and development usually serve physical office spaces, areas of the country with large corporations may yield more growth potential. Professionals in this field often pursue more advanced positions in other industries.

Professional Organizations for Careers in Training and Development

As well as earning an online training and development degree, graduates may be interested in joining a professional society or organization. Most organizations require members to pay yearly fees in exchange for membership, scholarships, networking events, research events, and certification opportunities. These five organizations represent some of the largest for training and development professionals.

  • Association for Talent Development

    Members of the ATD reside in 120 countries. This association serves as one of the largest training organizations in the world and offers memberships to students and professionals in the field. ATD members have access to networking events, certification opportunities, and resources from other professional organizations.

  • American Management Association

    The AMA functions as one of this field's premier training organizations, embracing members from all over the world and providing them access to trainings and resources such as the Women's Leadership Center. The AMA offers membership to professionals and students pursuing a degree in training and development.

  • National Council for Workforce Education

    The NCWE furthers basic skills training and job development for professionals and students involved in institutions of higher education. This council holds conferences and advocates for federal advances of student rights. Members enjoy access to workshops, networking events, and research reports.

  • National Career Development Association

    This professional organization focuses on career counselors. The NCDA promotes industry rights through educational training and policies at the state and federal levels. Membership includes access to online seminars, face-to-face instruction, and professional certification.

  • Society for Human Resource Management

    The SHRM represents one of the largest associations for human resource professionals. It certifies individuals and schools through its accreditation program. Membership includes training, online learning, and career guides. SHRM members also receive assistance in job placement and academic counseling.

How to Pay for a Master's in Training and Development Degree

Earning a degree in higher education often necessitates financial assistance. In addition to making sure a program meets your academic needs, look into financial aid opportunities offered through your school and other potential scholarships at the local and national level. Students may receive funds from a variety of sources. The list below includes common methods for acquiring financial aid for students who want to earn their master's in training and development online.

Federal Financial Aid

Students should always fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). By seeking federal loans through the FAFSA program, eligible students receive funds through scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs.

Scholarships for Veterans and Active Military

Many schools and private programs offer financial aid — in the forms of scholarships and grants — to active members of the military and veterans. Some programs offer funds to reservists as well.

Financial Aid for Distance Learners

As online schools have multiplied, more institutions of higher learning are offering online-specific scholarships to distance learners. These scholarships can correspond in criteria and sum to those for in-person students, though this is not always the case.

University Scholarships

Colleges and universities offer academic and needs-based scholarships for students in certain programs. Students seeking an online master's in training and development may receive scholarships and loans through their school/college of business or communication.