The Human Resource Development Field
Are you interested in a fast growing career field that allows you to help people grow in their careers; offers very competitive salaries; and provides career opportunities in almost any organization, including business, government and non-profits? If so, consider a career in Human Resource Development (HRD), formerly known as Training and Development.
The United States Department of Labor has ranked human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists in its highest category for employment growth between 2008 and 2018. Overall jobs in this profession are expected to grow by 22% during this decade.
What is Human Resource Development (HRD)?
Human Resource Development means helping individuals in organizations to perform better. The "human" of HRD focuses on the fact that organizations depend on human resources for the production of goods and services. The "resource" of HRD acknowledges that people represent the most valuable resource in organizations. Finally, "development" recognizes that people have a nearly unlimited capacity to learn, grow, and improve their performance.
The HRD profession focuses on performance through learning. While the traditional function of HRD professionals often remains design and delivery of training and other types of learning activities, other tasks such as facilitating organizational change and increasing productivity play ever increasing roles in this exciting profession.
Why should I choose Human Resource Development/Training and Development?
Recent changes in organizations have created an explosion in the need for professional capable of developing human capital. Rapid technological change, globalization, restructured workplaces, labor market shifts and pressure for reduced costs and increased productivity have increased demand for HRD professionals. Organizations are increasingly recognizing that human capital, along with technology, is the key to competitive advantage in the global economy. The result is that HRD professionals are more valued and more in demand than any time since World War II.
Government agencies, business and industrial firms and nonprofit organizations spent approximately 125 billion dollars in 2009 on formal training for employees (ASTD). When informal, on-the-job, training, management development and organization development and restructuring costs are added, this total raises to 200 billion dollars. Such huge expenditures create great demand for competent, innovative professionals to lead HRD.
Recent government and industry studies have led American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) to postulate, " the learning deficit in our nation's workforce is as threatening to our economy as our monetary deficit." Through the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. programs, the SHREWD prepares students to meet the demand for HRD professionals who will lead organizations to higher levels of quality and productivity.
Typical Organizations with Human Resource Development Career Paths
- Professional Associations
- Computers and Data Processing
- Non-profit organizations
- Educational Institutions
- Electronics and Telecommunications
- Federal, State, and Local Governments
- Retail Sales and Distribution
- Wholesale Sales and Distribution
- Consulting/Professional Service Firms
- Health Care Institutions
Sample Human Resource Development (Training and Development) Job Titles
- Senior Technical Training Specialist
- V P of Human Resources Development
- Continuing Education Specialist
- Chief Training Officer
- Director of Employee Development
- Director of Leadership Development
- Learning Specialist
- Director of Human Resource Development
- Director of Training
- Manager, Performance/Training Design
- Training Administrator
- Staff Development Specialist
- Eligibility Training Specialist
- Director of Organization Development
- Corporate Training Specialist
- Skills Training Specialist
- Director of Training and Development
- Instructional Design Specialist
- Manager of Continuing Education
- Video Production Coordinator
- Computer Based Training Designer
- Training Analyst
- Manager, Organization Development
- Training Program Coordinator
- Program Manager
- Video Operations Coordinator
- Staff Development Manager
- Senior Training Project Manager
- Associate Technical Instructor
- Health Educator
- Associate Instructor
What skills and competencies will I develop with an HRD degree?
According to the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), HRD professionals need to be competent in 35 areas. Our programs ensure you will be competent in all of the these.
- Model Building Skills
- Understand Adult Learning Principles
- Career Development Knowledge
- Negotiation Skills
- Competency Identification Skills
- Objective Preparation Skills
- Computer Competence
- Understand Organizations
- Cost-Benefit Analysis Skills
- Understand Strategy
- Counseling Skills
- Performance Observation Skills
- Data Reduction Skills
- Personnel/HR Field Knowledge
- Facility Design Skills
- Presentation Skills
- Feedback Skills
- Questioning Skills
- Futuring Skills
- Records Management Skills
- Group Process Skills
- Relationship Versatility
- Industry Understanding
- Research Skills
- Intellectual Versatility
- Understand HRD Techniques
- Library Skills
- Writing Skills
What can I earn in Human Resource Development?
The following information is taken from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics web site:
Median annual wages of training and development managers were $87,700 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $64,770 and $115,570. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $48,280, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $149,050. Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of training and development managers were:
|Management of companies and enterprises||$93,140|
|General medical and surgical hospitals||86,820|
Median annual wages of training and development specialists were $51,450 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $38,550 and $67,450. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,470, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $85,160. Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of training and development specialists were:
|Computer systems design and related services||$61,110|
|General medical and surgical hospitals||56,540|
|Management of companies and enterprises||54,800|
Training managers oversee development of training programs, contracts, and budgets. They may perform needs assessments of the types of training needed, determine the best means of delivering training, and create the content. They may provide employee training in a classroom, computer laboratory, or onsite production facility, or through a training film, Web video-on-demand, or self-paced or self-guided instructional guides. For live or in-person training, training managers ensure that teaching materials are prepared and the space appropriately set, training and instruction stimulate the class, and completion certificates are issued at the end of training. For computer-assisted or recorded training, trainers ensure that cameras, microphones, and other necessary technology platforms are functioning properly and that individual computers or other learning devices are configured for training purposes. They also have the responsibility for the entire learning process, and its environment, to ensure that the course meets its objectives and is measured and evaluated to understand how learning impacts performance.
Training specialists plan, organize, and direct a wide range of training activities. Trainers consult with training managers and employee supervisors to develop performance improvement measures, conduct orientation sessions, and arrange on-the-job training for new employees. They help employees maintain and improve their job skills and prepare for jobs requiring greater skill. They work with supervisors to improve their interpersonal skills and to deal effectively with employees. They may set up individualized training plans to strengthen employees’ existing skills or teach new ones. Training specialists also may set up leadership or executive development programs for employees who aspire to move up in the organization. These programs are designed to develop or “groom” leaders to replace those leaving the organization and as part of a corporate succession plan. Trainers also lead programs to assist employees with job transitions as a result of mergers or consolidation, as well as retraining programs to develop new skills that may result from technological changes in the work place. In government-supported job-training programs, training specialists serve as case managers and provide basic job skills to prepare participants to function in the labor force. They assess the training needs of clients and guide them through the most appropriate training. After training, clients may either be referred to employer relations representatives or receive job placement assistance.
Planning and program development is an essential part of the training specialist's job. In order to identify and assess training needs, trainers may confer with managers and supervisors or conduct surveys. They also evaluate training effectiveness to ensure that employees actually learn and that the training they receive helps the organization meet its strategic goals and achieve results.
Depending on the size, goals, and nature of the organization, trainers may differ considerably in their responsibilities and in the methods they use. Training methods also vary by whether the training predominantly is knowledge-based or skill-based or sometimes a combination of the two. For example, much knowledge-based training is conducted in a classroom setting. Most skill training provides some combination of hands-on instruction, demonstration, and practice at doing something and usually is conducted on a shop floor, studio, or laboratory where trainees gain experience and confidence. Some on-the-job training methods could apply equally to knowledge or skill training and formal apprenticeship training programs combine classroom training and work experience. Increasingly, training programs involve interactive Internet-based training modules that can be downloaded for either individual or group instruction, for dissemination to a geographically dispersed class, or to be coordinated with other multimedia programs. These technologies allow participants to take advantage of distance learning alternatives and to attend conferences and seminars through satellite or Internet communications hookups, or use other computer-aided instructional technologies, such as those for the hearing-impaired or sight-impaired.
Education and training. Although a bachelor’s degree is a typical path of entry into these occupations, many colleges and universities do not offer degree programs in personnel administration, human resources, or labor relations until the graduate degree level. However, many offer individual courses in these subjects at the undergraduate level in addition to concentrations in human resources administration or human resources management, training and development, organizational development, and compensation and benefits.
Because an interdisciplinary background is appropriate in this field, a combination of courses in the social sciences, business administration, and behavioral sciences is useful. Some jobs may require more technical or specialized backgrounds in engineering, science, finance, or law. Most prospective human resources specialists should take courses in principles of management, organizational structure, and industrial psychology; however, courses in accounting or finance are becoming increasingly important. Courses in labor law, collective bargaining, labor economics, and labor history also provide a valuable background for the prospective labor relations specialist. As in many other fields, knowledge of computers and information systems is useful.
An advanced degree is increasingly important for some jobs. Many labor relations jobs require graduate study in industrial or labor relations. A strong background in industrial relations and law is highly desirable for contract negotiators, mediators, and arbitrators; in fact, many people in these specialties have law degrees. A master's degree in human resources, labor relations, or in business administration with a concentration in human resources management is highly recommended for those seeking general and top management positions.
The duties given to entry-level workers will vary, depending on whether the new workers have a degree in human resource management, have completed an internship, or have some other type of human resources-related experience. Entry-level employees commonly learn by performing administrative duties—helping to enter data into computer systems, compiling employee handbooks, researching information for a supervisor, or answering phone calls and handling routine questions. Entry-level workers often enter on-the-job training programs in which they learn how to classify jobs, interview applicants, or administer employee benefits; they then are assigned to specific areas in the human resources department to gain experience. Later, they may advance to supervisory positions, overseeing a major element of the human resources program—compensation or training, for example.
Other qualifications. Experience is an asset for many specialties in the human resources area, and is essential for advancement to senior-level positions, including managers, arbitrators, and mediators. Many employers prefer entry-level workers who have gained some experience through an internship or work-study program while in school. Employees in human resources administration and human resources development need the ability to work well with individuals and a commitment to organizational goals. This field demands skills that people may have developed elsewhere—teaching, supervising, and volunteering, among others. Human resources work also offers clerical workers opportunities to advance to more responsible or professional positions. Some positions occasionally are filled by experienced individuals from other backgrounds, including business, government, education, social services administration, and the military.
The human resources field demands a range of personal qualities and skills. Human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists must speak and write effectively. Ever-changing technologies and the growing complexities inherent to the many services human resources personnel provide require that they be knowledgeable about computer systems, storage and retrieval software, and how to use a wide array of digital communications devices.
The growing diversity of the workforce requires that human resources managers and specialists work with or supervise people of various ages, cultural backgrounds, levels of education, and experience. Ability to speak a foreign language is an asset, especially if working in an industry with a large immigrant workforce or for a company with many overseas operations. Human resources employees must be able to cope with conflicting points of view, function under pressure, and demonstrate discretion, integrity, fair-mindedness, and a persuasive, genial personality. Because much of the information collected by these employees is confidential, they must also show the character and responsibility of dealing with sensitive employee information.
Certification and advancement. Most professional associations that specialize in human resources offer classes intended to enhance the skills of their members. Some organizations offer certification programs, which are signs of competence and credibility and can enhance advancement opportunities. For example, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans confers a designation in three distinct areas of specialization—group benefit, retirement, and compensation—to persons who complete a series of college-level courses and pass exams. Candidates can earn a designation in each of the specialty tracks and, simultaneously, receive credit toward becoming a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS). The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) Certification Institute offers professional certification in the learning and performance field. Addressing nine areas of expertise, certification requires passing a knowledge-based exam and successful work experience. In addition, ASTD offers 16 short-term certificate and workshop programs covering a broad range of professional training and development topics. The Society for Human Resource Management offers two levels of certification, including the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Additionally, the organization offers the Global Professional in Human Resources certification for those with international and cross-border responsibilities and the California Certification in Human Resources for those who plan to work in that State and become familiar with California's labor and human resources laws. All designations require experience and a passing score on a comprehensive exam. The WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals offers four distinct designations in the areas of compensation, benefits, work-life, and global remuneration that comprise the total rewards management practice. Candidates obtain the designation of Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), Certified Benefits Professional (CBP), Global Remuneration Professional (GRP), and Work-Life Certified Professional (WLCP). Certification is achieved after passing a series of knowledge-based exams within each designation. Additionally, WorldatWork offers online and classroom education covering a broad range of total rewards topics.
Exceptional human resources workers may be promoted to director of human resources or industrial relations, which can eventually lead to a top managerial or executive position. Others may join a consulting or outsourcing firm or open their own business. A Ph.D. is an asset for teaching, writing, or consulting work.