Human Resource Development Specialist Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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Learn about a human resource development specialists's job description, salary info and training requirements. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of a human resource development specialist career.
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A Human Resource Development Specialist Career: Pros and Cons

Human resource development specialists are responsible for coming up with training solutions that fit a company's development needs and help employees learn what is needed to do their jobs effectively. Review both the positive and negative aspects to find out if a human resource development specialist career fits you.

Pros of a Human Resource Development Specialist Career
Good salary (About $57,000 in May 2014)*
Can work in any business that needs to train employees*
Can be a consultant at an employment agency*

Cons of a Human Resource Development Specialist Career
Many positions require prior training and development experience*
Human resource certification may be required*
Positions at employment staffing agencies may only be temporary*
Both employees and consultants may need to travel*
Slower than average employment growth (7% percent from 2012-2022)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Essential Career Info

Job Description

Human resource development specialists assess a company's training needs against organizational goals and industry trends, which requires cooperation with leadership and outside research. Those who are consultants from employment agencies may need to travel to meet up with management. After determining development needs, they help produce training programs for employees and management to give them the skills needed for their specific roles. Training solutions may include online training, mentoring, seminars and on-site training.

Another job task involves determining employee performance requirements that will be used to assess the effectiveness of training programs. By comparing employee performance to the stated requirements, they can find out what is lacking and what additional development will be needed to bring performance to a satisfactory level. In addition, these professionals sometimes have other duties that can include planning meetings, managing budgets, ensuring compliance with employment regulations and completing other assigned human resource projects.

Career Prospects and Salary Info

The BLS projects that human resource specialists, including development specialists, should have favorable career prospects, especially if they have work experience and a bachelor's degree. Overall growth from 2012-2022 is projected at 7%, which is slightly slower than average.

According to the BLS, human resource specialists earned a median salary of roughly $57,000 in May 2014. Pipeline transporters of crude oil offered the highest average wages at about $108,000 per year, and software publishers had the second highest at roughly $88,000.

What Are the Requirements?

A bachelor's degree is usually needed to become a human resource development specialist, but it might not be required if you already have extensive work experience. Some degree titles that employers prefer include business, human resources, communications and psychology. The human resources major focuses specifically on topics related to the field, including human resource planning, organizational and employee development, employee benefits and behavioral management. You could also consider taking elective courses in adult education, employment law, project management and performance management since these are areas employers look for expertise in. You should also know how to use presentation software and other productivity computer programs. Some employers may require credentials in addition to your degree, such as the corporate trainer certificate offered by Development Dimensions International (DDI).

Communications skills, including strengths in public speaking and written communications, are important for managing a company's internal communications program and for giving presentations. Strong organizational and time management skills are necessary to complete projects within time limits and budgets. You should also be able to collaborate with employees and management in determining necessary training solutions and improving employee performance.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Whether or not the position requires a degree, employers look for specific experience in development and training. They also look for general human resource skills, such as workforce planning, employment law, performance management and project management. While these only present a few companies, check out some example human resource development specialist job postings available in April 2012:

  • A consulting company in California is looking for a human resource learning and development specialist with an adult education background and a bachelor's degree. The candidate needs at least three years of experience in development program design and delivery, employee relations and human resources, as well as virtual team experience. Expertise in employee law and project management is also needed.
  • An Illinois manufacturing company seeks a human resource training and development specialist with job duties in workforce planning, employee relations, training, communications and performance management. At least five years of experience performing these various job duties is needed, as well as a bachelor's degree and knowledge of Microsoft Office. The company prefers those with knowledge of content management systems, social media and Articulate, a human resource certification and manufacturing experience.
  • A Kansas company specializing in navigation and communications products advertised for a training and development specialist with at least five years of development experience, a bachelor's degree related to business, human resources, communications or psychology, knowledge of Microsoft Office and expertise in employment law. The company prefers a master's degree and human resources certification.
  • A travel company in Atlanta is looking for a human resource development specialist to work with employees from students programs and to create development programs for the entire organization. While no college degree is mentioned, the candidate does need years of experience in management development programs, facilitation and internship program development.

How Do I Stand out?

Get Certified in Human Resources

The HR Certification Institute offers three common credentials employers of human resource professionals seek, including the Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR). The PHR is for professionals with some work experience and focuses on business management, compensation and benefits, workforce planning, employee relations, development and risk management.

Suited for those with more responsibility over a company's HR department, the SPHR covers similar topics as the PHR, but it focuses on the organization as a whole rather than just the human resource department. The GPHR is for those with experience in a company that is globalized and focuses on international human resource issues. The specific amount of work experience needed for each credential depends on your education level, with the least experience needed if you have a master's degree.

Earn a Master's Degree

If you have a bachelor's degree unrelated to human resources or business and want to enter the field, or you want to improve your chances for promotion into a human resource management role, you could get a master's degree. A Master of Science in Human Resource Development program may focus on teaching, evaluating programs, designing training programs and conducting research in the field. The program may also include an internship for practical application of these concepts. If you want to learn more about business than just the human resource function, you could earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in human resources. While a large part of the degree may include courses in finance, organizational behavior, economics, marketing, accounting and management, the concentration may cover HR management and strategy, employment law and talent acquisition.

Other Careers in Human Resources

Training and Development Manager

If you're interested in a higher potential salary and would like more responsibility over a company's development program, you could become a training and development manager. This career involves dealing with a company's training budget, coming up with training solutions that benefit the organization as a whole, training other development specialists and making changes to the company's training programs to make them more effective and current. A bachelor's or master's degree related to human resources and previous work experience in development are usually needed. According to the BLS, the mean annual wage for these managers was $99,000 in May 2011, and employment growth should be 15 percent from 2010-2020, which is as fast as average.

Human Resource Manager

If you want a career that involves more than development, consider a career in human resource management. These professionals handle a wide variety of duties that include overseeing the hiring process, mediating disputes and other work-related problems with employees, dealing with payroll and benefits, providing regulatory advice to management and dealing with employee termination. While there are general HR managers, you could also specialize in employee relations, recruiting or payroll. While you might need a Master of Business Administration degree for some positions, at least a bachelor's related to business or human resources is usually required. Human resource managers earned a mean annual wage of $109,000 in May 2011, according to the BLS's national estimates. Employment growth at 13 percent from 2020-2020 means this career expects about as fast as average job growth.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Liberty University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA: Human Resources
      • DBA: Human Resources
    Master's
      • MS: Healthcare Administration: Human Resources
      • MBA: Strategic Management
      • MA: Human Services Counseling: Life Coaching
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Walden University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Human Resource Management
      • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Energy Management
      • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Homeland Security
      • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Information Systems Management
      • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Self-Designed
      • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Social Impact Management
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Human Resources
      • Master: Management/Human Resources
      • MSM in Organizational Design and Development
    Bachelor's
      • BSBA in Human Resources
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Business
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Advanced Accounting
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Health Care Administration
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Leadership
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • Human Resource Management, B.S.
      • B.S. Business: International Business
    Associate's
      • Human Resource Management, A.S.
      • Business Administration, A.S.
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Florida Tech

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA in Human Resources Management
      • Human Resources Management Minor with any Bachelor's Degree
      • BA in Business Administration/Management
      • BA in Management
    Associate's
      • AA in Management
      • AA in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Independence University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Business Administration - Human Resources Emphasis (BS)
      • Business Administration (BS)
      • Business Administration - Technology Emphasis (BS)
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Ed.D. - Global Training and Development
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Human Resources Management
      • PhD in Business Admin - Human Resources Management
      • PhD - Organizational Leadership (PhD-OL)
      • Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Management
      • PhD in Business Admin - Management
    Master's
      • Management and Organizational Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master - Human Resource Management
      • MS - Management
      • MS - Organizational Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Human Resource Management
      • BS - Business Management
      • BS - Organizational Leadership
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate - Human Resource Management
  • Online Programs Available
    10. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Human Resource Analytics and Management

Featured Schools

Liberty University

  • DBA: Human Resources
  • MS: Healthcare Administration: Human Resources
  • MBA: Strategic Management

What is your highest level of education?

Walden University

  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Human Resource Management
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Energy Management
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Homeland Security

What is your highest level of education completed?

Purdue University Global

  • MBA: Human Resources
  • BSBA in Human Resources
  • AASBA in Business

Which subject are you interested in?

Colorado Christian University

  • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Advanced Accounting
  • Human Resource Management, B.S.
  • Human Resource Management, A.S.

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Florida Tech

  • BA in Human Resources Management
  • Human Resources Management Minor with any Bachelor's Degree
  • AA in Management
  • AA in Business Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Independence University

  • Business Administration - Human Resources Emphasis (BS)
  • Business Administration (BS)
  • Business Administration - Technology Emphasis (BS)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Northcentral University

  • Ed.D. - Global Training and Development
  • Doctor of Business Admin - Human Resources Management
  • Management and Organizational Leadership

What is your highest level of education?