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Graduates of training and development master’s degree programs design and implement instructional programs as corporate trainers, organizational consultants, or instructional coordinators. They’re leaders in their industry, teaching their colleagues and the next generation of employees how to become more efficient and effective with state-of-the-art training techniques and management concepts.

In 2022, the median annual pay for these training and development specialists was $63,080, while the average wage for a manager in training and development was $120,000. When graduates apply their master’s degree to a career in human resources, they could make $130,000 as human resources managers. In 2023, the average tuition and fees for a master’s degree in training and development were $20,513. Based on its flexibility within industries, investing in this master’s degree is an investment in a future career.

How to Choose a Training and Development Degree Program

Choose your area of study

Training and development degree programs lead to two career paths: business and education. When you plan to use your master’s degree in the corporate world, you will likely choose a degree program like a Master of Science in program management, a Master of Science in organizational development, or an MBA focusing on training and development. If you prefer coursework in the humanities departments — and you’re looking for a career in human resources — consider a Master of Arts in human resources with an emphasis on training and development.

The education world is also in need of instructional coordinators with master’s degrees in training and development. When you earn your postgraduate degree through a school of education, your degree choices include a Master of Education in training and development, a Master of Education in organizational development, or even a Master of Science in instructional design.

Research schools and programs

Start your degree research with a list of accredited schools and training and development programs. Accredited schools and programs make it easy for you to transfer credits and degrees between institutions — and they are more likely to uphold academic and professional standards than unaccredited schools. Institutional accreditation agencies like the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) regularly assess schools for the quality of their education. Programmatic accreditation agencies like the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) specifically focus on business schools and training and development programs.

After researching accredited schools and programs, consider your educational needs to narrow your list further. Students who require housing and desire a full-time schedule may opt for schools that offer more intensive programs with graduate housing, while students who need a more flexible schedule and wish to live off campus should look more carefully at schools that offer part-time or remote coursework options.

Prepare for tests and applications

Most business schools require incoming students to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and achieve a minimum score for admission. Schools of education typically include the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) instead of the GMAT in their application requirements. However, it all depends on your specific school, so visit the admissions website or contact the admissions program before you sign up for one of these exams.

Your admissions packet will likely include:

  • An application letter or letter of intent
  • Sealed transcripts from previous degree programs with a minimum GPA
  • Letters of recommendation from professors, colleagues, or employers
  • A resume (for business schools)
  • A sample lesson plan (for schools of education)
  • A log of classroom observation hours (for schools of education)

Select your program

For business students pursuing a master’s degree in training and development, researching an institution’s school of business is essential. Visit the campus before making your decision, and if possible, sit in on a business class or two. Talk with MBA graduates from the school and read works written by professors in the business school. Schools of professional studies may offer the same degrees, so spend time comparing the type of coursework you’d rather complete during your program.

If you’re applying a postgraduate degree in training and development to an education career, learn more about your chosen institution’s school of education. Speak with graduates and professors in the program about the school’s educational philosophy and teacher readiness program. Students who already have a teaching credential can explore their professional network for additional program recommendations.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Paying for your master’s degree in training and development begins with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which lets you know how much aid you can expect for your program. The financial aid office at your chosen school can guide you toward additional sources of assistance, including grants, scholarships, and the employer tuition assistance program for students already in the workforce.

Best 50 Accredited Training and Development Degree Programs

Best Master's in Training And Development Degree Programs_2024 badge

North Carolina State University

Webster University

Amberton University

Tennessee Tech University

Middle Tennessee State University

University of St. Francis

University of Wisconsin - Stout

Roosevelt University

Discover More Options

How we rank schools

We reviewed many master’s in training and development degrees, including Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degrees. Our list includes a variety of online, traditional, and hybrid programs to offer flexibility.

In order to qualify for our list, programs had to be regionally accredited. Many of these options also have programmatic accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect From a Training and Development Degree Program?

A training and development degree program prepares students for leadership roles in their desired careers. With project-based coursework that includes lectures, class discussions, and case studies, a degree in training and development applies educational practices to several industries.

Potential courses you’ll take in a training and development degree program

  • Leadership and Communication. Students learn the fundamentals of rhetoric and strategic communication and apply them to specific projects. They use multimedia, including presentations and videos, to convey complex ideas to a broad audience.
  • Human Resources. A postgraduate human resources course reinforces the core tenets of an HR curriculum, including workforce regulations, management theories, and human resources law. It weaves these concepts into an organizational framework focused on training and development.
  • Instructional Design. Courses focused on instructional design allow students to build educational or business-based curricula and identify the materials needed for implementation. They teach students to use assessment strategies to check for understanding and how to differentiate when addressing different audiences.
  • Project Management. Scheduling, prioritization, task management, and effective communication are building blocks of a postgraduate project management course. Students incorporate leadership skills and foundational organizational knowledge for projects in varying industries, including business, finance, education, military, construction, or development.

Training and Development Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a training and development degree program?

You’ll find all the application information for your training and development degree program on your school’s admissions website. Contact the school’s admissions office or program representative for additional information, such as early admissions, interview requirements, or accelerated studies options. Keep track of application deadlines and submit your packet as early as possible.

How much does a training and development degree cost?

The average tuition for a graduate school program is $20,513. This includes tuition and fees, which would be higher if students require housing or transportation.

How long does it take to earn a training and development degree?

A master’s degree in training and development requires 30 to 60 graduation credits, which usually takes two years for full-time students to complete. Some postgraduate degrees combine certifications — such as a teaching credential — with master’s degrees in education, but this shouldn’t affect the timing of completion. Part-time students should expect their program to take up to three or four years if they take fewer than 15 to 30 credits per graduate year.