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Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

An online master’s in training and development prepares students to work with human resources departments to design and implement corporate training programs. Training and development managers are responsible for educating employees and directing skills-improvement and knowledge-enhancement initiatives.

Most online graduate degrees in training and development require between 30 to 40 credit hours, which typically takes up to two years for a full-time student to complete. The average tuition for a graduate degree is $20,513 per year. Private schools are the most expensive, averaging $28,017 per year, while public schools are more affordable at approximately $12,596. A graduate degree pays off in the long run, with training and development managers bringing home an annual salary of roughly $120,000.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Training and Development Program

Choose your area of study

As a training and development student, you can choose a Master of Arts (MA) degree or a Master of Science (MS) degree. Both are regarded equally in the field but prioritize different aspects of the same area of study. An MS degree will focus more on curriculum design’s scientific and technical aspects, while an MA will prioritize the humanities and theoretical aspects of adult learning.

Depending on the kind of organization you hope to work for, there are several areas of concentration you can choose from:

  • Business administration
  • Consulting
  • Human resources leadership
  • Health administration
  • Instructional design
  • Training management

If you already know what you would like to do after you graduate, look for programs that closely match these career goals.

Research schools and programs

You should only consider institutions that have been approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. These organizations evaluate schools to ensure they provide students with a high-quality education. Those who attend a school that isn’t regionally accredited may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

Ideally, your master’s in training and development program will also be accredited by a respected industry group like the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). This programmatic accrediting organization has particularly high standards for business education.

You should also research other considerations such as program length, cost, and accessibility. To learn more about any schools that you’re interested in, you can visit the school’s website, contact an admissions counselor, follow the school on social media, or attend an in-person or virtual open house.

Prepare for tests and applications

Application requirements vary by school and program. The best way to prepare for the application process is to contact your school’s admissions department. A counselor can tell you if there are any grade point average thresholds or if you need to take any standardized testing. They can also tell you which materials you need to submit, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, or a personal statement.

Some schools offer rolling admissions, but others have strict deadlines. Be sure to search your school’s website and student catalog for additional program requirements as well.

Select your program

Take advantage of your school’s student services. Support services for online students are an essential feature of any program. Since you likely can’t visit your campus physically, it’s reassuring to know how accessible assistance will be when you need it.

Similarly, ask your admissions counselor about student groups or online meetups where you can get a feel for the program’s sense of community. Other questions you might want to consider:

  • Are faculty mentorships available?
  • How does the school provide academic and social support?
  • How does the school ensure it is meeting the needs of its students?

Before making your final decision, review your needs and goals again. Do you plan to attend school full-time or part-time? Are you only interested in 100% online programs, or are you fine with a hybrid program that has a few in-person requirements? Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace, while others only offer synchronous courses, which involve remotely attending lectures and completing assignments at the same time as other students — which of these two online learning formats do you prefer? Your school should accommodate your scheduling needs and learning preferences.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

While you can usually find the per-credit cost for your program online, there are often other student fees that aren’t included in this number. Depending on your program, you may have technology, library, or laboratory fees that can add up to hundreds of dollars. Contacting your school’s financial aid office is the best way to get an accurate estimate of costs.

Most students begin their financial planning by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form will help determine your eligibility for affordable loans and scholarship programs. Also, those who already work in the field should see if their employer offers tuition assistance benefits.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Training and Development Programs

Best Online Masters in Training and Development Programs Badge

NC State University

USC Bovard College

Western Carolina University

Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations

Drexel University

Webster University

Clemson University

University of Louisville

Penn State World Campus

University of Georgia

University of St. Francis

Middle Tennessee State University

Tennessee Tech University

Amberton University

Pittsburg State University

Colorado State University

Boise State University

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Lewis University

Purdue University

Roosevelt University

Eastern Illinois University

University of Memphis

Idaho State University

University of Wisconsin at Stout

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How We Rank Schools

The degrees on this list are focused exclusively on training and development. While all are master’s degrees, some programs award a Master of Science while others award a Master of Arts.

All of the schools featured on this list are regionally accredited institutions. Many of these options also have programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), which assesses business-related programs for educational excellence.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Training and Development Program?

Experts in organizational training and development are in high demand and tasked with delivering effective education that creates positive change in workplace outcomes.

Students in an online master’s in training and development program can expect to take courses in psychology, communication, learning theories, instructional design, and needs assessment. Some technology training may be required, as e-learning has become a standard on-the-job training method. In addition, some programs will require hands-on fieldwork and a final capstone project.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in training and development program

  • Foundations of Instructional Technology. Students are introduced to the foundational theories of instructional strategies and computer-based learning tools.
  • Instructional Design. Students examine instructional design methods and learn how to develop interventions using analysis, design, and evaluation. The course covers a variety of learning environments and instructional strategies. Students also study the art and science of communication.
  • Educational Leadership. Students explore the theories and practices of leadership, specifically within the framework of educational programs and institutions. They will examine leadership theories, psychology, organizational change, and conflict resolution.
  • Principles and Practices of Adult Learning. Students apply their skills in adult learning to create effective training programs and learning environments. They evaluate internal and external conditions that affect learning and strategies that increase instructional effectiveness.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Training and Development?

Career outlook

Graduates with an online master’s degree in training and development have a wide range of career paths to explore. The skills acquired during their education make them valuable assets to organizations in various sectors. Furthermore, as businesses increasingly embrace online and remote work environments, there is a growing demand for professionals who can design and deliver effective virtual training programs. This trend has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, making online training and development expertise highly relevant.

Here are some common career paths for individuals with a master’s degree in training and development:

  • Training and development manager — Design and manage an organization’s employee training programs.
    • Median annual salary: $120,000
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 6%
    • New job openings projected: 3,500 annually
  • Human resources manager — Oversee employee relations, payroll administration, and talent acquisition and development.
    • Median annual salary: $130,000
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 5%
    • New job openings projected: 15,500 annually
  • Project management specialist — Oversee all aspects of a project, including budgeting, staffing, training, and progress monitoring.
    • Median annual salary: $95,370
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 6%
    • New job openings projected: 68,100 annually

Online Master’s in Training and Development Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in training and development degree program?

Speak to your admissions counselor about your educational goals and personal experience. They can advise about transfer credits, application fee waivers, and what materials you need to apply to your program.

Typical graduate admissions will require the following documents:

  • Official transcripts. It can take some time to retrieve official transcripts from your undergraduate institution, so include this in your planning.
  • Letters of recommendation. Colleges often ask for two or three letters from former academic advisors attesting to your discipline and scholarship.
  • GRE scores. While not every school will ask for these, you may need them if you apply for any scholarships or grants.
  • Application essay or letter of intent. This essay is a good way for colleges to assess your writing and communication skills while also understanding your commitment.

How much does an online master’s in training and development degree cost?

Public schools tend to be more affordable than private schools, though public schools typically charge a lower per-credit fee for in-state students. Non-residents can sometimes pay more than double the in-state rate.

For instance, North Carolina State University charges about $553 per credit for residents and $1,663 for non-residents. Some colleges have a smaller gap, such as Oakland University, which charges residents $872 per credit and non-residents $1,027.

Generally, a student can expect to pay at least $20,000 in total tuition for an online master’s in training and development degree.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in training and development degree?

Most online master’s in training and development degrees require between 30 to 40 credits, or roughly 10 to 13 courses.

Full-time students can finish the program in one to two years, but many students opt for part-time attendance, especially if they remain employed while they go to school. Part-time students will likely need three to five years to complete their degree. Depending on the program, there may be opportunities to finish more quickly with transfer credits or an accelerated option that allows students to take more credits simultaneously.

Is an online master’s degree in training and development worth it?

This degree can open doors to leadership roles in training and development, human resources, or organizational improvement. If you aspire to manage training programs or lead organizational change initiatives, the advanced knowledge and skills gained through this master’s degree can be quite valuable. Although multiple factors, such as location and job responsibilities, impact the salary range for jobs in this field, the average pay rates are high for training and development professionals.

Online programs can be an excellent choice for many learners. Those who are already working will appreciate the flexibility of online programs that offer asynchronous courses, available at your convenience. Earning your degree online also demonstrates to potential employers that you are self-motivated and possess good time management skills.

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