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Training and development specialists serve as educators and leaders in their organizations. They regularly assess an organization's strategic plan and goals to conduct needs assessments, design and implement training programs, evaluate staff performance, and provide recommendations for changes. Some training and development specialists may also use counseling to improve staff performance and help an organization increase its productivity.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), training and development specialists earned a median salary of $61,210 in 2019. With work experience and an online master's in training and development, a graduate can acquire a lucrative career in a growing field.

What Are the Best Online Master's in Training and Development Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 5:

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Rank School Location
1 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
2 Villanova University Villanova, PA
3 Clemson University Clemson, SC
4 Cairn University Langhorne, PA
5 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students. Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Training and Development Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 92%

The University of Southern California offers an online master of science in human resource management to prepare human resource professionals for careers in a global context. This program emphasizes concepts such as talent acquisition and retention, organizational culture, performance management, and employee relations.

This online master's in human resource management degree requires 24 credits and can be completed in 1-2 years. Core courses include human resource strategy, organizational culture and employee outcomes, organization design, and talent management.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. As a part of the application process, students should submit their transcripts, resume, statement of purpose, and 2-3 recommendation letters. USC is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

2

Villanova University

Villanova, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 91%

Villanova University offers an online master of science in human resource development that mirrors the curriculum of its on-campus degree. Designed for working professionals, this program is suitable for anyone looking to begin or advance their career in human resources.

This 36-credit degree can be completed in two years. Core courses include financial and human capital, HR analytics, training and development, and employment law. Military students are eligible to receive a 10% discount on tuition.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and have earned a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students who do not meet this GPA requirement may supplement their application by submitting GRE scores and other materials to provide evidence of their ability to succeed in graduate school. Villanova is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association Commission on Higher Education.

3

Clemson University

Clemson, SC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

Clemson University's online master's in human resource development prepares graduates to improve human and organizational performance. Students may also complete an optional emphasis in athletic leadership as a part of their program.

Students can earn this 36-credit degree in two years. Core courses include human performance improvement, instructional systems design, consulting for education and industry, and organizational performance improvement. The optional athletic leadership emphasis offers courses such as psychological issues in collegiate athletics and ethical issues in collegiate athletic administration.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Clemson University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

4

Cairn University

Langhorne, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 62%

Cairn University offers an online master of science in organizational development that explores leadership principles and organizational behavior. This program is available in a hybrid format; some courses are delivered entirely online, while others are delivered mostly online with occasional Saturday meetings on campus.

This 39-credit master's degree can be completed in 20-24 months. Core courses include foundations of organizational leadership, philosophy of leadership, principles of research, and organizational culture and change. As a Christian university, the curriculum also includes courses in Christian theology.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum 2.5 GPA. Cairn is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

5

Webster University

Saint Louis, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

Webster University's online master of arts in human resources development prepares graduates for entry-level roles in human resources or to advance in their current HR-related careers. Webster also has a dual-degree program in which students can work toward an MBA and an MA in human resources development simultaneously.

Webster's 36-credit HR development program includes coursework in organizational behavior, training and development, group development and change, and career management. Students advance to candidacy status after they have completed 12 credits of the program with a "B-" or higher.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in a business-related discipline from a regionally accredited institution. Prospective students who do not meet this requirement must complete prerequisite courses, such as management theory and practices, financial accounting, marketing, and a few others. Webster is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

6

Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, LA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

Louisiana State University's online master of science in leadership and human resource development prepares learners for careers in HR and organizational development. Graduates are eligible for positions such as chief learning officers, human resource directors, HR specialists, and training coordinators.

Students can earn this 36-credit degree in just 12 months. Courses include philosophy of organization science, program evaluation and design, training and development in organizations, and managing change in organizational systems.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students with a GPA between 2.75 and 2.99 may qualify for probationary admission. Individuals are also required to submit a resume, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation. LSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

7

Western Carolina University

Cullowhee, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 62%

Western Carolina University offers an online master of science in human resources, preparing graduates for leadership roles in the human resource field.

This 36-credit degree takes two years to complete. Core courses include organization acumen for HR leaders, principles and practice in HR, HR research and evaluation methods, and HR consulting.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and competitive GRE scores. They must also submit three letters of recommendation. WCU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

8

Lewis University

Romeoville, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

Lewis University offers an online master of arts in organizational leadership that emphasizes theories of organizational change, behavior, and management. Students can choose from five concentrations, including training and development.

This 36-credit degree can be completed in two years. Students pursuing a master's in training and development complete courses like assessing leadership skills, leading change, conflict management, and psychology of motivation. Students are also required to complete a capstone that includes a detailed case analysis.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students who do not meet this criteria may qualify for provisional admission; individuals admitted on a provisional basis must complete the first nine credits of the program with a 3.0 GPA or higher to continue. Lewis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

9

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 74%

Drexel University's online master of science in human resource development emphasizes training, organizational development, career development, and mentoring.

This degree requires 45-46 quarter credits and can be completed in four 10-week quarters. Courses include leading and evaluating change, coaching and mentoring for sustainable learning, principles of adult learning, and evidence-based evaluation. Students can choose a thesis track, a practitioner track, or a lesson study track. Each of these tracks requires a different capstone experience.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students who do not meet this GPA requirement may qualify for provisional admission. Applicants with a GPA below 2.75 must also sit for an interview. Drexel is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

10

University of Louisville

Louisville, KY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

The University of Louisville offers an online master of science in human resources and organization development for working professionals, helping them advance their careers in the human resources field. Courses are available entirely online.

This 33-credit master's track includes coursework in strategic human resources, evidence-based research in HR, adult and organizational learning, and organizational analysis. Electives are offered on topics such as ethics in the workplace and performance improvement. Military students qualify for discounted tuition rates.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum 2.5 GPA. GRE scores are not required. Up to six credits of graduate coursework may be transferred into this program from another institution. UofL is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Training and Development Program?

An online master's in training and development program usually requires 30-36 credits and takes 1-2 years to complete.

Individuals pursuing a master's in training and development typically enjoy teaching others and promoting positive workplaces. Most prospective students also show an interest in using technology.

An online master's in training and development program usually requires 30-36 credits and takes 1-2 years to complete. Some programs mandate enrollment in one or more in-person classes to facilitate student-faculty relationships and small group learning. Schools may also assign students to small cohorts, where learners study and progress through the program together.

Some master's in training and development programs offer concentrations that allow students to further customize their degree plan. For example, some focus on human resources (HR) and employee development, while others emphasize training and curriculum design in education.

Master of science (MS) programs in training and development usually focus more on technology application than those conferring master of arts (MA) degrees. Some schools may also offer a master of education (M.Ed.) or master of science in education (M.S.Ed.) for learners who plan to pursue careers in school settings.

In addition to standard coursework, some master's in training and development programs require students to complete practicum hours and/or a capstone project. Some students elect to join a professional organization to gain experience, build connections, and get access to scholarships. Associations like the Society for Human Resource Management and the Association for Talent Development offer certifications that can increase graduates' employment opportunities and earning potential.

Admission Requirements for Online Master's in Training and Development Programs

Individuals applying to an online master's in training and development program should hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. Some programs may also request evidence of prior experience in training and development or a related field.

Most master's in training and development programs require applicants to submit academic transcripts, GRE test scores, and an application fee of $40-$100. Applicants may also be asked to submit a personal statement, recommendation letters, and a resume or curriculum vitae. Most schools require a minimum GPA, usually ranging from 2.5-3.0.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Training and Development Program?

Most master's in training and development programs teach topics like adult learning principles, organizational change management, and instructional design and evaluation. Regardless of the focus, most departments prepare students to assess training needs and design instructional modules to meet learning objectives. Students also learn to employ the effective training strategies for adult learners in various industries.

The Adult Learner

This course covers the sociological and psychological theories that explain how and under what conditions adults learn. Students explore topics like motivation and engagement, student or trainee diversity, and learning processes in different contexts. They also learn to apply theories and course material to develop and deliver new instructional material.

Consultation for Education and Industry

Students learn how to apply training and development principles as freelance consultants or corporate employees. Aspiring consultants gain an understanding of relationships within the professional environment. They also learn how to conduct client assessments, develop programs, and evaluate intervention effectiveness. The course covers theories and application in human resource development.

Integrating Technology

This course teaches prospective consultants how to select and use the most appropriate technology tools to do training and development work. Students learn to consider training objectives, trainee needs, and available resources when choosing technology to achieve training outcomes. Topics also include distance learning and the latest available technology platforms.

Instructional Design

Instructional design theory includes principles of curriculum design and program evaluation. It also explores how to conduct needs assessments and implement training materials in workplace and professional settings. Students learn about the impact of technology on learning and how it informs instructional design and training delivery.

Organizational Change Management

Organizational change refers to how organizations alter one or more of their structural or cultural components in response to a current or future need. This course explores how managers use needs assessment, personnel development, and training to implement organizational change. Students learn how education and personnel development can help facilitate organizational change.

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What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Training and Development Degree?

According to the BLS, employment prospects appear promising for training and development specialists, especially for those who produce and deliver training courses in mobile and online formats. The BLS projects that job opportunities for these specialists will grow 9% between 2019 and 2029 — a faster projected growth rate than the average for all other occupations in the U.S.

Jobs in management tend to be the most lucrative positions in training and development. For example, the BLS reports that training and development managers made a median salary of $113,350 in 2019.

An online master's in training and development can provide several career options. Learn more about these opportunities by reading our training and development program guide.

Career Development Specialist

These professionals give career consultations to people who need help searching for a viable career path. A career development specialist can work in various settings, such as schools, private companies, or community agencies. Most states require specialists to get a training and development certification.

Curriculum Developer

Curriculum developers usually work in school settings, and some possess a teaching license. Some may also serve in administrative positions. These professionals typically design training or instructional materials for specific topic areas. They also might help teachers obtain the resources they need. Curriculum developers make sure their lessons and curricula follow district and state requirements.

Human Resources Director

This professional supervises a department that hires and trains new employees, and they serve as a liaison between employees and management. HR directors often manage other training and development specialists who create and coordinate training activities and materials. HR directors also act as advocates for both employees and their employers.

Training or Instructional Coordinator

Training or instructional coordinators develop curricula, mainly in educational settings. They assess student outcomes, analyze standardized test data, and ensure that a school's teaching adheres to regulatory standards. Training coordinators also develop training modules and recommend necessary changes to curricula. Many training coordinators possess prior teaching or school administrative experience and a teaching license.

Training and Development Manager

Training and development managers plan, design, and implement training programs to enhance skills and increase productivity throughout an organization. They also assess employee performance and skills retention. These managers may design all of an organization's training program components, including supplemental materials, module content, trainee engagement strategies, and evaluation criteria.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Training and Development Programs

Is a master's in training and development worth it?

A master's degree in this area can lead to many career opportunities and the potential for high pay. A training and development program equips graduates with leadership, organizational, and communication skills that can be applied across several industries. Individuals can work in human resources, education, and business. Also, getting a master's provides job seekers with a competitive advantage on the job market.

What can I do with a master's in training and development?

A master's in training and development can open doors to careers in education, business, and other industries. Graduates can work as counselors, educators, HR professionals, trainers, curriculum designers, and managers. Many employers seek job applicants who know how to teach adult learners, use technology to design and deliver training programs, and help build employees' teamwork and leadership skills.

Is it better to have a master's in education or a master's in training and development?

People who desire a career in an educational setting may prefer earning a master's in education, while individuals who want to work as educators in more corporate settings might choose a master's in training and development.

How much money can I make with a master's in training and development?

Annual pay depends on a person's education level, work experience, employer, sub-field, certification, and geographic region. However, training and development specialists earned a median salary of $61,210 in 2019, according to the BLS. Individuals who want to increase their earning potential might pursue leadership positions or seek jobs in the business, technical, or scientific sectors.

What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with a master's in training and development?

Managers, directors, and other leaders in training and development tend to hold higher-paying jobs. According to the BLS, training and development managers earned a median wage of $113,350 in 2019. Although training directors earn an average base salary of about $87,000, more experienced managers can make more than $144,000 yearly, according to PayScale.