Best Online Master’s In Training and Development Programs 2021

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The growing training and development field requires a strong eye for talent and an ability to assess an organization’s training needs. With a master’s in training and development, graduates work as training and development specialists or training and development managers. These in-demand careers pay above-average salaries. Training and development managers, for instance, earn a median annual salary of over $113,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Our list ranks the best online master’s in training and development programs for 2021. Prospective students can use the rankings to find the best fit for their interests, budget, and career goals.

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Questions on Master's in Training Development Programs


  • Can you get a training and development degree online?

    Yes; many universities offer online training and development degrees for students wanting a flexible enrollment option. The format appeals to working professionals seeking career advancement.


  • How do I start a career in training and development?

    Specialized training in needs assessment, talent development, and instructional design prepares learners for careers in training and development. A master’s program offers advanced training.


  • Is training and development a good career?

    Training and development professionals earn above-average salaries and benefit from strong demand. For example, training and development managers earn a median annual salary of $113,350.


  • What kinds of jobs can you get with a master's in training and development?

    Jobs in the field include training and development specialist and training and development manager. Professionals also work as instructional designers, instructional coordinators, and human resources managers.


Why Get a Degree in Training and Development?

A training and development degree offers focused instruction in talent development, instructional design, and needs assessment. The degree provides specialized training in a human resources field, preparing professionals for career advancement. For example, a master’s degree leads to leadership roles such as training and development manager.

A growing number of universities offer online training and development programs. The flexible, convenient format appeals to working professionals and students balancing school with other responsibilities. An online format also lets prospective students shop around for the most affordable program without restricting their choices to local schools.

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How Much Does a Training and Development Degree Cost?



The cost of a master’s degree varies depending on the program, student’s enrollment status, and institution. For example, the University of Louisville charges $737 per credit for its online master’s degree in human resources and organizational development. Villanova University costs $1,035 per credit to earn an online master’s in human resource development. With many programs requiring 30-36 credits, prospective students should expect to spend at least $20,000 in tuition and fees.

Some programs offer tuition discounts for in-state students or distance learners. For example, at Western Carolina University, master’s students in the human resources program pay $757 per credit if they live outside of North Carolina but only $247 per credit if they qualify as an in-state student.

In addition to tuition, master’s students also spend money on textbooks, transportation, and living expenses. Distance learners often save money since they do not commute to campus.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree



How much can you afford to spend on a master’s degree? Prospective graduate students can use the calculation tool below to determine their budget for a master’s in training and development program. The calculator uses income, expenses, and expected financial aid to determine how much students can afford in tuition.

College Affordability Calculator

Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.

How Much Do Training and Development Majors Make?

A training and development degree prepares graduates for various career paths. At the entry level, training and development specialists administer and conduct training programs. According to the BLS, this in-demand career pays a median annual salary of $61,210 with much-faster-than-average projected job growth.

With professional experience or a master’s degree, training and development specialists move into managerial and supervisory roles. Training and development managers design and implement training programs. They work with executives to identify an organization’s training needs and create custom programs to meet those needs. Training and development managers also supervise specialists and instructors. The median annual salary for the profession exceeds $113,000.

Other career paths with a master’s in training and development include human resources manager, college administrator, and instructional coordinator. In these roles, professionals rely on their management and instructional design training. Compensation and benefits managers also draw on the analytical and assessment skills gained during a training and development degree.

Courses in Training and Development



Training and development programs build analytical and leadership skills through their coursework. Master’s students study learning theories, instructional design, program assessment, and e-learning design during their degree. These courses train students to assess an organization’s training needs, develop strategic training and development plans, and implement training programs.

Hands-on projects and assignments build the knowledge and skills necessary for training and development jobs. Many programs incorporate a capstone project or thesis to help learners gain professional experience and prepare for the workforce. This section covers common training and development courses. While each program sets its own curriculum, many feature the following options.

Learning and development introduces master’s students to the field. The course emphasizes corporate development, educational development, and instructional design. Students review assessment strategies, ways to determine training needs, and talent development. The course prepares master’s students for specialized coursework and projects.

Master’s students learn about design and instruction in an e-learning format. The course covers learning strategies for computer-based instruction, e-learning planning, and implementing an e-learning program. Other topics include storyboarding, project management, and various instructional contexts. Learners create a web-based e-learning module as part of the coursework.

Instructional design courses blend learning theory and course design to train master’s students in creating a training and development program. Learners examine instructional methods, design principles, and learning module design to build their own training program. The coursework includes project-based assignments and training in program assessment and evaluation.

Certifications and Licensure for Training and Development



Training and development professionals generally do not require licensure to practice in their field. However, a voluntary professional certification helps learners showcase their strengths and stand out on the job market. A talent development, project management, or human resources certification can open the door to higher salaries and specialized roles.

Certified Professional in Talent Development


The Association for Talent Development awards the CPTD credential for talent development professionals with a minimum of five years of professional experience. Candidates must also demonstrate at least 60 hours of professional development. The credential requires passing scores on a three-hour exam that asks multiple choice and case management questions.

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Project Management Professional


The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers the PMP credential for experienced project leaders. Candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree and three years of project management experience. The credential requires passing scores on a 180-question multiple choice exam. PMI reports that PMP-holders earn a 25% higher salary than noncertified professionals.

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SHRM Senior Certified Professional


The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) awards the SHRM-SCP credential to candidates with a graduate degree and three years of experience in human resources. The credential recognizes leaders in the field with strong strategic and analytical skills. Candidates take a four-hour exam that includes 95 knowledge questions and 65 situational judgement questions. SHRM members receive a discount.

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Scholarships for Training and Development



Training and development graduate students qualify for multiple scholarship opportunities. Professional associations, private foundations, and private donors all support degree-seekers in human resources specialties, including training and development. In addition to the following opportunities, master’s students should research scholarships based on their university and career goals.

  • SHRM Graduate Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: SHRM offers scholarships for master’s students in human resources-related programs, like training and development programs. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.5 GPA and attend a regionally accredited university.

    Amount: Up to $5,000

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  • Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Zonta International awards this scholarship to women pursuing graduate degrees in business management, including human resources management, at an accredited college or university. Online students also may apply. Candidates fill out an application form on the organization’s website, submit recommendation letters, and write a 500-word essay.

    Amount: $2,000

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Best Online Master’s In Training and Development Programs 2021



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