What Is a Corporate Trainer?

Corporate trainer giving speech and training group

Do you enjoy working with people and consider yourself a good communicator? If so, there may be various career opportunities for someone like you to explore, including that of corporate trainer. This detailed career guide explains the answers to questions like, What is corporate training? and What do corporate trainers do? and offers a look at how to become a corporate trainer.

In This Article:

The Role of Corporate Trainers

Employee training and development is critical in all types of businesses, regardless of industry or sector. When employees are better equipped to do their jobs well, the whole organization can benefit. However, professional development isn’t only an advantage for businesses.

Dedicated employees may value the opportunity to expand their skill sets and knowledge base. They recognize that being better trained can enable them to do their jobs well and efficiently, and that having advanced skills can make them more employable and equipped to pursue high-level positions. In fact, about two-thirds of workers surveyed stated they believed that professional development should be available to them throughout their career, no matter their level of seniority.1 

So, what is a corporate trainer? Quite simply, a corporate trainer is a professional who specializes in the training and development of employees. It’s their job to help others do their own jobs better.

Corporate trainers may hold an in-house position at a large corporation, where they exclusively train that company’s employees. Others work for consulting firms. In this setting, a corporate trainer may work with a variety of companies, visiting each periodically to conduct training workshops and other programs.

What Does a Corporate Trainer Do?

Every day is a little different for a corporate trainer, and their responsibilities are typically dependent on the specific needs of the employees. In general, however, corporate trainers may structure their schedules to accommodate any of the following tasks:

  • Assessment: Corporate trainers must first determine which skills employees need to perform their jobs well and improve their productivity. They assess the overall mission and goals of the company and speak with executives, human resources managers and employees to determine their training and development needs.
  • Curriculum development: After determining the needs of the employees, corporate trainers will select an appropriate curriculum. Alternatively, they may design their own curriculum to fit the employees’ needs.
  • Preparation: Corporate trainers must thoroughly prepare to deliver training materials at events.
  • Training and development: Corporate trainers conduct workshops, seminars and similar events to instruct employees.
  • Evaluation: After conducting training events, corporate trainers must evaluate the effectiveness of their own efforts. They may speak with individual employees to find out how they are implementing their new skills in the workplace.
  • Modification: Based on their evaluation, corporate trainers may modify their training materials and delivery methods.

Corporate trainers must also perform some relevant administrative duties. For instance, they must coordinate the logistics of holding training events, such as establishing a schedule, facilitating enrollment and ensuring that all training programs are implemented within budget.

What Is Corporate Training in Specialized Areas?

Corporate trainers can and often do specialize in a particular industry or area of business. For instance, some corporate trainers who are skilled with technology specialize in teaching employees how to use various software programs and cloud-based applications. 

Other corporate trainers may specialize in areas such as the following:

  • Teaching employees soft skills, such as emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication
  • Empowering sales representatives to more effectively connect with their audiences and boost sales
  • Helping employees become better at time management and productivity
  • Working with managers and executives to help them develop better leadership and communication skills

In addition, some corporate trainers may specialize in particular industries, such as finance or manufacturing.

Essential Skills and Characteristics for an Aspiring Corporate Trainer

There are a number of skills and characteristics that may help corporate trainers be effective. Among the most important is verbal communication. Corporate trainers must be excellent public speakers who can work well with both small and large groups of people.2

Other important skills and characteristics include the following:2

  • Critical thinking — apply critical thinking skills when selecting training materials and developing effective training programs
  • Collaboration — apply interpersonal skills when working with other staff members, subject matter experts and organizational leadership
  • Instructional skills — engage in lesson planning and teaching via courses and seminars
  • Business skills — understand how training goals align with overall business objectives and keep training activities within budget

How To Become a Corporate Trainer

Now that you know the answers to the questions, What is a corporate trainer? and What does a corporate trainer do? you may be wondering how to become one. If you’re still in high school, talk to your school counselor about your career goals. You may be able to adjust your course load to better fit your future plans.

Aspiring corporate trainers can benefit from a liberal arts education, so you may consider taking courses in English, communications, history and social sciences. Psychology courses are also helpful, as are business-related courses such as business administration. Technological skills are increasingly important for corporate trainers, so try to take some computer courses as well.

After you graduate from high school, you’ll need to earn at least a bachelor’s degree to become a corporate trainer.2 There is no universal bachelor’s degree program that is required for these professionals. However, most corporate trainers earn a degree in communications, education, business administration or human resources.

After earning your undergraduate degree, you’ll need to decide whether you would like to pursue advanced education. Corporate trainers aren’t always required to have a master’s degree, but earning one may improve your employment outcome. In addition to — or in lieu of — a master’s degree, you’ll also have the option of earning a corporate training and development certificate from a professional organization.3

Take the First Step and Earn a Communications Degree

A communications degree is an ideal academic credential for aspiring corporate trainers because communication is at the heart of this profession.2 Communications degree programs can provide opportunities for students to become critical thinkers, analytical reasoners and informed advocates. 

The curriculum will vary from one school to the next, but in general, you can expect to study topics such as the following:

  • Improving verbal and nonverbal communication among people of varying cultural backgrounds
  • Leading and encouraging participation in small groups
  • Best practices in corporate communication, with a look at organizational theory, leadership and interpersonal communication
  • Developing, implementing and evaluating corporate training and development programs

You may have the opportunity to take a few elective courses. If so, choose them strategically with an eye toward your specific career aspirations. For instance, if you would like to specialize in training employees to become more proficient with various technologies, then you should take electives in information technology and computer science.

You may also consider declaring a minor in order to further bolster your employability. You could earn an industry-specific minor, such as a minor in computer science, or — if you aren’t quite sure whether you would like to specialize in a particular industry or area — you might take general electives in foreign languages, psychology, education, business administration or human resources.

Remember that although you’ll learn the fundamentals of communication in your classes, effective communication is a skill that requires a great deal of practice before you can master it. Take the initiative to participate in campus clubs and activities, and potentially work your way into leadership positions. A debate club or a similar communications-oriented activity could be advantageous for you.

Do You Need a Graduate Degree to Become a Corporate Trainer?

There is no universal requirement that calls for corporate trainers to earn a master’s degree. It’s possible to land your first job in this field with a bachelor’s. However, some employers do prefer that their corporate trainers have a graduate degree, and some may even require it.2

After graduating with your bachelor’s in communications degree, you may choose to gain some experience in the field before deciding whether to enroll in a master’s degree program. This path would give you greater perspective before pursuing your graduate degree. Master’s degree programs can often be completed entirely online, which means you could continue to fulfill your professional obligations while improving your academic credentials.

Which type of graduate degree should you pursue? There are a variety of suitable options for an aspiring corporate trainer, such as a degree in business with a concentration in training and development. Alternatively, you could choose a master’s degree in communications, human resources management or organizational development.2

Gain Experience

Before getting hired in a corporate training job, you might want to gain experience through other positions in the business world. Internships and career experience will not only hone your professional communication skills, but some employers may prefer to hire corporate trainers who have experience working in their company's specific industry.3

You might want to keep this in mind after earning your communications degree. Think about the types of businesses that you want to work with, then keep an eye out for relevant opportunities.

Learn From Others

Another helpful way to develop the skills needed to be a good corporate trainer is to observe and learn from others. Watch presentations, attend meetings and find videos to give you a good grasp on what makes a good trainer and what teaching methods seem the most successful. Paying special attention to lectures and instructors in classes can also be helpful for you.

Apply for Corporate Training Jobs

Corporate training is a growing field, and you may find it to be a meaningful, rewarding career, as well.4 After earning your communications degree and gaining job experience, you can look for businesses and agencies that are hiring for corporate training jobs. Consider looking for entry-level jobs at first, such as a position as an assistant to a corporate trainer.

What Can a Corporate Trainer Do To Enhance Their Career Qualifications?

Although you may only need a bachelor’s degree to get started, it can be helpful to further enhance your qualifications as your career progresses. If you already have some work experience as a corporate trainer, acquiring new qualifications may help you position yourself to potentially pursue higher-level and better-compensated positions.

One way to achieve this is to join a professional organization. There are a few different options for corporate trainers, including the following:

  • The Association for Talent Development (ATD)
  • The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI)
  • The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)

Another great option to consider is Toastmasters International. This organization isn’t specifically for corporate trainers; it teaches members how to become better public speakers. As a corporate trainer, it’s critical that you be able to prove to potential employers that you are an excellent public speaker, and being a member of Toastmasters can help with this.

Beyond joining a professional organization and polishing your public speaking skills, you can improve your professional qualifications by earning one or more certifications. Corporate trainers aren’t necessarily required to earn an advanced certification, but it can be an effective way to demonstrate expertise.2

Many of the professional organizations for corporate trainers offer certifications and other credentialing options. ISPI, for example, offers the following credentials: Certified Developer of Training and Certified Facilitator of Training. Similarly, ATD offers the following certification programs: Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) and Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD).

Is There a Need for Corporate Trainers?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for training and development managers is expected to increase by 6% from 2022 through 2032, faster than average. This indicates that employers expect to hire about 2,700 new employees through this time period.4

There are several reasons why this profession is expected to enjoy healthy growth in the years to come. One prominent reason is that companies are hiring an increasing number of remote workers and transitioning their in-office staff to a remote work model. Corporate trainers are needed to help workers master the use of new technologies for professional learning and remote work.5

Companies are also increasingly conscious of the need for cost efficiency. They rely on corporate trainers to optimize existing resources and restructure training programs to become more efficient and effective.

If you feel passionate about helping businesses thrive and professionals improve their qualifications, you can start on your career pathway as an aspiring corporate trainer at Grand Canyon University. The Bachelor of Arts in Communications degree program is designed to instill a range of communications competencies, including the development and implementation of corporate training programs. GCU also offers a number of minors that can provide you with the opportunity to acquire industry-specific skills to further enhance your career trajectory. Fill out the form on this page to get started.

1 Gutierrez, K. (n.d.). Mind-blowing statistics that prove the value of employee training and development. Aura Interactiva, SHIFT eLearning. Retrieved Dec. 11, 2023. 

2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). How to become a training and development manager. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved Dec. 11, 2023. 

3 AccessPlanit. (n.d.). Hiring trainers: Overcoming the challenges. Retrieved Feb. 16, 2024.

4 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Training and Development Managers, retrieved in Dec. 2023. 

5 Tsipurskey, G. (2023, Jan. 20). Remote work training: Unlocking the potential of your remote team. Forbes. Retrieved Feb. 16, 2024. 

Approved by the assistant dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences on Feb. 14, 2024.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.