What Is a Corporate Trainer?

Corporate trainer giving a presentation

Do you enjoy working with people and consider yourself a good communicator? If so, there are a lot of career options for someone like you to explore, including that of corporate trainer. What is a corporate trainer? This detailed career guide explains what corporate trainers do and how you can pursue a future in this exciting profession.

The Process of Becoming a Corporate Trainer

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 benefits. However, professional development isn’t only a boon for businesses.

Dedicated employees greatly value the opportunity to expand their skill sets and knowledge base. They recognize that being better trained enables them to do their jobs well and efficiently, and that having advanced skills makes them more employable and equipped to pursue high-level positions. In fact, 94% of employees surveyed have stated they would stay at the same company longer if that company were committed to the employees’ professional training and development.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.

A Look at a Typical Day for a Corporate Trainer

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.

Can Corporate Trainers Specialize in a Particular Area?

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 corporate trainers need to 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.

Charisma is also helpful, because audiences tend to be more engaged in training seminars and workshops if the speaker is charismatic and self-confident. Other important skills and characteristics include the following:

  • Adaptability – Corporate trainers need to continually assess and tweak their teaching methods to suit diverse groups of people.
  • Passion – Passion is more important than you might think. Consider your high school teachers, for example. You were likely more engaged in classes in which it was evident that your teacher was passionate about the subject matter.
  • Problem-solving abilities – Corporate trainers must be creative in developing solutions to the complex problems that organizations face.

Becoming 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 guidance 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 take 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. There is no single universal bachelor’s degree program that is appropriate 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 can certainly 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.

Taking the First Step: Earning a Communications Degree

A communications degree is an ideal academic credential for aspiring corporate trainers because communication is at the heart of this profession. Communications degree programs guide students in becoming 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’ll have the opportunity to take a few elective courses. 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 on-campus clubs and activities, and work your way into leadership positions. A debate club or a similar communications-oriented activity would be particularly 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 just a bachelor’s. However, some employers do prefer that their corporate trainers have a graduate degree, and some may even require it.

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, and it may also open the door to possible tuition reimbursement from your employer. 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.

Look for a degree program offered by an accredited, reputable university. You should also be fully aware of the graduation requirements before you enroll. For example, some master’s degree programs may require students to complete a master’s thesis, which is a lengthy research paper.

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

Although a bachelor’s degree is all that’s needed to get your foot in the door of this profession, it can be helpful to further enhance your career qualifications. If you already have some work experience as a corporate trainer, acquiring new qualifications can help you pursue higher-level and better-compensated positions.

One way to become a more desirable employee 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; instead, 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.

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 Strong Demand for Corporate Trainers?

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.

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 empower students to acquire industry-specific skills to further enhance their career trajectory.

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Retrieved from:

1LinkedIn, 2019 Workplace Learning Report in November 2021.

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.

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