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How Do I Become a Management Development Specialist?

By T. L. Childree
Updated May 17, 2024
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Management development specialists recruit, train, and evaluate the performance of prospective management candidates. A significant amount of formal education is typically required to become a management development specialist. A college-sponsored internship is usually completed to gain hands-on work experience prior to employment. Professional certification from a well-known organization may also be needed to prove that your knowledge and skills are current.

A certain amount of formal education is usually needed to become a management development specialist. Completion of a bachelor’s degree program in human resources is usually the first step in this career path. A four-year degree in business administration may also be sufficient for entry-level employment. Some colleges offer degree programs designed specifically for a human resource training and development career. Typical coursework for these programs includes instruction in management and accounting, as well as labor law and industrial psychology.

Although a bachelor’s degree may be acceptable for entry-level training, a master’s degree is usually required to become a management development specialist. A master’s degree in business administration, human resources, or labor relations is accepted by most employers. Coursework for this degree should include interdisciplinary subjects, such as social science and behavioral science, as well as accounting, computer science, and information systems. Additional training in a specific technical field may be required for employment with certain organizations. You may also need to become proficient in a foreign language in order to work for an international firm or government agency.

Most employers want you to have some previous related work experience before you become a management development specialist. The best way to acquire this experience is to work as a clerk in a human resources department. Many colleges offer some type of sponsored internship during the last two years of a bachelor’s degree program. The experience gained from this on-the-job training will help you become familiar with the different recruiting practices and training techniques utilized in the management development profession. You may also be able to acquire relevant work experience by volunteering as a human resources clerk for a non-profit organization if a sponsored internship is not available.

Professional certification from a widely-recognized organization can sometimes be very helpful when starting this career. Professional certification assures prospective employers that your knowledge and skills are up-to-date with current practices. In the United States, the American Society for Training and Development offers the well-known Certified Professional in Learning and Performance designation to qualified individuals. The HR Certification Institute issues several internationally-recognized professional certifications to candidates who successfully complete a comprehensive knowledge and skills examination. These certifications typically require a specific amount of education or work experience, and must be renewed periodically through continuing education courses.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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