What Does it Mean to Study Corporate Training?
As rising stars in the global economy like China, Malaysia, and India wrestle manufacturing jobs away from the United States, American businesses understand that innovative research, development, and business practices enable them to even the playing field by adding value for customers. As America becomes a knowledge economy, the best way to achieve these goals is to invest heavily in quality corporate training programs.
For individual employees, corporate training offers the opportunity to expand on the skills and talents first developed during their college years. For companies, corporate training programs can help incoming team members adapt their college knowledge and life experiences to the specific needs and culture of a corporation. And for corporate trainers, this industry offers the chance to enjoy a teaching career without the traditional drawbacks of low salary and difficult pupils.
With new learning techniques that allow employees to enjoy significant professional development opportunities that do not interfere with the day-to-day operations of a business, more companies rely on the skills of experienced corporate training specialists to bolster their bottom lines.
Facets of Corporate Training
Corporate training provides solutions for overcoming a wealth of workplace obstacles. Many programs offer training in a broad range of areas and skills, but offer courses directed at succeeding in the corporate work atmosphere. These courses include but are not limited to:
- Time and Project Management
- Effective Communication
- Proper Business Writing
- Customer Service
- Team Building
- Public Speaking
- Conflict Resolution
- Business Development
- Food Safety Practices
- Knowledge Management
These various specializations add depth to the participants' skill sets. Corporate training programs are constantly evolving as they implement new training methods and curricula. Incorporating both hands-on experience and an understanding of program management strategies, corporate training professionals master all aspects of the training process, including human resource development, internal and external marketing, and maintaining professional standards.
Corporate Training Can Happen Anywhere
The strongest corporate training opportunities inspire and entertain participants, while providing significant insights and skills that can help them perform their jobs more effectively. Once confined to slideshow lectures by organizational gurus like Peter Drucker and Steven Covey, corporate training experiences now include trips to fish markets, safaris, and four-star kitchens. Many corporate trainers enjoy expanding the minds of their students by exposing them to unusual environments where success requires critical thinking.
Professional corporate trainers must possess the ability to turn any environment into a learning situation. Though most corporate training programs take place in lecture halls or hotel ballrooms, corporate trainers must also be effective in one-on-one coaching scenarios in conference rooms and in client offices. Corporate trainers must understand when to deviate from the script and laser in on a specific learning opportunity to help their student succeed.
Just as colleges and universities have pioneered tools for distance learning, corporate trainers have exploited technological breakthroughs to present simultaneous learning experiences throughout the world. Many corporate trainers offer conference calls and teleclasses to allow program participants to participate in group discussions from the convenience of their own offices and conference rooms.
In addition, corporate trainers also allow students to participate in video chats and online discussion boards that add value to the professional development experience while extending the trainer's reach to far-flung locations. Corporate trainers can use the experiences from their own degree programs to build the necessary skills to provide effective learning experiences over large distances.
Trends for Corporate TrainingCareers
Corporate trainers can choose from two paths to long-term financial success and career fulfillment. Traditionally, corporate trainers work as consultants, in order to provide targeted expertise in critical areas. The most successful corporate trainers, like Tom Peters and David Allen, have synthesized their teaching techniques so that apprentices can replicate the live experiences, usually for significantly lower costs than an audience with the masters.
Some companies that rely more heavily on corporate trainers have focused their attention on cultivating training experts in-house. General Electric's former CEO, Jack Welch, became notorious for investing significant amounts of time and money on their Six Sigma program. GE created thousands of Six Sigma experts, who denote their skills using colored belts (like those worn by martial artists), and the Six Sigma methodologies have spread to many other companies. A few decades after their introduction, this internal corporate training program has become a standard at many companies throughout the globe.
Many companies have also shifted their budgets to reflect the growing importance of corporate trainers. Realizing that specialized trainers can provide more effective training than line managers, companies have recruited more training specialists to turn informal learning experiences into standardized programs. Whether training staff members on specific job duties or exposing them to broader principles of workplace performance corporate trainers will enjoy continued demand both inside and outside of large corporations.
Another exciting trend for professional corporate trainers is the growing marketplace for professional development for solo entrepreneurs and job seekers. In today's competitive marketplace, a freelancer or a recent graduate can set themselves apart from the pack by demonstrating that they already have the same skill set as existing employees. Further more, many small business owners treat training programs as opportunities to network with other self-employed individuals. On all fronts, corporate trainers who open their work up to companies of all sizes can benefit from today's renewed emphasis on business skill development.
Types of Corporate Training Degrees
Many corporate trainers are respected specialists in the field who have industry experience and are continually evaluated on their performance. This assures the participant of high standards of the facility or training program he or she attends. With some exceptions, most corporate training business is generated through word-of-mouth or referral programs.
What is a Corporate Training degree?
Courses in a corporate training degree program include:
- workplace training
- business development
- capability management
- public relations skills
- company specific terminology
- strategic operational and planning processes
Corporate training programs are increasingly used by multinational companies to help employees from different cultures adapt to new behavioral, business and legal rules. Therefore, many corporate training majors study high-demand foreign languages such as Japanese, German, or Spanish.
Most corporate training degrees are offered at the master's and PhD level, building upon undergraduate degrees in a variety of subjects. Online education degree programs in corporate training have become increasingly common as the field expands to accommodate working adult students.
Certificates and Single Courses in Corporate Training
Certificate programs and single courses offer many professionals the ability to pick up valuable corporate training skills without committing to a lengthy, formal degree program. These programs especially appeal to managers or small business owners who have worked their way up through an industry using significant on-the-job experience in lieu of a traditional degree in their field. Certificate programs can focus on specific corporate training topics like workplace conditions or larger skill sets like public speaking and assessments. In some cases, schools will allow participants to apply their completed certificate program course credits toward a degree program later in their careers.
Bachelor's Degrees in Corporate Training
Bachelor's degrees that focus solely on corporate training are rare. Many bachelor's degrees in business and communications offer students the opportunity to select a concentration in corporate training. Bachelor's degree candidates often enroll in wide-ranging liberal arts courses, like sociology, economics, and history. These courses can give future trainers a broad cultural background that they can build on in a graduate program in corporate training.
In addition, many corporate training majors use their college degree programs to focus on learning key languages that make them more attractive to global employers. Many companies design products in one company, manufacture them in another, and ship them to customers worldwide. In these scenarios, a company will want to employ trainers who can fill multiple roles and communicate with various sets of stakeholders who speak different languages. The broad cultural background offered by a bachelor's degree allows trainers to relate to other people in their own cultures, an essential quality in today's global economy.
Master's Degrees in Corporate Training
The master's degree is the most common in the corporate training field. It's designed to build on a student's more generalized college degree and experience by adding a level of depth in this rapidly changing field. Many master's degree candidates pursue their graduate programs in order to qualify for higher level-management positions, or to pursue career moves as solo entrepreneurs or small business owners.
Online Degree Programs in Corporate Training
Busy professionals who want to expand their role in their current organization or even make a much larger career jump can take advantage of online degree programs in corporate training. By participating in online class sessions, bulletin board discussions, and interactive videoconferences, students can earn their degrees and credentials from the comfort of their own offices or living rooms.
Many companies offer tuition reimbursement programs for emerging leaders who wish to pursue advanced degrees. Because of the flexibility of many corporate training degrees, students can join many degree programs regardless of their previous education or work experience. In many cases, a diverse work background actually helps a corporate training major apply his or her learning to a wider range of workplace scenarios.
What Can You Do With a Degree in Corporate Training?
There is a wide range of jobs available for the corporate training graduate. Corporate training skills translate easily across different business platforms, as the core qualities learned from the degree program are valuable to nearly every kind of business. Here are a few of the most common career paths for a corporate trainer:
In-house Corporate Trainer
In previous decades, companies often relied on experienced managers to directly train their staff. Unfortunately, many of the skills required to lead a team do not always translate well to the "classroom." In addition, when a company expands its workforce to keep up with customer demand, managers do not always have time to constantly train new hires. For all these reasons, more and more companies turn to experienced in-house corporate trainers to meet their staff development needs.
In-house corporate trainers enjoy the advantage of watching their students grow and evolve over time. They can see the results of their work play out in terms of sales results or improved customer service ratings. Evaluating those figures, they can expand and adapt their training programs to provide more effective learning experiences for new hires. They can also design remedial programs for employees who have not met company expectations.
Companies with internal trainers often enjoy stronger customer loyalty, especially when trainers work closely with front line staff members. Many companies offer their trainers bonuses, commissions, and stock options contingent on company-wide performance, in addition to the standard salary and other perks
Deployment Training Specialists
Many companies that satisfy needs in the business-to-business (B2B) sector rely on corporate training specialists to educate their customers on the proper use of their products. Especially in the software industry, where updates and revisions can potentially confuse and irritate customers, these roving groups of trainers drop into client worksites and make sure that their customers' teams can properly integrate their products to meet their goals.
In addition to traveling to client facilities, customer training specialists can also work from centralized locations. From the corporate hub, they design and improve customer training programs, which can be delivered on a central campus or through distance learning. As an extension of customer support, a good trainer can head off future drains on a company's resources by ensuring that customers do not require further assistance after their training session has ended. Companies that invest in expanding front-end training can often recoup huge savings from their annual customer support budgets.
Specialized Subject Area Trainer
In addition to working across the platform areas of a company, a corporate trainer could be assigned to focus on a specialized area of expertise. Subject matter experts in the areas of time management, sales, productivity, interpersonal communication, and other areas enjoy the opportunity to help team members grow these important skills.
Though many Fortune 500 companies employ subject matter experts in-house, a growing number of corporate trainers work as solo entrepreneurs or as part of consulting agencies. These trainers allow their clients to benefit from their deep, specialized knowledge while focusing their resources on the things they do best.
Subject matter experts can often choose the kind of lifestyle that fits them. Many trainers who love to travel can enjoy the opportunity to visit client locations around the world. On the other hand, a growing number of solo entrepreneurs work from home, offering conference calls, videoconferences, and other means of helping customers solve their training dilemmas remotely. Many subject matter experts write books and software to spread the word about their expertise in an area, which creates residual revenues from book royalties and public speaking engagements.
Beyond the classroom and conference style learning that companies use to develop their staffs, many executives have started to invest in the services of personal business coaches who help design customized learning opportunities. Unlike consultants, who prescribe a set of remedies for common situations, a coach works directly with top decision makers who must adapt to new challenges with little preparation
Coaches often work with company leaders in uncharted waters, and must use their intuition and street smarts to stay current with industry trends. By focusing on helping their clients make consistently strong decisions, coaches help companies improve their bottom lines.
Many coaches work as solo professionals and connect with clients via telephone, earning a monthly or even an hourly fee. Increasingly, consulting firms have added coaching to their menus of services. Other top companies have started to seek out experienced coaches to leverage their expertise exclusively within one company. For creative corporate training majors with strong communications and interviewing skills, a career as a coach can result in huge dividends.
Corporate Training Certification, Licensure and Associations
Corporate trainers do not need any specific license to perform their work. But subject-matter trainers and coaches often earn certifications in their specialties from independent credentialing organizations. These voluntary certifications assure companies and clients that their trainers have received sufficient training and field experience to carry out their duties efficiently and effectively. In some specialties, corporate trainers can earn higher salaries and fees by completing higher levels of formal education. Many Fortune 500 companies expect their consultants and trainers to have earned a graduate degree, if only to assure trainees of their leader's stature in the business world.
Trade associations like the International Coaching Federation and the National Speakers Association provide freelance corporate trainers the opportunity to build their reputations on a national platform by documenting and evaluating their work.