25 Best Master’s in Training & Development for 2021

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If you’re thinking about getting your master of training and development degree, you’re making a smart move. Organizations, non-profits, and government agencies are constantly working to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their training methods. A master of training and development degree is the perfect start for a long-lasting career in an ever-changing field. In addition to job security, earning a master’s in training and development allows graduates to work in an industry of their choosing. From pharmaceuticals to education to finance, every industry wants its employees to go through high-quality training. 

A master’s in training in development makes you an asset to any company. Earning your training and development masters also puts you in a unique position to work on a consulting basis. If you’re interested in developing a business and working as your own boss, a training and development master’s can be a good start to showing business owners and training managers that you have the education necessary to improve their employee training methods. 

Methodology: Ranking the Best Master’s in Training and Development Programs 

To rank the best Master of Training and Development degree programs, Great Business Schools editors focus, as always, on accredited colleges and universities. Programs are ranked according to significant factors including cost, salary potential, and student satisfaction, using data from IPEDS and Niche. 

1. University of Illinois

The University of Illinois offers a Master of Education (Med) in Human Resource Development. This master of training and development gives students the skills and knowledge they need to improve workplace performance and promote individualized learning in their companies. The program requires at least 32 hours of credit, which can include courses such as work analysis, principles in human resource education, learning technologies, instructional and training system design, learning on the job, and organizational development.

The College of Education at the University of Illinois uses knowledge, teaching, research, and outreach to address the challenges that face today’s students. The school develops the habits of mind, methods, and tools that create innovation and help make education accessible and fair for all learners. The College of Education prepares leaders and teachers to take on roles as researchers, school administrators, and educators.

Highlight At least 12 credits of the student’s coursework must be at the 500 level.
Degree MEd in Human Resource Development

2. Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology offers an MS in Human Resource Development. This masters in training and development gives students the skills to assist their companies with their employment and workforce needs. This program takes a global outlook on the human resources degree. Graduates can retain top talent, increase workforce productivity, and maximize the potential of their employees. They can develop and implement corporate strategy and help employees develop their skills. Students gain skills in employee development, performance management, instructional design, and training.

Rochester Institute of Technology uses innovation and creativity to shape the future and change the world for the better. The community is socially conscious, engaged, and intellectually curious. RIT combines design, arts, and technology to offer a range of academic opportunities to its students. The school has an exceptional research program.

Highlight RIT’s Human Resource Development boasts 91% positive outcomes for its graduates.
Degree MS in Human Resource Development

3. George Washington University

George Washington University offers a Master’s in Organizational Leadership and Learning. This master of training and development emphasizes leadership skills. The program’s goal is to create responsible, ethical, and humanistic leaders who are focused on learning and able to lead change. Graduates of the program are innovative, resourceful, and adaptable. They are creative and have good critical thinking skills. This master’s program is a rigorous academic program that prepares professionals for a wide range of career opportunities. The curriculum prepares students to maximize the performance of teams, organizations, and individuals.

George Washington University started out as a teacher’s college and the Graduate School of Education and Human Development still has a strong focus on learning and education, but now its focus is on graduate level education. The school has five departments, one of which is the Department of Human and Organizational Learning.

Highlight The curriculum includes hands-on training.
Degree Master’s in Organizational Leadership and Learning

4. Northwestern University

Northwestern University offers a Master’s in Learning & Organizational Change. This masters in training and development prepares students to become confident leaders who face change without missing a beat. Graduates learn innovative methods and approaches to deal with change and help fellow employees learn. They become fearless agents for change in the workplace, regardless of which industry they work in. Students can opt to complete a certificate program in leading equity, design thinking, or coaching while they earn their master’s degrees.

The School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University focuses on doing good works. The school uses a variety of disciplines, such as education, sociology, organizational studies, computer science, economics, and psychology, to bring about change in the world.

Highlight This program is online and can be completed by students living anywhere in the United States.
Degree Master’s in Learning & Organizational Change

5. University of Maryland – Baltimore County

The University of Maryland-Baltimore County offers an MA in Instructional Systems Development. This master of training and development requires at least 36 hour hours, which includes seven core courses and five electives. Students must also complete a professional portfolio. This program combines practical design experience with research. It gives students a strong foundation in training principles, instructional systems development, and adult learning. There is a focus on the implementation of technology for instructional purposes.

The University of Maryland-Baltimore County combines hard work and a supportive and caring community to achieve excellence in the lab, the classroom, and the concert hall. The school values all people as individuals and encourages everyone to work together to learn, create new things, and solve problems. UMBC is a public research university that combines service, research, and teaching to improve the lives of Maryland residents.

Highlight Students gain practical skills through project-based work and internships.
Degree MA in Instructional Systems Development

6. Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University offers an MA in Workforce Education and Development. This masters in training and development addresses national trends, contemporary legislation, and critical issues in national and state workforce development. Depending on their area of emphasis, students learn about special populations, student leadership development, school-to-work initiatives, and/or advanced competencies required for career training programs. The curriculum teaches students to put new programs into practice at the post-secondary and secondary levels.

Western Michigan University is passionate about making the future better for its community and for the world. The school takes an innovative approach to education and offers top-notch research opportunities that help students prepare for their future careers. Ninety percent of WMU graduates find a job they love in their field of choice.

Highlight Students who are new to workforce education and development can complete the requirements for their initial teacher certification as part of the program.
Degree Master in workforce education and development 

7. Kansas State University – Olathe

Kansas State University Olathe offers an MS in Adult Learning and Leadership. This master of training and development trains students to become more effective leaders in the workplace. The program requires 33 credit hours and teaches students to become better leaders, managers, program planners, facilitators, trainers, and educators. It is designed for working adults and is divided into eight-week classes that meet just one night per week. The program requires 18 hours of core credits and 15 hours of electives. Students can choose an area of specialty such as leadership dynamics or adult learning.

K-State Olathe is the newest campus at Kansas State University. It has been open since 2011. The campus provides a place for students to develop their professional skills, work with industry professionals, and transform themselves into key assets for their employers.

Highlight This program is offered online, on campus in Olathe, and at Fort Leavenworth.
Degree MS in Adult Learning and Leadership

8. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers an M.Ed. in Learning, Design, and Technology. This masters in training and development is designed for students seeking technology, design, and learning credentials that will prepare them for curriculum design and leadership positions in the development and training field. There are three concentrations to choose from: training and development, online learning and teaching, and school specialist. The curriculum is project-based and is designed to accommodate students who work full-time. It is recommended that students take two courses each semester plus one course during the summer.

The Cato College of Education sets itself apart through its engaging approach to preparing teachers so that they are poised for success on the first day of their new careers. The school strives to lead the nation in engagement, excellence, and educational quality.

Highlight This program is the only graduate-level LDT program in the state of North Carolina that has been nationally recognized by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT).
Degree M.ED. in Learning, Design, and Technology

9. University of North Texas

The University of North Texas offers an MS in Workforce Learning and Performance. This master of training and development requires 36 semester hours, six of which are for the thesis. Students can opt for problems instead of the thesis. Required courses include educational statistics, evaluation and accountability in applied technology and training, needs analysis and curriculum development, interpersonal skills development, facilitation strategies in applied technology and training, two capstones in workforce learning and performance, and foundations of workforce learning and performance.

The University of North Texas is a community of doers and dreamers. The school allows their talented students to establish their own path to success. UNT’s alumni make an impact on the world, and the school’s faculty enthusiastically shares its knowledge with students.

Highlight Students must complete a research project that addresses their field of specialization.
Degree MS Workforce Learning and Performance

10. Villanova University

Villanova University offers an MS in Human Resources Development. This masters in training and development gives students a general overview of the human resources field. Students learn practical skills as they perform several of the business activities that are encountered regularly by human resource professionals. This program requires 36 credits, 27 of which are in required courses. There are six credits of prerequisite courses that must be completed or waived before starting the program. Students must complete a capstone experience before graduation.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the oldest college at Villanova University. The school has over 40 academic programs and advances understanding, knowledge, and intellectual courage to help its student find purpose in the midst of life’s many challenges. There are opportunities for students to participate in collaborate learning and research alongside experienced faculty members.

Highlight This program can be completed online or on campus.
Degree MS Human Resources Development 

11. University of Denver

The University of Denver University College offers a master’s concentration in Learning and Development. This master of training and development gives students insight into the strategies they need to manage and facilitate adult learning. They learn how lead development and learning efforts to improve employee performance. Students gain evaluation, facilitation, and technology skills and learn to implement employee learning and development programs. The curriculum consists of four core courses, five concentration courses, and three electives. Students must complete a capstone project or a portfolio capstone.

University College is the University of Denver’s college of continuing and professional studies. The school offers career-focus graduate programs for working adults. University College is the largest graduate school at UD, with around 3000 students. The average age of its students is 34.

Highlight Students can complete the program in as little as 18 months, either in the evenings or online.
Degree Masters of Learning and Development

12. Towson University

Towson University offers an MS in Human Resource Development. This masters in training and development prepares students to work as human resource professionals. The program emphasizes effectiveness, organizational change, leadership, development, and human resources management practice. There are four areas of study to choose from: employee training and development, leadership and organization development, industrial and organizational psychology, and general human resource management.  

Towson University is one of the top 100 public universities in the country. It got its start as Maryland State Normal School in 1865. The school’s welcoming environment is conducive to learning and living, and the school is located near many community, cultural, and educational resources. TU offers more than 100 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs. It has a 17:1 student-faculty ratio and 78% of its faculty members hold the terminal degrees in their fields.

Highlight There are evening classes available for all courses for the convenience of working adult students.
Degree MS in Human Resource Development 

13. Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University offers an MA in Leadership and Organizational Development. This master of training and development teaches students the skills they need to be effective, reflective, and self-aware change leaders. Students learn to use organizational development and leadership practices to improve organizational dynamics. The program strengthens students’ leadership skills through project-based learning, reflections, and assessments. Students are encouraged to network with their peers, who come from all over the world and have diverse professional and academic backgrounds.

Saint Louis University educates the whole person—heart, mind, body, and spirit. The school was established in 1818 and is one of the oldest and most respected Catholic universities in the country. SLU is known for its commitment to service and faith, compassionate healthcare, life-changing research, and world-class academics.

Highlight Students can earn a graduate certificate while earning their master’s degree, often without taking any additional credits.
Degree MA Leadership and Organizational Development

14. Penn State University

Penn State College of Education offers an M.Ed. or MS in Workforce Education and Development. This masters in training and development is designed for students who work or want to work as researchers, administrators, trainers, or faculty members in settings that focus on work education in youth apprenticeship, cooperative education, occupational home economics, schools, and private sector firms. The M.Ed. degree requires six credits from outside of the workforce education and development program and the MS requires an essay, thesis, or other paper.

The College of Education at Penn State has over 1,400 undergraduate and 1,600 graduate students. Its teacher education programs have been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education since 1965. The school offers certifications, graduate degrees, and undergraduate degrees in 58 subject areas.

Highlight Penn State also offers a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Organizational Development and Change.
Degree MEd in Workforce Education and Development 

15. Cleveland State University

Cleveland State University offers a master’s in Adult Learning and Development. This master of training and development provides students with the knowledge, competencies, and theories to be able to administer, teach, and plan administer programs for adult learners. The program gives students an understanding of the challenges and issues that face adult learners in a variety of learning environments. It emphasizes practices, history, philosophies, and theories related to adult development and learning, program planning, teaching adult learners, and administration.

Cleveland State University is a public research university that was established in 1964. It has more than 17,000 students and the university is divided into ten schools and colleges. CSU offers over 175 academic programs. The school is committed to conducting important research and providing upward mobility for its students. CSU’s students graduate with an average of $2,000 less debt that the average in the state.

Highlight Students in the program participate in internships to gain practical experience.
Degree Master in Adult Education 

16. University of Central Oklahoma

The University of Central Oklahoma offers an M.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education with a concentration in talent development. This masters in training and development prepares students to work in government service-oriented environments and industry training. Graduates work in community service programs, corporate training, career technology education, adult basic education, and public school adult programs. The program is designed to prepare students for graduate programs in education and training. Graduates are capable of teaching at the post-secondary level.

The University of Central Oklahoma provides transformative learning experiences to its students. The school prepares future leaders in an environment that offers a variety of opportunities. There are over 200 student organizations and students have access to the cultural and entertainment offerings, employment opportunities, and internships available in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

Highlight Graduates work as educational consultants, administrators of adult education programs, business/industry trainers, and adult and higher education teachers.
Degree MEd in Adult and Higher Education – Talent Development 

17. Roosevelt University

Roosevelt University offers an MA in Training and Development. This master of training and development prepares students to advance their careers or start new careers in the training and development field. Students gain skills in instructional technology, talent management, learning and development consulting, instructional design, e-learning, and corporate training. The program can be completed in just 12 months online. Courses include instructional systems design, e-learning design, performance consulting, coaching for talent development, training strategy and leadership, and training delivery.

Roosevelt University is dedicated to having an impact on the world through student success. The school is just the right size and its welcoming campus makes students feel like they belong. Roosevelt takes an innovative approach to education and has an inclusive campus life.

Highlight This program is designed to conform to the 2014 Association for Talent Development Competency Model.
Degree MA Training and Development

18. Saint Joseph’s University

Saint Joseph’s University offers an MS in Organization Development and Leadership. This masters in training and development was created for students who want to develop company culture and lead change in the workforce. The program follows an experiential learning format that lets students apply what they learn right away. The small classes offer interactive learning experiences with challenging and engaging activities and projects. Students learn how to train, motivate, and retain their employees and shape the culture of the workplace. The program covers self-development, diversity, organizational development and psychology, and talent development.

Saint Joseph’s University offers a variety of graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs, including more than 100 undergraduate majors. For the class of 2018, 97% of students were in graduate school or employed within six months of graduation. A 2019 study by Georgetown University placed Saint Joseph’s in to top 3% nationwide for median 10-year earnings.

Highlight This program is offered online or on campus and takes 24 months to complete.
Degree MS in Organization Development and Leadership

19. Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University’s Global Campus offers an MA in Education with a focus in training and development. This master of training and development provides the skills and knowledge students need to be effective employees in the field of educational leadership. The program consists of a 9-semester hour core and 21-25 additional credits to be determined by the student’s academic advisor for a total of 30-34 semester hours. All students must complete a thesis, field study, or capstone project.

Central Michigan University started out as a teacher’s college and still has a strong foundation in the field of education. The school has over 24,000 students and over 235,000 alumni. CMU alumni work as teachers, fashion designers, journalists, broadcasters, policymakers, lawyers, CEOs, doctors, and much more.

Highlight Core classes include advanced technology in education, research for educational leadership, and field study.
Degree MA in Education: Training and Development 

20. Syracuse University

Syracuse University offers an MS in Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation. This masters in training and development teaches students to design, evaluate, and identify instructional solutions for performance and learning problems. The program combines software and technical skills with soft skills in collaborative problem solving, instructional processes, planning, and theory. Students learn how to create, design, evaluate, and implement technology-supported and non-technological instructional solutions for a wide variety of professional and educational settings.

The School of Education at Syracuse University prepares socially just and thoughtful leaders for the education field. The school is committed to producing knowledgeable and highly skilled counselors, administrators, teachers, and other professionals. It believes in social justice and advocates for the rights of marginalized populations in health, education, and other areas. The school encourages collaborative partnerships, diversity, academic excellence, and interdisciplinary scholarship.

Highlight This fully online program allows students to complete their degrees from anywhere.
Degree MS in Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation

21. Jacksonville University

Jacksonville University offers an MS in Leadership & Learning with a concentration in instructional leadership, training, and development. This master of training and development teaches leadership skills and theories in a challenging, engaging, relevant, project-based learning environment. Students learn how to apply what they learn to real-world situations in order to transform their communities, organizations, groups, and teams. The program covers leadership efforts, effective communication, grant-writing and resource development, and program evaluation and development.

Jacksonville University has been named one of the best colleges in the South for more than ten years in a row by US News & World Report. JU is a private school that offers over 100 programs in nursing, physics, engineering, marine science, business, and more. The school is close to the Atlantic Ocean in sunny Florida. There are more than 4,000 students, including 1,000 graduate students.

Highlight The program requires 34 credit hours and takes 18 months to complete.
Degree MS in Leadership & Learning

22. Webster University

Webster University offers an MA in Human Resources Development. This masters in training and development prepares students for careers in human resources development. The program gives students a working knowledge of many organization, group, and individual development tactics and strategies. It is designed for students who want to advance their careers or start a new career in human resources development. Students gain the abilities, skills, and knowledge to work in human resources development firms, boutique training firms, and corporate offices.

Webster University is a private university with over 100 years of experience. This non-profit institution was founded in 1915 by the Sisters of Loretto. The sisters wanted to make education accessible to everyone. The school has over 12,000 students and offers nine-week courses. Webster is dedicated to high-quality learning and individual excellence.

Highlight Webster University also offers a dual MBA/MA in Human Resources Development.
Degree MA Human Resource Development

23. Dallas Baptist University

The Graduate School at Dallas Baptist University offers an MA in Professional Development with a concentration in training and development. This master of training and development puts its own unique spin on graduate studies. The professional development program allows students to choose from a wide variety of tracks, including training and development and professional life coaching.

Dallas Baptist University’s Graduate School combines graduate education with a focus on the Christian faith. The school is dedicated to servant leadership and helps prepare students for the leadership roles they will fill in the future. DBU’s master’s degrees are designed for working professionals and provide maximum flexibility to meet the needs of the students. The school’s faculty members enrich the educational experience by bringing their own real-world experiences to the classroom.

Highlight Admissions requirements include official transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a current professional resume.
Degree MA in Professional Development 

24. Walden University

Walden University offers an MS in Leadership with a specialization in leader development. This masters in training and development provides strategies to help organizations thrive by maximizing the effectiveness of their human capital. Students learn how to develop leadership development strategies, analyze future and current human capital needs, and recognize talent. They also learn how to use development, training, knowledge management, and communication to improve organizational capacity. Students study strategies that leaders use to manage the performance of individual team members.

Walden University was founded by two educators who wanted to create educational opportunities for working professionals. They used distance learning to enable adult students to earn advanced degrees. The school has been around for 50 years and has helped over 140,000 professionals advance their education. Walden specializes in providing a flexible education for working professionals.

Highlight The program requires 39 semester credits, 27 of which are in core courses.
Degree MS in Leadership Leader Development

25. Cairn University

Cairn University offers an MS in Organizational Development. This master of training and development was created for students who want to understand how to work together with a variety of people, promote positive change, and create a productive work environment. This program focuses on professional and personal development and addresses the issue of being a Christian in the business world. Class discussions address the issues students face in their organizations, churches, and businesses. This is a hybrid program. Some classes are fully online, while others require an on-campus presence.

The School of Business at Cairn University prepares students to excel as leaders in the business world while focusing on a Christian worldview. Students develop soft and hard business skills as well as a strong Christian character in order to stand out as leaders in their homes, churches, and ministries.

Highlight Students can maintain full-time status while taking just one seven-week course at a time.
Degree MS Organizational Development

What is a Master’s in Training and Development?

If you’re wondering, “what is a master of education in training and development?” you’re not alone. While the name of the degree can sound wordy, the concept is simple. A person who has a master’s in training and development knows how to develop and implement effective training programs across a variety of industries. Those with a master’s in training and development can also work with companies to evaluate their current training programs, finding weak spots, and developing methods to improve programs. 

In addition to developing programs that help employees perform their jobs well, it can also be important for people who work in training and development to create programs that are enjoyable for employees. A part of the answer to “what is a master of education in training and development?” regards employee satisfaction. No supervisor wants their employees to dread training/professional development days, and a professional with a master’s degree in training and development can ensure that training programs are as fun, engaging, and memorable as possible. 

Why is Training and Development Important?

The importance of human resources development often relates to the fact that training and development teams work with the HR department. Many businesses that have poor training programs see the effects without understanding the cause. When employees don’t have proper training, their motivation is often low, and poor workplace morale affects both productivity and performance. 

The importance of training and development in human resource management is clear: organizations want their employees to perform well, and few employees begin a new career knowing the details of the position. Solid human resources training can teach employees more about their company, can help them to understand how their day-to-day actions contribute to the overall success of the organization and can help them to understand the nuances of their job that are key to project success. 

While many companies understand the importance of training and development in human resource management, it can be tough to develop a great training program. What motivates one employee may not motivate another. Trainings that provide long-lasting positive effects on workplace morale can be tough to create, and this is where professionals who have their master’s in training and development can be invaluable to a company’s success. When you work with a company to help them develop their training program, you’re not just affecting them positively in the short-term – you may also be contributing to the company’s success for years to come. 

How is Training and Development Related to Human Resources? 

Many people who are interested in working in training and development aren’t sure about the difference between training and development vs human resources. Training and development can teach employees how to do specific, technical aspects of their jobs. While training and development opportunities and requirements may be offered through a company’s human resources department, the human resources professionals within an organization often are not experts in developing trainings. 

To understand training and development vs human resource management, it’s important to know what goes on in a human resource office from day to day. In addition to ensuring that employees are going through mandated trainings, human resource departments also handle payroll, employee issues, onboarding, employee complaints and disputes, retirement and health care plan issues, and more. 

If you’re debating between training and development vs human resource development as a career path, it’s important to consider what you want your day to day life at work to entail. If you enjoy teaching, helping people move forward in their careers, and staying on top of innovation that allows people to maintain knowledge, training and development is likely a good fit for you. If you prefer one on one work with employees during tough situations, human resource development may be a better fit.

Carrie Morris

Warren Dahl