Valuable experience & expertise
If you have attended a professional development seminar or conference, you know doubt have been educated by a consultant or trainer. What makes them uniquely qualified to educate others? Experience and expertise.
Trainers are rarely generalists. They have mastery in one or more specific subject areas. They look to their own experience to offer advice on systems. They are able to carve out plans for businesses that allow for increased efficiency or productivity. In addition, trainers pass along strategies that they have developed to be successful in their own niche.
For educators, it is often natural to transition from the classroom to the role of lead or expert. One of the most common transitions for educators is to move to a position where they are responsible for supervising the implementation of curriculum. Language instructors may become translators. Educators with administrative experience may leap into positions responsible for developing human resources policies and procedures.
If you’re interested in taking the leap from educator to trainer, you need to prepare yourself for the transition. Consider the following tips as you begin to explore your options.
Gain valuable work experience
Before becoming a professional trainer, it is advisable to work for several years. When you train others, they anticipate that you will be able to relay real life experiences to accompany any theory, policies or procedures.
Build your knowledge base
Though it is possible to “see it all” in your line of work, it is improbable. Network with others in your field. Review relevant resources and join professional associations. These efforts will help you stay abreast of current trends in your field.
Set goals for yourself
Deciding to become a trainer goes beyond making a personal declaration. It is important to set goals that help you map out your path. Consider the following as prepare for the leap:
- What topic or subject area you want to train in
- Geographic limitations or how far you are willing to travel
- The industries or sectors best suited to your skills
- What training delivery method you will use--face-to-face, one-on-one, online
- and more...
Identify a mentor
An important part of exploring your opportunities is to receive advice and to learn techniques from seasoned trainers. Through networking, you may be able to find one or more persons to help you hone your training skills. They can share their experiences and offer advice regarding what works well when training others.
Aside from expertise in your targeted field, trainers must be able to interact well with others. The best way to do this is to practice. Volunteer to lead presentations or workshops at work, at conferences, or with other organizations. Read the end-of-session evaluations to help you identify your personal strengths and weaknesses.
Research training requirements
Expanding your knowledge base should include doing research about requirements for specific training careers. For instance, an entry level Training and Development Specialist may need 3 to 5 years of work experience and a bachelor’s degree. Training that is more specific may require more years of experience or industry recognized certification.
Qualifications for trainers vary from industry to industry. However, you know that you are ready to make the change when you have mastered your craft and are capable of imparting knowledge on others. There is literally a world of opportunities for educators who want to become trainers. With the right combination of work experience, subject level mastery and people skills, you’re ready to take the leap into the field of training.