How to Become a Corporate Trainer
If you have a background in education and are looking for a career change, consider making a move from teacher to corporate trainer. Corporate trainers must be subject-matter experts and have excellent teaching skills. Their job is to take complex subject matter and make it accessible for their audience.
Educators are a natural fit for the role and can potentially earn up to 25 percent more in average annual base salary as a corporate trainer. There are many corporate trainer jobs for teachers available, so let's get started on your new career possibility.
What is a corporate trainer?
Corporate trainers are responsible for increasing individual employee productivity and effectiveness. This, in turn, should increase overall organizational output.
There are different types of corporate trainer roles and responsibilities across a variety of industries, including technology, sales management, financial services and higher education:
- In-house corporate employee who leads team and divisional technical training.
- Independent consultant who works directly with clients or through third-party networks.
- Subject matter expert who is tasked with leading specific training within an organization.
Scott Dannemiller, president of LifeWork Associates, sheds light on the various paths you can take to become a corporate trainer. "Start where you have some momentum," he says. "For a teacher, that might be: 'How can I sign on with a publishing company and do in-service training for teachers looking to teach their book's curriculum?' "
Dannemiller emphasizes it's best to start small and work your way up to a position you're aiming for. If opportunities are limited, he suggests, "Do basic new employee orientation-type training or compliance training and work your way up from there."
Dannemiller says you can then leverage your education, background and subject matter expertise. "If you are a writing instructor, maybe you become a technical writer, which turns into an opportunity to teach people internally how to improve communication," he says. "If you are an English major, offer to teach business writing courses."
How to become a corporate trainer
Many of the same rules that help you land a good teaching position also apply to acquiring a corporate trainer job. Follow these tips for securing a role:
- Tailor your resume and cover letter to specific job descriptions. Creating custom application materials is essential (a must, actually) for getting past applicant tracking systems (ATS), which scan and sort resumes for companies. You can create tailored resumes and cover letters quite easily using our Resume Templates and Cover Letter Templates.
- Highlight your transferable skills, such as presentation, communication, problem-solving and leadership skills. Focus on how your degree or teaching experience translates directly into making you an excellent fit to train corporate employees and executives.
- Monitor job boards for positions that interest you. Check out websites of organizations in which you would like to work.
- Learn about each company's history, culture and insights before tailoring your resume and customizing your cover letter to corporate trainer jobs they have available. Proving you have knowledge of what the company does resonates with recruiters and hiring managers.
- Follow up directly with decision-makers. Being assertive and clear in your intentions bodes well for your ability to lead a room full of corporate employees. If you get an interview for a corporate trainer position, always follow up afterward to show your appreciation and eagerness to take on the job.
Having the proper certifications as a corporate trainer validates your expertise and provides a significant advantage on your resume. There are several certifications you can work toward, depending on the focus of your training career. Here are a few certifications you'll want to learn more about:
- ATD CPLP
According to the small business solutions site Business News Daily, The Association for Talent Development's (ATD) premier talent development and training credential is the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) certification. The CPLP validates skills across six foundational competencies and ten areas of expertise (AOE).
The International Coach Federation is a self-regulating group of elite coaches who provide accountability to clients and the coaching profession as a whole. There are several credential paths you can take while enhancing your career as a professional corporate trainer.
- Get certified in an instrument or assessment
According to Dannemiller, another great option is to earn a certification in a specific instrument, such as Myers & Briggs, DISC or Hogan Assessment, or a particular curriculum, like DDI or Dale Carnegie. If you have one of these predesignated, curriculum-based certifications, he says, "[Now] you're certified in a particular program, you have a ready-made curriculum, and you can step right in to do what they're doing."
Initially, it may seem daunting to shift from the field of education to become a corporate trainer. However, your time and expertise in the classroom make you a unique and valued asset in a corporate environment.
You can use our Resume Builder and Cover Letter Builder tools to craft resumes and cover letters that will get you started in a career as a corporate trainer. Or, work from our Corporate Trainer Resume Template Guide and Corporate Trainer Cover Letter Templates.