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By submitting this request for more information, you are giving your express written consent for Lindenwood University and its partners to contact you regarding our educational programs and services using email, telephone or text - including our use of automated technology for calls and periodic texts to the wireless number you provide. Message and data rates may apply. This consent is not required to purchase good or services and you may always email us directly, including to opt out, at [email protected].

Home Blog Corporate Trainer: How to Start Your Career in Instructional Design

Corporate Trainer: How to Start Your Career in Instructional Design

July 13, 2023

Contributing Author: Alley Bardon

8 mins read

Education is a field that expands well beyond the role of teachers in the classroom. While teaching is a valuable and rewarding profession, it's important to recognize there are other opportunities to have an impact in the field of education. Instructional design, for instance, is an ideal career path for those who want to have a hands-on role in the development of curriculum, the introduction of new teaching methods, and the implementation of new technology in the classroom – or beyond. 

As a corporate trainer, you will have the unique opportunity to become a teacher who educates employees or executives who are not formally enrolled in a school. Here's what you need to know about corporate training and corporate trainers. 

What is Corporate Training?

Corporate training is an industry that works to provide additional educational opportunities to existing professionals in the corporate setting to help them learn new skills and further their careers. Corporate training exists in nearly every business sector or industry, and due to this, there is usually demand for skilled corporate trainers. 

Businesses, corporations, and organizations of all sizes enlist the help of corporate trainers to improve retention rates, boost production, and provide their employees with job satisfaction. Whether they have been trained in it specifically or not, all corporate trainers rely on instructional design to create the most effective training experiences that they can. 

What Does a Corporate Trainer Do?

As a business trainer, you would have a dynamic role, with your responsibilities varying from day to day. There are corporate trainer jobs focused more on curriculum development, which could be an ideal niche for someone specialized in instructional design. If you are working on curriculum development for training programs, you would have a leading role in developing the training programs that employees would participate in. You may even create programs for other corporate trainers to provide, becoming a trainer of corporate trainers. 

Of course, there are other responsibilities that a corporate trainer might have, such as:  

  • Instructing professional development courses for employees  
  • Leading orientation programs for new hires or new technology 
  • Researching new training softwares to utilize in your corporate training programs 
  • Tracking data after a program is complete to monitor results 

In many ways, your career as a corporate trainer would be very similar to that of a classroom teacher — but in this case, employees are your students. 

How to Become a Corporate Trainer

In other fields, the path toward a specific career is well-defined. An individual who wants to become an engineer, for example, would simply pursue a degree in the engineering field of their choice and begin earning professional experience. In the world of corporate training, however, you will find that there is more flexibility when it comes to carving your own path forward. 

Education and Experience

To begin, you will need a bachelor's degree in order to pursue a career as a corporate trainer. However, there is not a specific bachelor's degree in corporate training. If you are interested in becoming a business trainer, you might consider a bachelor's degree in the field you want to focus on. To become a corporate trainer who specializes in instructional design, you may want to begin by earning your bachelor's degree in education. Other common bachelor's degree programs among experienced corporate trainers include business, communications, human resources, and more. 

Once you have earned a bachelor's degree, you will likely need to begin accruing professional experience in the area or niche you want to focus on for your corporate training career. You may also continue your education with a graduate degree program. A master's degree in instructional design or a master's degree in instructional technology will uniquely prepare you for a role as a corporate trainer. 

As you pursue your own educational and professional goals, you will want to work on skills that will help you as a corporate trainer. Public speaking and communication are two critical skills you will need if you are going to provide professional development to employees at any level. 

Preparing a Training Session

Once you have secured a position as a corporate trainer, you will need to know how to effectively prepare for a training session. These training sessions are intended to be robust and impactful, and the professionals who enroll in them are expecting to walk away with new information or a valuable skill that they can implement in their own workplace. As a result, it's vital for you to know how to prepare accordingly and design a program that will meet their expectations. 

Basic Responsibilities and Tasks

As a corporate trainer preparing for a session, your primary responsibilities and tasks include:

  • Researching the topic of your program and developing an in-depth understanding of it prior to your presentation. 
  • Finding unique ways to make the content relatable to your audience. You must focus your training on specific critical takeaways for your students. 
  • Acquiring any materials needed for the program, such as supplies, training modules, technology, and more. In many cases, professional development courses are designed to be immersive experiences in which the professionals enrolled can work directly with materials related to the topic. 
  • Preparing an interesting and inviting lesson plan that will keep your audience engaged. Not only are you there to provide them with valuable information, but you must convince them that these new procedures, skills, or protocols will improve their professional lives. In many ways, you’re acting as a salesperson as well as an educator. 

New Hire and Retention

It is also crucial for you to understand the purpose of your training program. You may be developing a corporate training session that is explicitly geared toward new hires who are onboarding at the organization that hired you. Training sessions for new hires often differ from those designed for retention because they provide an overview of the company, its procedures and protocols, and an introduction to the tools used within the organization. 

Training sessions intended to improve employee retention rates should utilize a different approach. For retention-based training, you will want to provide existing professionals with an opportunity to develop a new skill that will help them grow. It is critical for these programs to be rewarding and inviting and to ensure they are designed so employees leave with a new sense of value at the organization. 

Aligning with Company Rules and Procedures

In many cases, corporate trainers work for outside organizations or operate on a freelance basis, and they must tailor their programs to align with the rules and expectations of the company that has hired them. As you are preparing your training session, you will want to work with the client’s human resources department to ensure all materials you are presenting comply with existing procedures at that company. 

Goals of a Training Program or Session

Identifying the goals of any training program or session is critical to good instructional design and your success as a corporate trainer. Not only will you need to keep these goals in mind during your preparation process, but you also will need to track those goals after the fact to monitor progress after the training session is complete. 

Goals of any training program or session can typically be broken down into two categories: 


Industry-specific goals may be broader and more far-reaching, designed to provide employees with information about upcoming trends or changes in the industry at large. For example, the medical industry is concerned with patient health, large amounts of data, and legal regulations. Retail, on the other hand, has shipping/logistics, product margins, and consumer demand to consider. 

Job or Career Specific

Job or career-specific goals may be more closely related to the employee's position at the organization. These training programs are designed to be more hands-on and provide the individual with a new skill they can utilize in their current role. For instance, as a corporate trainer, you may provide a training program on a new type of technology that can be implemented by a sales team. For this type of training, you will want to design instruction that includes opportunities for those in attendance to work directly with that technology and see how it can improve their own sales numbers, simplify their daily tasks, and maybe even lead to more commissions. 

Technology and Training Tools

Corporate trainers must always have access to the latest technology and training tools because they are often going to rely on these resources to provide their students with new information about upcoming industry trends. Some technology and training tools that benefit corporate trainers include: 

  • Learning management systems 
  • Training videos and tutorials 
  • Training tracking tools 
  • Collaboration and presentation tools 
  • Content development tools 
  • Communications technology 

As a corporate trainer, you are going to be working directly with professionals in hopes of inspiring them to continue their own education and stay focused on developing new skills. This means you need to be equally self-motivated and dedicated to constantly honing your own craft. Corporate trainers will continue to play a vital role in the business world where data-based trends are constantly requiring teachers and administrators to take a new look at their processes. With the right technology and tools in place, you will be able to guide them on their journey. 

Take the Next Step with Lindenwood Online

Before you can delve into the world of corporate training, you will want to become a leading expert in instructional design. At Lindenwood Online, we offer several innovative programs that can provide you with access to the latest information related to instruction design in modern classrooms. With both a master's in instructional design and a master's in instructional technology available, you can pursue a career in this niche sector of the education field. 

Request more information about our programs today. 

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