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phd in training and development

Here at OnlineCollegePlan, we are proud to present the best online PhD programs in Training & Development offered in the United States. Below you will find information about the degrees, but also more about what you are able to do with the degree after you have earned it.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.― Dr. Seuss

Do you love being around people and helping them reach their goals? Do you have a degree in education, organizational leadership, or management? Are you goal-oriented and interested in helping improve job performance? If so, getting an online PhD in Training and Development is the next step for you. Specialists in the training and development field play a crucial role in educating, developing, and training in today’s workforce. Graduates of these programs are prepared and equipped with the knowledge to pursue jobs in non-profit organizations, higher education, human resources development and training, corporate businesses, and government agencies.

Earning an online PhD in Training and Development isn’t just about you; it is about passing on an education. The entire degree centers around passing along knowledge. By learning the ins and outs of training and development, you are learning to evaluate an organization’s needs for areas of improvement, develop a plan, effectively communicate and train employees, and measure successes. It is a gift that keeps giving.

What are some Online PhD in Training and Development Learning Outcomes?

  • Develop knowledge of research, educational theories, and instructional practices.
  • Develop evidence-based solutions addressing relevant educational, organizational, and societal issues.
  • Communicate with various audiences about educational theories, research, and practices.
  • Analyze professional skills and technology options for leading and educating diverse groups.
  • Conduct research for individuals, teams, and organizations using evidence-based methods and principles of psychological research
  • Create evidence-based systems and strategies based on organizational performance, structure, human performance, behavior and learning, and growth.
  • Evaluate skills, concepts, and initiatives that are fundamental to the ethical practice of diverse organizations and organizational leaders.

What are Potential Jobs I can get with a PhD in Training and Development?

phd in training and developmentEarning an online PhD in Training and Development delivers the high-level knowledge you need to assess the way an organization operates and develop business solutions. With this degree in hand, you will be prepared for careers such as:

    • Strategic organizational consulting
    • Organization planning
    • College and university teaching
    • Executive coaching
    • Management consulting practice
    • Senior management in human resources
  • Organizational development
  • Corporate training
  • Operations management
  • Leadership development
  • Municipal employee entrance testing  
  • Organizational research
  • High-potential succession planning

What is your Methodology?

There aren’t many online PhD in Training and Development programs available. These programs are unique and highly specialized. The programs we found were ranked by compiling a numerical score based on program cost, reputation, and how much the school is set up to support graduate students. Statistics were gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics and school websites. The ranking calculations were as follows:

  • Program Cost – 40%
  • Percentage of Graduate Students – 15%
  • Student to Faculty Ratio – 15%
  • Percentage of Full-time Graduate Students – 15%
  • Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education – 15%

Graduates who have specialized education in Training and Development are highly sought after. They are the people who are constantly providing the challenge to adapt and improve an organization. But the right education is crucial. We hope this ranking helps you find the best school to serve your need for higher education.

Best Online PhD in Training & Development Degrees

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  1. MERIT: 100.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $29,975

    Online Doctor of Education in Adult Learning and Development

    The online doctoral program offered at Northwestern State University of Louisiana has a choice of two concentrations.

    The best online doctoral program featured in this ranking is the Adult Learning and Development Program at Northwestern State University of Louisiana which offers a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree for students who desire to pursue or advance their careers in the professional practice of adult learning and development. The focus of the degree is to develop community college leaders as well as prepare practitioners to works with adult learners through training and development. Graduates are qualified to take on advanced leadership roles in areas of community college leadership, post-secondary education, adult learning and development, workforce development, and scholarship.

    This online program has two concentrations available: Community College Leadership and Adult Learning and Workforce Development. The courses are offered on a four-year rotation. Dissertation work comprises most of the final year. The Doctor of Education in Adult Learning and Development program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Admission requirements are rigorous. The university admits students through a selective, competitive application and interview process. There are 63 credits required for graduation, 21 foundation courses, 12 concentration courses, six elective courses, three application courses, 12 hours of research and analysis, and nine hours of dissertation work.

    About Northwestern State University of Louisiana

    Part of the University of Louisiana system, Northwestern State University of Louisiana is a public university situated in Natchitoches, Louisiana. There is a nursing campus in Shreveport and as well as campuses in Leesville/Fort Polk and Alexandria.

    • Location: Natchitoches, LA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 10.6%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 16 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as numerous other accrediting bodies
    More Information
  2. MERIT: 85.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $41,088

    Adult, Organizational Learning and Leadership PhD

    University of Idaho, online doctoral degree, online college, online degree programs, online PhD

    Many of the best online PhD programs will require a residency period.

    The Adult, Organizational Learning and Leadership degree at the University of Idaho is one of the best PhD programs online in this area of study. The program is offered through the College of Health and Human Sciences and focuses specifically on training and development. The program has four learning outcomes:

    • Understand, analyze and apply organization development theory and methods.
    • Develop personal leadership capacity.
    • Evaluate intervention options for facilitating healthy organizational change.
    • Understand and apply transformative learning processes and strategic thinking.

    There are 84 credits required for graduation divided into Doctoral Core (8 credit hours), Research Electives (3 credits hours), Research Core (15 credit hours), and a Specialization (18 credit hours). Once these courses are complete, students will complete six credit hours of an internship and 18-21 credits of Doctoral Research and Dissertation.

    Upon graduation, participants will be prepared to lead and teach professional development and training programs as a leader or educator. The program is catered to the working professional and is applicable to each student’s unique working environment. Courses are designed to provide the flexibility necessary for working adults.

    About University of Idaho

    Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is located on a beautiful residential campus in Moscow, Idaho. There are over 12,000 students learning at educational centers in Coeur d’Alene, Boise and Idaho Falls, and a research and extension center in Twin Falls.

    • Location: Moscow, ID
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 18.3%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities as well as numerous other accrediting bodies
    More Information
  3. Ashford University
    MERIT: 71.3
    Average Cost: $80,826

    Organizational Development and Leadership PhD Online

    Ashford University

    The College of Doctoral Studies at Ashford offers three online PhD programs and an online PsyD.

    The online PhD in Organizational Development and Leadership at Ashford University, like most top online PhD programs, is designed for the working professional; many of the concepts and theories learned are practical to your current or future career. Coursework focuses on areas such as performance management, employee motivation, organizational change, executive coaching, ethics, and more. The degree includes ten core courses, plus one elective research course, six Specialization courses, and a capstone seminar.

    The coursework culminates in a doctoral dissertation, which includes two dissertation planning courses as well as five units of the dissertation course. All classes are taught by leaders in the field who have doctorate degrees. There are 62 total credits required for completion, and each course is six to nine weeks in length. Students can shorten the length of the program by transferring in up to 30 graduate-level semester credits from an approved regionally nationally accredited college or university. It should be noted that this program does not meet licensure requirements in the state of California.

    About Ashford University

    Founded in 1918 by the Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton, Iowa as a women’s junior college, today Ashford University is an online, for-profit university headquartered in San Diego, California. There are approximately 50,000 online students.

    • Location: San Diego, CA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 13.4%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as several other accrediting bodies
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  4. MERIT: 68.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $72,630

    Online Global Training and Development, PhD-ED

    online college degree, online programs, online phd programs, online masters degree, online bachelors degree

    The online PhD programs at Northcentral University are unique in that there is no required residency.

    This ranking of best online PhD programs includes Northcentral University, which offers an online PhD in Global Training and Development that is designed to educate leaders in the field of training and performance improvement. Students will combine theory, research, and practical application while learning to critically analyze organizational needs and evaluate performance improvement and training design. Additionally, they will examine the foundations of organizational leadership, adult education and organizational change,  human resources, and research trends. The program requires 60 credit hours for graduation and is typically completed over 45 months.

    There is ultimate flexibility as the entire program is online, there are weekly course starts, no group assignments, no scheduled lecture hours, and students have the ability to schedule all of their work around their schedule. Perfect for the working professional, students can be assured that all of the classes are taught by professors who hold a PhD themselves. The one to one student to faculty ratio ensures that you are receiving the attention and personal mentoring you need to be successful.

    About Northcentral University

    Northcentral University is a private, for-profit institution in San Diego, California that was founded in 1996. The University offers over 40 online programs from bachelor’s to doctoral degrees with no group projects, no GRE/GMAT requirements, no set class times, and no residency requirements.

    • Location: San Diego, CA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 99.1%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 1 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission and WASC Senior College and University Commission
    More Information

What is Training & Development?

PhD in Training and DevelopmentAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “training and development specialists help plan, conduct, and administer programs that train employees and improve their skills and knowledge.” They work in nearly every industry, working with people, giving presentations, and leading training activities. A training and development specialist is crucial to any organization. First, they are trained to recognize the needs within an organization by identifying both the strong and weak areas and target the areas for growth and development. Once these core areas are identified, they must either procure or develop the appropriate training. They set goals for the organization and the employees and find ways to measure progress. As goals are met, they continually assess where the organization is, develop new training, and evaluate growth.

Growth is an important aspect of any organization, especially with our rapidly expanding economy. Businesses who want to keep up must have adequate training and development for both the company and the employees. Training and development specialists must have excellent communication skills, organization, the ability to set and measure goals, and an overall positive outlook.

What does an Online PhD in Training and Development look like?

PhD in Training and DevelopmentOnce you are accepted into a program, you are ready to enter into the world of online learning. The first step is to make sure that you have the appropriate technology. Check with your school to see what requirements you will need to fulfill, whether it be attending online classes, downloading lectures, and uploading your work. Schools often require that you complete exams live using video technology. You will need to make sure that your computer and internet connection can support your technical needs.

Now that you are technologically set up, you are ready to begin your course of study. PhD programs in training and development start with a core set of classes, which can contain anywhere from ten to thirty credits. Courses may include topics like:

  • Assessment Tools for Organizational Leadership
  • Leading Organizational Change
  • Performance Management
  • Professional & Business Ethics in Organizational Leadership
  • Psychology of Leadership
  • Leadership & Organizational Cultures
  • Human Resources Business Strategy
  • Current & Global Issues in Industrial & Organizational Psychology
  • Theories & Models of Instructional Systems Design

PhD in Training and DevelopmentOnce this core set of classes is complete, you will go on to either elective classes or classes in your specialization. Some programs let you choose a specialization, while others don’t. This segment of your training and development degree is typically six to eighteen credits. Finally, you will reach the culmination of your degree, your research dissertation, which on average fulfills ten credit hours. You will be required to take courses like:

  • Scholarly Argument
  • Research Design & Methods – Quantitative
  • Advanced Tests & Measurements
  • Research Design & Methods – Qualitative
  • Advanced Statistics
  • Advanced Study in Qualitative Research
  • Dissertation Planning
  • Dissertation

Students usually take between one to two years to complete their dissertation. Once your dissertation is complete, you will be required to present it before a defense board or panel of scholars. You may have to go back and make revisions before getting the green light on completion. While this is a ton of work, it will be worth it in the end when you walk away with a PhD in training and development, and will officially be known as a “doctor.”

Why Do People Choose Training & Development Jobs?

PhD in Training and DevelopmentThose with a PhD in training and development will be ready to deliver high-level knowledge needed to assess organizations and develop business solutions and become an influential leader in their business or organization. Training and development jobs are for those with vision who love working with other people. They are the people who can identify needs and weak areas within an organization and want to develop ways to improve. They have a positive outlook on life and want to make the world a better place. They recognize that it takes a team to enhance an organization and that the organization is only as strong as the weakest link.

Usually, those who enter into the training and development field love to work with people. They find ways to effectively communicate with others and encourage each member to reach their full potential. Developing the needs of an organization isn’t easy, let alone finding the appropriate training methods, but these individuals are ready to rise to meet the challenge. Training and development managers are those who love a challenge and a continually shifting set of daily tasks.

What is the Average Salary for a Training & Development Career?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for training and development managers was $111,340 in May 2018. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $63,600, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $192,970. Salaries vary from company to company, and training and development managers who hold a PhD in training and development earn an average annual salary of $108,250.

Training and development job prospects are best for those with experience in developing online and mobile training programs. With the move to a digital society, those well trained in digital and online platforms will be in high demand. Companies are looking for people who can help make this transition smoothly as well as provide training for current employees. Organizations are using social media, mobile learning, visual simulations, and social networks in their training programs. As this becomes more common, training and development managers will need to modify training programs and integrate these features into training programs and curriculums.

What Can I Do With a PhD in Training & Development?

PhD in Training and DevelopmentAn online PhD in training and development may be for you if you enjoy teaching and mentoring others and want to use new technologies to affect positive change in the workplace. You will learn about organizational change theory, effective communication, goal setting, planning and development, adult learner qualities, and instructional design. As previously mentioned, the options are endless as far as where you can work. Some graduates enter into the education field, while others prefer the professional workplace of a large company. But the choices don’t end there. Non-profit organizations, human resource departments, and the government are all looking for trained specialists to help with training and development of employees.

Graduates with an entrepreneurial spirit may even start their own training and development business offering their services on a contractual basis. Regardless of where you work, as a trained professional, you will be ready to teach adult learners and demonstrate excellent leadership, team-building, goal-setting, and organizational skills.

What Accreditation is Available for Graduate Programs in Training and Development?

PhD in Training and DevelopmentAccreditation comes from career-specific agencies who work verify that a program’s curriculum prepares its students to meet industry standards. You may find PhD programs in training and development that are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). According to the CAEP, “accreditation is quality assurance through external peer review. When an institution or specialized program is accredited, it has demonstrated that it meets standards set by organizations representing the academic community, professionals, and other stakeholders.” They go on to state, “to maintain accreditation the institution or program must undergo a similar review on a regular basis. Typically reviews are conducted every 7 to 10 years.”

Some graduate programs may be housed within human resources departments, and are often accredited by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The SHRM houses a directory of human resources programs that align with its curriculum guidelines. Not all programs in training and development are accredited, so look for schools with some form of accreditation to ensure that the institution meets standards for academic excellence.

What do Training and Development Specialists do?

PhD in Training and DevelopmentThe daily duties of a training and development specialist vary greatly depending on the organization you work for. These specialists can either be found in Human Resource departments or the education field. There are training and development specialists who work specifically in the field of adult education, and there are those who are employed by a specific company to provide consistent training and development of the employees. Generally speaking training and development managers plan, direct, and coordinate programs to enhance the knowledge and skills of an organization’s employees. Training and development managers typically do the following:

  • Oversee training and development
  • Align training with the organization’s goals
  • Assess the organization’s needs for training
  • Review and select training materials
  • Create and manage training budgets
  • Develop and implement training programs using available resources
  • Teach training methods to instructors and supervisors
  • Update training and development programs to ensure that they are relevant
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of training programs
  • Supervise and manage a staff of training and development specialists
  • Meet with managers of other departments to identify training needs

Are There Any Organizations or Associations I Can Join as a Training & Development Professional?

PhD in Training and DevelopmentAfter earning an online PhD in training and development, you may wonder what’s next. Training and development professionals have access to networking and professional development opportunities like workshops, conferences, and webinars through various professional organizations. They are a valuable resource and often provide resources like publications, databases, and the latest research. These organizations are a terrific way to connect with mentors, internships, and most importantly, employment opportunities.

  • Association for Talent Development offers certifications that give training professionals a competitive advantage in the job market. The ATDC provides certification for professionals in talent development for early-career professionals as well as certified professional credentials in learning and development for experienced professionals.
  • Society for Human Resource Management offers two certifications for human resources professionals based on your experience level. Those with a master’s degree can apply for certification with fewer years of experience than those without a graduate degree. You must pass an exam that tests technical knowledge and real-world behavioral competencies.
  • International Society for Performance Improvement is a non-profit membership organization with the motto “Being Better Matters.” Their goal is to help people and organizations make a difference in the world. ISPI provides tools and strategies for practical and universal improvement, by assisting members to create a more significant impact, make greater contributions, and make our world a better place to be.
  • Quality Matters Instructional Designers Association is a special interest group of Quality Matters, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of online courses. They offer networking and mentoring opportunities, professional development, and information about research. They also offer advice on best practices for instructional designers. Their website hosts a job board and eLearning marketplace.
  • National Human Resources Association seeks to support human resource professionals by providing networking and professional development. Live meetings, seminars, and conferences, and provide hands-on learning opportunities, while webcasts and podcasts offer distance learning development opportunities.
  • Association for Educational Communications and Technology The AECT serves educational technology professionals by providing resources like academic journals and an annual conference. They also offer a graduate student assembly. Additionally, the AECT disseminates research findings and advises policymakers.
  • Human Resource Certification Institute offers eight certifications for human resources professionals based on the country of employment as well as experience level. Applicants must meet specific educational and experience requirements before taking a certification exam. Master’s degree or PhD holders may take the exam with less work experience than bachelor’s graduates. The HRCI requires recertification every three years.
  • American Educational Research Association is a national research society that aims to improve scholarly education through research. They conduct research projects, publish books, hold an annual meeting, advocate for public policy, and offer professional development. There are several leadership and networking opportunities available for graduate students, including a graduate student council.
  • International Society for Performance Improvement provides a variety of networking and professional development opportunities, including an annual conference, institutes, symposiums, workshops, and webinars. The online career center lists training and development job postings and allows members to post to their resumes. Additionally, they offer professional certification and training program accreditation.
  • Center for Instructional Design and Training’s primary purpose is to offer instructional design services to organizations. It also serves the larger training and development community by hosting a job bank, keeping a directory of colleges and universities that offer degrees in the field of training and development, a calendar of workshops, and an encyclopedia of relevant terms on their website.

If you enjoyed our ranking for the best online PhD programs in Training and Development, or if you are still considering other options, perhaps you would like to check out the following other rankings and pages.

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