10 Most Affordable Master’s in Training & Development Online

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Updated March 17, 2021

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Graduating with an online master's in training & development could foster one's own career growth for promotions into mid- and upper-level HR jobs leading corporate programs that keep employees erudite. According to Forbes, organizations are investing $70 billion nationwide and $130 billion globally to promote their workforce's "skills supply chain." In 2016, Training Magazine estimated that small businesses spend $290,000 and large corporations spend $13 million on average each year for professional development. Online training & development master's degrees develop the pedagogical know-how for specialists to plan cohesive, effective seminars or workshops that boost staff productivity. Demand for training gurus is sky-scraping because executives have learned the impact of HR development on the bottom line. Huffington Post details how entities that devote at least $1,500 per employee to education annually reap 24 percent higher profit margins! Cheap online master's in training & development offerings are available for leaders to incite the power of learning in diverse workplaces with no physical classroom time.

Top 10 Most Affordable Master’s in Training & Development Online

#1 Amberton University Garland, TX
#2 Middle Tennessee State University Murfreesboro, TN
#3 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, LA
#4 Indiana University-Bloomington Bloomington, IN
#5 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS
#6 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
#7 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
#8 University of Georgia Athens, GA
#9 Florida International University Miami, FL
#10 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, NY

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The Grad School Hub staff learned about the availability of affordable training & development master's online programs by studying results from the National Center for Education Statistics' College Navigator. Our team marked the box for distance education to filter four-year, nonprofit colleges with advanced degrees related to adult education/training and HR development. Regional accreditation reigns supreme in our book, so we checked our 93 potential colleges' approval in the Council on Higher Education Accreditation database. Any nationally accredited schools, i.e. California Intercontinental University and Ashworth College, were excluded. Preference was also given for being in the Association for Talent Development (ATD) directory. Lastly, we compared value based on 2016-17 average in-state graduate tuition data and removed any above $11,500. For example, the University of Idaho just missed the cutoff at $11,530 for its Adult Organizational Learning & Leadership M.S. Online. Below are the 10 least expensive master's in training & development online degrees where adults learn to teach adults.

Ranking Low-cost Online Master's in Training & Development

  1. Amberton University

    Garland, TX



    Celebrating its 47th year, Amberton University is a private, nonprofit SACS-accredited evangelical institution historically linked to Abilene Christian University that charged 7,493 alumni our ranking's cheapest price at a five-acre Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex campus and online via Moodle. Honored in G.I. Jobs Magazine's Military Friendly Schools list, Amberton is ranked America's seventh best virtual university on OnlineDegreeReviews.org, 135th most popular interdisciplinary studies school by College Factual, and eighth most affordable degree producer on OnlineU. Among the 15 adult-friendly graduate degrees is an Online Master of Science in Human Resources Training & Development. Chaired by Dr. Di Ann Sanchez, an Atlanta SHRM Professional Excellence Award winner, the 36-credit, non-thesis program prepares online post-grads for corporate learning management. Study culminates with a capstone project after flexible courses like Human Resource Training and Cultural Communication. Check out the affordable Online MBA in Strategic Leadership and MA in Professional Development too.

  2. Middle Tennessee State University

    Murfreesboro, TN



    Belonging to the Coalition of Adult Learning Focused Institutions (ALFI), Middle Tennessee State University is a public, four-year APLU member of Conference USA created in 1911 that's endowed for $58.9 million to instruct 2,357 post-grad Blue Raiders from its 500-acre Rutherford County headquarters to the Desire2Learn platform. Implementing the Online Learning Consortium Quality Scorecard in 2017, MTSU is named America's 238th top public college in Forbes, 41st best school on the Social Mobility Index, and 126th best university by Washington Monthly. Directed by Dr. Rick Sluder, the University College launched the Master of Professional Studies with a Training and Development Concentration Online. The 33-credit, computer-based program suits working post-grads with minimum GRE scores of 146 verbal and 144 quantitative. Online courses like E-Training Advanced Instructional Design and Facilitation of Learning culminate with an applied professional project. Middle Tennessee State has Online M.P.S. concentrations for Human Resource Leadership or Strategic Leadership too.

  3. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

    Natchitoches, LA



    Hosting the 2018 Louisiana Association of Business Educators Conference in March, Northwestern State University is a public, coeducational teaching-oriented PLTW partner founded in 1884 that's expanding beyond its 916-acre Sam Sibley Drive location for teaching 10,572 Demons from Shreveport to Fort Polk and on Moodle. Given a 2017 Nonprofit Colleges Online Students Before Profits Award, NSULA is distinguished as America's 224th best graduate education school online by the U.S. News & World Report, 187th best student life college on Niche, and 355th top master's institution in Washington Monthly. Overseen by Dr. Vickie Gentry, the CAEP-accredited College of Education & Human Development grants the Online Master of Arts in Adult Learning and Development in four terms. The 33-credit, practice-based program tailors concentrations for Workforce Development, Homeland Security, or eLearning. Distance courses like Instructional Media Design and Adult Literacy require one practicum to satisfy the Louisiana Adult Education Add-On Endorsement.

  4. Indiana University-Bloomington

    Bloomington, IN



    Linked to 245,496 LinkedIn alumni, including educators Jeanne Knoerle, Shiladitya DasSarma, and Jason Beckfield, Indiana University-Bloomington is the Hoosier State's largest public, land-grant ORAU research member founded in 1820 that's attracting $614 million to serve 10,281 post-grads in Monroe County and online via Desire2Learn. Given a 2015 Insight Into Diversity HEED Excellence Award, IU-Bloomington is deemed America's 46th best online graduate teaching college by the U.S. News & World Report, 117th best value in Money Magazine, and 174th most affordable elite in Washington Monthly. The CAEP-accredited School of Education unlocks a median training & development salary of $73,000 with its M.S.Ed. in Adult Education Program Online. Led by Dr. Marjorie Treff, the 36-credit, non-thesis curriculum ends with a capstone seminar after courses like Distance Education Systems and Participation Training. Bachelor's graduates with GPAs below 3.2 must submit GRE scores with the $55 application before July 1st or November 1st. Indiana Online also houses a M.S.Ed. in Instructional Systems Technology option.

  5. Kansas State University

    Manhattan, KS



    Occupying a 2,320-acre "Little Apple" campus adjacent to Fort Riley with eLearning powered by Canvas, Kansas State University is a public, polytechnic RU/VH doctoral institution opened in 1863 that's currently enrolling 4,307 post-grad Wildcats, employing 1,437 full-time faculty, and generating $188.7 million in research expenditures. Bestowed the 2017 ACHE Outstanding Services to Underserved Populations Award, K-State was applauded for America's 12th best outcomes in The Wall Street Journal, seventh happiest students by The Princeton Review, and 12th most affordable tuition on WalletHub. The CAEP-accredited College of Education has conferred over 1,000 Online Adult Learning and Leadership Master's Degrees via the Global Campus. Chaired by Dr. Royce Ann Collins, the 33-credit, self-paced M.S. program narrows electives with the Adult Learning, Leadership Dynamics, and Social Justice tracks. Online courses have eight- or 14-week scheduling for graduates with minimum "B" averages to complete the program portfolio with topics from Research Methods in Education to Training Planning.

  6. North Carolina State University

    Raleigh, NC



    Partnered with the Triangle Area SHRM chapter, North Carolina State University is a public, space-grant ACC powerhouse established in 1887 that's generating a $6.5 billion economic impact by training a Wolfpack of 33,755 with a 13:1 student-faculty ratio at its 2,100-acre Wake County campus and online via Blackboard Collaborate. Affiliated with seven Fulbright Scholars in 2017, NCSU is crowned America's 15th best online graduate education school by the U.S. News & World Report, 18th top public value in Kiplinger's Personal Finance, and 25th best big college on Niche. Accepting $75 applications until July 15th or April 15th annually, the CAEP-accredited College of Education awards the Master of Education in Training and Development Online. North Carolina's only 36-credit, non-thesis curriculum focused on workplace performance improvement is managed by Dr. Michelle Bartlett. Courses from Organization Change to Training Effectiveness have 24/7 access for portfolio and capstone preparation. Post-grads also consider the M.S./M.Ed. Adult and Continuing Professional Education Specialization available online.

  7. James Madison University

    Harrisonburg, VA



    Gifting $46.87 million in annual financial aid, including the Cecil D. Bradfield Lifelong Learning Institute Scholarship, James Madison University is a public, coeducational SCHEV constituent that's grown since 1908 to teach 1,888 post-grad Dukes "Knowledge is Liberty" at its 721-acre Shenandoah Valley campus and online via Blackboard. Granted the 2017 NIRSA Creative Excellence Award, James Madison is declared America's 44th best public college on Niche, third most innovative school by the U.S. News & World Report, and 62nd best value in Kiplinger's Personal Finance. Headed by Dr. Phil Wishon, the CAEP-accredited College of Education launched the Online M.S.Ed. in Adult Education/Human Resource Development with 100 percent job placement. Admitting each fall until April 1st, the 36-credit program lets students achieving GPAs above 2.75 choose the Instructional Design, Leadership and Facilitation, Program Evaluation and Measurement, or Individualized concentration. Online courses like Job Performance Analysis lead to a mean starting salary of $60,000 after the thesis research and optional internship.

  8. University of Georgia

    Athens, GA



    Known for its Training & Development Center in Russell Hall, the University of Georgia is a public, sun-grant USOG constituent of the Southeastern Conference founded in 1785 that's budgeting $1.64 billion yearly to teach 8,758 post-grad Bulldogs in Athens, Tifton, Griffin, Buckhead, and online through Blackboard. Named among The Daily Beast's 25 "Amazing But Overlooked" colleges, UGA has America's fourth best salary returns in The New York Times, eighth best online graduate education on the U.S. News & World Report, and 20th top graduation rate in Washington Monthly. The CAEP-accredited College of Education confers a Master of Learning, Leadership & Organizational Development Online part-time over six semesters. Organized by Dr. Laura Bierema, a 2013 AHRD Outstanding Scholar Award recipient, the 33-credit, portfolio-based program is structured for mid-career corporate trainers with at least three years of experience. Apply before June 1st to begin online courses like Team Coaching and Adult Learning that integrate real-world projects before the final exam.

  9. Florida International University

    Miami, FL



    Attracting 8,700 post-grad Panthers to 81 master's programs, Florida International University is a preeminent public, Hispanic-serving SUS member of Conference USA that's endowed for $196.2 million to foster "Hope, Knowledge, Opportunity" on its 573-acre Modesto A. Maidique campus and online via Canvas. Awarded Golden Key International's Gold Chapter Standing in 2015, FIU is congratulated for America's sixth best social mobility by Brookings Institution, 47th best faculty in Washington Monthly, and 46th top online graduate education degrees on the U.S. News & World Report. Directed by Dr. Laura Dinehart, the CAEP-accredited College of Education accepts $30 applications from bachelor's grads with minimum 3.0 GPAs for the Online Master of Science in Adult Education and Human Development. The 36-credit, non-thesis program starts every fall, summer, and spring for pursuing the ASTD's Certified Learning Professional designation. Online courses span from Computer Based Training to Instructional Analysis before the AE&HRD internship.

  10. Western Kentucky University

    Bowling Green, NY



    Acquired as Southern Normal School from Henry Hardin Cherry in 1907, Western Kentucky University is a public, civic-engaged research institution that's endowed for $125.5 million to teach 21,048 Hilltoppers that "Spirit Makes the Master" on its 200-acre Warren County campus and via eLearning on Blackboard. Given the SR Education Group Top Online College for Women Award, WKU is proclaimed America's 100th most conservative university on Niche, 31st best graduate education online school by the U.S. News & World Report, and 87th best buck in Washington Monthly. The CAEP-accredited Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research reports 96.6 percent satisfaction for its MAE in Adult Education Online. Coordinated by Dr. Jim Berger from Ransdell Hall, the 30-credit, non-GRE program offers concentrations for Higher Education, Training and Development, or Community and Technical College. Post-grads meeting the 2.75 GPA benchmark will take virtual courses like Systematic Instructional Design and Program Planning for Adults with 40+ practicum hours.

Which Jobs Benefit From Master's in Training & Development Online Programs?

Finishing an online training & development master's would qualify professionals with experience for virtually all openings on the ATD Jobs Board from instructional technologist to learning solutions manager. Aside from PhD-preferred university teaching, post-grads are prepared to coordinate adult education in various forms, including compliance training, team building, employee orientation, sexual harassment prevention, and safety refreshers, especially with industry credentials. For instance, the Institute for Performance and Learning created the Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP) title for members who pass a 100-question, $950 exam and skills demo. Training Industry Inc. launched the Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM) program with 10 online modules, a four-day practicum, and 2.5-hour exam to prove leadership competencies. Many graduates also choose to join the 285,000 other members of the Society for Human Resource Management for networking events, including the Talent Conference & Exposition. Let's review five job descriptions where putting a training & development master's online atop one's résumé is advantageous.

Training & Development Manager- Chosen for CNN Money's 71st best job with an "A" for low stress, training & development managers provide overall strategic direction for the delivery of employee instruction. Getting a cheap online master's in training & development could help assess worker needs, architect curriculum, select manuals, supervise teachers, order supplies, monitor spending, measure program results, and suggest improvements.

Executive Recruiter- The Glassdoor Statistical Reference Guide reports that the average corporate vacancy goes unfilled for 28.1 days, so training & development master's online graduates can help businesses draft the industry's brightest minds. Executive recruiters evaluate hiring needs, select job criteria, identify top talent, assess candidate qualifications, check references, conduct interviews, negotiate hires, and assist with transition training.

Adult GED Teacher- Outside the HR realm, online master's in training & development graduates may find nonprofit jobs instructing the over 560,000 U.S. adults who earn the General Equivalency Diploma yearly according to GED Testing Service. These teachers craft secondary-level lessons, build job skills, emphasize exam-taking strategies, evaluate learning progress, adapt for English language learners, give practice tests, and aid college transitions.

Corporate eLearning Director- Earning a master's in training & development online would give the tech prowess to oversee corporations' Web-based classrooms in a fast-growing eLearning sector expected to reach $31 billion by 2020 on Docebo. Corporate eLearning directors develop webinars, select online platforms like Blackboard, set instructional goals, control user access, establish vendor partnerships, address IT errors, and recap course reviews.

Chief Learning Officer- LinkedIn has recognized extraordinary Chief Learning Officers like Tom Evans, Amy Hayes, and Tamar Elkeles for 25 years, but online master's in training & development graduates could be future award winners. CLOs have C-Suite executive power to set organizational training policy, direct large-scale education initiatives, institute new technologies, edit course modules, make HR management changes, and diagnose skill gaps.

How Much Can Training & Development Master's Online Graduates Earn?

Cheap online master's in training & development study could pay off because management jobs offer average pay of $105,000 on Investopedia. The U.S. News & World Report stated that mean lifetime earnings jump from $2.27 million to $2.67 million with a master's across industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 32,880 training & development managers nationwide make an average wage of $115,180, or $55.37 per hour. Human resource managers earn slightly more at $120,210 annually. Employee benefits managers bring home median profits of $116,240. Corporate instructional designers snag mean income of $77,060. Private-sector positions pay considerably more than the average salary of $55,140 for adult educators. On Salary.com, Chief Learning Officers report median compensation worth $187,109. Other high averages include $92,066 for executive recruiters, $121,861 for talent managers, $145,720 for sales training directors, and $130,998 for flight training coordinators.

What is the Employment Outlook for Online Training & Development Master's Degrees?

Investing in a training & development master's online isn't deemed high-risk because PR Newswire published projections of solid 10.55 percent growth in global corporate training from 2016 to 2020. Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) reported a low 1.7 percent unemployment rate for adults aged 25+ with master's degrees in 2017. Training & development managers have a favorable job outlook with 10 percent growth for 3,600 new jobs by 2026 according to the Department of Labor. Hiring in HR management is slightly slower at 9 percent for total U.S. employment of 148,400. Decade-long forecasts show job increases of 11 percent for instructional coordinators, 5 percent for benefits managers, 4 percent for adult education teachers, and 8 percent for chief executives like CLOs. Monster recognized Bonobos, Amazon, AT&T, Randstad, Paychex, and Marriott International among the best companies with hiring training programs. An online master's in training & development can push careers forward into management to ensure talented employees realize their fullest potential.

This concludes our ranking of the top 10 most affordable master's in training & development online.

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GradSchoolHub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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