The process necessary to become a developmental specialist involves meeting academic and experience requirements that typically require four or five years of preparation. Aspiring developmental specialists need to thoroughly understand the training process for their occupation of choice in order to make the right decisions in terms of academic programs and work experiences that will further their professional interests, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Online MSEd in Special Education (Ranked #11 Best Online Master’s in Special Education Program by U.S. News & World Report 2021)
- Online Master of Science in Special Education
- M.Ed. in Elementary Education and Special Education (ITL); M.Ed. in Special Education: Moderate to Severe (ITL); M.Ed. in Special Education: Cross Categorical (Leads to initial teacher licensure)
- BA Special Education (Mild to Moerate) - Leads to single licensure in K - 12 special education; MA Teaching, Special Education (K-12)
Basic Job Requirements
A bachelor’s degree is generally a prerequisite to employment as a developmental specialist. College students who are interested in becoming developmental specialists can consider majoring in several different academic disciplines including education, business, and instructional design. During their college years, developmental specialists should acquire both teaching skills and presentation skills that will help them communicate and explain concepts and ideas clearly.
There is no certification or licensure that is mandatory for developmental specialists. However, there are some certifications offered that can possibly benefit aspiring developmental specialists. For example, the American Society for Training and Development and the International Society for Performance Improvement offer certification programs that can help professionals working as developmental specialists.
A developmental specialist needs to have a wide range of skills to function successfully in their field. In general, developmental specialists need to be good communicators and managers. They must have well developed critical thinking skills and interpersonal skills. Technical skills that are useful to developmental specialists include technical writing abilities, project management skills, and a thorough understand of eLearning. Additionally, developmental specialists need to be adept at computer use and understand Microsoft Office programs and learning management systems. A basic understanding of budgeting, finance, and organizational management are also characteristics of a well prepared and qualified developmental specialist.
The job tasks of a development specialist often entail a high level of specialization and training. There are many things that developmental specialists can do to make themselves more competitive as candidates to developmental specialist positions. Those looking to advance their careers can do so through both achieving additional academic qualifications and through becoming members of industry-related organizations.
Although only a bachelor’s degree is needed to qualify for many jobs as development specialists, individuals looking to further their career will mostly likely find that acquiring a more advanced degree is necessary. Many employers will specifically be looking out for job candidates who have already completed a master’s degree level program. This is especially true when employers are looking to fill a position in upper-level management.
The American Society for Training and Development is an important organization for developmental specialists looking to be at the forefront of their field. Membership in the ASTD shows that a candidate is dedicated to the profession and to the industry. Other organizations that developmental specialists might want to consider joining include Toastmasters and similar public speaking/leadership groups.
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The job market for developmental specialists is expected to grow faster than average over the next eight years. An individual looking to become a developmental specialist can enjoy rewarding professional opportunities in many different industries once they have completed their career training.