Development Specialist: Job Description and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a development specialist. Get a quick view of the requirements, as well as details about job duties and education requirements, to find out if this career is right for you.

Development specialist is a term that refers to two different career paths, and both typically require a college degree. One position involves human resources, and the evaluation and development of programs, exercises and manuals to assist and train employees. Another development specialist position involves fundraising, and the execution of philanthropic efforts on behalf of their employer.

Essential Information

Development specialists work in human resources or fundraising positions. These individuals use their communications skills to train employees or encourage participation among their peers. Although development specialists may concentrate on different roles within their companies, their educational requirements generally include a college degree.

Training and Development Specialist Fundraising Specialist
Required Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Previous work experience Internship or previous work experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 7% 9%
Average Salary (2015)* $62,460 $57,170

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Development Specialist

There are two specific types of development specialists. The first type of development specialist works at evaluating human resources and training programs within a company. The second specializes in fundraising for a corporation, educational institution or other organization. Although both types have different responsibilities, the requirements of each are fairly similar.

Development Specialist as an Evaluator

Development specialists, working within human resources, ensure that programs and activities train and assist employees. By monitoring and analyzing these methods, development specialists can determine the best type of training to facilitate both employee and company success. Based on their findings, these specialists design, develop and direct employee exercises, discussions and simulations. They may also prepare texts, study guides and manuals for employee training.

Development Specialist as a Fundraiser

Development specialists acting as fundraisers raise money and donations to assist their organizations. These professionals concentrate on grant applications and cultivate a donor base for philanthropic gifts. Their expertise often lies in networking with potential donors, as well as seeking out new sources of funds. Such work also entails promoting their organization's work or cause through literature, advertisements and soirees.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that training and development specialists earned a $62,460 average salary in 2015 and were expected to see 7 percent growth in employment from 2014 until 2024. In comparison, fundraisers had an average salary of $57,170 in 2015 and were expected to see 9 percent growth in employment from 2014-2024, the BLS noted.

Educational Requirements of a Development Specialist

Although development specialists may concentrate on different roles within their companies, their educational requirements generally include a college degree. Coursework in communications, persuasive writing and public speaking may be beneficial. Students may also consider courses in organizational development and human resource management.

Advanced Degree

Depending on the organization, an advanced degree and further training may be necessary. For example, those pursuing a career in human resource management may consider a master's degree in labor relations or a related subject. Advanced training may also cover areas in law, negotiation and business administration.

Development specialists' responsibilities depend on whether their specialty is in fundraising or human resources. Both require a bachelor's degree, and an advanced degree or training may be required. In 2015, development specialists earned an approximate average salary between $57,000 and $62,000.

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