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L&D Salaries Remain Steady at $75,000, Says 2012 ASTD Salary Whitepaper


Tue Sep 25 2012


In the 2012 ASTD Salary Whitepaper, ASTD and Salary.com collaborated to examine compensation for the learning and development (L&D) industry from the employer perspective. ASTD examines L&D industry salaries using Salary.com’s database of employer reported salary data covering more than 29 million individuals working at more than 16,000 U.S. companies.  

Salaries in the learning and development industry are consistently stable and above average. Despite the fluctuating economy, salaries in the L&D industry have been consistent since 2007. The industry continues to remain stable and above the national average of $45,230. 


The national median annual salary for L&D professionals as reported by employers in 2012 is $75,814. This is consistent with the median annual salary between $70,000 and $80,000, reported in the 2011 ASTD Salary & Compensation report. 

However, that data shows that alary varies greatly depending on an individual’s experience and position. As job level increases, so too does the salary range. Managers, directors, and executives have higher pay ranges, which may be influenced by experience, performance, tenure, and industry. For example, training specialists, managers, and directors may find a median annual salary above the $75,000 range, while an entry-level training specialist earns roughly $40,000 to $50,000 a year.  

In addition, the L&D profession expands beyond the traditional trainer job roles to include focused positions such as instructional designers, customer service focused trainers, organizational development consultants, and technical trainers, to name a few. The study finds that there are some rewards for choosing a specialty. For example, sales training managers typically receive higher pay than their generalist counterparts. In contrast, customer service trainers average lower compensation. 

Location also plays a role in the amount of compensation an individual can expect to receive. Large metro areas in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and the West can expect to receive higher than average pay while those in the Midwest and South are more likely to see average or below average pay.  

The good news is that salaries have remained stable through rough economic times. These are positive signs that contribute to a bright outlook for the field in the years to come. 


The 2012 ASTD Salary Whitepaper is the definitive salary and compensation report for the L&D industry. The research is free to ASTD members; the full report can be purchased from the ASTD Store for $19.99.

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