37-40 per week
£20,000 + per year
IT trainers design and deliver computer courses. They work in the training departments of large organisations, and for IT training companies, colleges and universities. If you’re interested in IT and like the idea of showing people how to get the most from computers, this could be just the job you’re looking for.
To become an IT trainer, you’ll need knowledge of IT programs and systems. You’ll also need excellent spoken and written communication skills, and the ability to adapt to your learners’ abilities.
You can become an IT trainer in several ways. You’re likely to need qualifications in both IT and training/teaching.
As an IT trainer, you can deliver courses ranging from commonly used programs like word processing and spreadsheets, to technical areas such as programming or PC maintenance. If you work for a company, you may provide in-house training, for example teaching accounts staff how to use a new payroll system.
In all cases, you will:
- assess training needs and agree learning aims
- design new training programmes or adapt existing ones
- make training materials
- manage the roll-out of new projects
- prepare the training room and resources
- deliver training programmes
- judge how useful the training is
- give constructive feedback to learners and management
- make ongoing improvements
- keep records up to date.
A lot of training is available online, so you’re likely to design e-learning materials to support learners in a virtual learning environment.
Working hours and conditions
In a full-time job you’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Sometimes you may need to work evenings or weekends to meet client requirements.
Part-time work is often available.
Your workplace will vary depending on your employer. For example, you may work at several college sites and travel between them, or you may be based at a training centre full-time. If you work for a private training company, your job is likely to involve local and regional travel. If you work for a large international organisation, you may also be expected to travel abroad.
Starting salaries for IT trainers can be around £20,000 a year.
Experienced trainers can earn between £21,000 and £29,000 a year, and IT trainers with management responsibilities can earn up to £40,000 a year. Project managers can earn considerably more.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You can become an IT trainer in several ways. You can work as an IT professional and learn skills through your job experience, then qualify as a trainer or teacher of IT. Or you can start as a general trainer and then specialise in IT skills. You’ll need an advanced IT qualification, plus qualifications in training or teaching.
Several IT qualifications cover the major desktop programs and uses of a computer, including:
- Level 2 Certificate for IT Users
- Level 2 ECDL Certificate in IT User Skills
- Level 3 ECDL Award in IT User Skills
- Level 3 Certificate/Diploma in IT User Skills
- Microsoft Office Specialist certification.
These are available at local further education colleges and training providers. You can also gain similar qualifications whilst on an IT apprenticeship. See the apprenticeships website for availability in your area.
To qualify as a training officer, you can take one of the following:
- Level 3 Award in Delivering Training
- Level 3 Award in Education and Training
- Level 3 Award in Learning and Development Essentials
- Level 3 Certificate/Diploma in Learning and Development Practice.
For more information on teaching at a further education college, see the relevant profiles in the Related careers list.
If you’re interested in teaching people with disabilities to use IT, there’s advice about adapting materials and ‘assistive technologies’ on the AbilityNet website. You may be able to do voluntary work in this area, which will give you some teaching experience. To work with vulnerable people and under-18s, you’ll need to have background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Training and development
You can take various qualifications that will give you more knowledge of computer systems and applications, depending on your existing level of education. These include:
- Level 4 Diploma in Computing and Information Systems
- Education Level 4 Diploma in Computing
- Level 4 HNC Diploma in Computing and Systems
- foundation degree or BSc in computing.
More specialised technical training is also available and you could study for:
- Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) – includes instructor skills in how to get a classroom ready, how to present, make learning possible, and assess progress in PC maintenance, networking, security and Linux technologies
- Certified Novell Instructor (CNI) – how to teach about networking and Linux systems
- Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) - technical and classroom skills in teaching Microsoft courses
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) – improve your skills by learning how to design, build and maintain the common computer networks.
You can also study for further qualifications such as the Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training.
Skills, interests and qualities
As an IT trainer, you’ll need:
- ability to plan, design, develop or adapt training
- confidence to deliver training to individuals and groups
- excellent spoken and written communication skills
- up-to-date knowledge of commonly used IT programs and systems
- experience of 'training needs analysis' to adapt to learners’ abilities
- writing skills for instructions and learning materials
- organisational skills with ability to manage own work and meet deadlines
- a positive approach to problem-solving
- patience, and understanding of different ways of learning
- tact to motivate learners with varying abilities
- knowledge of how to assess training
- awareness of ease of access and use of IT for all learners
- ability to work alone and in a team.
Employers include specialised IT training organisations, large companies that provide in-house training for their staff, communications companies, consultancy firms, and colleges and universities.
You can progress to lead trainer, department manager or area training coordinator. Other options include technical writing, project management, or working in other areas of IT, for example e-learning development or publishing.
With experience and a network of contacts, you can become a freelance trainer or consultant.
The following may be useful for vacancies and further reading:
Job market information
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The 'Market statistics' charts are based on figures from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
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