Your Guide to Becoming a Vice President of Learning and Development

In today’s fast-paced corporate environment, the position of Vice President of Learning and Development (VP of L&D) has become critical. This position oversees training programs and fundamentally shapes an organization’s future by developing its people. Understanding the pathway and required skills is essential to ascend to this influential role.

Here is your comprehensive guide to becoming a Vice President of Learning and Development.

Understanding the Role

A VP of L&D is responsible for leading an organization’s efforts to improve employee performance through continuous education and skill development. This involves creating training program strategies, overseeing implementation, and measuring effectiveness.

The role requires a deep understanding of the organization’s goals and how employee development can support these goals. It also requires a strong understanding of current developments in adult learning, instructional design, and educational technology.

They earn hefty salaries to perform these duties, as their roles are important for an organization’s success. According to, the average annual salary range for this role is between $183,333 and $268,823. However, some top earners earn up to $312,661, while some make only $149,337.

Educational Background and Professional Experience

Typically, the journey to becoming a VP of L&D begins with a strong educational foundation. A bachelor’s degree in human resources, education, psychology, or a similar discipline is sometimes a prerequisite. However, many effective L&D VPs have higher degrees, such as a Master’s or even a Doctorate, in these fields.

Specialized programs in organizational development, adult learning, or instructional design can provide a significant advantage. For instance, a Doctorate of Education (EdD) in leadership and innovation degree can help you get this job quickly.

According to Spalding University, such an education can offer fresh perspectives on becoming an effective leader who can drive growth. The degree will also help you stand out as a practitioner of ethical organizational leadership.

Moreover, thanks to technological advancements, you can now take an online EdD in leadership and innovation course. This way, if you are already working, you won’t have to leave your job to get this degree. However, you will have to schedule so that you can allocate around 20 to 25 hours a week to this.

Besides the right educational background, experience is equally critical for a Vice President of Learning and Development role. Aspiring VPs of L&D usually start in roles such as training coordinators, instructional designers, or HR specialists. These positions offer hands-on experience in creating and delivering training programs, assessing employee development needs, and using various educational technologies.

Developing Key Skills

A diverse skill set is essential to excel as a VP of L&D. Leadership abilities are essential, as you will manage a team of experts and collaborate with top executives. Communication skills are essential for effectively communicating ideas and delivering plans to a variety of stakeholders.

As a ResearchGate article explains, communication skills are vital for professional life, regardless of what job you do. However, the problem is that this skill cannot be taught, so you will have to put in the effort to eventually develop it. This skill can be valuable in multiple aspects of professional life, such as networking, interview, employee engagement, etc.

Moreover, a deep understanding of instructional design principles and adult learning theories is fundamental. Knowing the newest advances in educational technology, such as e-learning platforms, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, might offer you an advantage. Project management abilities are particularly useful because you will typically be overseeing many initiatives at the same time.

Building a Strong Professional Network

Networking is a valuable tool for developing your career. Professional groups, such as the Association for Talent Development (ATD), may provide useful information and networking opportunities.

Attending industry conferences, workshops, and webinars may help you keep up with the newest trends and best practices. Building ties with mentors and peers may provide direction and support as you pursue your career goals.

A strong professional network can also land you a new job that is more fulfilling than your current one. According to Hubspot, a recent survey shows that 42% of professionals found their current job with some networking. Moreover, 37% of them consider referrals to be the strongest influencer for landing a job.

Strategic Thinking and Vision

As a VP of L&D, strategic thinking is critical. You must comprehend the larger corporate backdrop, as well as how learning and development may help organizations achieve their goals.

This involves identifying skill gaps, forecasting future needs, and developing long-term strategies to ensure the workforce is equipped to meet these needs. A key aspect of the role is articulating a clear vision for your organization’s future of learning and development.

Career Advancement and Continuous Learning

Even as you reach the VP level, continuous learning and professional development remain important. Pursuing certifications such as Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) can add credibility.

Seeking executive education programs or advanced leadership training can provide new insights and enhance your strategic capabilities. Mentorship can play a significant role in your continued growth. Both finding mentors who can offer guidance and acting as mentors to others can provide valuable perspectives.

Continuous learning is also vital because of the constantly changing business landscape and technological advancements. According to Deloitte, around 40% of the global workforce will require reskilling more frequently than ever. This has become an expectation from employers, as 94% of business leaders seek employees who can pick up new skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is the function of the vice president of development?

The vice president of development oversees and guides an organization’s development efforts. This involves finding growth possibilities, managing development initiatives, obtaining funds, and forming partnerships.

What are the various job paths in learning and development?

There are numerous careers in learning and development, ranging from training and development managers to instructional designers and e-learning professionals. These jobs involve developing and executing educational programs, boosting employee skills, increasing performance, and supporting corporate learning initiatives.

What is the basic function of a vice president?

A vice president’s primary tasks include high-level management, such as formulating strategic goals and directing departmental activities. They work with other executives to ensure the company’s objectives are realized, drive performance, and contribute to overall success.

To summarize, being a Vice President of Learning and Development is a fulfilling career path with the potential to affect a business. It takes a combination of education, experience, abilities, and personal qualities. Following the advice above will help you manage the hurdles and succeed in this critical job.

The road is challenging, but the chance to define an organization’s future via its people is extremely rewarding. As a VP of L&D, you have the chance to drive positive change and foster a culture of continuous improvement.


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