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Training Development Officer

OFFICER | Full Time, Part Time

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As a member of the military, Training Development Officers provide guidance and advice on the systematic approach to training and education and the Canadian Forces Individual Training and Education System.

As experts in military training, education and professional development programs, Training Development Officers are responsible for ensuring quality and quantity control of training, which includes guiding the development, management and provision of training solutions as well as teaching in a variety of school settings, and managing learning resources.  They also conduct human performance research and development, including analyzing operational job performance requirements, identifying  organizational needs and suggesting and facilitating solutions to performance problems.

Work environment

Training Development Officers generally work in an office setting at a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) school, unit, base, command, or at National Defence Headquarters.  They may also be employed in a deployed environment in support of military operations or missions.

If you chose a career in the Regular Force, upon completion of all required training, you will be assigned to your first base. While there is some flexibility with regards to postings (relocations), accommodations can’t always be made, and therefore, you can likely expect to move at some point in your career. However, if you decide to join the Primary Reserve Force, you will do so through a specific Reserve unit. Outside of training, your chosen Reserve unit will be your workplace on a part time basis, and you will not be obligated to relocate to a different base. As part of the Primary Reserve Force, you typically work one night per week and some weekends as a minimum with possibilities of full-time employment.

Career Overview



CAPTAIN MEG KILBRIDE: I’m Captain Meg Kilbride from Halifax, Nova Scotia, a Training Development Officer posted to the Canadian Special Operations Training Centre at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, Ontario.

The Canadian Armed Forces is recognized worldwide for its first-class training system and at its heart are Training Development Officers, or TDOs, who strive to make Canada’s forces some of the best-trained military personnel anywhere.

CAPTAIN MEG KILBRIDE: Behind every successful operation is successful training and Training Development Officers are at the forefront of that. We often lead subject matter experts and instructors in developing their training from the ground up – everything from the classroom to the simulator right through to field exercises.

TDOs play a critical role in the training of all military members by ensuring that training is as effective and efficient as possible.

CAPTAIN MEG KILBRIDE: TDOs often spearhead changes in instructional methodology and instructional techniques. We’re often the first ones to bring forth that first idea, to encourage instructors to try a new method.

Training development officers are also advisors to senior leadership. They offer insights and analysis on how to best train the military to meet the needs of Canada’s missions, both at home and abroad. They’re engaged at all levels of military training — from the procurement of fighter aircraft or naval warships, to working directly with instructors at diverse training schools across the country.

CAPTAIN MEG KILBRIDE: A Training Development Officer will actually visualize the training right as it is happening. One day I may be in a classroom teaching instructors, while the next I may be out with the students in a helicopter. The possibilities are endless.

TDOs live by their motto “Always seeking a better way” to devise and refine training programs for Canadian Armed Forces personnel. They work in headquarters and schools across Canada and around the world in deployed operations. This can range from working on high-level strategic plans in one job, to working with instructors in a high-end tactical simulator in another role.

CAPTAIN MEG KILBRIDE: One of the unique opportunities that a Training Development Officer can have in their career is working with the Special Forces, which is where I work. Within CANSOFCOM, we aim to train as we fight. And as you can imagine, missions within the Special Forces are very high-risk, thus making our training very high-risk.

After completing occupational training, TDOs are typically employed at a military training establishment or school across Canada.

CAPTAIN MEG KILBRIDE: A training establishment within the Canadian Armed Forces is the frontline of where Training Development Officers lead the institution with training and education. Or you can go to a Headquarters where you’re advising on training doctrine and policy.

The essential roles for a TDO include front-end analysis to define training requirements as well as the design, development and evaluation of training plans and instructional lessons. They also conduct staff professional development and help to integrate instructional technology into the classroom setting.

CAPTAIN MEG KILBRIDE: There are innovations and new ideas that come up in the training realm all the time – for instance, simulation is a cornerstone of many of the things we do, both in the Air Force, the Navy, and within CANSOFCOM. So we do advise on new ways to teach things, to just make things more effective and more transferable to the job.

CAPTAIN MEG KILBRIDE: It’s my passion for training and education that got me to being a Training Development Officer. I don’t just teach students, but I teach the instructors how to teach their students. And it is absolutely amazing and very rewarding to take an instructor and really instill in them the vivaciousness of a Training Development Officer. Seeing them be interactive with their students and really engaging is the highlight of my career.

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After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 12 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the CAF, basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.

Following basic officer training, official second language training may be offered to you. Training could take from two to nine months to complete depending on your ability in your second language.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Training Development Officers receive in-depth training on the specific responsibilities of the position for five months in Borden, Ontario. The course is designed to provide an in-depth perspective of the Canadian Forces Individual Training and Education System and the Systems Approach to Training.

Training Development Officers then complete approximately three months of on-the-job training at a base in Canada under the supervision of a senior Training Development Officer. During this portion of the training, they are expected to apply and consolidate their knowledge and skills to solve real training and educational problems.

Training Development Officers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including graduate training at a recognized Canadian university.

Entry plans

The preferred degree for those wishing to apply for this job is any Master’s degree in Education and three years of full-time experience as an educational or training consultant.

If you have any Bachelor’s degree in Education and experience working as an educational or training consultant, the CAF will decide if your education and experience match the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following your Basic Military Officer Qualification. You will be required to pass this qualification before being assigned.

Regular Officer Training Plan

Due to the requirement for CAF officer to obtain a university degree, the CAF will pay successful recruits to complete a bachelor degree program in the Royal Military College System. Recruits will receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full pay in exchange for working in the CAF for a period of time. Typically, candidates enter the Canadian Military College System as an Officer Cadet where they study subjects relevant to both their military and academic career. In rare instances, based on the needs of the CAF, candidates may be approved attend another Canadian University. A determination will be made on a case by case basis. If you are applying for this program, you must apply to the CAF and it is recommended to apply to other Canadian universities of your choice should you not be accepted for ROTP.

Learn more about our Paid Education programs here.

Part time options

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time with a military unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada

Reserve Training Development Officers (TDOs) will be administered and belong to a local Naval Reserve Division or Canadian Army Reserve unit, however, employment is centrally managed either at the Brigade level (Canadian Army) or by Naval Personnel Training Group (RCN).  Reserve TDOs will be employed regionally to assist with improving various individual and collective training activities happening in their geographical areas.  This could include everything from helping instructors improve their teaching or training methods, to evaluating student learning, helping with curriculum development, improving learner assessment, and/or evaluating larger training exercises to ensure exercise objectives were achieved.  Reserve TDOs will also have the opportunity to switch from part-time to full-time employment for set contracted periods.

Find a Recruiting Centre

Training will either be conducted part-time or full-time and will suite a Reserve member’s schedule.  A variety of instructional strategies will be employed, including training and mentoring from senior TDOs in the same geographic areas, opportunities to take formal CAF IT&E courses, and the possibility to attend the full-time TDO course at the CAF Training Development Centre (CFTDC) in CFB Borden.  Regardless of training stream, all Reserve TDO training programs will be approved and assessed by CFTDC, and all Reserve TDOs will eventually be required to achieve the full TDO qualification. When joining, Reserve TDOs have the opportunity to have their prior learning qualifications and skills assessed, which may lead to the recognition of prior learning with the awarding of qualifications.

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 92.8% of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.