Trainers are NPCs who help increase proficiency in skills in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Most trainers offer their services from the start of the game, but some require certain tasks to be performed first. Skills can only be trained five times per level, until the skill level exceeds the level of the trainer. All training requires that a fee be paid. Gold is automatically subtracted from the inventory when a training session is accepted. After you pay the Trainers you can Pickpocket the Trainers for your money back.
Changes from previous games
Unlike The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, trainers in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim only offer skill leveling from Adept upwards. In previous games, trainers offered Apprentice-level and Novice-level training. There are skill trainers in Skyrim labeled as "Common" trainers; this is incorrectly labeled, as the trainers offer their services up to the Adept level. Unlike Morrowind and Oblivion, there are no means to be trained all the way to level 100 in a skill. Also different from the previous two games is that trainers will only train up to five skill levels per character level.
The more advanced the training session is, the higher it will cost. The cost of training a skill up can be calculated as follows:
Level 15 – 50: 10 * [skill level] + 50
Level 51 – 75: 30 * [skill level] + 50
Level 75 – 90: 50 * [skill level] + 50
This cost is based on the skill level after all modifications. So for example, Speech training while wearing an Amulet of Dibella will be priced at a level 15 points higher than the raw skill level. It is thus best to remove relevant equipment before training.
Trainers that are also merchants, such as Arcadia in Whiterun, add the gold paid to them for training into their inventory. One can easily recover gold spent on training by selling them items. The gold can also be pickpocketed back from the trainer, albeit difficult if it is a large amount.
The proficiency of trainers varies:
Adept trainers can train up to level 50.
Expert trainers can train up to level 75.
Master trainers can train up to level 90.
Once the Dragonborn's skill level reaches higher than the trainer's level, the option for training disappears as there is no more that can be learned from this person.
There are several quests or tasks available that grant free skill increases as a reward. They function much like skill books and are treated in the same way as regular skill increases.
Free training can be exploited if a follower is also a trainer. Upon completion of a training session, the option to trade items with a follower can be selected to access their inventory and take back the money that was just spent on training.
Additionally, gold can be pickpocketed back after training sessions, but this becomes impossible at higher levels (even with maximum Pickpocket and Sneak skills) as the amount of gold paid is often in the thousands. This can be surmounted by knocking down the trainer in some way, and then pickpocketing the gold back while they are on the ground. You can pickpocket anything in a knocked down NPC's inventory with no bounty, even if the chance of success appears to be 0%. To knock down an NPC, use Unrelenting Force with all three power words, do a power attack with a two-handed weapon (you may receive bounty), or reverse-pickpocket a paralysis poison into their inventory.