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The top UX certification programs for design professionals

| September 27, 2018
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If you’re considering a career as a UX professional—or building on your existing skills—you may have considered earning a UX certificate. Although there’s a lot you can learn on the job and through independent study, there are benefits to more in-depth courses that go beyond general introductions to the field and expand more on new skills, best practices, and emerging trends, tools, and technologies.

We’ve got some great suggestions to help you further build your human-centered design skills and knowledge, and continue to grow your career in the field of UX.

Below are 13 of our top picks for UX certification programs to help you take your career to the next level. To help you sort through your options, courses are organized by time commitment, starting with full-time and longer-term courses and immersives, followed by part-time/self-paced and shorter-term courses.

UX certificate programs:

Full-time and longer-term UX certificate programs

1. Nielsen Norman Group: UX and UX Master Certification

Who is this for?

The User Experience Certification Program is an exam-based program, perfect for anyone who’d like to demonstrate their UX skills or gain additional skills in a new specialty or focus.

The UX Master Certification is geared toward more experienced UX professionals who are interested in expanding their skills and knowledge base.

Online or in person?

Certification is earned in-person by attending NN/g’s UX Conferences.

How long is the program?

There are two options and each course can be taken individually and can be accumulated over months and years.

  • The UX Certification Program requires five full days plus exams to earn a UX Certification
  • The UX Master Certification requires 15 full days plus exams to earn a UX Master Certification

How much does it cost?

The estimated cost for the UX Certification (including course and exam fees) is $3,900, and the estimated cost for the UX Master Certification (including course and exam fees) is $11,600.

More information

NN/g has suggested course paths depending on your current skill level, and specialty tracks that include Interaction Design, Mobile and Multi-Channel UX, UX Research, or Web Design.

2. GeneralAssemb.ly: User Experience Design Immersive

Who is this for?

If you want to jump-start your transition into a role as a UX designer and have the ability to commit full-time for ten weeks, this course is a great way to quickly learn from top practitioners, build your portfolio, and even find a job once you complete this UX design course!

Online or in person?

In person at one of General Assembly’s 20 campuses, worldwide.

How long is the program?

This is a full-time, Monday-Friday, 10-week course.

How much does it cost?

Tuition varies based on location, ranging from $13,500 to $14,950.

More information

General Assembly is an education startup that focuses on technology, design, and entrepreneurship. The UX program covers a lot of ground—from user research and information architecture to design and interaction.

3. Human Factors International: Certified Usability Analyst or Certified User Experience Analyst

Who is this for?

HFI offers two tracks depending on where professionals are at in their UX career. For those just starting out, the Certified Usability Analyst (CUA) track will help teach the skills needed to grow and advance in the field.

The Certified User Experience Analyst (CXA) track is for more experienced professionals who want to learn more advanced skills.

Online or in person?

In person at a number of different U.S. and international locations.

How long is the program?

Each of the tracks consists of four courses over ten days.

How much does it cost?

About $6,000 for each track.

More information:

HFI is a consulting firm that specializes in user experience. Training is one way they deliver on helping companies grow UX strategies and teams.

4. California State University at Fullerton: Certificate in User Experience and Customer-Centered Design

Who is this for?

Anyone interested in bringing the concepts of user-centered experience to their job.

Online or in person?

Online and/or in person—although because this is a Cal State school, there are some restrictions for those taking the course outside of California. See the website for more details.

How long is the program?

Six courses for a total of 9.8 credits, which translates into 98 hours of lectures and labs (approximately 10-12 months for most students).

How much does it cost?

Estimated costs for this program are $4,240 for certification.

More information

The courses focus on user-centered design that can apply to many areas of expertise. Note non-California residents may be eligible under special circumstances. You can learn more here.

5. Bentley University’s User Experience Center: UX Certificate Program

Who is this for?

Both experienced and beginning professionals.

Online or in person?

Classes can be taken in person on Bentley’s campus in Waltham, Massachusetts, and most courses are also available online. Bentley will also deliver classes on-site to corporate clients.

How long is the program?

The program consists of three required courses and six elective courses. Each course is two days and presented in person over a Thursday and Friday (or online). Taken back to back, the courses would take eight weeks to complete although most students complete the certification over the course of one year. Courses can be taken at any time and in any order.

How much does it cost?

Each course is $1,400, so all nine classes would be a total of $12,600 for the certification.

More information

Credits can be transferred and applied to the school’s Masters in Human Factors in Information Design. You would need to apply and be accepted into Bentley’s McCallum Graduate School of Business.

6. University of Washington: User-Centered Design Certificate

Who is this for?

This evening graduate course is great for anyone who wants to enhance their skills in UX research and design.

Online or in person?

This is a hands-on program offered at the Seattle campus.

How long is the program?

The certificate is a 13 credit program, which can be completed in one year.

How much does it cost?

The estimated cost for this certificate is $10,348, plus a $45 registration fee and a $50 application fee.

More information

Successful completion of the certificate course will earn students graduate credit that can be applied to the Master of Science in Human Centered Design and Engineering.

7. UC San Diego Extension: User Experience (UX) Design Certificate

Who is this for?

This online UX certification is great for anyone with basic UX skills who wants to build up their portfolio and gain a solid foundation in UX that they can immediately utilize in their current roles, or use to pursue more advanced roles.

Online or in person?

All the required courses are offered online, with select courses offered onsite each quarter.

How long is the program?

The program consists of five required courses and two electives, which can be completed in five to eight quarters (taking one to two courses per quarter), depending on your desired course load.

How much does it cost?

Tuition ranges from $595 to $795 per course, as well as a one-time $95 certificate fee upon acceptance to the program.

More information

Online courses in this certificate are led by live instructors, but students can access lectures according to their own schedules.

8. San Francisco State University Extension: UX/UI Design Certificate

Who is this for?

This course is perfect for aspiring UX/UI designers who possess a working knowledge of UX principles and want to build their portfolio to enhance their existing career or seek out new roles in the field.

Online or in person?

All classes are held in-person at SFSU’s downtown San Francisco campus.

How long is the program?

The program is 129 hours of coursework, scheduled over a 12-month period.

How much does it cost?

The estimated cost is $3,900 for tuition, plus an additional $50 certificate fee upon completion. Note that each course in the track is individually priced.

More information

Credit is recorded as continuing education units (CEU) which are a standard measurement for non-degree learning. However, they can’t be applied to a degree. This program is also part of CalJOBS which provides employment training for adults and dislocated workers.

9. SMU: User Experience Design Certificate Program

Who is this for?

Anyone in the Dallas area that’s interested in further educating themselves on the user experience, from visual and interface designers, to marketing and product managers.

Online or in person?

This program is offered exclusively on SMU’s campus in Dallas.

How long is the program?

The course can be completed in as little as four months. However, students have a full 18 months to complete all courses and earn their certificate.

How much does it cost?

The estimated cost is $3,745.

More information

This program offers a unique, face-to-face format that gives students hands-on exposure. It also provides flexibility in scheduling, so students can take courses one at a time, or opt for the full course certificate.


Part-time and shorter-term UX certificate programs

10. The TeamW/Weinschenk Institute: UX Certificates

Who is this for?

With three certificates to choose from, these courses work no matter where someone is at in their career.

The UX Certificate Design Concentration will focus on UX fundamentals, user testing, interaction design, user research, and more.

The UX Certificate Strategy Concentration is great for those who are a bit more experienced and want to take their skills beyond design and into strategy.

The Advanced UX Certificate is for anyone who’s ready to pull out all the stops and get one-on-one learning and mentorship with none other than Dr. Weinschenk herself! Note, that in order to register for the Advanced UX Certificate, applicants must have first earned a UX Certificate with The Team W.

Online or in person?

Pre-recorded sessions can be bought and viewed at your own pace. Dr. Weinschenk can also come to your campus to do corporate team training for an additional fee.

How long is the program?

Because these courses are available online, 24 hours a day, students can complete at their own pace. On average, students take about 20 hours to complete each course, exercises, and quizzes which can be completed over any period of time.

How much does it cost?

Estimated costs vary depending on which courses you take, but range between $595 and $2,695.

More information

Dr. Susan Weinschenk, known as The Brain Lady, has designed a program combines practical ideas and examples based on scientific research on brain and behavioral science, that help professionals apply psychology to design and experience. Course topics cover User research and user testing, conceptual model design, detailed interaction design, designing for engagement, design thinking, lean UX, and agile UX.

11. University of Baltimore: Graduate Certificate in User Experience (UX) Design

Who is this for?

This fully-online program is designed for working professionals to give them the advantage they need to get ahead in the growing field of UX. The program emphasizes interaction design, information architecture, and usability analysis.

Online or in person?

The program can be completed entirely online at the student’s own pace.

How long is the program?

The certificate is a 12-unit program which is typically completed over the course of one year.

How much does it cost?

Tuition is $16,166 with an estimated cost of books and supplies of $1,600.

More information

Students must complete a Hypermedia Proficiency Examination before starting the certificate program. If not, students can complete an introduction to web development.

12. Udemy: The Ultimate Guide to Usability and UX

Who is this for?

This course is perfect for anyone who doesn’t have the time or budget for more in-depth courses, but still wants to get a solid foundation in UX, gain experience, and build a portfolio in just a few weeks.

Online or in person?

This course is only offered online.

How long is the program?

This is a 12-hour self-paced course. Most students complete the course in about two to three weeks.

How much does it cost?

The estimated cost is $194.99, however, sometimes Udemy has special deals, so watch the page for discounts.

More information

This course offers a 30-day money back guarantee, so there’s very little risk taking this course!

13. CareerFoundry: Certified UX Designer

Who is this for?

This certification is great for folks who want a real-world experience that employers want and need. This course is taught by industry experts that provide one-on-one mentoring to provide guidance throughout the course and help build a strong portfolio.

Online or in person?

The program is completely online and self-paced.

How long is the program?

The 10-month program is completely online and self-paced, allowing students to work based on their own schedule. Most students spend about 15 hours per week to complete the course within the 10-month period.

How much does it cost?

The estimated cost is $6,649 if paid in advance, however, other financing options are also available.

More information

CareerFoundry has an impressive job placement rate—96% of eligible alumni. They’re so confident that you’ll find a job upon completion of this certification that they guarantee that you’ll get a job within six months, or they’ll refund the cost of the course.

 

Bonus: CX Certification: CCXP Certification

Who is this for?

As CX becomes more and more of a household name, there will likely be more offerings for certification, but for now, the most reputable customer experience courses are offered by CCXP. This certification is for anyone wishing to enhance their customer-centered focus and earn one of the industry’s only CX designations, CCXP.

Online or in person?

All study is independent, however, exams are offered at designated locations and must be taken in person.

How long is the program?

All exam preparation is self-paced so applicants can apply to take the exam as soon as they feel ready.

How much does it cost?

Fees for the application and exam are as follows:

  • CXPA Member: $495 (USD)
  • Non-Member of the CXPA: $645 (USD)
  • Non-Member including a one-year CXPA membership: $690 (USD)

More information

For more information on the exam format, required competencies, and exam testing locations, visit the CCXP Resources page.

Ready to hit the books?

Even if you’re not ready to head back to school, we still have plenty of free resources to help broaden your UX and CX knowledge! Check out these resources below to learn more and good luck with your studies!

The complete guide to user testing websites, apps, and prototypes

The UX research methodology guidebook

Designing a brilliant user experience through color, font, and icons

Want to learn more?

If you’d like to learn more about how UserTesting can help you understand your customers through on-demand human insights, contact us here.