How to Choose a Change Management Certification Program

What is change management certification – and should you get one?

In this article, we’ll explore the question of certification in depth:

  • What they are
  • Why they can be good – and reasons not to get one
  • Top certification programs
  • Other ways to obtain change management training

Let’s start with the most fundamental question:

What Is a Change Management Certification Program?

Change management certification is a certificate that teaches you about organizational change.

Most change management programs explain:

  • What change management is
  • Why it’s necessary
  • Change frameworks
  • How to assess change readiness and analyze change potential

And so on.

Most programs are available for students with a bachelors degree and a certain level of work experience.

However, there are a few pros and cons to be aware of when evaluating certification options.

Pros and Cons of Change Management Certification

First, let’s go through the pros – reasons to get a certification:

  • You can understand change management in theory and in practice.
  • It looks good on your resume and improve job prospects.
  • Your real-world change projects will get better results.
  • Other benefits include networking and industry connections.

But what about the cons?

Here are a few drawbacks to consider:

  • Change management certifications take time and money.
  • Not all certification programs are created equal.
  • Are you getting the right kind of change management knowledge?
  • Certification isn’t a substitute for experience.

That being said, if you have the time, money, and need, then certification is definitely worth considering.

Let’s look at a few options.

5 Change Management Certifications

There are many change management certifications offered today.

Some are offered through change management institutions, such as Prosci. Others are offered through universities.

Here are a few examples:

  • Prosci – Prosci is one of the most well-known change management firms out there. They offer a variety of services, including certification. Their first level certification is a three-day course that can be augmented with other certifications, workshops, and training specialties.
  • ACMP – The Association of Change Management Professional (ACMP) offers a certification program called the Certified Change Management Professional™ (CCMP™). It consists of 21 hours of teaching and an exam. The price is much more affordable than Prosci’s program. Perks to ACMP also include the opportunity for membership, which can open doors to a network of professionals, peers, and job opportunities.
  • eCornell eCornell, the online offshoot of Cornell University, offers a range of certification programs, including one for change management. The program is entirely online, consisting of 3-5 hours of work over a 2 week period. This is a good option for busy professionals who want an online option.
  • ATD – The Association for Talent Development (ATD) offers a wide variety of business education workshops, including one for change management. The 14-hour course covers change assessment, change management theories, communication plans, and more. 
  • Northwestern Northwestern University offers a post-baccalaureate certification. It requires students to take several courses about organizational change, at the university’s standard tuition rate. Students will learn how to identify opportunities, identify and explain obstacles to change, create change management metrics, and more.

These examples are just a few of the many change management certification options out there.

Evaluate Before You Buy

Things to consider when making your choice:

  • Price point. Some certifications cost a few hundred dollars, while others cost a few thousand. Ask yourself about your budget – or your company’s budget if they will pay for it.
  • Online or offline. Online courses are much more convenient. However, offline courses offer much more face-to-face interaction, and they may include other elements such as role-playing.
  • Course content. What will you learn through a specific program? Also, ask yourself how modern the change certification is. Does it keep up with technology and contemporary business trends, such as digital transformation?
  • Credibility. Who is offering the program? Most of the organizations and their instructors are credible, but do your due diligence beforehand.

As we have seen, a certification offers plenty of benefits for business professionals involved in change management.

In most cases, the time commitment is relatively low – a few dozen hours at the most.

Also, many of the programs are quite affordable.

However, there are other options when it comes to change management education.

Let’s look at some of those now.

Other Education Options

On top of change management certification, you may want to consider other training pathways, such as:

  • University degrees
  • Self-teaching
  • Coaching and mentorship
  • Change management consulting and on-site training
  • Hiring experienced change practitioners

Depending on your change management role, your goals, and your needs, these options may fit the bill. 

You may also want to combine certification with some of the options mentioned here.

Final Thoughts

Is change management certification right for you?

In many cases, it is worth the investment … you can learn about change management, gain industry contacts, and build your career prospects.

But, as we have seen, there are other ways to help you achieve your business goals.

If you do decide to get certified, make sure you evaluate the choices carefully, using the criteria mentioned above.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.