Organizational Development Certificate Programs: 3 Frequently Asked Questions

Organizational Development Certificate Programs: 3 Frequently Asked Questions
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Organizational development certificate programs give you the chance to further your career, specialize, and boost your income. If you are interested in change management, these programs warrant serious consideration.

But are these certificate programs worth the investment?

And, with so many to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?

Organizational development and change management can be rewarding and exciting. After all, you are helping businesses grow and evolve — a necessity in today’s competitive, digital world.

However, when considering a certificate in organizational development, there are plenty of options and many things to consider.

So let’s dive in.

1. What Do Organizational Development Certificate Programs Offer?

Certifications give students the chance to specialize in change, change management, and change leadership.

That is, students learn change management skills, how to help businesses restructure, adopt new business models, implement new operating models, embrace new cultures, and transition to new business practices.

This field focuses on business change but often centers around people — because without buy-in from individuals, change cannot succeed.

Program content can vary greatly, but often they cover:

Among others.

Since each program offers different content, it’s important to do your research, as we’ll see below.

2. What Are the Benefits of Getting Certified?

Many certificate programs are part-time and online. This makes it easy for anyone, even full-time workers, to complete the programs in their spare time.

Benefits of certification include:

  • Specialization – Specializing in organizational development gives you an edge in the job market and can help your career prospects
  • Increased Income – You can also earn more money for having a specialized, in-demand skill
  • Positively Impact an Organization – If you want to become a change leader and help organizations grow, certification can help
  • Other Job Skills – Organizational development is a cross-disciplinary skillset, giving you access to a variety of tools, from top-down management skills to bottom-up people skills

These benefits — and others — can come along with certification.

However, it is important to note that not all programs are created equal. So it is important to do your research and choose a good one.

3. Which One Is Right for Me?

Selecting the right certificate program can seem daunting. After all, there are countless schools — both accredited and non-accredited — that offer certifications.

So how do you pick the right one?

Here are a few things to consider:

Certificates themselves are not accredited “degrees.”

Even if a certificate is offered through an accredited institution, the certificate itself is not a degree.

The name of the institution may carry weight with employers. However, that name does not necessarily speak to the quality of the certificate.

What is the curriculum?

Find out what change models and job skills are taught.

Ask yourself if the skills it offers will benefit your career. Some programs teach one specific method or change model, for instance.

This can be useful if you want to specialize in that specific change model … but useless if you want to learn other models.

Should you stop at a certificate?

Your career goals will dictate how far you go academically.

Some schools offer certificates, while others offer Masters and MBAs in organizational development.

What is the school’s reputation?

Checking online is the first step towards determining a school’s reputation.

But also consider asking change leaders — even if you don’t know them personally.

Because this is such an important investment, it can’t hurt to ask the opinions of professionals in your field.

How many hours is the course?

Because certificates aren’t accredited degrees, there are no regulations that determine course content or workload.

Some programs are only 3 hours per month for a few months, others are intensive multi-day workshops. Others are full-time.

Examples of Certificate Programs

Hopefully these questions have given you some perspective on how to choose the right program.

Accredited vs. non-accredited, degree vs. certificate, course content, total course time … knowing the answers to these questions can greatly aid your search for the right program.

Here are just a few examples of certificate programs you can find on the market:

  • Masters Certificate in Organization Development and Change – Offered at York University in Toronto, this program is 11 days (77 hours) of in-depth study that covers organizational development from top to bottom.
  • OD Process Professional – This online program is offered by the Institute of Organizational Development, meeting once a month, 3 hours a month, for 8 months. It covers the core principles of organizational development, keys to building healthy client relationships, overcoming resistance to change, and more.
  • Organizational Behavior Certificate – Offered by Harvard, this certificate offers focused study in change management, leadership communication, communication, and more. The basis is understanding human behavior and how it impacts organizational design and development.
  • Graduate Certificate in Organization Development and Change – Offered by Penn State, this certificate teaches you how to successfully implement change and work with a variety of clients, from nonprofits to corporations to the government.

This list is of course far from comprehensive.

However, it should give you a taste of the types of content offered by certificate programs.

Final Thoughts

Organizational development certificates can be a great way to boost your career. You can learn valuable change management skills and tools, specialize, and learn to become a change leader.

Choosing the right program is, of course, a necessity.

Hopefully this article, along with with some of the other articles on the WalkMe Blogs, can help you in your journey towards becoming a better change leader.

Christopher Smith
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.
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