There is no shortage of opportunities to study for change management, which is good news for would-be trainees.
But the sheer number of opportunities also presents a new problem – namely, where is the best place to study change management?
Below, we’ll look at a few of the best places to learn more about change management, then explain the pros and cons of each route.
Three Places to Study for Change Management
Here are three major categories of places where students of change management can learn more about this business discipline:
Academic institutions, such as universities and graduate schools, provide training in virtually every subject imaginable, including change management.
For instance, the following institutions offer change management courses, most of which include certification:
- The University of Washington
Universities around the world offer certification programs, so anyone interested in the academic route will easily be able to find an option nearby. Many of them also offer online classes, which makes it easier for distance learners and part-time students.
Private Training Programs
Private change management training can come in several forms:
- Change management experts can provide on-site training and advice
- Trainers at change management consultancies can teach through classes, either online, offline, or both
- Workshops give students the opportunity to study specialized topics within change management
Prosci change management training programs are one example of private training. Their workshops and classes cover basic change management practices, training for trainers, specialized topics, and more.
They also offer certifications, like many of the institutions covered here.
The Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) is perhaps the most well-known association related to change management.
They offer training through a network of partners, as well as a change management certification exam.
Membership in associations and institutions such as these offer a number of advantages, such as the ability to network, name recognition, certification, and so forth.
There are also more specialized associations, such as the Lean Change Management Association.
How Do You Choose Where to Study for Change Management?
Since there are so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to settle on a training option.
Here are a few questions to ask that can help narrow down the choices:
What are my objectives?
One of the first priorities is to define one’s objectives, since that will determine, in large part, which options are relevant and which ones aren’t.
Someone interested in the digital side of change management, for instance, should obtain certifications in digital adoption, digital transformation, project management, change management, and related areas.
An HR professional, however, would likely prefer to focus their efforts on the human side of change.
Do I need certification or is training enough?
Change management certification can be a resume booster, since it demonstrates subject matter expertise, as well as the name recognition of the institute that provided the training.
Aside from the name recognition, of course, certification also offers valuable change management training.
However, for an experienced change management professional who is not actively looking for change management jobs, certification may not be necessary – it may be just as useful to attend workshops or obtain specialized training.
Is academic accreditation necessary?
Academic accreditation can lend credibility and name recognition to a resume.
However, it is debatable whether that name recognition is better or worse than the credibility offered by private change management consultancies.
Prosci, for instance, is a widely recognized name and their change management techniques have been applied globally.
However, hiring managers who lack knowledge of the change management industry may treat academic certifications as more credible than those acquired from private institutions.
What change management style do I prefer?
Change management covers the same general business practice: streamlining, managing, and optimizing organizational change projects.
That being said, there are different approaches to change management.
The ACMP, for instance, will teach different change management models than those taught by Prosci.
It pays to research these beforehand and find the ones that best suit one’s own style and preferences.
What change management style does my employer prefer?
In many instances, organizations will sponsor employees or encourage them to study change management.
In this case, they may have a preference regarding the style and method that they wish to employ.
Likewise, a company hiring a change manager may have specific requirements or preferences around certifications and change management methods.
What are the prevailing industry trends?
In change management, trends have remained rather constant for decades.
For the most part, change management focuses on the human side of change, but there are new approaches that arise from time to time.
Recently, digitization, digital transformation, and globalization have been gradually transforming the workplace and, as a result, the way we approach change management.
For instance, agile, lean, and data-driven approaches have become more common in the past several years.
Though these newer trends have not overturned traditional approaches, there is a gradual shift towards such methods in some circles.