UX Certificate programs for user experience design
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Published on February 1, 2015
If you are considering studying user experience design, there are several approaches you can take, ranging from UX workshops and short-term courses, through longer term certificate programs and diplomas.
If you are already working as a UX professional, or in a related field, you may be interested in a single UX course or workshop to keep your skills current or better understand best practices. If you are interested in pursuing a UX career, you will need a broader array of skills and knowledge than can be obtained in a single course. In this case, you may benefit from a UX certificate program or even a degree in a UX-related field.
UX certificate programs
UX certificate programs are suitable for someone that has existing skills and wants to move into a UX role. The existing skills do not need to be design-focused, and could involve business, strategy, or web or app development.
UX certificate programs help people transition into a user experience role. You should investigate programs thoroughly, and give consideration as to whether you want to attend a school that is licensed, which are generally more established programs, or if an unlicensed school meets your needs. While many unlicensed schools have started to appear, backed by investors, the majority of these programs have not passed background checks from the department of education in states where they operate.
UX certificate programs at licensed schools
Attending a UX certificate program at a licensed school assures you that your program and instructors have been reviewed by state educational authorities. Licensed schools must abide by rules governing a wide range of areas, from background checks on instructors, to having their financial stability proven through audits, and strict refund policies. A licensed school offers these additional safeguards for those participating in a UX certificate program. The licensed programs offer a safechoice, as they protect you and your resources from the time you enroll in a program. A good UX certificate program will be well-rounded, covering a wide array of topics relating to user experience.
UX degree programs
If you are very new to the workforce, it is better to start with a degree program, but for all others, a certificate program is generally a good option. A full undergraduate degree will take four years to complete, and will also cover a range of other topics as well, providing you with a comprehensive education.
About the author
Jennifer Smith is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.
Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.