User experience, or UX, is one of the most crucial features of website design and layout. It encompasses all aspects of the users’ interaction with a product and is built on a deep understanding of their needs and values. Good UX ensures that the product (most commonly a website) is usable, efficient, accessible, credible, and desirable. As more and more businesses understand the value of streamlined UX, the demand for qualified UX designers is booming.
Do You Really Need a UX Certificate?
If you are looking to build a career as a UX professional, you will need to master some essential skills and experience to secure your dream job. As the market for UX practitioners keeps expanding, employers increasingly prefer qualified designers over self-taught or uncertified ones. Although you can learn a lot through independent study, a UX certificate will give you the accountability and credibility most employers seek.
Contemporary UX certification programs go beyond a general introduction to the subject and focus on emerging tools, trends, and technologies. The technical and networking expertise you gain with a certificate enables you to market yourself as a qualified UX professional.
The Best Online UX Certification Programs
The best UX certification programs are focused on building human-centered design skills and knowledge. They provide an in-depth understanding of best practices, useful skills, and sought-after technical subjects. The most comprehensive programs also incorporate mentoring, career coaching, and industry-related projects to give you an edge over all other applicants.
Keep in mind that there is no single, universally recognized UX design certification. You have the critical responsibility of choosing a program that best fits your needs. Thankfully, our experts have put together this list of the most in-demand UX certifications to help you narrow down your search.
This all-inclusive program from Springboard offers 350+ hours of videos, in-depth articles, industry-relevant coursework, and hands-on design projects to help you launch your UX career.
The bootcamp features a masterfully curated curriculum, real-world UX experience, and unlimited 1:1 mentor support. It is currently the only program that offers unlimited calls with a career coach, in addition to weekly calls with a personal mentor.
The employment-focused syllabus also includes industry design projects and mock interviews. Additionally, Springboard offers a six-month job guarantee with the program — if you don’t find a job within six months of graduating, you get all your money back. You also have the freedom to choose between a UX or a UI/UX Design career track, depending on your interests and goals.
Cost: $7,900 for UX track and $11,900 for UI/UX track
Duration: 6 to 9 months (15-20 hours a week)
Student Rating: 4.74 of 5 on SwitchUp
This certification program is for beginners with no previous experience in UX design. It is hosted on Coursera and provides the skills you need for an entry-level UX job. The curriculum covers foundational concepts like building wireframes and prototypes, developing design solutions, defining user pain points, and testing designs through usability studies.
The program is divided into seven courses that focus on building real-world skills as a UX designer. Throughout the certification training, you will learn Figma and Adobe XD through a mix of videos, readings, hands-on activities, and assessments. You will have a professional UX portfolio that includes three end-to-end projects by the end of the program.
Cost: $39 per month
Duration: 6 months (10 hours a week)
Student Rating: 4.8 of 5 on Coursera
The Immersive Online program by General Assembly is a full-time online UX bootcamp. Although there are no specific prerequisites, most students enrolled in the course have some experience with common graphic and web design tools. This makes it a popular choice for career changers who wish to launch a career developing human-computer interactions.
The holistic program features expert training, one-on-one career coaching, and connections with top employers that guarantee industry relevance. The curriculum is designed to help you gain a well-rounded UX design foundation and engage effectively with business stakeholders, web development teams, and product managers.
Cost: $14,950 upfront, or loan financing options from $450 per month
Duration: 12 weeks (full-time)
Student Rating: 4.29 of 5 on SwitchUp
UX Academy by DesignLab is a 3-step intensive online program. It equips you with the UX/UI design skills you need to secure your first UX product design role. The certification program offers a rigorous curriculum, one-on-one mentoring, and dedicated career support. It is formally divided into three major steps:
- UX Academy Foundations. An introductory course to prepare you for the main curriculum. It lasts up to eight weeks, with a minimum of 10 hours per week.
- UX Academy. The main curriculum with over 480 hours of UX design coursework and projects. It lasts 15 weeks full-time, 28 weeks part-time.
- Career Services. After completing the program, you are paired with an experienced UX designer who acts as your personal Career Coach throughout the job hunt.
In addition to the mentorship and career support, you also have the opportunity to learn from extensive community feedback.
Cost: $6,249 as upfront payment, or $6,941 – $7,611 with flexible long-term financing
Duration: 17-23 weeks and 24 weeks of career support after graduation
Student Rating: 4.79 of 5 on SwitchUp
The UX Design Program by CareerFoundry is designed to teach you all of the skills, tools, and processes you need to become a UX designer. It is made for beginners and career changers who don’t necessarily have a background in design or tech. If you are entirely new to UX design, you can try their free UX Design Short Course to understand if it’s the right career choice for you.
The full UX Design Program offers personalized feedback from expert mentors, tailored coaching from the Career Services Team, and the opportunity to build an impressive portfolio with real‑world projects. The program has a unique dual mentorship model that matches you with a tutor and a mentor to ensure that you get all the support you need.
Cost: $7,505 as upfront payment, or $7,900 with flexible monthly payments
Duration: Six months at 30-40 hours per week, or up to 10 months at 15-20 hours per week
Student Rating: 4.66 of 5 on Course Report
The Product Design (UX/UI) program from Flatiron School covers fundamental UI/UX skills and the entire product design process as well. It offers individual career coaching, a vast employer network, and a proven job-search framework to help you start your career in UX design. It also features a supportive learning community and experienced UX/UI designers who mentor and support you throughout the learning process.
You can choose to take the program full-time or at your own pace. The full-time (live) program is best for students who learn best with a structured schedule and live lectures, while the flexible program is ideal for working professionals looking to set their own pace.
Cost: $16,900 for either live or flexible program
Duration: 15 weeks (9 hours a day, M–F), or 20-60 weeks (learn at your own pace)
Student Rating: 4.57 of 5 on Course Report
Offline UX Certification Programs
The NN/g UX Certification is an exam-based credential that helps you gain credibility, build skills, and win projects and opportunities in the UX/UI industry. To achieve the certificate, you will need to attend at least 5 NN/g live UX training courses and pass exams for all of them.
The most popular ways to attend courses are registering for a UX Conference, a UX Series, or participating in a Team Training (generally arranged by an employer). You can choose to take all courses during a single UX Conference or over a longer period. There is no deadline or timeframe for the certification, and the course credits do not expire.
You can get a standard UX Certification, Specialty Recognition, or a UX Master Certification, depending on the number and topics of the courses you take.
Cost: $3,200 to $6,000, with an additional exam fees of $80 per exam
Duration: 5 full days over any period
Student Rating: 4.7 of 5 on Indeed
This is the in-person version of the previously mentioned UX Design Immersive program by General Assembly. The program helps you learn universal skills to solve complex user problems, build a professional-grade portfolio, and get personalized job support at every step. It offers the same curriculum and features as the online course with the added benefit of community support.
The in-person program also facilitates face-to-face interactions with veteran UX design instructors. What’s more, you can take advantage of GA’s beautiful classrooms and workspaces if your learning style favors a collaborative, professional environment.
Cost: $13,500 – $14,950 depending on location
Duration: 12 weeks (full-time)
Student Rating: 4.29 of 5 on SwitchUp
9. California State University at Fullerton: Certificate in User Experience and Customer-Centered Design
The Professional Development division of the California State University at Fullerton offers this certification course for aspiring UX professionals. The program comprises six required courses with 98 hours of lecture, lab, and discussion. It is aimed at human factors practitioners who are looking to master user-focused business processes.
Because of its advanced curriculum, the program is ideal for business analysts, website developers, appliance designers, product managers, and other usability researchers. The program is currently being offered online because of the pandemic guidelines. As the host is a California State school, there may be some restrictions for those taking the course outside California.
Cost: $4,430 (approximate and subject to change)
Duration: 10–12 months
Student Rating: Data not available
Bentley University’s campus in Waltham, MA, offers the UX Certificate Program in the fall (September-December) and spring (January-June) semesters. The program is designed to give you a solid foundation in behavioral design, project management, and user experience research and design. It is built with working professionals in mind, providing maximum flexibility to fit busy schedules.
To achieve the certification, you must complete a total of nine courses, including three required courses and six electives of your choice. You can take the courses in any order and at your own pace. The most popular course titles include Human Factors and the User Experience, Usability Testing, Leading a User Experience Team, and Qualitative Data Analysis.
Cost: $1,455 per course (minimum $12,600 for the certification)
Duration: 2 full-time days per course (18 days over any period)
Student Rating: 4.7 of 5 on Indeed
Human Factors International (HFI) offers the Certified User Experience Analyst (CXA) program for professionals looking to enhance their advanced UX design skills.
There are four basic 2-3 day courses that you can take to gain a solid foundation for the CXA certification. HFI offers the rigorous two-and-a-half-hour online CXA exam several times a year.
To take the CXA exam, you must have the HFI-Certified Usability Analyst (CUA) credential first. The CUA certification is an introductory program for the UX career path, while the CXA certification offers advanced design architecture and digital strategy courses.
Cost: $6,850 for 4 CXA courses and exam, $850 for the exam only
Duration: 10-20 days
Student Rating: 4.7 of 5 on Indeed
How To Choose a UX Certification?
While the choice of the best program will vary based on your interests and goals, there are some essential features you should consider before making a decision:
UX certification courses have a wide range of pricing alternatives. Choose a program that offers multiple financing options to fit your budget and timeframe. You can also contact the provider to learn if they offer merit or need-based scholarships for the program.
One of the most significant elements of a program is the expertise and mentorship it offers. Before choosing a program, make sure you learn about the instructors and how often you can communicate with them.
The curriculum or syllabus of a course lays the foundation of your learning process. Most certification programs have specific priority topics they emphasize. Examine the course structure and schedule to understand how well the program fits your personal needs.
Before you enrol in a program, identify the position and work function you want. This will help you work backward and get a sense of what skills are valued the most by your target employers. Take the time to learn if your certification provider has existing connections with any of the leading companies in the industry.
As there is no single universal UX certification, choosing a reputed provider is crucial. Check the student ratings and reviews to get a clear sense of what the course can do for your career. If possible, you should also get in touch with alumni who have followed the career path you want.
What Makes a Good UX Certification?
The program offerings can seem very similar when looking through all the available options. But the best UX certification programs offer continuous learning support and a job guarantee that’ll help you get your dream job. Here are the fundamental features of a good UX certification:
Experience and Skills
Certification programs must provide a good mix of technical, creative, and interpersonal skills. A strong blend of these skills will set you apart from other bootcamp graduates. The ideal program would also help you gain real-world UX experience with industry design projects. Working together with a real company further accelerates your career shift into UX design.
While there is no precise way to evaluate how cost-effective a program is, the overall expenses should match the value they create. A good certification provider will help you understand the return-on-investment you are likely to get from the course. Companies like Springboard also offer unique deferred tuition plans where you make monthly payments only after you start a UX job.
Specialization/Area of Focus
This criterion is essential if you are looking for advanced UX design courses. Beginner programs are designed to give you a comprehensive idea of UX design principles, but advanced programs generally focus on real-life, cross-disciplinary projects as case studies. Different programs could be right for people at different stages of their career path.
UX certification providers should be able to present evidence of their reputation in the industry. The most effective way to do this is with proven graduate placements, alumni engagement, and strong industry connections.
Are UX Certificates Worth It?
UX Design is one of the fastest-growing fields today. Its perfect balance of transferable and specialist skills make it a great conversion career too. According to Glassdoor.com, the average annual salary for a UX designer is $105,122, significantly higher than the national average. A career in UX Design also features on LinkedIn’s list of the top 15 jobs on the rise. Moreover, specialist roles like user research and content design guarantee excellent upward mobility within this dynamic discipline.
Whether you are looking for your first entry-level job or considering a career switch to UX design, a certification is a perfect way to attract employers’ attention. A certification program provides you with the skills you need to sharpen your knowledge of design principles, build a professional portfolio, and streamline your online presence. With strong career support and mentorship services, certification courses offer a great payoff within a few short months.
Leading UX certification programs offer extensive career coaching services to help you get hired. With the right support, you will be able to craft a compelling portfolio, create a successful job search strategy, and even negotiate your salary.
Future Job Trends
As a UX Designer, there is practically no limit to how much you can improve your skills and progress in your career. UX/UI design ranked #8 in CNNMoney/PayScale’s Fastest-growing Jobs in America. This list reflects the top careers with the highest estimated 10-year job growth in the U.S.
The average starting salary for a UX Designer in the U.S. is $68K annually. With just a few years of experience, the average salary jumps to $81K. Experienced professionals can expect to make up to $150K as a Lead UX Designer.
FAQs About UX Certification
Are UX Designers in Demand?
UX design ranked as one of the top 5 in-demand skills back in 2020 and featured in the list of best 50 jobs to have in 2021. As the global pandemic pushed more and more companies to improve their Google Search rankings, UX designers are in very high demand across the globe. CNN Money predicts that the market for UX designers will grow by 18% from 2015-2025.
In some locations and specialties, the need for UX design team members is higher than the number of designers available. If you’re still not convinced, Hired.com reveals that there has already been a 289% increase in requests for UX interviews since 2020.
How Long Does It Take To Transition Into a UX Career?
If you do not have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, it will take 2-4 years to become a UI/UX designer. If you are a working professional with experience in user research or web development, six months to one year would be sufficient to land a UX design role. As each person has a different background, interests, and goals, predicting an average timeline is impossible.
Is UX Design Stressful?
UX design is relatively stress-free—if you enjoy it. Most UX designers have the freedom to work wherever and whenever they are the most productive. As long as you can meet deadlines and contribute to meetings, there is a lot of flexibility with the work schedule. If you are just starting and face a steep learning curve, you might feel some (manageable) stress, as with any job.
Who Can Become a UX Designer?
Anyone! (yes, really!) One of the most appealing features of UX Design is its diversity and flexibility. You do not need to be a born artist or design prodigy to succeed as a UX designer. There are no specific background requirements, professional or educational. The only prerequisite is being passionate about the role and the ability to think both critically and creatively.
Ready to switch careers to UI/UX Design?
Springboard offers a comprehensive UI/UX design bootcamp. No design background required—all you need is an eye for good visual design and the ability to empathize with your user. In the course, you’ll work on substantial design projects and complete a real-world externship with an industry client. After nine months, you’ll graduate with a UI/UX design mindset and a portfolio to show for it.
Check out Springboard’s UI/UX Design Career Track to see if you qualify.
Not sure if UI/UX design is the right career for you?
Springboard now offers an Introduction to Design course. Learn what designers do on the job by working through a project with 1-on-1 mentorship from an industry expert. Topics covered include design tools, research, sketching, designing in high fidelity, and wireframing.
Check out Springboard’s Introduction to Design Course—enrollments are open to all!