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I've searched the web for a Usability certification, which is widely accepted by practitioners, employers and customers without any luck. Either they are company specific, or a part of a association project several years back (and no information on todays status). Is there such a certificate available today?

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I also took the HFI CUA program and got that certification. While it is may not be universally accepted due to it being associated with a commercial company, it was valuable to me and has been well-received by those I've been in contact with. If you are on LinkedIn you can find some great discussion on the same topic in the group called "UX Professionals". There is a thread there with the title "Let's talk training and certification".

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  • But of course, the LinkedIn group. It never occurred to me to look on LinkedIn. Thanx for the tip! Apr 24, 2011 at 6:14
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Your work needs to speak for itself to some degree and, no offense intended, but just in my experience and based on practitioners in the field, the UPA and other certifications are pretty much meaningless in the real world ... meaning in places where we don't endlessly discuss such issues and actually have to produce solid interaction design and usable product design.

In essence, from what I observe, such useful certifications don't exist or mean much because they are largely useless unless the prospective employer or client can be duped.

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    No offense taken :) In Sweden, government sometimes require you to have certain certifications if you are going to develop applications as a consultant in e-government (such as SCP or MCP). For UX-specialist that does not exist... yet Apr 26, 2011 at 7:01
  • I doubt it will exist. The minute you produce a good set of requirements, or a clearly articulated application flow and interaction spec or you wow an employer/client with a nice set of wireframes or interactive prototype, your skillset will be readily apparent. If you can't produce these types of deliverables (or demonstrate that you can before being employed) no certification in the world will mean anything. I think a lot of employers realize that. Apr 26, 2011 at 18:50
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Human Factors International has their Certified Usability Analyst program and they have just started their second level certification - Certified User Experience Analyst.

I have the CUA certification and it's a pretty decent program. I haven't seen anything better out there.

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One way to think about this is "education" vs. "accreditation". I just hired a woman from Cal Berkeley with a PhD in Human Computer Interaction. I value this much more than a certificate from somewhere.

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I've searched the web for a Usability certification, which is widely accepted by

  • practitioners,

  • employers

  • customers.

Is there such a certificate available today?

No, not in the UK market.

Things may vary from country to country however.

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There are many U.S. universities offering graduate-level certificates in HTI/HCI which bridge the gap between full-fledged academic immersion and professional certification.

Here's a couple examples:

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There are some Certified Usability Professional:

I. Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics

  • CPE - Certified Professional Ergonomist
  • CHFP - Certified Human Factors Professional
  • CUXP - Certified User Experience Professional
  • AEP - Associate Ergonomics Professional
  • AHFP - Associate Human Factors Professional
  • AUXP - Associate User Experience Professional
  • CEA - Certified Ergonomics Associate

II. Back School of Atlanta

  • CEAS - Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist

III. Columbia Southern University

  • CECD - Certified Ergonomic Compliance Director

IV. E.K. Gillin & Associates Inc

  • CES - Certified Ergonomics Specialist

V. Ergonauts

  • CEM - Certified Ergonomic Manager
  • CLE - Certified Lean Ergonomist

VI. The Ergonomics Center — of North Carolina

  • AOEE - Accredited Office Ergonomics Evaluator

VII. ErgoRehab Inc

  • CSHE - Certifed Specialist in Health Ergonomics

VIII. Ergoworks

  • CPEE - Certified Professional Ergonomic Evaluator

IX. Human Factors International

  • CUA - Certified Usability Analyst
  • CXA - Certified User Experience Analyst

X. IIE/SME

  • CEM - Certified Engineering Manager

XI. ISR Institute

  • CBES - Certified Behavioral Based Ergonomic Specialist

XII. OccuCare Systems & Solutions

  • CEE - Certified Ergonomic Evaluator

XIII. Oxford Research Institute (ORI)

  • CIE - Certified Industrial Ergonomist
  • CHFP - Certified Human Factors Engineering Prof.
  • CAE - Certified Associate Ergonomist

XIV. Roy Matheson and Associates

  • CEES - Certified Ergonomic Evaluator Specialist

XV. University of Washington Human Centered Design and Engineering

  • User-Centered Design Certificate
  • Technical Writing and Editing Certificate
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  • This is quite a list. Do you know if all of these meet the requirement stated in the question of being "widely accepted by practitioners, employers and customers"?
    – JonW
    Jan 29, 2013 at 7:17
  • Also, what is this list based on and is it country specific?
    – kontur
    Jan 29, 2013 at 7:44
  • @JonW: Hardly to say how widely is enough. According to me, those are famous and widely accept by customer. If you want me to prove that, I just say "Sorry". Instead, perhaps you may trust the guy writing this book amazon.com/User-Experience-Management-Essential-Effective/dp/… Jan 29, 2013 at 15:35
  • @kontur: In the list already have university, you may reference to the country. But multiple country training center like Human Factor Institute no country specific. Jan 29, 2013 at 15:36
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As far as I know, there isn't.

I haven't seen any certifications specifically in Usability or even User Experience, but it seems that there are a lot of related fields that can be beneficial to the topic. I think it is best to have a resume or body of work that shows you are able to be a key contributor in the area of usability.

Any of the following are major areas that could contribute to skills in improving usability:

  • programming and development
  • psychology and human behavior
  • graphic design / web design / interface design / typography
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As James said, there is not a clear, official certification in usability in the US or the UK, only commercial vendor courses or a few certificate programs at Univs. (However, there IS one in Germany and in Russia, and I think Japan). The German one was initiated by the professional association, and is accredited through the German government just like any other such educational certification there.

The nearest official certification in the US is Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE), largely via the Human Factors and Ergonomics Association; you apply for the UX-related branch of ergonomics. http://www.bcpe.org/page/frequently-asked-questions They want to see a related degree such as a Masters, but will consider experience if you submit for an education waiver, then pass the test.

People who have taken the HFI commercial certificate seem to like it. This is not exactly validation, of course, but there's no reason to doubt the information HFI provides in the courses. There is also a Bentley University certificate program, plus a few other universities have similar light-weight study certificates (i.e., not degrees).

However that's not really an evaluation or verification of your skills and abilities. As someone else mentioned, a Masters or PhD shows you have 1-6 years intensive education in the field, and that's a heck of lot more valuable - plus if you're doing consulting, clients recognize that over any obscure techie certification. And a portfolio you can explain coherently works too.

As recently as 2011 there was an article about the latest approach that the usability professionals Association (UPA, now UXPA) is taking, which may be modeled after the certification established by their German UPA chapter. They are working on it. http://www.usabilityprofessionals.org/upa_publications/upa_voice/volumes/2011/march/upa-certification.html

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In Germany we have:

Here is a good reading describing all three in german language.

I did the Fraunhofer Institute Certification recently. And its worth its money, even if its quite pricey. Fraunhofer is a name, that stands for quality and one learned how to work compliant to ISO-standards, which is obligatory for some industries in Germany.

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I was introduced to UX by generalassembly in NYC. They have beneficial courses, classes & workshops. Check 'em out.

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  • This seems like it's just a course you personally went on. Is it (as the question asked) a "Usability certification, which is widely accepted by practitioners, employers and customers"? There are probably lots of good courses out there but it's the actual certification that this question is about.
    – JonW
    Oct 5, 2013 at 12:20
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Nielsen-Norman Group is one of the most prestigious (if not the most) usability agencies. They have certified seminars that could be good to show when required. Take a look: http://www.nngroup.com/events/

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