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?
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".
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.
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
- 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
- CPEE - Certified Professional Ergonomic Evaluator
IX. Human Factors International
- CUA - Certified Usability Analyst
- CXA - Certified User Experience Analyst
- 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
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
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
In Germany we have:
- Usability Consultant at artop in Berlin
- Certified Usability Engineer at Fraunhofer in Skt. Augustin
- Certified Usability Expert at Usability Academy in Hamburg/Berlin/Munich
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.
I was introduced to UX by generalassembly in NYC. They have beneficial courses, classes & workshops. Check 'em out.
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/