Professional UX Credentials:
Are They Worth the Paper
They’re Printed On?
requiring renewals, and certifyingbodies do not provide proscribedtraining courses leading to certification.
Certified professionals can add aprofessional designation to their names,such as CPE or CUXP.
A certificate program, on the otherhand, provides training that leads tothe granting of a certificate, whichmay be good for an indefinite timeperiod of time. Certificants cannot adda professional designation after theirnames (unless they are also certifiedprofessionals).
Accreditation is an important relatedconcept. Only organizations, notindividuals, are accredited, and canobtain this for a limited time followinga voluntary review of their credentialsby an even higher non-governmententity [ 2].
What are the requirementsof professional UX certificationversus certificate programs? The“gold standard” of UX professionalcertification is available throughthe Board of Certified ProfessionalErgonomists (BCPE), which isrecognized by the InternationalErgonomics Association (IEA),American Board of Industrial Hygiene(ABIH), and American Society of SafetyEngineers (ASSE). BCPE is accreditedby the National Commission forCertifying Agencies (NCCA).
BCPE is the largest human factors
certification group of eight globally
[ 3] and has been used as the model
for groups in Canada, Japan, and
Brazil. Current requirements are: a
bachelor’s degree; courses from an
accredited college [ 4] covering the
core competencies; a three-hour,
UX professional from one who is
not? And what is the value to hiring
managers of the human factors,
ergonomics, and UX certification
programs that exist today?
I was asked to weigh in on these
questions for The Business of UX as
a certified professional ergonomist
(CPE), director emerita on the Board
of Certification of Professional
Ergonomics, and contributor of
test questions for BCPE tests, as
well as a long-time practitioner of
human factors, ergonomics, and user
experience. I take this opportunity to
share what I’ve learned over the years
about professional credentialing, as
well as opinions of my colleagues in
the management of UX from a wide
variety of career paths. Here are some
frequently asked questions about
certification… what’s the difference?
And what’s the difference between
certification and a certificate program?
Licensing [ 1] is done by government
agencies, and it is mandatory for
certain professions. Testing is
required, as well as proof of academic
credentials, experience, and/or physical
Registration is simply a knowledge-
based listing of individuals or
organizations done by a governmental
agency; others must verify the
credentials of registrants independently.
Certification is voluntary, done
by non-governmental associations,
usually a board of professionals in the
field, themselves and their methods
accredited by yet another organization.
Passing a psychometrically reliable
and valid professional test is required,
as well as proof of other requirements.
Certification is for a limited time period,
Anna Wichansky, Oracle
→ Licensing, registration, certification,
and certificate programs all have
different professional dimensions.
→ The value of UX certification is notyet well understood by employersand practitioners.
→ Professional certification in UXhas significant benefits forhiring organizations, individuals,and the profession overall.
This forum is dedicated to maximizing the success of HCI practitioners within the frenetic world of product and service design.
It focuses on UX strategy approaches, leadership, management techniques, and above all the challenge of bringing HCI to peer-level status with longstanding business disciplines such as marketing and engineering. — Daniel Rosenberg, Editor
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