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Top 10 Design Certifications in 2024

Your online presence must have visual appeal and a seamless user experience to attract and retain customers. 

But like any other field, design needs you to learn and use new tools to stay on top constantly. 

As you look for ways to fuel your professional growth, getting the right design certification will help you unlock new opportunities and master the tricks of the trade.

With numerous options available in the market, picking the optimum design certification is critical. However, the sheer number of choices makes this process overwhelming. We’ve done the groundwork for you and selected the top 10 design certifications that promise to elevate your career and creativity. 

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What Is a Design Certification?

Design certification is a formal recognition given to individuals who have shown a high level of proficiency in specific design disciplines. It validates a designer’s skills, knowledge, and ability to meet industry standards. 

Earning a design certification involves completing a structured program of study, passing exams, and, in many instances, fulfilling practical requirements. 

These certifications cover various design fields, such as graphic design, UI and UX design, visual design, and web design. They are valuable credentials that enhance a designer’s professional credibility and open new career opportunities.

Career Benefits of Getting a Design Certification

In a competitive design landscape, a certification isn’t just a credential; it’s a strategic move that will shape your career. Here’s a breakdown of how investing in a design certification can significantly impact your professional growth:

  1. Improved credibility: Design certifications serve as third-party validation of your capabilities, instilling confidence in clients, employers, and collaborators regarding your graphic design skills and knowledge
  2. Career advancement opportunities: Certifications stand out on your professional record whether you’re eyeing a promotion or considering a role switch. They showcase your commitment to continuous improvement
  3. Expanded skill set: Certification programs typically broaden your skill set by covering the latest tools and technologies, helping you stay ahead of industry trends. Let’s say you got certified in 3D modelling and animation, where you learned to bring static concepts to life. With this added skill set, you could position yourself as a versatile designer capable of meeting the demands of dynamic industries like gaming and virtual reality
  4. Networking advantages: Many certification programs offer access to networks and events to connect with fellow certified professionals, potential mentors, and industry leaders
  5. Salary growth potential: Certified professionals often command higher salaries, reflecting the value placed on their specialized knowledge and skills. For example, if you were to pick a certification in digital marketing design, it would position you for roles where your skills contribute directly to revenue generation, thereby justifying a higher salary
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10 Design Certifications

Here’s a list of the top 10 design certifications we have curated for you. From refining your skills in user interface design to mastering the art of crafting visually captivating experiences, these certifications cover various design disciplines.

1. Adobe Certified Professional (ACP)

via Adobe Certified Professional

The Adobe Certified Professional certification, formerly the Adobe Certified Associate, validates your proficiency with Adobe’s Creative Cloud tools. It showcases your expertise in creating captivating graphics, illustrations, and layouts.

One of these certifications indicates expertise in a particular Adobe software and validates your knowledge of core design principles and skills, such as project management abilities.

  • Price: ~$180
  • Duration: Exam duration is approximately 50 minutes
  • Course Level: Intermediate to Advanced

2. UX Design Professional Certificate – Google 

UX Design Professional Certificate - Google
via Coursera

Google offers the Google UX Design Professional Certificate, an industry-recognized program, in collaboration with Coursera. 

The curriculum covers essential aspects of UX, including user research, prototyping, and usability testing, providing a comprehensive understanding of the UX design process.

  • Price: $234
  • Duration: Self-paced (Estimated completion time is six months)
  • Course Level: Beginner to Intermediate

3. UX Career Track – Springboard 

Springboard UI UX Certification Dashboard
via Springboard

The Springboard UX Career Track is an online educational program for individuals aspiring to pursue a career in UX design. 

The comprehensive curriculum covers essential UX visual design principles, methodologies, and practical skills crucial for success in the field. 

Participants of this career track engage in real-world projects and benefit from personalized mentorship provided by experienced UX professionals. 

Springboard also extends a job guarantee. It assures a full refund if you fail to secure a qualifying job within six months after graduation.

  • Price: $7,900–14,500
  • Duration: 6 months
  • Course Level: Beginner to Intermediate

4. UX Certification – Nielsen Norman Group 

UX Certificate Nielsen Norman Group
via Nielsen Norman Group

Developed by the leading usability research and consulting firm, Nielsen Norman Group, the industry highly regards this graphic design certification. 

The program covers various UX topics, including usability principles, interaction design, information architecture, and user research methodologies.

There are two levels to this program. The first is the UX Certification, which consists of five courses and five corresponding exams. The second level is the UX Master Certification, comprising 15 courses and exams. 

Learners can specialize in any of these three areas as part of their certification: interaction design, research, or management.

  • Price: $5,650-16,950
  • Duration: 30-100 hours
  • Course Level: Intermediate to Advanced

5. UX/UI Design Bootcamp – Ironhack 

Renowned for its hands-on and project-based approach, the Ironhack UX/UI Design Bootcamp provides participants with a comprehensive curriculum. It covers essential design principles, prototyping techniques, and usability testing methodologies. 

Participants engage in real-world projects, enabling them to build a portfolio showcasing their skills and creativity. The program also offers a collaborative learning environment, fostering interactions with experienced instructors and peers.

  • Price: $12,500 for full-time learners; $13,000 for part-time learners
  • Duration: 9 weeks full-time or 24 weeks part-time
  • Course Level: Beginner-friendly

6. UX Design Immersive Bootcamp – General Assembly 

Renowned for its hands-on methodology, this program has a rich curriculum. It covers essential UX design principles, including intricate aspects such as wireframing, prototyping, user research, and usability testing.

What sets this program apart is its emphasis on practical application. Its projects help participants develop a tangible skill set and grasp of theoretical concepts. 

This year, the course added an AI focus that covers the foundational principles of using AI in design. It teaches learners best practices, trains them on effectively using different AI tools for designers, and educates them on the ethical and legal implications of using AI for UX design.

  • Price: $16,450
  • Duration: 12 weeks
  • Course Level: Beginner to Intermediate

7. UX Certification Program – Bentley University

Bentley University’s User Experience Certificate program is one of the longest-standing programs in the industry.

The certification includes nine courses (3 required courses and six electives) focused on cultivating expertise in behavioral design, user experience research and design, and project management. 

This certification enables participants to enhance the effectiveness of their product designs and strengthen their competitive standing. Participants also gain the valuable opportunity to connect with a global network of UX professionals.

  • Price: $13,500 for all nine courses
  • Duration: 6 months
  • Course Level: Intermediate to Advanced

8. Graphic Design Specialization – CalArts 

via Coursera

CalArts offers a comprehensive graphic design specialization on Coursera. Guided by CalArts faculty, the program introduces learners to skills such as understanding the design process, historical context, and effective communication through image-making and typography. 

The specialization leads up to a capstone project that integrates the skills acquired in each course and incorporates peer feedback. This results in a finalized branding project, which you will get an opportunity to add to your professional portfolio.

This specialization provides participants with crucial skills for starting a professional design career in diverse fields such as interface design, motion graphics, and editorial design.

  • Price: $59/month with Coursera Plus 
  • Duration: 2 months
  • Course Level: Beginner-friendly

9. Graphic and Digital Design Certificate (online) – Parsons School of Design

Parsons’s Graphic and Digital Design Certificate covers fundamental design skills such as concept development, typography, layout, and graphic design theories like color theory. 

The program emphasizes the interconnectedness of photography, type, color, and other graphic design elements to create legible and compelling compositions.

It helps participants gain proficiency in industry-standard software, focusing on Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. This ensures learners acquire a well-rounded skill set, ready to navigate the complexities of graphic and digital design.

  • Price: $7,480 
  • Duration: 18 months
  • Course Level: Beginner to Intermediate

10. Graphic Design Bootcamp (online) – Shillington

The Shillington Graphic Design Bootcamp is an intensive and practical online learning experience for graphic design aspirants.

The program is known for its hands-on approach. It equips participants with essential design skills, including concept development, layout, and typography. 

The curriculum emphasizes real-world applications, allowing learners to work on industry-relevant projects and build a robust portfolio. 

  • Price: $12,950 
  • Duration: Three months full-time or nine months part-time
  • Course Level: Beginners
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How to Manage and Handle Design Projects with ClickUp

Now that you’ve explored the top design certifications, you should also learn how to manage and handle design projects. 

Managing design projects involves juggling creativity and organization, and effective project management becomes crucial. 

Project management helps you become more organized and enables collaboration and seamless coordination throughout the design process. 

ClickUp Views
Explore ClickUp to manage your design projects with the power of AI, 15+ views, and task automations

ClickUp’s Design Project Management Software simplifies your job by bringing everything into one accessible space. 

It serves as a central hub, gathering all elements of your creative work. From the initial stages of brainstorming ideas to the final execution, ClickUp provides a collaborative environment for your team. 

Here are some unique features that are valuable tools to manage and organize design projects:

ClickUp Creative and Design Template

ClickUp Design Review Template
The ClickUp Design Review Template is what you need to develop seamless, modern user experiences for your customers

ClickUp’s Creative & Design Template offers features such as organizing ideas into actionable tasks, creating visual timelines, and facilitating project collaboration. 

Whether working on a website design or an ad campaign, this template helps save time through the quick creation, enhanced brand recognition and message consistency, and an overall simplified design process.

ClickUp also offers many templates, such as work instruction templates, mood board templates, advertising templates, and progress report templates. 

ClickUp Whiteboards

ClickUp Whiteboards with Collaborative features gif
ClickUp Whiteboards is your centralized, visual hub to collaboratively turn team ideas into coordinated actions

Show and not tell—that’s precisely what ClickUp Whiteboards help you do. 

While there is no shortage of whiteboarding software in the market, ClickUp stands out as one of the rare project management platforms offering native support for whiteboards. This eliminates the need for additional integrations. 

ClickUp’s whiteboarding tool for Mac and Windows is among the best collaborative whiteboard tools for Spring 2023, according to G2.

ClickUp 3.0 Whiteboards Collaboration
Visually collaborate with team members within ClickUp Whiteboards to brainstorm and turn ideas into actionable items

This dynamic tool swiftly captures and integrates ideas into your workflows. Intuitive menus, convenient keyboard shortcuts, and numerous templates elevate the impact of brainstorming sessions.

When you use ClickUp Whiteboards to create charts and wireframes, you get real-time visibility into who views and contributes to the board. 

This ensures seamless collaboration within the team, minimizing overlap and confusion.

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Design and Manage Better with Certifications and Tools

As you begin your design journey, remember that certifications equip you with theoretical knowledge and practical skills. 

Whether aiming to upskill, advance your career, or streamline your design project, the key is to embrace continuous learning.

And while you’re at it, leverage innovative tools like ClickUp for a successful and fulfilling design career. This project management and collaboration tool will come to your aid in managing design projects by organizing everything in one place and saving you time. 

It’s worth a try. Sign up for ClickUp today!

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