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With today’s organizations understanding the need to nurture diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, gaining a DEI certification is a valuable undertaking for HR professionals and leaders.

DEI is a complex topic, and taking a DEI certification course will help you gain the knowledge and skills needed to drive meaningful change in your organization and continue with your professional development.

Most importantly, it will help you and your team build diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces that better represent the diverse world around us.

15 Best DEI certifications

1. eCornell University Diversity & Inclusion Certificate Program

Cornell University offers a holistic DEI course that will help any HR team or leader better understand the perceptual, institutional, and psychological processes that underlie today's workplace. 

As a student, you'll learn the ins and outs of employee engagement and DEI training, along with strategies to overcome unconscious bias and how to create and support psychological safety and an inclusive work environment.

You'll also receive access to Cornell's online Diversity and Inclusion Symposiums that offer opportunities to join peers in an in-depth conversation on topics surrounding DEI education and workplace diversity.

  • Price: $3,699 or $975/mo
  • Duration: 2 months
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both: Online
  • Hours of instruction: 2 weeks
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

2. Georgetown's Executive Certificate in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Georgetown University's Executive Certificate in Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion is designed to help HR professionals and leaders create sustainable DEI strategies and drive change.

This program will teach you the latest in cultural competency, DEI research, and change management to help you design and deliver progressive strategies for your organization or external clients.

Not only will you work and study alongside peer leaders reviewing theoretical foundations and social identities, but this inclusion certification program includes workplace application so you'll have the skill and real-life examples of how to create inclusion initiatives of your own.

  • Price: $8,490
  • Duration: 6 months
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both: Both
  • Hours of instruction: 3 weekdays x 1 mo
  • Eligibility Requirements: Bachelor's degree or equivalent

3. SHRM Inclusive Workplace Culture Specialty Credential

The SHRM certification program is globally recognized and is synonymous with being an expert and leader in the human resources industry. 

Its DEI training program is no exception, covering how to foster an inclusive organizational culture with a specific focus on allyship, cultivating support, and measuring success in an inclusive workplace.

  • Price: Reach out for information on the package option. Each course is separately listed as $1,830 for members and $2,105 for non-members
  • Duration: Varies
  • Exam Required: Yes, a 50-question online assessment
  • Online, In-Person, or both? Both
  • Hours of instruction: Varies
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

4. HRCI’s Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion in HR Management

The HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®) is one of the industry go-to’s in terms of HR accreditations.

Their Certificate in D&I in HR Management program goes deep into how to foster an inclusive culture, analyze and measure the success of DEI initiatives, and how to hire and retain diverse talent.

These courses are structured to provide effective strategies and critical thinking you'd face in the workplace.

  • Price: $239.00
  • Duration: Courses available for 180 days
  • Exam Required: No
  • Online, In-Person, or both: Online
  • Hours of instruction: 12 hours
  • Eligibility Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree
Download our 2024 Workplace Trends Report to stay ahead in a transforming HR landscape. Get insights from leaders on trends that will define your strategies in AI, talent dynamics, and DEI.

Download our 2024 Workplace Trends Report to stay ahead in a transforming HR landscape. Get insights from leaders on trends that will define your strategies in AI, talent dynamics, and DEI.

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5. Institute for Diversity Certification

The Institute for Diversity Certification (IDC) is dedicated to providing high-quality certification programs that meet the needs of DEIA professionals around the world

They offer the Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) and Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) certifications designed to empower you to strategize and lead DEI efforts.

You’ll learn how to effectively lead day-to-day inclusion efforts, build more diverse workplaces and maximize diversity of thought, and promote lasting change through their practical framework. There are classroom options or self-paced.

  • Price: Non-member: $3,305/$4,139 | Member: $2,644/$3,311
  • Duration: 1 year
  •  Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both: Both
  • Hours of instruction: Optional
  • Eligibility Requirements: 2-5 years professional experience

6. American Management Association (AMA) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate Program

For HR professionals and managers, the American Management Association (AMA) offers a DEI certificate program with a full curriculum to help assess, create, and monitor success when launching your own DEI initiatives.

This intense 3-day program covers a breadth of topics such as the difference in overt versus unconscious bias, how to assess leadership styles, and the art of hosting inclusive meetings.

Upon completion, you’ll receive an exclusive AMA certificate and access to additional post-course lessons on-demand to help reinforce or refresh any skills.

  • Price: $3,295 for non-members | $2,995 AMA members
  • Duration: 3 days in-person | 3 classes online
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both: Both
  • Hours of instruction: Varies
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

7. ESSEC Business School—Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace 

The ESSEC Business School offers management courses to strengthen freedom, openness, innovation, and responsibility. Their Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace course provides an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of discrimination and unconscious bias and how an inclusive leader or human resources team can manage it with your people.

You'll learn the filters through which diversity is understood and approached around the world and explore equity and inclusion from an individual and organizational perspective. Along the way, you’ll learn valuable skills in how to apply the cognitive method in challenging your personal perspectives.

  • Price: Free
  • Duration: 10hrs
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both: Online
  • Hours of instruction: on-demand
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

8. Catalyst edX's Inclusive Leadership Program

Catalyst is a leading nonprofit organization looking to elevate women in the workplace with inclusion resources and leadership courses. However, everyone's welcome to take Catalyst’s mini-courses to gain knowledge and understanding about DEI.

Their roster of online modules covers key inclusive leadership skills such as accountability and courage, effective communication and listening, and even work-life balance.

  • Price: $186
  • Duration: 3 months
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both: Online
  • Hours of instruction: 1-2 hours per week
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

9. University of Pennsylvania's Optimizing Diversity on Teams

See how you can maximize your team's performance, handle conflict resolution, and overcome common biases from an Ivy League course courtesy of Coursera and Penn.

The syllabus includes lectures to help you get a deeper understanding of diversity basics, managing conflict, and promoting diversity including real-world case studies from large organizations like Google, Nike, and UnitedHealthcare.

  • Price: $79
  • Duration: On-demand
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both: Online
  • Hours of instruction: 12hrs
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

10. Rutgers’ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Certificate

Rutgers’ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Certificate is great for learning the foundational concepts of DEI, including the realities of race and racism, and privilege and how these might influence their own perceptions.

Courses are interactive and include a live session online with pre-work required. Students are encouraged to participate and unpack their own biases and self-identify their own personal developmental areas through exercises and a reflection assignment.

  • Price: $300 per course
  • Duration: 6 weeks x course | 4 courses
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both: Online
  • Hours of instruction: 2.5 hrs per course
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

11.  AIHR—Diversity & Inclusion Certificate Program (DICP)

This is one of the Academy To Innovate HR’s specialist certifications designed to help learners get to grips with concepts such as understanding cultural differences, inclusive communication, overcoming biases, legal issues, and how to drive cultural change within organizations.

  • Price: $975
  • Duration: 3hrs p/w for 10 weeks
  • Exam Required: No
  • Online, In-Person, or both: Online
  • Hours of instruction: 30 hours
  • Eligibility Requirements: None

12. Harvard Extension School—Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Leadership Graduate Certificate

This course from Harvard Extension School is aimed at executives, HR specialists, and managers who want to drive strategic change in their organizations.

It will take you through the history of bias, power and privilege in the workplace, how to identify the opportunities and challenges of developing DEI initiatives and policies, and how to create a plan for addressing a real-world organizational challenge in DEI.

To pass, it’s required you complete 4 courses with at least a B grade.

  • Price: $3,220 per course
  • Duration: No more than 3 years
  • Exam Required: No
  • Online, In-Person, or both: Both
  • Hours of instruction: Unclear
  • Eligibility Requirements: None

13. NYUSPS—Certificate In Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion

This certification from New York University’s School of Professional Professional Studies is divided into four courses that can be taken individually or combined to complete the overall certification.

The courses cover how diversity in leadership impacts business performance, DEI analytics, DEI technology how to be an inclusive leader, and how to implement sustainable DEI imperatives in your organization.

  • Price: $600 per course
  • Duration: 9-12 days each
  • Exam Required: No
  • Online, In-Person, or both: Online
  • Hours of instruction: 3 hours per day
  • Eligibility Requirements: None

14. Sarah Jane Academy—Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Practitioners

This course from the Sarah Jane Academy was designed to help learners go beyond theory and develop practical DEI strategies.

The course covers the evolution of the DEI industry, what’s required of a DEI practitioner, common threats to DEI in multinational environments and the tools that can help, and how to create a responsive DEI action plan.

  • Price: $300
  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • Exam Required: No
  • Online, In-Person, or both: Online
  • Hours of instruction: Unclear
  • Eligibility Requirements: None

15. MUMA College of Business DEI in the Workplace Certificate

This short course from the University of South Florida consists of seven two-hour modules covering how to identify bias, tools to analyze DEI in your org, how to create DEI initiatives, recruitment and retention, community outreach, and sustainable business models.

  • Price: Free/$99 for certificate
  • Duration: 14 hours
  • Exam Required: Quizzes
  • Online, In-Person, or both: Online
  • Hours of instruction: None
  • Eligibility Requirements: None

Why Take A DEI Certification?

As workplaces become increasingly diverse, taking a DEI certification or training course will help create more cohesive teams and workplaces and a better society in general.

From a personal perspective, taking a DEI certification will help to:

  • Gain knowledge and understanding: You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the complex topic of DEI and how to approach it practically.
  • Professional development: Earning such a DEI certification will enhance your resume, demonstrating your commitment to creating inclusive environments and promoting diversity within the workplace.
  • Personal growth: Engaging in DEI training encourages self-reflection and personal growth. Participants gain insights into their own identities, biases, and privileges, fostering empathy and understanding for others' experiences. This personal development journey can lead to greater self-awareness and a stronger commitment to social justice.
  • Networking opportunities: DEI certification programs often facilitate networking opportunities with fellow professionals and experts in the field. Building connections with like-minded individuals can provide support, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities for advancing DEI initiatives both within and outside of your organization.
  • Leadership skills: Effective DEI practitioners possess strong leadership skills, including communication, empathy, and conflict resolution. Through DEI certification programs, individuals have the opportunity to develop and refine these skills, enhancing their ability to lead diverse teams and navigate complex social dynamics.

How To Choose A DEI Certification

1. Define your goals

Start by clarifying your personal and career objectives and the specific skills or knowledge areas you want to develop through a certification. Consider whether you aim to specialize in a particular aspect of DEI such as neurodiversity or to advance to a higher role.

2. Research certification programs

Explore different DEI certification programs available from reputable organizations, institutions, and professional associations (this list is a good start!). 

Look for programs that offer comprehensive curriculum coverage, industry recognition, and practical relevance to your career aspirations.

  • Check accreditation and reputation: Verify the accreditation status and reputation of the certification provider. Accredited programs adhere to established quality standards, ensuring that your certification holds credibility and value in the eyes of employers and peers.
  • Review curriculum and requirements: Evaluate the content, structure, and requirements of each certification program to determine if they match your learning preferences and schedule. Assess factors such as course duration, delivery format (e.g., online, in-person), assessment methods, and prerequisites.
  • Assess instructor qualifications and support: Consider the qualifications and expertise of instructors or facilitators involved in delivering the certification program. Look for programs that offer access to experienced educators, mentors, or subject matter experts who can provide guidance and support throughout your learning journey.
  • Consider industry relevance: Choose a certification program that reflects current industry trends, best practices, and emerging technologies in DEI. Look for programs that incorporate real-world case studies, practical exercises, and hands-on experience to ensure the applicability of your learning in professional settings.
  • Evaluate costs and return on investment (ROI): Assess the cost of enrolling in each certification program, including tuition fees, materials, exam fees, and any additional expenses. Compare the investment required against the potential career benefits, such as increased earning potential, job opportunities, and professional advancement.
  • Seek feedback and reviews: Research feedback and reviews from past participants or professionals who have completed a DEI certification program (Reddit and other forums are useful here). Consider their insights regarding the program's effectiveness, relevance, and overall satisfaction to gain a better understanding of what to expect.
  • Consider specialized certifications: Depending on your career goals and interests, explore specialized DEI certifications that focus on specific areas such as reducing bias, recruitment, accommodations, strategy, or metrics and analytics. 

You’re In The Driver’s Seat Of Your Development

As mentioned, due to the complexity of DEI taking a certification of some kind will go a long way to help you better understand this discipline and could be an important new step in your career.

Not only will you be more employable, you’ll provide more strategic value to your organization (think hiring, retention, innovation, and engagement) and help build a better society in general.

More general resources to help you learn new skills and progress in your career:

You might also want to consider attending one of these DEI conferences to connect with other DEI professionals and spread knowledge and expertise.

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By Finn Bartram

Finn is an editor at People Managing People. He's passionate about growing organizations where people are empowered to continuously improve and genuinely enjoy coming to work. If not at his desk, you can find him playing sports or enjoying the great outdoors.