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Whether you’re new to HR or looking to upskill, a learning and development certification can help set you apart and add real value to your organization.

Additional training will provide you with the knowledge and tools to effectively navigate learning, development, and training for any organization.

Training and development specialists can have a huge impact on a team’s performance improvement. 

As a learning and development specialist, you’ll support, create, plan, and run effective training programs for organizations either as a full-time HR professional, leader, or consultant.

If you’re looking for a course to help you dive into learning and development, scroll down to learn more.

1. ATD Associate Professional in Talent Development

If you’re in HR or a trainer with 3-5 years of experience under your belt, you might consider an Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD).

This HR certification through the Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a great option for those looking to focus on talent development in their careers, stand out in a competitive job market, or take a new career step.

The APTD credential covers the foundational strategies of talent development. In this particular course, you’ll focus on the Talent Development Capability Model™, made up of organizational impact, interpersonal skill-building, and professional development. 

The exam price does not include preparatory courses, so this method of certification is ideal for anyone who prefers independent study and managing their own time. Previous candidates suggested 60-80 hours or 3-6 months of preparation.

ATD is the largest association for learning professionals worldwide, and online membership will open their large e-library of resources or training needs. You can also join a chapter near you to network and connect with motivated professionals.

  • Price: $499 for members or $699 for non-members
  • Duration: Exam length is 2hrs
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Both
  • How many hours of instruction: Self-study
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

2. ATD Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD)

ATD also offers a Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) for HR professionals taking the next step in their careers. 

Formerly known as Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP), the CPTD certification focuses on ATD’s new Talent Development Model™ as a standard for talent development.

Ideal for candidates with 5+ years of work experience, this certification measures your broad knowledge and skills application to enhance employee talent development and decision-making. The ATD certification does not include a course, so this certification is perfect for independent learners who can organize their own preparation.

There are no prerequisites for this exam but candidates should be able to demonstrate their abilities and knowledge from topics around data and metrics, talent strategy and management, training delivery and facilitation, and cultural awareness and inclusion.

  • Price: $975 for members or $1350 for non-members
  • Duration: Exam length is 3hrs
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Both
  • How many hours of instruction: Self-paced
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

4. ATD Instructional Design Certificate

ATD offers a certificate to help those in the development manager career path gain an in-depth understanding of building effective learning experiences. 

As an instructional designer, you can make an impact on an organization by developing engaging, outcome-based trainings and learning events.

This online course is suited for working professionals looking for either flexible, self-paced path or an instructor-led course both in-person or live online. It consists of 10 modules that cover the fundamentals of instructional design, developing materials, and how to evaluate a training’s effectiveness.

This course is designed to help students understand theory behind effective training modules. The right instructional design can support your organization’s performance management strategy to develop their employees and improve their individual performance.

  • Price: $1,995 members; $2,245 non-members
  • Duration: 2 weeks
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Both
  • How many hours of instruction: 21 learning credit hours
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

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5. Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM)

The Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM) is a great option for those interested in a role as a training manager. As a CPTM, you’ll have the skills to lead corporate training programs, create learning experiences, and drive goals tied back to your organization’s business success.

The Training Industry, a leading publication in the adult learning industry, offers a CPTM track and exam. 

Candidates range from those currently leading or looking to lead training departments and external consultants or coaches. 

Your course includes access to 10 interactive training modules and experienced speakers with CPTM certification. You’ll not only be prepared to take the exam but have a plan of action aligned with your training and business goals.

  • Price: $3,495
  • Duration: Self-paced study; 2 mos on avg
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 6 wks of modules
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

6. Agile Certification for HR and Learning and Development

Training Industry also offers an Agile Certification for HR professionals or L&D professionals looking to revitalize their training or just wanting to deepen their own knowledge in L&D. 

This course specifically focuses on Agile Learning Design, a method organizations use to cut down their “time-to-proficiency” and focuses on speed, flexibility, and collaboration.

You’ll learn project management, how to optimize workflows, and how to bring agile learning design to your training programs for work. You’ll come away with a growth mindset and the tools to support change management in your team. At the end of the course, you’ll also receive a certificate and digital badge.

  • Price: $1,516 (if you’re a pre-approved CPTM) or $1,895
  • Duration: 3 half days
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 5 hours/session
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

7. AIHR Learning & Development Certification

The Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR) is the world’s largest online HR course catalog, offering HR pros a swath of training programs to take their careers to the next level.

This certification program helps human resource management build or refine learning programs and L&D strategies on your team. 

Through online courses and quizzes, you’ll cover topics from skill gap analysis, corporate training or coaching, and learning and development analytics. Trusted by organizations like Meta, PWC, and Proctor & Gamble, this certificate program supports learners around the world.

This comprehensive course requires a capstone project where you’ll take the skills covered in this program into real-life practice.

  • Price: $975 individual course or $9,750 for full access & continuous learning
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Exam Required: Capstone Project Required
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 23.5 hrs
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

8. Certified Learning Strategist (CLS)

The Brandon Hall Group (BHG) is a world-renowned organization for HR professionals seeking certification or resources on learning and strategy.

BHG offers a Certified Learning Strategist (CLS) program that helps candidates showcase their understanding of fundamental competencies like design thinking, mentoring, inclusivity, and how to implement the latest learning management systems (LMS).

This self-paced course is available online in three phases with interactive components. Phase I starts with essentials on instructional design and mentoring, centering on interpersonal skills and strategy.

Phase II exercises your competency from your previous phase with case study application to put you in real-world scenarios. Phase III asks candidates to apply what they’ve learned to create their own case study from their organization. 

CLS is perfect for independent learners who succeed through e-learning and are looking to broaden their own experience as a training and development professional across several industries.

  • Price: Available upon request
  • Duration: Self-Paced
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 40 hrs
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

9. Cornell’s Employee Training & Development Course

Continue your education after you earn your Bachelor's Degree and dive into Employee Training and development through Cornell University’s continuing education course.

This program provides you with the tools to lead, design, and champion employee training modules for any company. You’ll explore and evaluate existing training in organizations as well as analyze training needs to suit a company’s goals. 

Get familiar with facilitating training, learn how to secure managerial or peer support, and understand how to evaluate an initiative’s success.

This course is perfect for small business owners, entry-level or early-careerists with 0-5 years of experience from a broad range of organizations. Those who prefer instructor-led learning will have fellow cohort members to engage with as they dive in together.

  • Price: Price upon request
  • Duration: 2 weeks
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 3-5 hrs/wk
  • Eligibility Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree or higher

10. Certificate in Corporate Training

Future Learn offers a Certificate in Corporate Training to “train the trainer.” You’ll learn how to facilitate training programs, instructional design, and L&D strategy. This accredited course was created by ATC Training and is a certified CPD course.

Through this program, you’ll learn about the training cycle and how to conduct a Training Needs Analysis to create engaging lesson plans and training materials. You’ll see how to present courses most effectively online or in person and what KPIs to monitor for success.

There are four courses in total and, while there isn’t a single, comprehensive exam for accreditation, each course does include 1 or 2 tests at its conclusion.

  • Price: $39/mo membership
  • Duration: 2 weeks per course; Total of 4 courses
  • Exam Required: No
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 2-3hrs/wk
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

11. Center for Executive Coaching - Core Program

HR professionals who are looking to take their current skills in learning and development, team facilitation, or other adult learning programs should consider executive coaching as the next step in their career path.

As an executive coach, you’ll work closely with C-Suite, Board members, and senior managers to help leadership support their stakeholders and their business reach better. You’ll also give them the tools to master any issues or challenges that they encounter in their roles.

The Center for Executive Coaching offers a variety of certification courses but, if you’re starting just out, begin with their Core Program

Through this course, you’ll master creating corporate training for clients, how to help leaders with their own performance management, or leaders undergoing a career transition. 

You’ll also work closely with certified coaches to understand general methodologies and practical applications.

  • Price: $4,900
  • Duration: Self-paced with weekly webinars to join live or view recorded
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 30-60 hours (depending if you hold a Master’s Degree)
  • Eligibility Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

12. George Washington University’s Graduate Certificate in Leadership Development

George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) offers a certificate in Leadership Development for human resource or business professionals looking to engage and develop their organizational talent.

This is an in-person or online certified course designed for working professionals. It covers instructional design, group processes, and adult learning, along with learning and development diagnosis and consulting strategies. Learners can work with advisors to tailor their focus as they desire.

The GSEHD offers a unique learning experience that helps professionals engage with experienced workplace leaders across different industries, from private to nonprofits. 

Understand how to develop learning programs and build strategies that can apply to real-world organizations.

  • Price: Available upon request
  • Duration: Additional information available upon request
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Both
  • How many hours of instruction: Additional information available upon request
  • Eligibility Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

How to Choose a Learning and Development Certification

Looking over the list of potential courses, you might be wondering how to start determining which is best for you.

Each course and provider has a unique approach to online or in-person learning, so be sure to take that into consideration.

However, overall, learning and development can be divided into a few areas of expertise:

  • Talent Development—great for workplace leaders or HR professionals looking to support organization’s Learning and Development programs and strategy to support individuals.
  • Corporate Coaching—perfect for consultants, coaches, and HR professionals who want to work with executives and leaders. Great for those looking to work closely with change makers at an organization.
  • Learning Specialist—think consultants, coaches, workplace leaders, or HR professionals who want to focus on training or learning & development programs within an organization.
  • Training Management—you’ll look deeper into the principles of L&D and performance improvement so they can align to business goals and industry standards.

Each learning and development certification course might also depend on your experience or years in your industry, so be sure to put that into consideration as you take your next steps.

Get Ready to Jump In

No matter what course you select, a learning and development certification is a great way to deepen your understanding on current strategies and methods to support an organization. It sets you apart in the hiring pool, and it continues your own journey as a lifelong learner.

Some further resources to help you expand your skills and progress in your career:

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.