2023 Best Online UX Design Certification

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A UX design certification is a valuable credential if you’re interested in creating better experiences for users of applications, websites, and games.

Best Online UX Design Certification

The appearance and performance of digital designs has never been more important. UX design schools teach students about the most important elements of digital design, such as color, typography, and composition. They offer training in the tools and software that are necessary to create flawless user experiences.

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Researching UI UX certificate programs may be the first step toward entering one of the most rapidly growing fields in today’s professional world.

Online UX Design Certification Programs

Woman pursuing Online UX Design Certification

When customers visit a website or download an app, they expect it to be easy to navigate, interesting to look at, and free of glitches or flaws. If the site or app fails to meet those expectations, the customer might develop a negative outlook on the business as a whole.

The individuals responsible for making digital media accessible and appealing are known as user experience and user interface designers. These professionals help businesses establish the best possible first impression for their customers, clients, and users. A UX/UI certificate provides you with the technical knowledge and design skills to achieve that goal.

During your certificate program, you’ll take a variety of UI UX design courses focused on subjects like:

  • Image manipulation
  • User experience and user interface design
  • Elements of website design
  • Motion design
  • Design tools and software
  • Page layout and composition
  • Portfolio development

Courses in UX design certificate programs tend to involve hands-on projects. These experiences allow you to put the theories and skills that you study into practice and create samples that can later be presented to prospective employers.

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Organizations in essentially every industry use digital content to provide information, sell products and services, and gain the trust and interest of customers. UX design specialists are often qualified to work with a broad pool of employers, such as:

  • Computer systems companies
  • Public relations firms
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Software publishing companies
  • Print publishing companies
  • Technology startups
  • Video game studios
  • Film studios
  • Government agencies
  • Financial institutions
  • Colleges and universities

In addition to working directly for one of these organizations, you might also opt to work as an independent contractor who provides services to multiple clients. Many professionals with UX design training build careers as digital designers, web developers, software developers, and graphic designers. Others advance into management positions in advertising and marketing departments.

A UX certificate may also provide you with the necessary background to work as a writer who creates copy for applications, websites, and other forms of digital media.

UI UX Design Careers & Salaries

UI UX Design Careers & Salaries

UX design programs help prepare students to create usable and engaging products, particularly websites and apps. The skills developed while completing a UX certificate translate to a variety of industries, including publishing, education, and software development.

Many professionals with education and experience in UX design become digital designers who conduct user research before developing unique content. Others focus on coding and programming to become software developers. UX design is also applicable to a number of other roles related to visual design, art direction, animation, and product design.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some of the median wages for popular occupations for UX design professionals.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Software Developers $127,260
Art Directors $105,180
Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers $99,620
Special Effects Artists and Animators $98,950
Computer Programmers $97,800
Web and Digital Interface Designers $83,240
Technical Writers $79,960
Web Developers $78,580
Graphic Designers $57,990
Desktop Publishers $47,910

Some of these positions may require further training or experience. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that demand for professionals with user design experience is expected to rise over the next ten years.

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For instance, the projected growth rate for web developers and digital designers is 23%, which is much faster than the 5% average for all occupations. Software developers have an even higher expected growth rate of 26%.

User Experience Certificate Curriculum & Courses

students taking User Experience Certificate

The curriculum of a certificate program is usually focused on specialized courses that teach the necessary skills to succeed in an industry. When earning a certificate in user experience, you may take courses such as the following:

  • Principles of App Design: This course introduces you to the core elements of app design, including storyboarding, sketching, and prototypes.
  • Mobile App Development: In this class, you’ll learn about programming languages used to develop applications for mobile devices.
  • Designing for Meaning: This course focuses on theoretical and practical approaches to graphic design.
  • Digital Media: Students taking this course practice using layout software, vector and raster graphics, and other tools and software that are crucial to graphic design.
  • Web Design: The focus of this class is designing engaging and effective desktop and mobile websites with an emphasis on user experience and interface design.
  • UX/UI Design: In this course, you’ll learn how to create effective user experiences by optimizing factors such as usability, iconography, and mapping.
  • Typography: The purpose of this class is to teach about designing type that is clear and visually appealing.
  • Motion and Animation Design: Many apps and websites have animated components, and this course exposes students to the technology and software used to create animation.
  • Color Theory: During this course, you’ll learn about the effects of color on user reactions, emotions, and engagement.
  • Designing for Accessibility: This course encourages you to consider accessibility as a core feature of UX design and create interfaces and apps that are usable for all kinds of people.

In addition to their coursework, many students in UX certificate programs must create portfolios of their work to graduate.

UX UI Certificate Admissions Requirements

Man preparing requirements for UX UI Certificate

Some user experience certificate programs have open enrollment for all interested students, while others have more stringent admissions requirements, including:

  • Personal statement. You’ll write a brief statement explaining why you’re interested in the program.
  • Transcripts. You’ll submit official transcripts from your high school and any undergraduate institutions that you have attended.
  • Test scores. Some schools require scores from standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT, but a growing number of schools no longer request them.
  • Recommendations. You can request recommendation letters from previous instructors.

You may also be asked to pay an application or registration fee when submitting your official application.

Online UX Design Certificate Programs Accreditation

University offering Online UX Design Certificate

Colleges and universities that offer quality certificate programs in UX design generally have regional accreditation. To earn regional accreditation status, schools must demonstrate that they offer up-to-date instruction by qualified faculty in the field.

Attending a regionally accredited school is especially vital if you hope to pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree in the future. In most cases, it’s easier to transfer credits from regionally accredited institutions, which could prevent you from having to retake courses you’ve already completed.

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Employers also tend to have a more favorable response to job candidates who received a certificate from a school with regional accreditation.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

UX Design Certification Financial Aid

Although certificate programs are usually a fraction of the cost of a degree program, you may still seek financial support to help pay for your tuition and fees. For most students, completing a FAFSA is the first step toward determining what type of aid you’re eligible to receive.

Submitting a FAFSA allows the government to determine whether you qualify for federal loans or grants. Some state governments also offer aid programs, but they have a separate application process. In addition, you may be able to receive scholarships based on your discipline or personal situation, such as if you’re a first-generation college student.

You can search an online database or speak to a financial aid specialist at your prospective school to learn more about scholarship opportunities. If you’re currently working, your employer might offer tuition reimbursement or assistance to support your academic and professional development.

Should I Get a UX Design Certificate?

Man taking UX Design Certificate, working on his project

When deciding whether to enroll in a certificate program in UX design, it’s helpful to consider your interests and goals. Students in these programs can develop advanced skills in design tools and technologies and a deep understanding of customer needs and interests.

Career paths related to UX design include web development, software development, and animation. Many of these positions have median salaries above $75,000 a year (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Because technology is such an integral part of life, a variety of employers look for job candidates with UX design skills. For example, you may be qualified to work for a government agency, software publisher, or advertising firm.

What Can I Do with a UX Design Certificate?

Digital designers brainstorming for ideas

Completing a certificate in UX design may open the door to a variety of careers. Many graduates of these programs become web developers and digital designers who create content for applications and websites.

Others apply their skills as special effects artists, graphic designers, or industrial designers. With experience, you may also pursue a management position in an art or marketing department. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many of these positions pay competitive salaries.

What Do You Learn in UX Design?

UX Designers working on app development

A UX design program centers around skills in visual art. Students learn how to use digital technologies to create interfaces, applications, and software that are attractive to the public.

Common courses include:

  • User experience design
  • User interface design
  • Animation
  • Web design
  • App development
  • Accessible design
  • Design technology

During these classes, you can learn about the theories and principles of design. You can also practice creating innovating user experiences. Depending on the specific focus of the certificate, students may learn about coding and programming languages.

How Long Does It Take to Get a UI UX Design Certificate Online?

Woman taking UI/UX Design Certificate online

A certificate is a strategic option if you want to earn a credential in a shorter time span than is required by a degree. Certificate programs are often offered on an accelerated or condensed schedule with 8 week rather than 16 week semesters.

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Most UX certificate programs require between 18 and 30 credit hours to graduate. Students who are able to take multiple courses per semester usually finish their programs in 6 months to 1 year. If the program has a higher credit hour requirement, it may take 1 year or longer to graduate.

What Jobs Can You Get with a UX Design Training Certificate?

Digital designer & web developer testing their prototype

Graduates of UX design certificate programs often enroll with the intention of becoming digital designers and web developers. These professionals are responsible for creating user-friendly experiences for customers who engage with companies through digital media.

Others apply their artistic abilities to special effects or animation. They might create entertaining visual experiences for video game or film companies. A certificate in UX design is also a strong foundation for a career as a writer. In this role, UX designers create technical documents for other members of the field, copy for websites, and articles for people who want to learn about design.

What’s the Difference Between a Product Design vs. UX Design Online Certificate?

When deciding whether to earn a certificate in product design or user experience design, it’s helpful to consider the differences between them.

Product Design Certificate User Experience Design Certificate
  • Has a broader focus on product development, including research
  • Has courses in leadership and project management
  • May lead to careers in product management and industrial design
  • Has a specific focus on developing engaging and usable designs
  • Has courses in design technologies and principles
  • May lead to careers in web design and development

If your primary interest is in designing user interfaces, applications, and websites, a UX certificate may be a strategic option.

What’s the Difference Between a UX Design Certification vs. Certificate?

When deciding how to pursue a UX design career, both a certificate and certification may be appealing options. Here are some of the differences between the two.

UX Design Certification UX Design Certificate
  • Usually offered by professional organizations or research groups
  • Requires taking a comprehensive exam
  • Involves independent study prior to the exam
  • Usually offered by colleges or industry leaders
  • Requires taking a series of courses
  • Involves study under the guidance of faculty

Students often elect to complete a certificate program as part of their preparation for a certification exam.

Is a UX Design Certificate Worth It?

Web & Digital Interface Designers discussing

Yes, a UX design certificate is worth it for many students. Organizations in every industry use digital media to connect to customers, and UX design professionals play a critical part in that process.

A certificate may help you build a career that blends artistic creativity with technology. During your certificate program, you can learn how to enhance and refine your design skills with cutting-edge technology, tools, and software. UX design also has a strong level of job security.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 23% job growth is projected for web developers and digital designers over the next ten years, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Universities Offering Online Certificate in UX Design Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer programs online or in a hybrid format.

Boise State University

Boise State University campus

A User Experience (UX) Design Certificate can be earned at Boise State University. The program consists of four courses for a total of 12 credit hours. Potential courses include UX Design Foundations, Intro to Human-Computer Interaction, Designing for Impact, and UX Design Studio. All courses are 7 weeks long and offered online.

Boise State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Cornell University

Cornell University campus

Cornell University offers a User Experience Design Certificate. Potential courses include Human-Centered Design Essentials, Effective User Research, Creating User Personas, Developing a UX Design Concept, and Evaluating Usability. Each course is 3 weeks long, and the full program can typically be completed in 5 months.

Cornell is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Maryville University

Maryville University campus

A User Experience Certificate can be earned 100% online through Maryville University. The program consists of six courses that emphasize experiential, project-based learning. Potential courses include Principles of App Design, Introduction to Mobile App Development, Designing for Meaning, Introduction to Digital Media, Web Design I, and UX and UI Design.

Maryville University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Minneapolis College of Art and Design campus

At the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, a User Experience (UX) Design Certificate can be earned entirely online. There are two types of courses to choose from: noncredit courses that are 15 weeks long and meet once a week and credit courses that are 8 weeks long and meet twice a week.

MCAD is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Purdue University

Purdue University campus

Purdue University offers a UX Design program that can be taken with no prior experience. Three credentials may be earned through this program: a Google UX Design Certificate, a micro-credential badge, and a co-branded diploma from Purdue Global. The program requires the completion of 51 credits. Purdue provides flexibility by offering start dates every month.

Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University campus

Southern New Hampshire University offers an online UX boot camp style certificate program. Potential courses include UX Fundamentals, UI Fundamentals, Application Design, and UX Industry Readiness. The program can potentially be finished in just 9 months and is designed to allow students to work full-time while in it. Credits earned in the program may later be applied toward a degree from SNHU.

SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc.

The New School

The New School campus

The New School offers a User-Centered Design (UX and UI) Certificate. The program requires the completion of 5 online courses that emphasize project-based learning. It can typically be completed in 18 months. Potential courses include Introduction to UX: User Research, Foundations of Interaction Design, UX Design for Emerging Platforms, Usability Testing and Evaluation, and UX and UI Portfolio.

The New School is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of California – Berkeley

University of California Berkeley campus

The University of California – Berkeley offers a Professional Program in User Experience (UX) Design through its online extension school. The program requires the completion of six required courses and one elective. It allows part-time and full-time enrollment. Potential courses include Essentials of User Experience (UX) Design, Diagramming and Prototyping for UX, and Visual Design Principles.

The University of California – Berkeley is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

University of California – Los Angeles

University of California Los Angeles campus

At the University of California – Los Angeles, a Certificate in User Experience can be completed 100% online, typically in just 4 quarters. The curriculum is designed to help students develop job-ready skills and learn how to work with cutting-edge tools, such as Figma and InVision.

UCLA is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

University of Washington

University of Washington campus

The University of Washington offers a Certificate in UX and Visual Interface Design online and at the Downtown Seattle campus. Classes meet during evenings and weekends, and the full program can typically be completed in 5 to 6 months. Potential courses include UX Design Thinking, Applied UX Design, and Integrating UX with Interactive Visual Design.

The University of Washington is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Getting Your Certificate in UX Design Online

student getting Certificate in UX Design Online

A UX designer has a unique combination of artistic and technical skills, and earning a certificate is a strategic way to develop these abilities.

During your certificate program, you’ll likely study topics such as programming languages, design software, and color theory. UX design is also an extremely versatile field. Professionals in this area can work not only for software and computer companies but also for retail businesses, marketing agencies, academic institutions, and nonprofits.

If you love technology and thrive in a creative role, UX design may be an ideal career path. You can research accredited schools to begin earning your UX design certification online.

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WRITTEN BY
Kama has a master's degree in English from Virginia Tech and a bachelor's in English from Concord University. She previously taught college-level English composition, literature, and English as a second language courses. She is now a full-time writer in the education field, with a particular focus on educational technology and pedagogical best practices for English language learners.