Top 2020-2021 Change Management Guide. How Valuable is a Change Management Certification?  

Do you really need a change management certificate?
Is it worth the cost?

There’s a debate raging in the world of business change management which revolves around the need for change management training and certification.

Does a fancy change management certification improve your chances of getting a job or is it just expensive window dressing? Is a degree and change management and project management experience enough to work successfully in this field?

At the heart of the debate is just how valuable it is to get certified in change management or a specific change methodology. It’s the age-old battle of hands-on experience and knowledge versus verified education.

Is a change management certificate worth it?

change management certification

Should You Consider Change Management Certification?

There is plenty of free information online about change management, so you might wonder if those expensive change management courses are worth it to get a certification next to your name.

There are several things to consider when trying to decide the answer to this question: “Is a change management certificate worth it?” Factors to consider include:

  • Will you learn more with instructor-led training than on your own?
  • Does getting a certification demand a higher change management salary?
  • What’s the value of getting hands-on class experience before you head up your first big change project?
  • Do you want to go into providing change management training to others in the future?
  • Do you plan to someday go into change management consulting?

We’ll take a look at the value of a change management certification below. We’ll also tell you which change management courses are the most valuable and requested, so you don’t waste your time and money.

Should you invest in change management training and certification? Ultimately, the choice is up to you, but we’ll give you some food for thought!


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Is Change Management Certification Valuable?

First, let’s take a look at how valuable those change management courses for certification can be. Will you get a better change management salary if you have a certification?

According to Salary.com, the annual salary range for a change management specialist is between $96,378 and $170,564. The median change management salary is $127,672.

We looked at varying levels of education to see how these are impacting the type of annual salary you could see. Here are the median change management salary estimates based on education and experience.

  • High School Diploma or Technical Certificate, less than 1-year experience: $118,381
  • High School Diploma or Technical Certificate, 5-6 years of experience: $120,337
  • Master’s Degree or MBA, less than 1-year experience: $121,071
  • Master’s Degree or MBA, 5-6 years of experience: $123,515

A person that has a high school diploma or technical certificate with 5-6 years of experience earns only $734 less annually than someone with an MBA or master’s degree.

What this tells us is that experience plus a technical change management certification can be valuable if you have the expertise to go along with it and will cost a lot less than going through college for a master’s degree.


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Do Employers Care if You Have Change Management Certification?

Change management is a growing field, but still fairly new when compared to other business disciplines. So, the standards in change management training and certification will differ widely between companies hiring a change manager.

Some employers will require that you’ve gone through change management courses and earned a certification either in overall change management or a specific change methodology.

Other employers might just want you to do a good job managing the project and the people when driving change. They may care more about your experience with communication, leadership, and project planning and management than they will about a change management certificate.

What Do Employers Want for Change Management Specialists?

We reviewed a collection of different change management positions posted on LinkedIn and found that 30% asked for a change management certification.

Top-requested qualifications were a BS degree or higher in organizational psychology, leadership, communications or similar, and approximately 5+ years of experience.

Companies also are looking for competency in change management overall, something that change management training, which leads to certification could help you get.


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How Much Does a Change Management Certification Cost?

Even though a majority of organizations hiring for change management specialists don’t require a change management certification, 30% is not an insignificant number.

Change management is becoming increasingly competitive due to the great future job prospects of the field. Going through change management courses to earn certification could help you stand out over another qualified candidate that doesn’t have any certification.

How much will a change management certificate cost you?

Some change certifications are fairly inexpensive, but it won’t do you any good to earn one that’s not recognized.

The top two certifications requested in job postings are:

  • Prosci’s ADKAR change management certification
  • Certified Change Management Professional™ (CCMP™) certification from ACMP

Prosci’s change management training doesn’t require any prior education or experience. It costs $4,400.

CCMP certification requires a combination of education and experience (4-year degree and 3-years of experience or high school degree and 5-years of experience), plus prior change management training. It costs $745 for non-members or $595 for members of ACMP.


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Conclusion: Is a Change Management Certificate Worth It?

So, is a change management certification worth it? Ultimately, it depends.

You don’t necessarily need a certificate in change management if you already have change management experience and a college degree in a related field. Approximately 70% of employers don’t even mention certification in their job listings.

In addition, we could not find any significant difference in change management salary for jobs asking for a certificate and those without that requirement.

However, if you want to gain an edge in an increasingly competitive field and/or may not have as much hands-on experience as you’d like, a change management certification can definitely be valuable.

Change management courses teach you all the fundamentals of change management and can also often provide classroom experience in creating and implementing a change management strategy that gives you the confidence you need when going into an interview for a change management position.


Authors: Ogbe Airiodion (Senior Change Management Lead) and Francesca Crolley (AGS Cloud Content Producer)
Content on Airiodion Global Services (AGS)'s Airiodion.com website is copyrighted. Questions? Contact Airiodion Global Services (AGS) .

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