8 Learning and Development Certifications Worth Looking Into as an ID

Demand for instructional designers remains high as an increasing number of L&D teams move to an online training model. And with more opportunities than ever before, now’s a great time to upskill or reskill as a learning experience designer.

Demand for instructional designers remains high as an increasing number of L&D teams move to an online training model. And with more opportunities than ever before, now’s a great time to upskill or reskill as a learning experience designer.

In fact, Devlin Peck’s recent report 1 revealed that novice instructional designers (IDs) in the US have earned an 8% salary increase over the past three years. If you’re an instructional designer or L&D specialist looking to hone your skills or broaden your knowledge, you’re in the right place. I’ve rounded up eight of the best learning and development certifications for all experience levels.

1. Certified Learning Strategist (CLS) by Brandon Hall Group – best for senior L&D staff

Brandon Hall Group

Brandon Hall is a well-known professional development company that offers data-driven insights and certifications to L&D executives.

The program provides evidence-based insights into the learning journey, equipping participants with essential competencies that they can apply right away.

Program overview

The program consists of a three-phase knowledge test that requires learners to develop 24 key competencies using real-world scenarios.

You also gain access to case studies from top organizations and an extensive resource guide packed with research and executive interviews.

The three phases include:

  • Phase 1 – 96 questions that span 24 core learning strategist competencies, including leadership and technical skills
  • Phase 2 – 7 case studies on a range of relevant topics like raising skills and creating a culture of continuous learning
  • Phase 3 – Connecting all the learning


  • This certification costs $995


  • 40 hours of study
  • Note: Learners have 12 months to complete the certification, but it takes an average of three months to complete.


  • 100% online (self-paced)

2. ATD Instructional Design Certificate – best for novice IDs looking to develop their skills


ATD is a leading talent development company that offers a range of certifications for IDs and L&D specialists to propel their careers.

This certification is designed to give attendees detailed insight into the theory behind effective learning experiences. You can choose to attend this course online or face-to-face, but it’s important to bear in mind that it’s live and requires active participation in the sessions.

Program overview

The program consists of ten modules that cover the fundamentals of instructional design. That includes the following topics:

  • Learning design basics
  • Conducting needs assessment
  • Working with SMEs
  • Designing and developing learning materials
  • Evaluation methods


  • This certification costs $1,995 for ATD members and $2,245 for non-members


  • Two weeks (21 credit hours of learning)


  • Online or face-to-face – live sessions

3. Learning & Development Certificate Program by AIHR – best for L&Ds looking to build a learning culture


This certification by AIHR is a great choice for L&D specialists looking to foster a learning culture in their organization and improve training impact.

It equips participants with the necessary skills and experience to design and implement an effective L&D program. It also tackles common challenges like plugging knowledge gaps, driving digital transformation, and talent retention.

To successfully earn your certificate, you need to complete a capstone project related to the course topics.

Program overview

Learners cover five courses and 12 modules throughout the program, as well as completing a capstone project. Here’s how the curriculum looks:

  • Course 1 – Learning and Development Strategy
  • Course 2 – Designing Digital Learning Experiences
  • Course 3 – Skills Gap Analysis
  • Course 4 – Coaching
  • Course 5 – Learning Analytics
  • Capstone Project

The modules have a variety of lessons, quizzes, and additional reading materials.


AIHR offers different pricing plans:

  • $975 for one certificate program
  • $1,650 for 12 certificate programs
  • Starting at $2,600 for 12 certificate programs for organization teams


  • 23.5 hours of learning (you get 12 months of access to the course materials)


  • 100% online (self-paced)

4. Professional Certificate in Learning and Development by Western Continuing Studies – best for IDs specializing in adult learning

Western Continuing Studies

This program is ideal for IDs who want to specialize in designing training for adult learners.

The curriculum covers the core teaching principles you need to design and develop effective learning experiences for an adult audience in either further education or corporate settings.

Over the course of the program, you’ll learn different adult learning theories, strategies to build blended learning communities, and how to run a needs assessment.

There’s a nice mix of theory and practice, making it ideal for instructional designers with limited hands-on experience.

Program overview

The program offers a nice selection of elective courses, and one required course, “Approaches to Teaching and Learning.”

To earn the certificate, you must complete six electives as well as the mandatory course. Here’s an overview of the elective courses:

  • Course 1 – Teaching Online
  • Course 2 – Teaching with Technology
  • Course 3 – Collaboration, Teams, and Communities in Learning
  • Course 4 – Needs Assessment
  • Course 5 – Program Design Methods
  • Course 6 – Active Training Techniques
  • Course 7 – Assessment and Evaluation in Learning Contexts


  • This certification costs $3,465


  • 10-36 months


  • 100% online – instructor-led

5. Train the Trainer: Certificate in Corporate Training by Future Learn – best for corporate training specialists

Future Learn

Future Learn offers this certificate course for workplace trainers and L&D specialists who want to deepen their knowledge of how people learn.

The program is designed to help you develop key skills, including session and course planning, effective training delivery, and management reporting. It touches on the full training cycle from needs analysis to evaluation.

By the end of the four courses, you’ll be able to design and implement impactful education programs, assess learner progress, calculate ROI, and produce KPIs to measure training performance.

The program is certified by the CPD.

Program overview

Throughout the program, you’ll complete four courses (each lasting around two weeks).

Here’s an overview of the courses:

  • Course 1 – Workplace Training: Introduction to the Training Cycle
  • Course 2 – Workplace Training: Planning and Designing Training Solutions
  • Course 3 – Workplace Training: Delivery and Assessment Methods
  • Course 4 – Workplace Training: Training Evaluation and Measuring Effectiveness


  • This certificate costs $39/month for a membership subscription


  • Approximately ten weeks (with two to three hours of study per week)


  • 100% online – self-paced

6. Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM) by The Training Industry – best for training managers


The Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM™) program is a highly-respected qualification created by the Training Industry.

It’s specifically designed for corporate training managers, equipping you with the skills you need to successfully manage your organization’s learning programs.

Some of the core competencies you’ll develop include:

  • Optimizing your organization’s learning processes
  • Strategically aligning business-centric and demand-based training models
  • Developing and implementing high-impact training solutions
  • Assessing business and training performance

It’s ideal for current or aspiring training managers working in corporate environments. It’s also important to note that it does require high levels of participation compared to other options on this list.

Program overview

To earn your certificate, you must complete the following steps:

  • Step 1 – complete ten eLearning modules
  • Step 2 – complete the virtual practicum
  • Step 3 – take the CPTM exam (this takes two and a half hours, and you get two chances)

As well as completing ten eLearning modules, you must also complete a virtual practicum and a comprehensive final exam.

The virtual practicum gives you a chance to solve a real-world business problem with your peers, developing and defending a learning solution and identifying success metrics.

There is also a keynote discussion with experienced training executives to round off the practicum.


  • The CPTM training program costs $3,695


  • Six weeks


  • 100% online – a mix of self-paced courses and live practicum sessions

7. Certificate in Designing Online Learning (CDOL) by LPI – best for IDs designing live online learning experiences


The Certificate in Designing Online Learning (CDOL) from LPI is a comprehensive and well-renowned qualification. With a strong focus on designing and developing online training, it’s ideal for IDs that specialize in live virtual learning experiences.

The program provides lots of opportunities to gain hands-on experience, such as building an instructional design portfolio and having it reviewed by the course facilitator.

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to deliver effective online classroom sessions, re-purpose traditional classroom activities for a virtual setting, and facilitate engaging live online training events.

Program overview

To earn your CDOL Certification, you must complete the following steps:

  • Attend six workshop sessions and complete the relevant assignments
  • Complete a learning journal – participants build an instructional design portfolio over a six-week period
  • Take part in an online portfolio review – the course facilitator will evaluate your portfolio and suggest feedback to implement


  • Not listed


  • Approximately 40 hours


  • 100% online – blended learning (mix of live sessions and self-paced modules)

8. The Instructional Design Bootcamp by Devlin Peck – best for building an eLearning portfolio

Devlin Peck

Devlin Peck is one of the most famous instructional designers in the world. And while his bootcamp doesn’t offer an “official” certification, it’s a very well-respected program that prepares IDs for the job market with a portfolio and hands-on experience.

The goal of the bootcamp is to convert educators into remote instructional designers and prepare them to land their first role. As such, the curriculum covers a range of highly practical and relevant topics.

You’ll take part in over 500 on-demand lessons, live workshops, and one-on-ones with your facilitators. You’ll also have a dedicated bootcamp pro to support you throughout the program.

With guidance and feedback from an experienced team of facilitators, you’ll develop a strong eLearning portfolio that showcases your skills.

It’s ideal for beginners who are trying to build a portfolio, or corporate IDs looking to make the leap to freelance.

Program overview

Throughout the bootcamp, you’ll cover all the essential topics you’ll need to become a better, more employable instructional designer. That includes:

  • The Storyline Project Lab
  • Creating your Flagship Project
  • Building a standout portfolio
  • Acing instructional design interviews
  • Winning leads on LinkedIn


  • The bootcamp costs $7,400


  • Approximately six months, dedicating five to ten hours per week (you can move through the content at your own speed)


  • 100% online – blended learning

Final thoughts

Whether you’re starting out your ID career or looking for the next step in your journey, a well-respected L&D certification can help you reach your goals.

This list has plenty of options for instructional designers and L&Ds of all experience levels, so you can choose the right qualification for your needs and future plans!

Nicola Wiley

By Nicola Wylie

Nicola Wylie is a learning industry expert who loves sharing in-depth insights into the latest trends, challenges, and technologies.

  1. https://www.devlinpeck.com/content/instructional-designer-salary#:~:text=US%2Dbased%20instructional%20designers%20with,portfolio%20than%20without%20a%20portfolio ↩︎