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Top 10 Workforce Development Specialist Certifications

This article provides an overview of the best certifications available to workforce development specialists looking to increase their professional qualifications.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 19 min read

Certifications are important for a workforce development specialist in the job market because they demonstrate knowledge and expertise in specific areas. Having certifications gives potential employers confidence that the candidate is qualified and experienced in the areas they are applying for. Certifications can also provide an advantage over other candidates who do not have the same qualifications, as employers often prefer to hire those with certifications to ensure their employees have a certain level of knowledge and skill. Additionally, certifications can help professionals stay up-to-date with industry trends and advancements, increasing their employability in their respective fields.

The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for Workforce Development Specialists and explain how they can help advance a specialist's career.

What are Workforce Development Specialist Certifications?

Workforce development specialist certification is a type of professional credential that is designed to recognize individuals who have attained the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to provide specialized services in the field of workforce development. This certification can help those working in this field by providing them with a competitive edge when seeking employment or advancement opportunities. The certification also serves as a sign of commitment to the profession and demonstrates an individual’s level of competence to employers.

Workforce development specialists are responsible for providing assistance and guidance to job seekers, helping them identify career paths, develop resumes and cover letters, prepare for interviews, and understand labor market trends. They must also be knowledgeable about available training programs, unemployment insurance benefits, job search strategies, and other related topics. With certification from a recognized organization such as the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP), these professionals can demonstrate their expertise in the field and stand out from other candidates.

In addition to providing credentials that are recognized by employers and organizations throughout the country, workforce development specialist certifications can also offer access to additional resources such as industry-specific publications and networking events. These extra benefits can be invaluable for professionals looking to stay up-to-date on current trends in their field or make valuable connections with potential employers or clients. Ultimately, obtaining workforce development specialist certification is an excellent way for individuals to gain recognition within their profession while furthering their career prospects at the same time.

Pro Tip: To become a certified Workforce Development Specialist, consider taking an accredited certification program to gain the necessary skills and knowledge. This will provide you with the credentials needed to demonstrate your expertise in workforce development, as well as give you access to valuable resources and networking opportunities.

Related: What does a Workforce Development Specialist do?

Top 10 Workforce Development Specialist Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Workforce Development Specialists today.

1. Certified Workforce Development Professional (CWDP)

Certified Workforce Development Professional (CWDP) is a professional certification program that provides an individual with the knowledge and skills to become a successful workforce development professional. The CWDP certification is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved excellence in the field of workforce development, which includes developing and managing programs that help people develop their skills, find jobs, and advance their careers.

The CWDP certification requires completion of a minimum of 45 hours of training in areas such as career guidance, job search strategies, labor market information, program planning and evaluation, customer service, and more. The training can be completed through a combination of online courses or in-person workshops. In addition to the required training hours, applicants must also pass an exam to receive the CWDP certification.

The cost for the CWDP certification varies depending on the provider offering it. Generally speaking, it can range from $500-$1,000 USD including all course materials and fees associated with taking the exam. It typically takes around 3-6 months to complete all requirements for obtaining the CWDP certification.

2. Certified Workforce Development Specialist (CWDS)

Certified Workforce Development Specialist (CWDS) is a professional certification program designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage and lead workforce development programs. The certification is offered by the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP).

The CWDS certification program consists of five core competencies: Human Resource Management, Program Design and Delivery, Strategic Planning and Analysis, Financial Management, and Performance Measurement. It also covers topics such as leadership, communication, and ethics. The program requires applicants to have at least two years of relevant experience in the field of workforce development.

The CWDS certification process typically takes 6-9 months to complete. Applicants must first submit an application packet that includes a resume, cover letter, letters of recommendation, transcripts from any post-secondary institutions attended, and proof of relevant work experience. After submitting the application packet, applicants must take a comprehensive exam that covers all five core competencies. Once the exam has been successfully completed, applicants will receive their CWDS certification.

The cost for obtaining the CWDS certification varies depending on the individual’s situation. The cost for taking the exam is $395 for NAWDP members or $495 for non-members. In addition to this fee, there may be additional costs associated with obtaining letters of recommendation or transcripts from post-secondary institutions attended.

3. Certified Employment and Training Professional (CETP)

Certified Employment and Training Professional (CETP) is a professional certification program offered by the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge, skills, and abilities in the field of workforce development. The CETP credential is intended to demonstrate an individual's commitment to excellence in their profession and provide employers with assurance that they are hiring qualified professionals.

The CETP certification program consists of four components: a written examination, a professional portfolio review, an oral presentation, and a professional development plan. The written examination covers topics such as labor market analysis, employment planning, job search strategies, career counseling techniques, job placement services, and training program design. The portfolio review includes a review of the candidate's work history and accomplishments related to workforce development activities. The oral presentation involves presenting a project or initiative related to workforce development that the candidate has completed or been involved with during their career. Finally, the professional development plan outlines goals for continuing education and professional growth within the field of workforce development.

The CETP certification process takes approximately 6-9 months from start to finish. Candidates must first apply for admission into the program by submitting an application packet which includes transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended as well as letters of recommendation from three references who can attest to their qualifications for the position. Once accepted into the program, candidates must complete all four components within one year in order to be eligible for certification.

The cost of obtaining the CETP certification varies depending on where you take your exams and other associated fees such as membership dues with NAWDP or any additional courses taken for preparation purposes. Generally speaking however, it can range anywhere from $500-$1000 USD depending on individual circumstances.

4. Certified Human Resource Development Specialist (CHRD)

Certified Human Resource Development Specialist (CHRD) is a professional certification that recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in the field of human resource development. It is designed to demonstrate an individual's knowledge and proficiency in the areas of training, performance management, organizational development, and career development.

It typically takes between six months to one year to complete the program and become certified. In order to qualify for the certification, applicants must have a minimum of five years professional experience in human resources or related fields. Additionally, applicants must pass an exam administered by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI). The exam covers topics such as employee training and development, performance management systems, organizational development, career planning and development, leadership skills, and more.

The cost of becoming certified vary depending on the type of certification you are seeking. The HRCI offers three levels of certification: Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR), Professional in Human Resources (PHR), and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Each level requires different fees ranging from $100 - $400 USD.

5. Certified Talent Development Professional (CTDP)

Certified Talent Development Professional (CTDP) is a certification program offered by the Association for Talent Development (ATD). It is designed to recognize professionals who have demonstrated expertise in the field of talent development. The CTDP certification is intended to demonstrate that an individual has achieved a level of knowledge, skills, and abilities required to be successful in a talent development role.

The CTDP certification requires applicants to have at least three years of experience in talent development or a related field. Applicants must also pass an exam that covers topics such as instructional design, learning technologies, performance improvement, and evaluation. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately four hours to complete.

To obtain the CTDP certification, applicants must submit an application and fee ($395 for ATD members; $495 for non-members). Once approved, applicants must pass the exam within one year of submitting their application. After passing the exam, applicants will receive their official CTDP certificate and digital badge.

The cost of the CTDP certification includes the application fee ($395 or $495 depending on membership status) plus any additional fees associated with taking the exam (e.g., proctoring fees).

6. Certified Workforce Planning Analyst (CWPA)

Certified Workforce Planning Analyst (CWPA) is a professional certification designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated expertise in workforce planning. It is offered by the Human Capital Institute (HCI), a global professional association dedicated to advancing the practice of human capital management. The CWPA certification is designed to help organizations develop and implement effective workforce planning strategies that align with their business objectives.

The CWPA certification program consists of three components: an online self-assessment, an online course, and an exam. To be eligible for the exam, applicants must have at least two years’ experience in workforce planning or related fields. The self-assessment and course take approximately 8-10 hours to complete, followed by the exam which takes about 3 hours.

The cost of the CWPA certification program varies depending on whether you are a member of HCI or not. For non-members, the cost is $795 USD; for members, it is $595 USD.

7. Certified Organizational Learning and Performance Professional (COLPP)

Certified Organizational Learning and Performance Professional (COLPP) is a certification program designed to recognize professionals who have achieved a high level of expertise in the field of organizational learning and performance. The COLPP certification program is offered by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

The COLPP certification requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the areas of organizational learning, performance improvement, and training. Applicants must pass an online assessment that covers topics such as instructional design principles, training delivery methods, evaluation techniques, and change management strategies. After passing the assessment, applicants must complete a portfolio review that includes a resume outlining their professional experience in the field of organizational learning and performance.

It typically takes between 6-12 months to complete all requirements for COLPP certification. The cost of the COLPP certification program varies depending on whether or not you are an IACET member. For non-members, the cost is $1,495; for members it is $995.

8. Certified Career Counselor (CCC)

Certified Career Counselor (CCC) is a professional certification offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in providing career counseling services. The CCC credential is intended to demonstrate that an individual has met the standards of excellence set forth by the NBCC in providing career counseling services.

In order to become certified, applicants must meet the following requirements:

1. Hold a master’s degree or higher in counseling, psychology, social work, or related field from an accredited college or university;

2. Have completed at least two years of full-time experience providing direct career counseling services;

3. Successfully complete an approved training program in career counseling;

4. Pass the National Certified Career Counselor Examination; and

5. Maintain continuing education credits as required by the NBCC.

The certification process typically takes several months to complete, depending on how quickly you are able to fulfill all of the requirements listed above. The cost of becoming certified varies depending on the specific training program you choose and any additional fees associated with taking and passing the exam. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $500-$1000 USD for all necessary costs associated with obtaining your CCC credential.

9. Society for Human Resource Management – Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)

The Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) is a professional certification offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated mastery of the knowledge and skills required to be an effective senior-level human resource professional. The SHRM-SCP credential is one of two certifications offered by SHRM, the other being the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).

To obtain the SHRM-SCP, individuals must first pass a comprehensive exam that covers topics such as global HR management, strategic planning, workforce analytics, and organizational development. The exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions and takes approximately three hours to complete. Candidates must also demonstrate their knowledge through case studies and role plays.

In addition to passing the exam, candidates must also meet certain educational requirements. These include having a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university; having at least four years of experience in HR management; or having completed a combination of education and experience totaling at least seven years. Candidates must also have current membership in SHRM.

The cost to take the SHRM-SCP exam varies depending on whether you are an SHRM member or not. For members, it costs $300 USD; for nonmembers, it costs $400 USD. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with obtaining your certification if you need to retake any part of the exam or if you need to renew your certification after five years.

Overall, becoming a SHRM-SCP is a great way for HR professionals to demonstrate their expertise and commitment to their field. With this certification comes increased credibility and respect from peers and employers alike.

10. International Association of Facilitators – Facilitation Certification Program (IAF-FCP).

The International Association of Facilitators (IAF) Facilitation Certification Program (FCP) is an internationally recognized program that provides facilitators with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to become certified in their field. The IAF-FCP is a comprehensive program that includes training, assessment, and certification. It is designed to help facilitators develop the skills needed for successful facilitation outcomes.

The IAF-FCP consists of two parts: the Professional Facilitator Training Program (PFTP) and the Certified Professional Facilitator Examination (CPFE). The PFTP provides participants with a comprehensive introduction to facilitation theory and practice, as well as hands-on experience in leading group processes. The CPFE assesses participants’ ability to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world situations.

The IAF-FCP takes approximately three months to complete. Participants must complete both the PFTP and CPFE within this time frame in order to be eligible for certification. During this time, participants will attend classes, participate in online learning activities, take part in facilitated discussions, and complete assignments related to facilitation theory and practice. Once all requirements are met, participants can take the CPFE examination online or at an IAF-approved testing center.

The cost of the IAF-FCP varies depending on whether you choose to take the course online or at an approved testing center. Online courses typically cost between $1,000 - $2,000 USD while courses taken at an approved testing center cost between $2,500 - $3,500 USD. In addition to these costs there may also be additional fees for materials or other services associated with completing the program such as travel expenses or exam fees.

To get started with your IAF-FCP certification process you must first register on the IAF website where you will find information about upcoming courses as well as information about how to apply for certification once you have completed all requirements for the program.

Do You Really Need a Workforce Development Specialist Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on your career goals and objectives. There are several benefits to obtaining a Workforce Development Specialist Certificate, including gaining knowledge and expertise in the field of workforce development, enhancing your professional image, and increasing your earning potential. However, these benefits must be weighed against the time and money that would need to be invested in obtaining such certification.

If you are looking to enter or advance within the workforce development field, then having a Workforce Development Specialist Certificate is highly recommended. This certificate will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively manage workplace issues related to recruitment, training, job analysis, compensation strategies, employee relations and more. Additionally, having this certificate can help you stand out from other applicants who may not have specialized in workforce development. The credential can also open doors for higher-level positions with increased responsibilities and salaries.

On the other hand, if you already have experience working in the field of workforce development or have an educational background related to the field (such as a degree in human resources management), then it might not be necessary for you to obtain a Workforce Development Specialist Certificate. The decision will ultimately come down to whether or not it is worth investing the time and money into pursuing such certification given your current situation.

Related: Workforce Development Specialist Resume Examples

FAQs About Workforce Development Specialist Certifications

1. What types of certifications are available for Workforce Development Specialists?

Answer: The most common certifications for Workforce Development Specialists include Certified Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) and Certified Employment Services Professional (CESP). Other certifications include the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) Certificate in Facilitation, Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP), and Certified Career Services Provider (CCSP).

2. How do I become certified as a Workforce Development Specialist?

Answer: To become certified as a Workforce Development Specialist, you will need to complete the necessary educational requirements, pass an examination, and meet any other criteria required by the specific certification organization. Each certification has different requirements so it is important to research each one before deciding which one is best for you.

3. Are there any prerequisites for obtaining a Workforce Development Specialist Certification?

Answer: Yes, depending on the certification program you choose, there may be prerequisites such as education or experience that must be met prior to taking the exam. For example, some programs require applicants to have at least two years of professional experience in workforce development or human resources management.

4. How long does it take to get certified as a Workforce Development Specialist?

Answer: The length of time it takes to receive your certification will depend on several factors including how quickly you can complete the required courses or exams and whether you are able to receive credit for any previous training or experience. Generally speaking, most certification programs can be completed within six months to one year if all requirements are met.

5. Is there an expiration date on my Workforce Development Specialist Certification?

Answer: Yes, depending on the organization offering the certification, your credential may have an expiration date after which recertification may be required in order to maintain your status as a certified professional. It is important to check with your specific certification organization for more information regarding their policies regarding recertification and renewal deadlines.