Best Practices

7 Best Change Management Certifications and Courses for 2021

Jonathan Friedman
June 19, 2021
7 Best Change Management Certifications and Courses for 2021

Curious about the best change management certifications and courses for 2021? Then, you’ve come to the right place.

Research shows that effective change management strongly influences the outcome—and cost—of a change initiative.

The use of technology in business is continually evolving. This fact calls for increased organizational change. Yet, you can't implement change overnight. Companies need skilled change management experts who comprehend the complexities of change management. Every company benefits from this, regardless of size.

Change management certifications prepare professionals to make positive changes. These changes and innovations make businesses less wasteful, more efficient, and more productive.

Professional change managers use behavioral science technology to increase individual and organizational effectiveness. Their goal is to reduce the risk of negative fallout. They do this by emphasizing the human element of how an organization can change. 

Keep reading to learn more about change management. We'll break down the seven best change management certifications and courses of 2021.

Below is everything we will cover. Feel free to skip ahead.

What is change management?

Change management ensures that an organization's changes deliver the intended outcomes and results. It requires the understanding that employees must welcome new implementations. They'll need to embrace personal transitions to grow.

Don't make the mistake of assuming managing the people side of change is easy. It's easily one of the most critical and challenging elements of organizational transformation.

As an example, the technical side of a merger or acquisition is undoubtedly complex.

Leaders must settle on the deal's financial arrangements, integrate new and existing business systems, make tough decisions regarding organizational structure, and more. However, all of this work is for nothing if the people involved aren't on board with the acquisition. Managing the way people embrace and sustain change can make all the difference.

During times of change, employees must perform their jobs differently. The way they adopt new processes has a significant impact on the transition. 

Fortunately, effective change management can make the process more tolerable for everyone involved.

There are three recognized types of change management. However, each is people-centric. These include enterprise, organizational, and individual change management.


Enterprise change management refers to an organization's permanent function of change management. It consists of:


Organization change management calls for viewing an organization's change processes from the top down. Organizational change managers must identify organization-level groups, structures, and methods that must change.

The goals of organizational change include:


Humans naturally resist change. Most of us insist on doing things our "own way" even when presented with a shortcut. However, old ways don't always work. Sticking with familiar processes can lead to distorted or biased decision-making.

Individual change management focuses on:

Is a change management certification worth it?

Are you trying to determine whether change management certification is right for you? It's essential not to jump into a change initiative before thorough evaluation.

It would be best if you considered several factors, including:

The average yearly salary for a change management specialist is $114,894. While wages can be as high as $161,000 and as low as $45,000, most range between $93,500 and $139,000. Top earners make in the United States report a salary of $151,000.

As you can see, the average pay range varies considerably. There are many opportunities for increased pay. These are based on skill level, experience, and certification. You may be able to advance more quickly by becoming certified. 

When combined with experience, a change management certification is valuable. It costs less than going through courses to receive a master's degree.

How much does a change management certification cost?

Most organizations looking to hire change management specialists don't require certification. However, some of the best and well-respected ones do.

More and more people are interested in change management. The competition continues to increase as more excellent job prospects enter the industry. Taking a certification course can help you stand out among other qualified candidates. This is especially true among those that may not be certified. 

There are many change management certification courses out there that range in cost. But getting certified won't mean anything if it's not a regarded program.

The two most requested certifications listed in job postings are:

Prosci's certification course and exam cost $4,400. But doesn't require any prior education or experience. On the other hand, the CCMP certificate has several prerequisites. It only costs $595 to $745, depending on whether you are a member.

Advantages and disadvantage of change management certification

Change management certification ensures that professionals are competent in their field. You need to know enough to carry out the organizational expansion. With the proper certification, you can showcase your skills and authority. Then, you can land a higher-paying job at a respected organization. 

You will understand the need for change management better than your uncertified peers and will have the ability to perform your job responsibilities fully.

However, while a certification sounds and looks important, it's not always the answer. Depending on your career goals, you may not need to be certified. 

In some cases, someone's experience can outweigh certification. Some companies are more interested in employees with extensive education and practice. It's recommended to combine certification with experience.

Before tackling a certification program, make sure to evaluate its value proposition. Don't select a program for the sake of it. You'll need to perform thorough research to determine which programs satisfy your requirements. 

The 7 best change management certifications of 2021

With so many change management certifications to choose from, researching quickly becomes confusing. To assist, we've compiled the following list. These are the best change management certifications of 2021:

  1. Certified Change Management Professional (CCMP)
  2. Management and Strategy Institute's Change Management Specialist (CMS) Certification
  3. Certified Problem and Change Manager (CPCM)
  4. Association for Talent Development (ATD) Change Management Certificate Program 
  5. Prosci Change Management Certification
  6. APM Group (AMPG) Organizational Change Management Foundation Certification
  7. Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM) Change Management Certification

Stick around as we break down each course in detail. We'll discuss the principles behind each program, prerequisites, duration, and financial requirements.

1. Certified Change Management Professional (CCMP)

The ACMP developed the Certified Change Management Professional (CCMP) program. It's unique in that it is independent and methodically agnostic.

CCMP is the certification to pursue if you want your knowledge independently validated, as it is recognized globally.

This process also familiarizes you with the ACMP Standard for Change Management. The standard is a collection of accepted practices related to change management. These practices are an excellent way to encourage people to accept and adopt change. The Standard borrows heavily from the disciplines of organizational development and organization behavior.

CCMP is one of the most widely recognized options. It's also relatively inexpensive, which is especially true when compared to other programs.

Required education and experience

The CCMP is for individuals who have a vast amount of change management expertise.

The prerequisites include a four-year degree (or international equivalent) and three years of change management experience. Alternatively, you can enroll with secondary education (or high school or an international equivalent) and five years of field experience, and 21 hours of instructor-led education. The training must have occurred in the last seven years.

What can you do as a CCMP?

The CCMP program will give you an advantage in competitive situations. This certification is ideal for those who apply change management best practices. CCMP alumni include:


Exam fee: $595 for members, $745 for non-members

Exam retake fee: $300 for members, $375 for non-members

Duration: Minimum of 3 years (varies)

Renewal-period: Every three years 

2. Management and Strategy Institute's Change Management Specialist (CMS) Certification

Anyone seeking a good understanding of change management should consider this Change Management Specialist (CMS) certification.

This program teaches you how to design and implement change across organizations. It also informs you of how to persuade other people to embrace change.

Upon completion of this program, you receive 30 professional competency units (CPUs). You will also receive 40 professional development credits (PDCs). MSI's certificate is acknowledged and respected across the change management industry. They've designed the program to save busy professionals' time. It doesn't require in-person training so that you can complete it in the comfort of your office or home.

After purchasing this program, you can complete it at your own pace, as long as you finish within one year. The timeline makes it easier to digest. You have more time to internalize your new change management knowledge.

Required education and experience

The CMS certification is for those with little to no change management experience. If you want this certification, you should have previous knowledge of change management. Regardless, the exam training materials cover all of the required information.

What can you do with a CMS Certification?

Most business professionals with a CMS certification show their authority in change management. This allows them to become more competitive in the professional environment quickly. 

After CMS certification, you can immediately apply the knowledge to various industries. This will open you up to career opportunities that require change management expertise.


Exam fee: $299.95

Duration: Can complete anytime within one year from the date of purchase

Retake fee: Two free additional attempts

Expiration: Certification ever expires

3. Certified Problem and Change Manager (CPCM)

Next up is the Certified Problem and Change Manager (CPCM) e-course. It teaches professionals precisely how to cope with change. This Global Association of Quality Management course helps you prepare others as well.

The GAQM acknowledges that some changes are more challenging for people to adjust to. This fact leads to feelings of anger and resistance. Their course prepares individuals with detailed steps to make change more palatable. It does this by teaching you how to understand people's skepticism.

You'll learn how to enlist others' help, manage stress, and create concrete plans.

Required education and experience

There are no prerequisites for the CPCM certification. Having a basic knowledge of managing change qualifies you for this program. The e-course is unnecessary but comes highly recommended. Many exam questions are taken directly from the course.

What can you do with a CPCM Certification?

There is significant market demand for problem and change managers. You can fulfill this need following the completion of the CPCM.


Exam fee: $213 (includes the e-course)

Retake fee: None

Duration: One hour 

Expiration: Never

4. Association for Talent Development (ATD) Change Management Certificate Program

The ATD Change Management Certificate gives you the required skills to become a trusted resource in change management. You will show that you can facilitate all steps of a change initiative.

This program is for intermediate change leaders, including those currently responsible for an organization's change management or wish to be in the future.

To receive credit for this program, you must actively participate throughout the course. The courses are entirely online. Course participation includes engaging in virtual online learning activities.

You'll engage in breakout sessions, discussions, and intersession work. ATD strongly encourages participation through a desktop or laptop computer. Mobile devices and tablets restrict your ability to participate actively.

Required education and experience

There are no formal prerequisites for this program. However, strong communication skills are necessary for all employees during times of change. ATD makes this clear in their course information and materials.

What can you do with an ATD Change Management Certification?

ATD's change management program is for professionals in human resources, management, and training. You can apply the knowledge you gain from this program to hiring new talent or restructuring departments.


Price: $1,495 for nonmembers, $1,745 for members

Duration: Two weeks

Expiration: Never expires

5. Prosci Change Management Certification

Prosci's Change Management Certification Program is the most widely-attended certification of its kind. It's unique, as it focuses on a specific change management model called ADKAR.

The ADKAR model is popular worldwide and is a human-centric method. It outlines five stages. Change managers must guide employees through these stages for successful results:

After this training, professionals can take advantage of hands-on learning. You will work on the specific change you want to put in place within your organization. 

Unlike many change management certification programs, the Prosci certification isn't self-paced. It's a three-day commitment that requires in-person instruction. Training occurs multiple times a year in various locations across the world.

This certification is expensive, but the fee covers all related expenses. The price includes the events, accommodations, and meals for three days. A detailed agenda guides each day of training. Prosci facilitates learning and collaboration through interactive instruction.

Required education and experience

There are no prerequisites required for Prosci change management training.

What can you do with a Prosci Certification?

Prosci's change management certification is applicable across industries. Many professionals who complete this certification drive change initiatives in roles such as:


Exam Fee: $4,500

Retake fee: N/A

Expiration: Never expires

6. AMP Group (AMPG) Organizational Change Management Foundation Certification

The APM Group's certification helps leaders manage the impacts of change. The AMPG Organization Change Management Foundation teaches designing and implementing successful transformation initiatives. 

Through this certification program, you'll learn how the process of organizational transformation occurs. You'll also become familiar with assembling teams that can achieve successful change. 

AMPG graduates know how to develop strategies to keep people motivated. They also learn the types of change processes, such as planned and emergent change. Successful change management professionals know how to keep key stakeholders engaged throughout.

Required education and experience

There are no prerequisites for this certification. Yet, it would help if you are interested in the principles of successful transitions.

What can you do with an AMPG Certification?

Upon completion, you can achieve the organization's Change Management Practitioner's certificate as well.


Exam fee: $729 for online and self-paced; $1,695 for the web-based course; $1,995 for the in-person course

Retake fee: $0

Renewal fee: None

Expiration: 1 year

7. Accelerated Implementation Methodology (AIM) Change Management Certification

This AIM Change Management Certification serves as critical learning for professional change managers. It can aid various organizational efforts and is widely applicable across industries. 

AIM focuses on the people side of chance, given that human error is a tremendous risk factor for error. They don't of look at how technology fails us. AIM focuses on strengthening employee processes. Courses for this certification take place in the U.K. and California over four days. This training counts as PDUs for future ACMP certification.

During this certification, you will identify and mitigate systemic barriers in your organization. Then, you will present asks to sponsors through AIM's sponsor contracting process.

Individuals in this program will create strategies and deliverables. You'll leave with tactics for building communication, readiness, reinforcement, and sponsorship plans. You will apply proven strategies throughout your projects.

Through this research, you'll see that AIM's program is more expensive than many others. However, there is much to know when it comes to change management. AIM is dedicated to equipping leaders with the tools to deal with the politics of change.

You'll have the opportunity to learn through working with a small group. You'll also work with senior executives in top organizations.

Required education and experience

To enroll in AIM's Change Management Certification, you do not have to have any relevant education or experience.

What can you do with an AIM Certification?

This certification is different. Other methodologies follow step-by-step protocols full of checklists and templates. This one is impact-based and emphasizes a fit-for-purpose approach. You'll use intuition and personal discretion to decide which tactics to implement.


Exam Fee: $3,100 for the entire course

Retake Fee: $0

Expiration: Never expires

You're on your way to becoming a certified Change Management Professional

Are you seeking to gain an advantage in an increasingly competitive industry? Do you not have as much experience as you'd like? Any of the above best change management certifications may help you.

If you're a part of a large organization, learning how to embrace effective change management processes will ensure that departments align themselves with broader goals.

The best change management certifications and courses will do more than teach you the basics. They'll also give you classroom experience to use in the real world. You can implement this in your organization or discuss tactics when you're in an interview for a new position.

And when you find yourself in your dream change management position, TrueNxus can help by giving you the tools to help you organize your change initiatives.

Set yourself up for success with effective change management software. If you're interested, try it now for free.