Even if you have an amazing portfolio, it won't always be enough to get you hired as a professional web designer. Whether you're new to the field or are looking to advance your career, web design certificates can be valuable assets. Each time you earn a certificate, you gain valuable skills and the credentials to show employers that you really know your stuff. Research on a wide variety of careers has consistently demonstrated that certification helps professionals get the jobs they want, and often leads to higher pay.
How Do Certification Programs Work?
- Web design certificates are available through a number of for-profit and non-profit organizations. In many cases, you simply pay a fee and take an exam. If you pass the exam, you earn the certification. Sometimes there are additional eligibility requirements, such as minimum years of job experience or specific training.
- You can also take online web design courses that prepare you to take specific web design certificate exams. Many of these courses involve a few weeks or months of following a study guide and learning the material, with varying levels of access to instruction and support. Others require a shorter period of very intensive study, such as a 5-day training session.
Web Design Certificate Options
Here are some of the most popular web design certificate programs:
- Beginner Web Design Certificate: There are many variations on this type of basic certification. The exams require you to demonstrate your abilities in page layout, and the use of graphics, HTML and style sheets.
- Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) Associate: Earn this certification by passing a "foundations" exam that covers the fundamentals of Internet technology, computer networking and HTML page authoring.
- Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) Master Designer: After earning the CIW Associate certificate, you must complete additional web design training, and pass the Site Designer and E-Commerce Designer exams to earn this certificate.
- Certified Web Designer (CWDSA-apprentice): Requires a score of 50 percent on an exam developed by the World Organization of Web Professionals (WOW). A CWDSA-apprentice certificate demonstrates your familiarity with the visual arts: a good aesthetic sense and the ability to create images and designs that meet the requirements and preferences of your audience.
- Certified Web Designer (CWDSA): You will earn this designation if you score 70 percent or higher on the same WOW exam described above.
- Certified Professional Web Designer (CPWDS): This WOW web design certificate is designed for experienced web designers. It demonstrates mastery of the visual arts and an ability to create an engaging website with usable designs that meet or exceed audience expectations.
- Certified Associate Webmaster (CAW): This WOW certification proves that you can blend visual design skills with the art of coding to create the pages and maximize the interactivity of a website. You must also demonstrate skills in content creation and business management. A CAW-apprentice certification is also available for aspiring webmasters.
- Certified Professional Webmaster (CPW): Designed for experienced industry professionals, the CPW demonstrates proficiency in all aspects of web communication, including web content technical operations and business management. You'll earn this certification by passing four associate-level WOW exams or by passing the CPW exam directly.
- Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) – Dreamweaver: Adobe is a recognized leader in web design and development software. They offer online exams through which you can earn associate or expert certification for any of their products. Adobe Dreamweaver is their primary web design and development software.
- Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) – Flash: Adobe Flash allows you to integrate moving applications, content and video into your designs. Once you've mastered Flash you can pass an online exam to earn the ACE credential.
- Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) – Web Specialist: To earn this prestigious certificate, you must pass the ACE exams for both Dreamweaver and Flash as well as one elective exam. For the elective you can choose from Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, ColdFusion or Flex.
With all of these certificates to choose from, what are you waiting for? Check out our directory of computer schools to find the web design certificate that will help you fulfill your career goals.
Sources: webprofessionals.org, Certification Magazine, adobe.com