7 Best Diversity & Inclusion Certifications of 2021

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Diversity and inclusion certifications are a popular way of getting qualified and credentialed in D&I for HR professionals. Not only that, it is also highly beneficial if you want to advance your career in D&I. To help you choose the right certification program for you, we’ll take a look at seven popular Diversity and Inclusion certifications in this article — including who they are for and how much they cost. 

Contents
Why you should get D&I certified
Best D&I certifications
1. AIHR – Diversity & Inclusion Certificate Program (DICP)
2. eCornell – Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program
3. ESSEC Business School – Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
4. Catalyst – Inclusive Leadership Professional Certificate
5. American Management Association – Diversity & Inclusion Certificate Program
6. Purdue University – Understanding Diversity and Inclusion
7. DiversityFIRST™ Certification Program
FAQ

Why you should get D&I certified 

Here’s a thing about diversity in the 21st-century workplace: it’s not just a nice-to-have, but it’s critical for your organization to thrive and stay ahead of your competitors. 

Think about the ongoing war for talent, for example. With shrinking labor pools and changing demographics, it’s only going to get harder for organizations to attract the talents that they need. Having a diverse and inclusive environment at work is one way for your organization to stay on top of the market, especially when considering that 3 in 4 job seekers and employees see diversity as an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. 

Aside from being able to acquire the talent that your company needs, McKinsey research also points out that companies with higher workforce diversity tend to financially outperform less diverse competitors. To reap these benefits, organizations need qualified D&I professionals to help them advance their D&I initiatives and apply timely interventions. 

So it’s no wonder that D&I roles have become highly in demand in the past few years. In 2020, D&I jobs in EMEA grew 1.65 times faster than any other HR jobs. Global LinkedIn Data shows that the number of people globally with the Head of Diversity titles has increased by 107% between 2015 and 2020. 

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Now, while it’s not absolutely necessary for you to get formal education in D&I to be able to do the job well, being D&I certified can give you a huge advantage. Additionally, you’ll benefit from interactions and connecting with a network of other D&I thought leaders and professionals — and really, there’s nothing better than being able to learn from your peers.

A diversity & inclusion certification can help you up your level of leadership and become a thought leader within your organization and industry.

That being said, with so many D&I certification programs out there, a simple Google search can quickly become a hassle. To make the search easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of seven popular D&I certifications, all of which can be done online and are accessible to students worldwide. 

Let’s get started! 

Best D&I certifications

1. AIHR – Diversity & Inclusion Certificate Program (DICP)

Program overview: This online certificate program is part of AIHR’s portfolio of nine HR specialist certifications. It is designed to help students master inclusive communication, understand cultural differences, and drive culture change through powerful diversity and inclusion initiatives. Developed in consultation with experienced trainers, DICP covers everything from legal issues to challenges and barriers specific identity groups face. It also focuses on how to successfully implement and manage the necessary organizational culture changes.

Online & Self-Paced Certification Diversity & Inclusion Certificate Simply hiring a diverse workforce isn’t enough. Learn to build an inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive.
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The diversity and inclusion certification program includes four courses and one capstone project at the end of the course: 

  • Diversity & Inclusion 2.0
  • Inclusive Communication Skills 
  • Organizational Culture 
  • Intercultural Differences

Each of the modules is video-based with plenty of assignments, quizzes, and downloadable materials, making for an engaging learning experience.

Who it’s for: Managers and leaders in D&I or Human Resources who want to make sure that their knowledge and skill set are both comprehensive and up-to-date.

Duration: Students will need to put in about three hours per week for 10 weeks to complete this program. Everything is completely online and self-paced. 

Cost: The cost of DICP is $997 for 12-month access. Alternatively, students can also enroll in the Academy for $1,797 to gain 18-month access to all certification programs.

Find the details about the AIHR DICP program and enroll here.

2. eCornell – Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program

Program overview: As part of Cornell University’s online course offers, this certificate program provides students with an understanding of the institutional and psychological processes that impact the way people interact with each other in the context of diversity and inclusion. Students will gain valuable skills and knowledge in: 

  • Improving employee engagement 
  • Countering unconscious bias 
  • Devising and applying diversity and inclusion strategies 
  • Fostering an inclusive work environment

Who it’s for: Team managers or supervisors, or executives responsible for strategic culture efforts and decision-making, or anyone interested in creating an inclusive workplace. 

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Duration: To complete this program, students will need to spend three to five hours per week for two months. 

Cost: Students will need to pay $3,600, and there is a monthly payment option available.

Find the details about the eCornell program and enroll here.

3. ESSEC Business School – Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace 

Program overview: Power dynamics in the workplace greatly impact how diverse and inclusive that environment is. This is the main focus of this D&I program created by the ESSEC Business School, which also provides students with the best practices to support fellow employees. Students will gain an understanding of the paradox and dynamics of discrimination in the workplace, as well as how they can be overcome to achieve better results. 

This program contains four courses: 

  • Diversity and Inclusion Foundation
  • Categorization and Diversity Perceptions 
  • Disrupting with Diversity 
  • Diversity and Inclusion around the world 

Who it’s for: Young professionals who are just starting their HR careers or those who want to boost their D&I awareness. 

Duration: Students will need to spend two hours a week for four weeks. 

Cost: As this program is on Coursera, the cost will vary based on the subscription plans.

Find the details about the ESSEC Business School program and enroll here.

4. Catalyst – Inclusive Leadership Professional Certificate 

Program overview: Students enrolled in this program will be able to develop inclusive leadership skills to make them successful in the current global economy. The program seeks to equip leaders with inclusive leadership communication skills and an in-depth understanding of the importance of inclusive leadership for work-life effectiveness. 

This online training program contains three courses: 

  • Become a successful leader
  • Get  beyond work-life balance 
  • Leading with effective communication 

Who it’s for: Beginners who want to hone their skills and become inclusive leaders, or managers, or those who want to take on managerial roles. 

Duration: Students will need to put in one to two hours weekly for three weeks. 

Cost: This program costs $147.

Find the details about the Catalyst program and enroll here.

5. American Management Association – Diversity & Inclusion Certificate Program 

Program overview: This diversity certification program is all about equipping students with the skills needed to become diversity champions in their organizations and to lead inclusive teams. Upon finishing this program, students will be able to recognize the unique and multidimensional aspects of individual identity, understand unconscious biases and stereotypes on a deeper level, and explore behaviors that promote equity.

Here are several topics the program lessons will touch upon: 

  • Diversity and Inclusion foundation 
  • Bridging communication differences 
  • Emotional intelligence and Diversity and Inclusion 
  • Leading a successful multicultural team 
  • Conducting difficult conversations successfully 

Who it’s for: Leaders at all levels, HR professionals, or others who are responsible for or wish to take responsibility for diversity and inclusion in their organizations. 

Duration: This is a three-day online learning program (check out the schedule here

Cost: Non-AMA members will need to pay $3,295, while for members, the cost will be $2,995.

Find the details about the AMA program and enroll here.

6. Purdue University – Understanding Diversity and Inclusion

Program overview: This is a business management program centered around diversity and inclusion, with a particular focus on identifying and addressing unconscious bias. Students will have the chance to develop their knowledge and skills to create more inclusive and open environments where all employees feel welcomed. 

Topics to be covered in this program are: 

  • Phases of diversity dexterity 
  • Attitudes, skills, and knowledge supporting diversity 
  • Unconscious bias 
  • Ethnocentric and ethno-relative mindsets 
  • Elements of diversity and inclusion 

Who it’s for: Anyone looking to boost their knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward working in diverse teams. 

Duration: Students will need to put in three hours per week for three weeks. 

Cost: This program is free of charge.

Find the details about the Purdue University program and enroll here.

7. DiversityFIRST™ Certification Program

Program overview: Students enrolled in this diversity and inclusion certification program will gain first-hand knowledge of creating and implementing highly successful D&I strategies to boost performance. Upon completion, participants should be able to:

  • Identify diversity and inclusion as drivers of organizational success and employee engagement in the contemporary business environment 
  •  Perform at a high level as D&I professionals 

This program includes five courses: 

  • The business case for D&I 
  • Cultural competence 
  • Measurement and accountability
  • Inclusive leadership
  • Best practices in Diversity and Inclusion

Who it’s for: Professionals working in the D&I field and any other professionals interested in the field.

Duration: This is a five-day virtual training program. 

Cost: To enroll, students will need to pay $5,500 for a five-day virtual classroom, access to DiversityFIRST toolkit and graduate network, and the CDP (Certified Diversity Professional) examination fee.

Find the details about the DiversityFIRST™ program and enroll here.

FAQ

Have questions? We’ve got answers about Diversity & Inclusion certification programs! Here are three things that you need to know.

What is a Diversity and Inclusion certification? 

D&I certification provides employees with the knowledge and skills related to workplace diversity, hiring and promotion practices, and building an inclusive team. By being D&I certified, you’ll be able to demonstrate your expertise in this field to potential employers, thereby increasing your value on the job market and even boost your pay.

What is the best Diversity and Inclusion certification?

Which D&I certification is best depends entirely on your individual and professional development needs and career objectives. In other words, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this. To decide which program is best suited for you, here are some factors you should take into account: 

Program duration and flexibility: As a working professional, you probably don’t have too much time on your hands, and there’s bound to be things that might pop up out of the blue. So pick the program that will best fit your schedule and one that you can complete in the near future. 

Program cost and what you (or your employer) are willing to pay: Getting D&I certified is an investment. Like any other investment, it’ll work best when it’s within the range of what you’re willing to expense. Many companies have a Learning and Development budget and might also offer extra financial support for you.

Which aspect of D&I you want to focus on: It’s impossible to learn everything, so choose one or a few topics that you think are relevant and interesting for you. Some programs will focus more on developing inclusive leadership skills, while others provide you with the foundational knowledge needed to carry out D&I interventions and innovation in a structured manner.

Your seniority, experience, and current level of HR expertise: Some D&I initiatives, such as managing organizational culture transformation or fostering a diversity climate, might require a certain level of seniority to be carried out. Or it might be that a program would require you to have a few years of HR experience. Keep this in mind when choosing the program that you want to enroll in. 

How do you get D&I certified?

To get D&I certified, you can choose one of the above-mentioned programs or even something else outside of this list if you think that is what’s best for you. This is certainly not an exhaustive list of diversity and inclusion training programs, after all. Just make sure that the certification you’re getting is recognized by institutions such as HRCI and SHRM. This will lend more credibility and recognition to your profile and credentials. 

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