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5 Great Corporate Training and Development Certifications

Updated Nov 10, 2023

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Corporate training roles exist at all levels and may include responsibilities ranging from administrative tasks to managerial oversight. Generally, these roles focus on assessing organizational learning and training requirements, creating training materials to fulfill those needs, and delivering the training. Training and development professionals need organizational and communication skills, as well as strong knowledge of common human resources practices. 

You can beef up your training and development expertise and show your value to employers by obtaining an HR or training certification. Read on for the top five certification programs to help you get ahead in the world of training and development. 

Best corporate training and development certifications

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, corporate training and development specialists earn a median income of $61,570 per year. Training and development managers can expect median earnings of more than $120,130 per year, with the top tier receiving over $207,420. Depending on the role, corporate training-related positions are expected to grow about 8 percent from 2021 to 2031.

While researching training and development certifications, we found that most employers look for a combination of human resources and training-based certifications. Below, you’ll find the five certifications most commonly requested by employers for training and development job roles.

Did You Know?Did you know

Training and development managers in the top-earning tier can make over $200,000 per year.

1. ATD: Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD)

The ATD Certification Institute (ATD CI) is the credentialing arm of the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Its premier talent development and training credential is the Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD).

The CPTD evaluates a candidate’s personal, professional and organizational capabilities, based on the Talent Development Capability Model. Subjects covered include knowledge management, learning science, learning technology implementation, training delivery and facilitation, instructional design, performance improvement, change management and coaching

To earn the CPTD credential, candidates must pass an exam with a mix of multiple-choice and case-study questions. Exam fees are $975 for members and $1,350 for nonmembers. To be eligible, candidates have two options. Candidates can either possess five years of relevant work experience and have completed 60 hours of talent development training in the past five years, or have four years of full-time talent development experience while holding the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) certification and being in good standing.

2. HRCI: Professional in Human Resources (PHR)

Professionals with a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification from the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) are implementers. PHR team members understand the logistics involved in turning plans into reality and in implementing organizational programs (or training) and solutions.

To earn the credential, candidates must pass an exam and meet one of the following education and experience requirements:

  • Four years of professional HR experience
  • A bachelor’s degree plus two years of professional HR experience
  • A master’s degree plus one year of professional HR experience

There’s a $395 exam fee and a $100 application fee. Sixty recertification credits are required during a three-year period to maintain the credential. Alternatively, you can take the exam again.

3. HRCI: Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)

HRCI’s Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification targets senior practitioners who are well versed in all facets of HR. SPHR credential holders are typically engaged in planning and executing business strategies in accordance with the organization’s overall HR needs. They are also responsible for HR departmental goals. 

To earn the SPHR credential, candidates must pass an exam and meet the prerequisite education and experience requirements. There’s a $495 exam fee and a $100 application fee. To fulfill the prerequisite requirements, candidates must have at least one of the following:

  • A master’s degree plus four years of HR experience
  • A bachelor’s degree plus five years of HR experience
  • Seven years of HR experience

As with the PHR certification, 45 HR and 15 business recertification credits (60 credits in total) are required during a three-year period to maintain the certification.

4. SHRM: Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is a global leader in HR competencies. It currently offers two credentials: SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP), which is geared toward entry-level professionals, and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), which targets senior practitioners. Both credentials are well recognized by employers. Half of the SHRM exam validates skills in leadership, interpersonal and business, and the other half of the exam targets knowledge across the areas of people, organization and the workplace.

To earn the SHRM-CP credential, candidates must pass an exam and meet the prerequisite experience requirements. Candidates for SHRM-CP certification don’t need to hold a degree or HR title to be eligible, but basic working knowledge of HR principles is recommended. The exam fee is $410 for SHRM members and $510 for nonmembers, with early-bird pricing and other discounts available.  

Sixty professional development credits (PDCs) during a three-year cycle are required to maintain the credential.

5. SHRM: Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)

SHRM’s Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) credential targets senior-level HR professionals who exemplify leadership and can influence and implement organization goals.

SHRM-SCP candidates must have three years of strategic-level HR experience and devote a minimum of 1,000 hours annually to strategic HR work. Candidates must complete the 1,000 hours during the calendar year as part- or full-time hourly or salaried employees. Exam fees are $410 for members and $510 for nonmembers, with additional discounts available. 

As with the SHRM-CP, 60 PDCs are required every three years to maintain the credential.

Top 5 certifications, by the numbers

Employers are eager to find candidates with any of these top training and development certifications. A quick search of the top professional search engines reveals the demand for these credentials. The figures below represent a snapshot of the number of open positions nationwide by certification as of the day the job search was conducted.

Job site search results



LinkedIn Jobs


ATD Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD)




HRCI Professional in Human Resources (PHR)




HRCI Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)




SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)




SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)




Key TakeawayKey takeaway

There are thousands of open positions in the U.S. for candidates with one of the top five training and development certifications.

More certification options

While they didn’t make our top five list, we found other interesting related certifications. The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) offers the Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) credential for professionals who are interested specifically in performance improvement. For professionals who don’t meet the requirements for the CPTD certification, ATD offers an Associate Professional Talent Development (APTD) credential along with a Master Trainer Program credential that covers the key aspects of training delivery.

Several universities offer professional development courses in executive coaching and corporate training. Some of the examples we found included an Executive Certificate in Leadership Coaching from the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies and leadership coaching courses from the Harvard University Extension School of Professional Development. Dale Carnegie also offers a Corporate Training Certificate program.

No matter which training and development skills you’re looking to improve, there’s a certification program out there for you. You can start exploring your options today to reduce your training and development skills gap. The effort will pay off tremendously when it’s time for your next job search or when you’re eyeing that big promotion opportunity

Mary Kyle contributed to this article. 

Natalie Hamingson
Natalie Hamingson
Contributing Writer at
Natalie Hamingson is a New York-based writer with extensive experience creating a range of content, including blogs, feature interviews, and more. She has covered subjects that include entertainment, lifestyle, technology, and business. In addition to her journalistic experience, she has also written a significant amount of marketing content for small businesses, including social media and email campaigns.
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