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Change management qualifications for professionals

By Simon Buehring on 05 Sep 2019

Change management qualifications

Before booking yourself on a change management course, you should be sure that the qualification is suitable to meet your career goals. This article will help you learn about the main change management qualifications which are available.

The responsibility for managing and leading a change initiative within an organisation is commonly assigned to a change manager. Organisations often appoint candidates who hold a change management certification.

Job descriptions in change management roles differ from one company to another. But having a change management qualification on your resume will increase your chances.

UK Change management qualifications

They are 2 institutions in the UK that offer accredited change management qualifications recognised by UK employers: APMG International and The Chartered Institute for IT.

APMG International™

APMG is a global accreditation body and examination institute. It is accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

APMG partnered with the Change Management Institute (CMI) to develop accredited change management qualifications at two levels: Foundation and Practitioner.

Foundation

The Change Management Foundation certification provides you with a broad understanding of change management. Some of the topics you will learn about are:

  • Change management frameworks and models;
  • Change management roles;
  • People’s reaction and adaptation to change;
  • Motivation strategies;
  • Stakeholders in change management.

You can study this as a classroom or online course. To gain certification, you must pass an exam. The format of the exam is:

  • 50 multiple-choice questions;
  • 25/50 marks required to pass;
  • 40 minutes duration;
  • Closed-book.

Practitioner

Passing the Foundation exam is proof of your knowledge of change management theories and models. The Change Management Practitioner certification tests your ability to apply those theories. You will learn:

  • How to choose the appropriate change process and optimise it;
  • How to prepare the organisation for a change initiative;
  • How to prepare people for organisational change;
  • How to be motivational, influential and empathetic;
  • How to establish a framework of roles, skills and activities to sustain the change.

You can study Practitioner as a classroom course. The format of the exam is:

  • Objective testing based on a case study scenario;
  • 40/80 marks (50%) required to pass;
  • 2.5 hours duration;
  • Open-book.

This page describes more about whether a change management course is suitable for you.

BCS

The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) offers a specialist certificate in change management. It is designed for IT specialists working in an IT service management environment. Be aware though that this will not equip you with the skills to work on an organisational change initiative.

The BCS course covers topics related to managing the implementation of technical changes to IT systems. It does not cover broad change management frameworks or methodologies which focus on the ‘people’ aspect of change. Therefore, this would not be suitable for someone seeking a change manager role within a wider organisational change initiative.

Universities

Some universities in the UK offer courses in change management. Others offer it as a post graduate degree. Either way, they teach it in an academic way rather than vocational.

Depending on the university, you may have exams or assessments at the end of the course. Some of them may register you for a membership at a professional association.

Check the modules for each qualification before taking a decision.

Other change management qualifications

There are several institutions outside the UK that offer change management qualifications. Some of them are available in the UK and some are recognised among employers:

Prosci®

Prosci is a successful US company specialising in change management research. It developed a framework called ADKAR®. (Prosci® and ADKAR® are registered trademarks of Prosci Inc.)

ADKAR stands for:

  • Awareness;
  • Desire;
  • Knowledge;
  • Ability;
  • Reinforcement.

Prosci provides training, exams and certification for this model.

ACMP®

The Association of Change Management Professionals® is based in the USA. It offers an accredited qualification and membership. The qualification is called Certified Change Management Professional™ (CCMP™).

In this qualification, you study the ‘The Standard for Change Management®’. It is a collection of generally accepted practices in change management. It includes:

  • Definitions of practices, processes, tasks and activities
  • Guidance for organisational change management;
  • Accepted practices and processes used by CM practitioners.

The CCMP™ exam is composed of 150 multiple-choice questions, 25 of which do not affect the score. Computer-based testing is the standard method of exam administration by ACMP.

There is a chapter for ACMP in the UK.

CMI

The Change Management Institute (CMI) is based in Australia and offers membership and accredited qualifications.

CMI published ‘The Change Management Body of Knowledge (CMBoK)’. It is one of the best resources for change management.

CMI doesn’t perform exams for accreditation. They make assessments for candidates instead.

The CMI certification path has three levels:

ACM Foundation

You learn about the principles of implementing change on a Foundation level. You’ll be taught skills in analysing, planning and administrating a change programme.

Candidates are likely to have 1-2 years of change management experience.

The assessment is a 250/400-word submission of practical capabilities for 9 competency areas.

ACM Specialist

You will learn how to apply change principles and processes. In addition, how to use the behaviours and skills to prepare for a sustainable change.

Candidates will have around 3-6 years change management experience on projects or programmes.

The assessment is a 250-word submission in 5 competency areas in addition to a 2,000-word essay.

ACM Master

The ACM Master is a three-part assessment process. It will evaluate your change management capabilities by:

  • A written submission;
  • A one-on-one interview;
  • A case study assessment and presentation in a virtual assessment centre.

The Association of Change Management Professionals®, Certified Change Management Professional™, The Standard for Change Management®, ACMP®, and CCMP™ are registered trademarks of the Association of Change Management Professionals.

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