What is Diversity Certification?

What is Diversity Certification?

According to the Diversity Executive Leadership Academy (DELA), diversity certification refers to professional credential training designed to develop the competencies needed to propel a career in consulting, training, managing, and leading cultural diversity and inclusion. The professional credentialing is still in its infancy. The specialized training prepares the cultural diversity professional to competently serve in the role. A good program will provide the novice with a solid foundation and take seasoned professionals to the next performance level. A comprehensive, well designed credentialing program is backed by a body of knowledge collected from leaders in the field, evidenced based techniques and tools, a strategic framework, leadership competency, and training skills.

A good program will provide the novice with a solid foundation as well as take seasoned professionals to the next performance level. A comprehensive, well designed credentialing program is backed by a body of knowledge collected from leaders in the field, evidenced based techniques and tools, a strategic framework, leadership competency, and training skills.

Requiring quality training and certification promotes the reputation of, and respect for, diversity professional expertise. An effective cultural diversity and inclusion certification program teaches how to design a high impact inclusion initiative, develop solutions based on needs analysis, think about projects strategically, leverage technology to enhance organizational learning, and use business acumen for maximum influence, among other things. Diversity best practices are presented as tools that serve specific, strategic programmatic goals instead of convenient resources to showcase effort. The program promotes a common language to unify the cultural diversity and inclusion profession.

What Does a Certified Cultural Diversity Professional Do?

Diversity certification develops the competence needed to identify inclusion gaps and design effective diversity education plans to close performance gaps.  Cultural diversity and inclusion strategy is taught to increase organizational alignment, gap analysis, solution development, and performance improvement competencies. It is more than exposure to a diversity best practice sound bites.  

The core responsibilities of the certified diversity executive include Transformational leadership techniques, training and facilitation skills, assessment, business acumen, organizational development, and basic human resource management competence. While knowledge of cultural diversity best practices is important, diversity certification goes beyond an understanding of how to implement these popular solutions. 

A cultural diversity practitioner can take on a range of roles and responsibilities. Some credentialed practitioners work within a human resource management department. Others serve in an Equal Opportunity & Compliance role. Still, others are directors of student life in colleges and universities. The Vice President of Diversity (& Inclusion) and Chief Diversity Officer titles are typically reserved for those with executive level leadership role responsibilities, such as working with management, increasing employee engagement, and developing policies and procedures. The CDO and VP of Diversity are distinguished by reporting directly to the leader of their organization.

Types of Diversity Certification Credentials

TheDiversity Executive Leadership Academy offers three types of cultural diversity and inclusion certification credentials:

The CDE credentials require the most extensive training and a broader set of competencies than the CDP and CDT. Upon completion of the program, graduates receive either a CDP, CDE in recognition of their achievement, or CDT.

What Are the Differences Among the Credential Programs?

The CDP and CDT are included in the CDE credentialing training. Participants can choose to complete only the CDP or CDT as alternatives. The following is a brief overview of the differences.

Diversity Certification Credentials Differences

diversity certification

      Earn Your CDP CDT CDE

What is the Certified Diversity Trainer (CDT) Program?

CDT training focuses on increasing participants’ facilitation skills and training development competence, rather than managing or leading cultural diversity. Cultural diversity training requires specialized skills due to the reactions many have towards cultural diversity topics and the difficulties of expressing views about cultural differences honestly. Successfully creating and maintaining a community of learners during a diversity training even when conversations stretch participants’ ability to remain civil requires skill that few possess. These skills transfer to presentations about the cultural diversity topics, speeches, and onboarding communications.

What is the difference between the CDP & CDT? 

The CDP, or certified cultural diversity & inclusion practitioner, training best suits the individual who wants to learn about how to design, develop, and lead a cultural diversity and inclusion initiative either in an in-house or independent contractor role. The CDP focuses on strategy and particularly using organizational change methods. The Cultural Diversity & Inclusion Trainer (CDT)™ certification is for the professional with a primary interest in serving in a trainer role. The training covers (a) training design and development and (2) high impact facilitation skills for managing hot topic discussions, emotional reactions to diversity and inclusion, and audience engagement.

CDP or CDE (Certified Diversity Executive)?

The DTUI Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) provides credentials for those in higher level leadership roles, such as Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, and Diversity Executive. A CDE is expected to be a strategist and work closely with the leader and leadership team in decision making beyond their diversity and inclusion role. The CDP is a good choice for those interested in serving as an independent consultant or in-house specialist. You expect to work under a human resource manager, in an equal opportunity manager role, or under the leader of a cultural diversity office.

Are the Diversity Certification Programs Accredited?

The answer appears obvious at first thought. If it is an accredited institution, then the assumption is that it must have met some minimum standards of quality. While that is true for academic institutions overall, the quality of different programs rests on a number of factors. One of the most popular academic cultural diversity credentialing programs focuses primarily on human resource management and workforce diversity. Leadership and strategic training are limited or non-existent. Other programs simply cover a set of cultural diversity best practices one after another. 

diversity certification

      Earn Your CDP CDT CDE


Some programs emphasize training that prepares for passing an examination. Others focus primarily on classroom learning, and there are also blended learning format programs. It is recommended that you read the Diversity Officer Magazine article, Selecting a Diversity Professional Credentialing Program, for a review of programs:

Selecting a Professional Credentialing Program

or paste the following in your URhttp://diversityofficermagazine.com/selecting-a-diversity-professional-credentialing-program/

You want to take into consideration (a) your professional objective, (b) how long the program has been in existence, (c) testimonials, (d) reviews and (e) how much the program is being talked about in the media. A combination of these factors will lead you to the right choice.

(a) your professional objective(b) how long the program has been in existence, (c) testimonials, (d) reviews and (e) how much the program is being talked about in the media. A combination of these factors will lead you to the right choice.

(b) how long the program has been in existence(c) testimonials, (d) reviews and (e) how much the program is being talked about in the media. A combination of these factors will lead you to the right choice.

(c) testimonials(d) reviews and (e) how much the program is being talked about in the media. A combination of these factors will lead you to the right choice.

(d) reviews (e) how much the program is being talked about in the media. A combination of these factors will lead you to the right choice.

(e) how much the program is being talked about across media (e.g., blogs, Twitter, Linkedin.com, Facebook, news media coverage, etc.).

A combination of these factors will lead you to the right choice.

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