The Best Business Analyst Certification Programs

The Best Business Analyst Certification Programs

If you’re a BA wanting to figure out which certification program is right for you, our guide to the best business analyst certification programs could be just the thing you’re looking for.

First off, if you’re a new BA, you’re going to want to get ECBA™ Certification. This is the entry-level exam offered by the IIBA™, and it’s going to immediately let your clients know that you’re a serious, credible business analyst. Then, once you’ve got more hours of practice under your belt, you can start to seek higher levels of certification – like CCBA® or CBAP®.

All of these acronyms sound kind of mystifying, right? You might also be wondering how you’re supposed to prepare for the exam in the first place.

Don’t worry – we’ve done the research for you, and we can point you in the direction of an accompanying course that can help. We’ll look at their pros and cons, their price point, and what you need to qualify for the exam in the first place – so you can find the right one for your level of experience and get going ASAP.

Sound good?

Let’s start with a quick overview:

Best Business Analyst Certification Programs – an Overview

Certification Course Provider Price Assessment Minimum Entry Requirements
ECBA™ Certification Mindsmapped $199.99 (for the course) + $60 exam application fee + $110 (for members of the IIBA™) or $235 (for non-members) ECBA™ Examination Secondary Degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, or global equivalent) + 21 hours of professional development in the last four years
CCBA® Certification Simplilearn $499 (for the course) + $125 (application fee) + $325 (for members of the IIBA™) or $450 (for non-members) CCBA® Examination Minimum of 3,750 hours of BA work in the last 7 years + 900 hours in 2 of the BABOK® Guide Knowledge Areas, OR minimum of 500 hours of the 4 BABOK® Guide Knowledge Areas + 21 hours of PD development in the last 4 years

 

+ 2 references

CBAP® Certification Simplilearn $999.00 (self-paced learning) or $1250 (blended learning) + $125 application fee + $325 (for members of the IIBA™) or $450 (for non-members) CBAP® Examination Complete a minimum of 3,750 hours of Business Analysis work in the last 7 years, with a minimum of 900 hours in 2 of the BABOK® Guide Knowledge Areas OR a minimum of 500 hours in 4 of the BABOK® Guide Knowledge Areas, with a minimum of 21 hours of Professional Development in the last 4 years.
PMI-PBA® Certification PM Training $348 (offer at time of writing – usually $598) + $405 application fee for members or $555 for non-members PMI-PBA® Examination Secondary degree, 7500 business analysis experience, 35 contact hours of education in business analysis, OR bachelor’s degree, 4500 hours of business analysis experience and 35 contact hours of education in business analysis

What to Look for in a Business Analyst Certification Program

There are a few things to consider when you’re looking to join a business analyst certification program:

  • What experience do you have? How much experience do you have personally? Are you a brand-new business analyst or have you been working in this area for a while? This will help you to decide whether the content is suitable for you. Some certifications require a certain number of hours of professional development and hours of practice as a BA.
  • What are your future goals? What do you want to get out of this? Is it to improve your knowledge in your current role, or to land a new job when you’re done? It is helpful to have this in mind before you start looking at the course content. Some courses not only prepare you for the exam but impart you with a lot of wisdom from professionals working in the field.
  • Is the certification highly regarded? Is your chosen certification recognized as a good program? Will potential future employers be able to instantly recognize your certification and therefore have an immediate understanding of the skills you have learned?
  • How many hours do you have to give? As we mentioned, some courses offer a lot of knowledge from professionals. That means it will take longer to prepare for the certification, but you’ll come away with a lot of practical knowledge to use in your career as a BA. If you need to prepare for the exam as fast as possible, you may want to prepare for your exam using resources you can find online or by completing a course that is less time-intensive.
  • Is the course platform easy to use? The quality of online courses can vary, so it’s worth trying a course demo if your chosen course allows this to see if you find the interface easy to use.

ECBA™ Certification Training by Mindsmapped

  • Exam Provider: IIBA™ (International Institute of Business Analysis)
  • Course Provider: Mindsmapped
  • Price: $199.99 (for the course), $60 exam application fee, and to sit the exam, $110 (for members of the IIBA™) or $235 (for non-members)
  • Language: English
  • Course Duration: 16 Hours
  • Qualification: ECBA™ Certification
  • Assessments: ECBA™ Certification Examination
  • Minimum Entry Requirements: Secondary Degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, or global equivalent)

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Regarded as one of the best certifications you can get, the ECBA™ (Entry Level Business Analysis) Certification Training provides you with everything you need to complete the ECBA™ exam. You can complete the training at your own pace – it includes sixteen hours of content spread over 7 lectures, with case studies and interactive learning sessions.

If you want to demonstrate to potential employers, investors, customers, suppliers, and stakeholders that you understand the industry standard practices, this is the certification that you want to get first – and Mindsmapped offers a great course to help you pass the exam.

They offer a demo lecture, so you can get an idea of how the course works before you sign up.

Course Aims

This course will help you to:

  • Learn problem-solving and analytical thinking skills in preparation for the examination
  • Practice real-time case studies
  • Enhance skills in Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring, Elicitation and Collaboration, Agile, Business Intelligence, Business Architecture, and more
  • Complete practice exams before sitting the actual examination

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Curriculum

The course is split into six sessions:

  • Introduction to BABOK® V3
  • Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring
  • Elicitation and Collaboration, Requirement Life Cycle Management
  • Strategy Analysis
  • Solution Evaluation
  • Requirement Analysis and Design Definition

Course Format

The course consists of six lectures, with accompanying slideshows, and a forum for students to discuss what they’ve learned.

It has to be said – the course itself is not the most modern, visually appealing format. There are a lot of slides to read through, and they’re not the most inspiring to look at:

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It is very simple to navigate and use, however, which is a plus point.

Teachers/Instructors

The instructor for this course is Swati S – a CBAP®, CSM®, and CSPO® certified professional. She has ten years of experience as a business analyst/project manager and is a corporate behavioral trainer with over seven years of experience in designing programs and content development.

Examination

To sit the exam, you must have 21 hours of professional development hours within the last four years and agree to the Code of Conduct. The exam is an hour long, with fifty multiple-choice questions. The course will prepare you for how to navigate the exam entry process. It costs $60 to apply for the exam, and $110 for members of the IIBA™ to sit the exam (or $235 for non-members).

User Reviews

Students are very positive about the course, coming away feeling very prepared to take the examination. Even students with no experience or knowledge of business analysis came away feeling confident. They praised the trainer for her passion and – most importantly – years of real-life experience that she shares with students, which means the whole course is packed with practical knowledge.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Gives thorough preparation for the exam
  • Trainer has plenty of real-life experience to share with students
  • Easy to navigate platform

Cons

  • Not the most visually appealing course

CCBA® Certification Training by Simplilearn

  • Exam Provider: IIBA™
  • Course Provider: Simplilearn
  • Price: $499.00
  • Language: English
  • Qualification: CCBA®
  • Assessments: CCBA® Certification Examination
  • Minimum Entry Requirements: Complete a minimum of 3,750 hours of Business Analysis work in the last 7 years, with a minimum of 900 hours in 2 of the BABOK® Guide Knowledge Areas OR a minimum of 500 hours in 4 of the BABOK® Guide Knowledge Areas, with a minimum of 21 hours of Professional Development in the last 4 years. Candidates must provide references and agree to the Terms and Conditions and the Code of Conduct.

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The Certification of Capability in Business Analysis is a qualification that more experienced Business Analysts can undertake to prove that they have a good knowledge and practical experience in business analysis. This course, run by Simplilearn, can help you to prepare for the exam itself. It provides 16.5 hours of e-learning content with six case studies and three simulation tests.

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to prepare you for every topic covered in the CCBA® exam.

Curriculum

There are eight lessons:

  • Lesson 1 – Introduction to IIBA® and CCBA® Certification
  • Lesson 2 – Introduction to BABOK® V3
  • Lesson 3 – Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring
  • Lesson 4 – Elicitation and Collaboration
  • Lesson 5 – Requirements Life Cycle Management
  • Lesson 6 – Strategy Analysis
  • Lesson 7 – Requirements Analysis and Design Definition
  • Lesson 8 – Solution Evaluation

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Course Format

The course is a series of video lessons, with case studies. The Simplilearn platform is easy to navigate, and this course looks fairly up to date in terms of images and slides used.

Teachers/Instructors

The course is run by Tim Jerome, a project management expert. He has over 15 years of experience at companies like Intel and Digital Network Services. He is also a PMP instructor with over 10 years of experience.

Examination

The CCBA® exam consists of 130 multiple-choice questions. They must be completed within three hours. It’s a computer-based exam which can be done online or at a PSI test center.

IIBA provides handbooks to guide you through the exam on their website. They also provide example questions and an exam blueprint, so you can prepare in advance. It’s worth looking through these before you commit to buying a course.

The application fee is $125. The registration fee is $325 for members or $450 for non-members.

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User Reviews

User reviews are positive, with students praising the practical knowledge they received, as well as the specific, detailed preparation for the exam. They also said that Simplilearn’s customer service is excellent.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Simple to navigate platform
  • Instructor is very knowledgeable
  • Covers all content related to the CCBA® exam
  • Video lessons are well designed
  • Simplilearn has great customer service

Cons

  • The course is on the expensive side

CBAP® Certification Training by Simplilearn

  • Exam Provider: IIBA™
  • Course Provider: Simplilearn
  • Price: $999.00 (self-paced learning) or $1250 (blended learning) + $125 application fee + $325 (for members of the IIBA™) or $450 (for non-members)
  • Language: English
  • Qualification: CBAP®
  • Assessments: CBAP®Certification Examination
  • Minimum Entry Requirements: Complete a minimum of 7500 hours of Business Analysis work experience in the last ten years, 35 hours of professional development hours within the last four years, two references, and for the student to agree to the Code of Conduct.

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The CBAP® Certification Course by Simplilearn will give you a thorough grounding to prepare for the CBAP® exam. It offers 56 hours of blended learning, 11 case studies with end-of-chapter quizzes, three simulation exams, four practice exams, 32 hours of instructor-led training, and 24 hours of self-paced learning. They offer two pathways: self-paced learning, which is slightly cheaper and allows you to go at your own pace, or blended learning, which offers a combination of self-led learning and more instructor-led training in a classroom-like environment.

Course Aims

By the end of this course, you should:

  • Master the highest skills of business analysis, including advanced documentation, effective planning, and design of business solutions
  • Have knowledge in six areas of the BABOK® Guide Version 3
  • Be prepared to sit the CBAP® exam

Course Format

The course is a mixture of video lessons, case studies, practice exams, and end-of-chapter quizzes. Plus, if you choose the blended learning option, you have access to a classroom-style learning environment, where you can be taught directly from one of the course instructors.

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Again, Simplilearn is a very simple to use interface, and the videos are designed to be clear and eye-catching.

Curriculum

You will cover the following:

  • Lesson 1 – Introduction to CBAP Certification
  • Lesson 2 – Introduction to BABOK V3
  • Lesson 3 – Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring
  • Lesson 4 – Elicitation and Collaboration
  • Lesson 5 – Requirements Life Cycle Management
  • Lesson 6 – Strategy Analysis
  • Lesson 7 – Requirements Analysis and Design Definition
  • Lesson 8 – Solution Evaluation
  • Lesson 9 – Agile Perspective
  • Lesson 10 – Business Intelligence Perspective
  • Lesson 11 – Information Technology Perspective
  • Lesson 12 – Business Architecture Perspective
  • Lesson 13 – Business Process Management Perspective

Teachers/Instructors

The advisors for this course are:

  • Tim Jerome – project management expert with over 15 years of experience, and 10 years of experience as a PMP instructor
  • Jeff Allen – project management and Agile expert, with more than 15 years of experience at companies like Compaq and HP. He’s also an Agile coach and has mentored over 5000 professionals across the globe.

Examination

The CBAP® examination itself is run by the IIBA™, and it requires a minimum of 7500 hours of Business Analysis work experience in the last ten years, 35 hours of professional development hours within the last four years, two references, and for the student to agree to the Code of Conduct.

The exam is 3.5 hours long, with 120 multiple-choice questions. It costs $125 to apply. To register, it costs $325 for members and $450 for non-members.

It’s aimed at those with extensive business analysis experience and demonstrates senior knowledge and professional competence.

User Reviews

Users were very positive, with students praising the depth of the topics covered. They also liked the teaching style of both advisors, and they said they came away feeling prepared for the examination.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Thorough understanding of all topics covered in the CBAP®
  • Two very knowledgeable instructors
  • Two learning options

Cons

  • The blended option costs a lot of money, with the examination fees on top

PMI’s Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA®) Training by PM Training

  • Exam Provider: Project Management Institute (PMI)™
  • Course Provider: PM Training
  • Price: $348 (offer at time of writing – usually $598) + $405 registration fee for members or $555 for non-members
  • Language: English
  • Qualification: PMI-PBA®
  • Assessments: PMI-PBA® Certification Examination
  • Minimum Entry Requirements: Secondary degree, 7500 business analysis experience, 35 contact hours of education in business analysis, OR bachelor’s degree, 4500 hours of business analysis experience and 35 contact hours of education in business analysis

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The PMI-PBA® is a certification aimed at high-level professionals. The aim is to improve your skills in working with stakeholders, defining requirements, shaping project outputs, and driving business outcomes. PM Training offer a bootcamp for the PMI-PBA® certification, in the form of an on-demand course that you can complete in your own time. It consists of interactive course lessons, 35 instructor contact hours, quizzes, guided exercises, and more.

Course Aims

The course aims to help you prepare for the PMI-PBA® exam. It also gives you practical BA skills.

Curriculum

The course is structured in milestones:

  • Milestone 1 – The PMI-PBA® application process
  • Milestone 2 – The PMI-PBA® exam
  • Milestone 3 – PMI-PBA® basics
  • Milestone 4 – Needs Assessment
  • Milestone 5 – Planning
  • Milestone 6 – Analysis
  • Milestone 7 – Traceability and Monitoring
  • Milestone 8 – Evaluation
  • Milestone 9 – Other Critical BA skills

Course Format

The course consists of video lessons, quizzes, interactive lessons, and video lessons.

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The videos are presented with the teacher speaking directly to you, and the slides are downloadable so you can follow along and take notes.

It also provides you with guided exercises to help you improve critical BA skills.

Teachers/Instructors

The instructor for this course, Martin VanDerShouw, has 30 years of experience in the field of performance management (including business analysis). He’s written over 30 books and many articles on the topics covered in the course. He was also on the board of directors for the PMI™ for three years.

Examination

The PMI™ certification exam is 4 hours long. There are 200 multiple-choice questions. The application fee is $405 for members or $555 for non-members.

User Reviews

Students are really happy with the course content here, not only in terms of exam preparation but also in terms of crucial business analysis skills that they went on to use in their careers. Many students passed their exam on the first attempt and felt that the course was the reason for their success.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The instructor is knowledgeable and experienced
  • The course includes guided exercises to help improve critical BA skills
  • Gives you a thorough grounding of topics covered in the exam
  • Good price point when on offer

Cons

  • Not the most modern interface

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get my PD hours for the ECBA?™

PD (professional development) hours can be gained by registering with an IIBA™ endorsed training provider.

Will certification improve my future salary?

The IIBA™ states that those with certification, on average, learn 11% more than those without.

What is the IIBA?™

IIBA™ stands for the International Institute of Business Analysis. It’s a non-profit professional organization, promoting the development of business analysis skills.

What is the pass mark for the certification exams?

They are:
ECBA™ – 70%
CCBA® – 70%
CBAP® – Minimum score of 500
PMI-PBA® – 60%
 

Conclusion

Hopefully, this guide has helped you to see the value of preparatory courses and helped you to figure out which level of certification you want to achieve next. Every course on this list is taught by professionals with years of hard-earned wisdom to impart.

Which course is right for you will depend on the level of experience you have as a Business Analyst. If you want to gain more knowledge and skills and prove to clients and stakeholders that you are competent as a BA, it is well worth pursuing certification – having one (or more) under your belt is a great way to show clients and stakeholders that you are competent in your field of work.

As we mentioned in the intro, the best one to start with is always going to be the ECBA™ – it’s the easiest exam, designed to be the first stepping stone towards higher levels of certification (and the course we have recommended by Pluralsight is a great guide with plenty of advice and guidance). Later down the line, you can seek out the CCBA® and the CBAP® if you want to, but you’ll need more hours of experience before you can tackle those.

If you’ve already got a lot of experience under your belt, you may want to consider looking at the PMI-PBA® Certification. It’s a pretty hefty exam at 200 questions, but it could give you some serious credibility and could elevate your status to your colleagues and clients (and again, the course we recommended, by PM Training, is the best place to go to help you prepare).

If you’re interested in learning more about online learning and how it can help your career, why not read one of our guides:

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