AIGA Small Business Management Certificate

Running your own creative practice is no small task. Learn the critical skills for managing your finances, human resource challenges, and marketing efforts. These courses give you the opportunity to identify your current and future goals and will help you ensure your business thrives.

AIGA progressional development

Certificate Description

Owning or managing your own creative practice has a lot of benefits. Studio owners may have the freedom to control their schedules, be able to focus on work that they find fulfilling, and find opportunities to positively impact their communities. But in addition to benefits like these, running your practice brings with it some unique challenges. Owners often play many roles and must have a wide body of knowledge. In a single day, an owner may be required to do any number of varied tasks, like approve a project plan budget, train a new employee, and develop a marketing campaign. This certificate will provide learners with a fundamental understanding of the most critical areas in managing your small business.

  • Add this essential skill to managing your creative business. Only about 1 out of 10 designers completely agree they know how to speak the language of business.
  • Lifelong learning is critical in design. Adaptability has never been more critical and is where the profession perceives its most significant competency gap.
  • Business acumen is among the top three competency gaps for designers. The AIGA Small Business Management Certificate strengthens the essential skills you need to manage your creative business.
  • Every designer is a potential business with 6 out of 10 designers having two or more sources of income and/or needing to “market and sell their services” for a living as freelancers, permalancers, and/or self-employed/small business owners.



Non member: $599
AIGA member: $449

AIGA professional development small business management certificate

Courses Included in this Certificate

  • Introduction to Small Business Management
  • Leading and Managing Small businesses
  • Project Management for Small Businesses
  • Small Business Marketing
  • Accounting Fundamentals for Small Businesses
  • Budgeting and Financial Analysis for Small Businesses
  • HR Fundamentals for Small Businesses
  • Law for Small businesses

Key Features

“I would [recommend the certificate], especially to a young person who is trying to set up a small business. I have a lot of students who want to develop merch and be self-focused and this can answer many of their questions without having to jump straight into a corporate job.” —Keith Ellis, Professor, Northern Michigan University and Executive Director, Revolve Creative Collaboration Conference. Professor Ellis was the first person to complete the AIGA Small Business Management certificate.


"This was pretty insightful, educational and easy to use!"—Rob L.

"I thought this was very informative, thanks!"—Micaela M.

"Thank you, I thoroughly enjoyed taking this course."—Krizel M.

"Excellent and practical course with combination of knowledge and active skills practice."—Brandyn P.

"Everything was explained well."—Ariane R.


    Non member: $599
    AIGA member: $449

    You may request a refund up to five (5) days from the purchase date. The registration fee will only be refunded if less than 10% of the course has been completed. Completion percentage can be viewed on the Course Progress page from within the course.

    PMI PDUs: 22
    Leadership PDUs: 9.75
    Strategic & Business Management PDUs: 7.25
    Technical PM PDUs: 5
    IACET CEUs: 3 (Contact Hours: 30 hours)
    HRCI Credits: 30 (Type: Specified - Strategic Business: 21, General: 9)
    SHRM PDCs: 30

    Courses are offered in collaboration/partnership with MindEdge, a leading online learning platform that has served over 3 million learners.

    Access Time: 365 days

    Estimated time to complete the course: 30 hours

    This course has an "Ask the Expert" feature, which submits your questions directly to an expert in the field you are studying. Questions are answered as quickly as possible and usually within 24 hours.

    Learners must achieve an average test score of at least 70% to meet the minimum successful completion requirement and qualify to receive IACET CEUs. Learners will have three attempts at all graded assessments.

    Frequently Asked Questions

      Lifelong learning is critical for designers, and as design association, AIGA wants to help both design professionals and the profession. We heard from our community that professional development is valued more than anything else. We also learned from our research efforts that there are some non-design specific competency gaps that designers would need to close to best position themselves to advance their careers and the overall profession. AIGA is here to help with the launch of a new pilot program that offers courses for the creative professional. We will continue to improve and build on this initiative with a lean approach, along with your support and collaboration. We encourage you to join the pilot program and please share your insights as we aim to continue listening, learning, and improving this new membership benefit.

      In partnership with the leading online learning platform, MindEdge, AIGA is offering courses that will help creative professionals identify business needs and grow future goals. MindEdge has a comprehensive catalog of professional development courses and certificates for busy professionals. Through this partnership, AIGA is able to offer this benefit to members.  


        During the pilot rollout, all learning will be asynchronous. Once you enroll in the course, you will also have exclusive access to the AIGA course community to network, connect, and learn with your peers. Our goal is to share additional resources and offer optional activities to help customize the learning experience to your specific situation. As part of the pilot program, we will offer a few optional live sessions to meet/greet other learners and learn in action through conversations with your design peers.

          Registration is simple, just follow the steps below:

          1. Select your course, pay, and you'll receive an automatic confirmation/receipt with instructions on how to start learning.

          2. You will also receive an email from AIGA's concierge learning services with onboarding information and instructions, including your login and password for access to the learning community. 

          • The community component is hosted by AIGA + Next Thought.
          • On-demand learning will occur within the AIGA + MindEdge Learning Management System.

          3. Start learning!

          • Take your on-demand course when it works best for your schedule.
          • Join the exclusive course community to network with peers.
          • Watch for more professional development opportunities from AIGA.

            Additional courses will be coming in the next weeks and months. Please send a note to with questions about the courses and we will help you find what you need. 

              The easiest way to give back to the AIGA community is to gift a course to a fellow AIGA member. It is easy! Simply add the name and contact information for the person you wish to give the course to within the application and we will send them the information to join.

                Please reach out to and we can share information on in-company solutions. 

                  Please reach out to and we will be happy to share information on potential solutions and pricing. 

                    Please reach out to If you are an educator provider, education institution, or training center looking to promote your courses, increase credibility of your offers, and set standards for the profession, AIGA maybe able to help offer a solution. 

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                    AIGA Small Business Management Certificate