I am now officially registered for the University of Washington User-Centered Design certificate program (UCD from here on). I'll be starting classes in October and should finish the program in the Spring (3 quarters). The company I work for offered to pay for training so I readily accepted. I was a bit worried that this would be too much for the budget ($1,800 a quarter for 3 quarters), but I don't think many others in the department are doing much.
The last certificate program I took at the UW (Object-Oriented Analysis and Design Using UML) took almost a year and a half to complete (I was definitely ready to be done with it by the end). It was all done online (except for a single trip to a testing facility for a written test). Being online was convenient, but I did miss the interaction with other students and the professors.
The UCD program, by contrast, is being held in classrooms, once a week, in the evening. Luckily I was able to arrange to take the first of the classes in Bellevue which isn't too far from Kirkland where I work (hopefully traffic won't be a major problem). Unfortunately the rest of the classes are going to be in Seattle, so that will suck trying to get over to the campus during rush-hour traffic.
I was hoping I could find a program at the UW Bothell. It's only a few minutes from my work and is where I received my bachelors degree (Computing and Software Systems). Unfortunately they don't seem to offer any certificate programs, though maybe I'll get an MBA from there once the kids are out of the house (though their might be a branch campus near where I live by then).
I am hoping that this usability program that I am taking will provide me with plenty of material for my blog. If you are interested in this subject and don't want to spend the time or money on the course, stay tuned.