Sharpen Your Skills by a Project Management Certification
A guide helping to decide which certification suits best for you
A certification in project management is a good opportunity to deepen and broaden your skills. The project management industry is growing rapidly, with many opportunities for advancement. The skills acquired through project management certification will help you in almost any business or management position. So not only you, but also your employer can benefit from it.
Regardless of whether you are already working in management or are aiming for promotion, project management certification is a smart way to expand your skills through continuing education. There are certificates for project managers at every level of professional development.
These include general project management certifications for beginners and certificates for specific techniques or vendor types. There are also certificates for project management experienced individuals who are more advanced and wish to manage multiple projects simultaneously.
Here are the best project management certifications available today.
CompTIA Project+ is ideal for professionals who need to manage smaller, less complex projects as part of their other job duties but still have foundational project management skills.
Upon successful completion, you will have the necessary knowledge and skills to manage the project lifecycle, ensure appropriate communication, manage resources and stakeholders, and maintain project documentation.
Certified Project Manager (CPM)
The Certified Project Manager (IAPM) is a level of certification that requires basic knowledge in the field of project management. This knowledge is necessary to plan, organize and execute a project theoretically well. It also stands as a prerequisite for the more advanced Certified International Project Manager (IAPM) credential.
Certified Project Manager is an internationally recognized certificate and provides basic knowledge for the planning, organization and implementation of a project.
Associate in Project Management (APM)
The Associate in Project Management (APM) is an entry-level certification for professionals (managers and project team members, students at the graduate or undergraduate level, and/or entry level practitioners) who are new to the project management field.
Core competencies of resource management, quality assurance, and communication are emphasized in this project management certification. The certification does not have any prerequisites.
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
The Certified Associate in Project Management or “CAPM” is another entry-level certification that is administered by the PMI. This project management certification is a prerequisite for project managers who may want to scale up to the Project Management Professional certification in the future.
An associate degree or equivalent and some previous project management experience or education are required to qualify for this credential.
Project Management Professional (PMP)
Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is the next step offered by the Project Management Institute after CAPM certification. PMI works with universities and businesses to maintain the prestige and relevance of this certification, making it an industry standard.
The Project Management Professional is aimed at experienced project managers. They must have 4,500-7,500 hours of project management practice and 35 hours of project management training before they can qualify for the PMP exam.
Master Project Manager (MPM)
The Master Project Manager credential, which is regulated by the American Academy of Project Management. This credential is for college educated professionals who manage teams, departments, and employees. This designation is a project management certification designed for senior project managers and project directors.
Candidates must have at least three years of project management experience and have either an approved degree or training in order to qualify for this project management certification.
Professional in Project Management (PPM)
The Professional in Project Management (PPM) credential is a project management certification administered by the Global Association for Quality Management.
The certification comprises of project management modules including – how to plan, execute, control and complete projects. The core focus on key trends in managing projects and demands on the project managers. It is very useful for project schedules, develop project measures and approaches to project control; and how to develop, lead and motivate project teams.
There are no prerequisite qualifications, but candidates will have to study GAQM materials and an e-course to prepare for the PPM examination.
Program Management Professional (PgMP)
The Program Management Professional certificate is for senior-level professionals who manage and coordinate multiple, complex projects to achieve strategic and organizational results. The PgMP emphasizes synergistic management so that multiple projects benefit from coordinated oversight as opposed to being managed separately.
Candidates must have at least 6,000 hours of experience in project management and 6,000-10,500 hours of specific program management experience to qualify as well as a secondary or four-year degree.
Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
The Agile Certified Practitioner certificate or PMI-ACP is another credential offered by the Project Management Institute. This certification emphasizes the use of agile practices in project management. Agile strategies such as Scrum, Kanban, and Lean are featured for project managers to cultivate maximum responsiveness to market volatility.
Project experience and previous work on agile teams are required to qualify for this certificate.
Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
The Certified ScrumMaster certification is a focused credential specifically geared toward the Scrum management technique. It is offered by the Scrum Alliance, which is a non-profit organization who promotes the use of agile frameworks (such as Scrum) in project management.
There are no prerequisites for this project management certification, making it a great option for entry-level managers and those entering a team or workplace that uses Scrum project management techniques.
You may later deepen your skills by adding
- the Advanced Certified ScrumMaster - an advanced course for Scrum Masters who have one or more years of work experience in that role.
- the Certified Scrum Professional®-ScrumMaster - a pinnacle course for experts wishing to develop mastery of the Scrum Master track.
PRINCE2 (an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a de facto process-based method for effective project management. Used extensively by the UK Government, PRINCE2 is also widely recognised and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally.
The PRINCE2 method is in the public domain, and offers non-proprietorial best practice guidance on project management. PRINCE2 is useful for small or large companies, especially because it's so adaptable and compatible with the likes of agile. It is offered in differnt qualification levels: Foundation, Practitioner, Re-Registration and Agile.
Which Certification is best for you?
All the options for certification can be a bit bewildering, so how can you know what the best project management certification is for you? Whatever program you choose, make sure to match up the specialty and skill level of the certificate with your own experience and best practices in your workplace to get the most out of it.
To find out, aswer the following questions for yourself, or verify on the different training websites.
Why do you want project management certification? Do you need a certificate so that you can prove you’ve got some training or do you actually need to learn beyond the theory, some practical application of how to do your job as a project manager .
Where are you at in your career? Different project management certifications have been designed for project managers at different stages of their careers. Check the prerequisits on the project management certification provider pages.
How much time have you got to invest? Many of the project management certifications can be attained simply by attending a 2 day or week-long course. Others, can be incredibly time intensive but are arguably more useful as they cover more content.
How much can you afford to spend? Obviously, the more junior project management certifications are often cheaper, than the most expensive, but typically, you’ll need to spend at least $1000 on the project management training and exam for most project management certifications. It’s worth considering the project management certifications that don’t expire or that you don’t have to pay to renew every few years.
But taking a cheap project management course is probably a false economy, so watch out for online project management courses that offer you a certification simply for submitting your LinkedIn profile link or resume and $300. They’re a complete waste of time and your money!
Which typo of roles are you looking to advance into? Consider your future career – if you’re in an agency and not considering ever going client-side, or working with large enterprise clients, the PMP wouldn't probably be the best choice. Something more general like PRINCE2 Practitioner or Certified Project Director would probably be more helpful. Similarly, if you’re trying to get into more software development or product development roles, consider the agile Professional Scrum Master qualifications.