Best Project Manager Certification Programs: Top 5 PM Certifications
As an aspiring project manager, it’s important to always continue to improve your qualifications and knowledge. With so many project manager certifications out there, how do you find the best option for you? In this article, we will explore the best options for project manager certification in order to level up your knowledge in this unique field.
Why Should You Become Certified in Project Management?
If you are intent on becoming a highly valued asset to your clients, have an advantage over other professionals in the field, or if you are aiming for a salary increase, getting certified in project management is key. Acquiring a certification will allow you to gain recognition as a leader in your field as it will provide you in-depth knowledge of best practices in the project management industry. You will be well-equipped to communicate with other leaders in the field by using common terminology used on project sites and in important meetings with clients. There are so many benefits to getting certified in project management, it will certainly help you achieve your full potential.
Top Project Management Certifications
There are many project management certifications available. Choosing which certification is best for you all depends on what you’d prefer to specialize in and focus your studies on. Here are a few of the top PM certification programs you can complete:
- PMP: Project Management Professional from Project Management Institute (PMI)
- PMI-ACP: Agile Project Management
- PRINCE 2 – Projects IN Controlled Environments
- International Project Management Association (IPMA) Levels: A,B,C,D
- CSM, CSP, CSD: Agile Scrum Certification
Other certifications you can explore include:
- CAPM: Certified Associate in Project Management
- CPM: Certified Project Manager
- Microsoft Project – Project Management tool
- MPM: Master Project Manager
Why Do You Need a Certification in Project Management?
Before you commit to getting a certification in project management, you’ll want to review the prerequisites required to qualify for this area of expertise.
Project Management Professional from PMI
The gold standard for project management is the PMP, or Project Management Professional certification from the PMI. If you are interested in qualifying for this certification, you will need to have a minimum of:
- 4,500 hours managing projects on-site
- 35 training hours – specific to project management studies
Like most individuals are, you may be balancing work, school, and family life with your project management education. If this is the case, you can also use online PMP training to help prepare you for the PMP exam in a way that fits your schedule. Check out Brain Sensei’s PMP Exam Prep courses and PMP Exam Simulator. It’s one of the most affordable options and they include a 30-day money back guarantee and a 100% pass guarantee. Not to mention they have a unique story-based approach that makes the material a bit more memorable. They boast a 99.6% first-time pass rate on the exam for their students.
Note that the PMP exam is now available to be taken online as well.
PMI-ACP Agile Certified Practitioner Certification
If you want to showcase your expertise in the world of project management, this is the certification for you. The PMI-ACP Agile Certified Practitioner Certification will allow you to master project delivery, even in a short timeframe. If you like to work in fast-paced environments and deliver results in a short cycle, this is a fantastic opportunity. To qualify to take the PMI-ACP Agile Certified Practitioner Certification, you will need:
- 2,000 hours of generic PM experience
- 1,500 of agile PM experience
- 21 hours – of agile training practices
Agile/Scrub PM Certifications
Do you have dreams of one day becoming a scrum master in the world of project management? This is a unique sector that can offer you a variety of interesting opportunities. The certified scrum master certification will help you facilitate projects and use scrum for successful projects. The CSM certification can be obtained once you have completed the following:
- 16-hour CSM course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer
- Answer correctly a minimum of 24 out of the 35 question in the CSM exam
You can also choose to take the Certified Scrum Product Owner Certification, or CSPO. This is a great program if you are clear on the needs and desires of the stakeholder or if you are looking to be part of the envisioning stage of a project. Project managers with a unique perspective may greatly enjoy this training.
The Certified Scrum Developer can also be a great opportunity for you. There are two different ways to obtain your project manager certification offered by CSD for software developers. Your choices are as follows:
- 3 days of CSD technical training
- 2 days of CSM training
- 1-day intro course introducing you to scrum CSD, and then 3 days of coding training, followed by 1 day of a CSD elective course
Next up, you can complete the certified scrum professional certification or CSP. You need to be a CSM, a CSPO, or CSD with active status in order to qualify for this certification. You should also have 36 months of agile/scrum experience and product owner experience, too. You must also earn 70 scrub education units. Alternately, you’ll need: 16 units for CSM, 16 units for CSPO, and 24 units for CSD.
Prince 2 – Projects Taking Place in Controlled Environments
Here are the PRINCE2 certifications you can explore and take a deeper dive into to learn more about the world of project management.
- PRINCE2 Practitioner course: Students who have already completed one of the listed exams here, will be eligible for this certification: PRINCE2 Foundation, PMP, CAPM, IPMA level A,B,C,D.
- PRINCE2 Foundation: There is no mandatory prerequisite for this certification, making it the perfect option for beginners in the field. All you need to have is some basic exposure to project management.
Are you deciding whether you should take the PRINCE 2 or the PMP certification? The Prince 2 certification is an ideal choice if you are working in the US, New Zealand, Australia, or India. If you are planning on starting a career in these locations, this is a great course of action for you.
International Project Management Association
For those looking for a Project Manager Certification through IPMA, there are four knowledge models to complete prior to embarking on this next step in your education. The first level you are allowed to complete will be Level D, the Certified Project Management associate program. If you have 3 years of experience however, you can complete level C, the certified project manager certification. Level B requires 5 years of complex project management experience, as well as experience managing teams. Level A allows you to become a certified project director, which is the highest level.
More Project Manager Certifications
The CPM is a very common project management certification for project management professionals. Once you have 5,000 hours of project management experience alongside a bachelor degree and 36 hours of program management training, you will be eligible for the CPM certification. This is a very common certification in the Pacific region, so if you are in this area, be sure to consider this certification.
The Master Project Manager course comes from the AAPM and is available to students with 3 years of experience. If you are looking to get a professional certificate you’ll need to take the AAPM online exam, and pass with a score of at least 70%.
Microsoft Project – Project Management Tool
Project management software knowledge is extremely important for professionals in the field. Microsoft Project software is used across all industries and by nearly every business, therefore, this certification can help you get training and expertise that will prove you to be a highly valuable asset no matter where your career takes you.
Certified Associate in Project Management:
For those who are just starting out in the world of project management and have little to no experience just yet, the CAPM exam is a great place to begin. The CAPM is provided along with standards assurance from PMI. We recommend taking an online and self-directed CAPM exam prep course so that you can complete the course and prepare for the exam in a way that works best for your schedule. Check out Brain Sensei’s CAPM Exam Prep course. It’s one of the most affordable options and they include a 30-day money back guarantee and a 100% pass guarantee. Not to mention they have a unique story-based approach that makes the material a bit more memorable.
How Much Does a Project Manager Certification Cost?
$ 555 for non-members, $ 405 for members
$ 495 for non-members, $ 435 for member
$100 application fee, $150 for certification
$1695 for non-member, $ 1495 for members
Your project management certification will increase in value year over year, so it’s a great idea to start planning for this important exam. We hope this guide helps you decide which certification is the best option for you and your career goals. Best of luck!