Project Management is a very wide field of work, and becoming certified has many perks when it comes to salary and opportunities. But how exactly can you become certified? What are the options when it comes to getting certified as a project manager?
1) The Definition of Certified PM
To become certified in project management you need to take an exam and be certified by an institution or organization that has the authority to certify the skills and knowledge of a Project Manager and Certify them in that regard. There are various certification bodies, both local and global.
2) Which Are The Main Project Manager Certification bodies?
Certified Project Manager Body: PMI
One of the largest and most widely recognized organizations that provide certification is The Project Management Institute (commonly known as the PMI). They service the entire world and have local chapters in many countries.
They provide two main certifications, the PMP Certificate (Project Management Professional Certificate) and the CAPM (Certified Associate PM). In addition to these two, they also offer the Agile Certification in regards to Project Management with the PMI-ACP.
The PMI’s PMP Exam is one of the most prestigious certifications a Project manager can obtain and requires several years of Project Management Experience plus recorded education hours from an eligible PMP training course provider.
The CAPM on the other hand is designed for newcomers to Project Managers and can help you to kick off your career in Project Management.
Certified Project Manager Body: IPMA
The IPMA stands for the International Project Management Association, it is an association based in Australia that works with various bodies worldwide, partnering with various orgs to help facilitate the needed certifications to those who require them.
They work with:
- APFPM – Asia-Pacific Federation of Project Management
- ISO – The International Standardization Org
- ICCPM – The International Center for Complex Project Management
- And many more!
They offer project management certifications at various levels/grades.
- Level D – The Project Management Associate Certification
- Level C – The Project Manager Certification
- Level B – The Senior Project Manager Certification
- Level A – The Project Manager Director Certification
Depending on your level of expertise and experience, you should find the right certification for you.
Certified Project Manager Body: PRINCE2
PRINCE2 is a well known Project Management Certification that comes in two versions, the initial foundational certification and for more experienced PMs, the practitioner certification. PRINCE2 is mainly concerned with the UK and their Government projects, plus Australia, but is also recognized and taught in the following countries:
UK (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland)
- The Netherlands
Along with the PRINCE2 Foundational and Practitioner Certificates, they also offer
- Introduction to MS Project
- PRINCE2 (Foundation and Practitioner versions)
- Prince2 Fasttrack (for certification quickly)
Certified Project Manager Body: Scrum Alliance
The Scrum Alliance is a not for profit organization that helps businesses adopt Agile methodology. They offer education along with other services.
The certifications that a PM would look for are the CSM (Certified Scrum Master) and CSPO (Certified Scrum Product Owner) are the required certifications to obtain the CSP (Certified Scrum Professional). These are what the Scrum Alliance uses for certifying PMs in their methodology. The Scrum Alliance focuses on complex projects with short deadlines which require an environment of sharing and collaboration to achieve maximum results efficiently.
Advantages of Obtaining a Certification in Project Management
Certification has been proven to open doors to opportunities for Project Managers that would have never been seen before, in the competitive field of project management certifications are proof of experience, knowledge, expertise, reliability and most importantly, immediately reveals that the certified Project Manager has invested his own time and funds into becoming the best Project Manager possible.
Certifications can be shown proudly as not just a badge of honor, but a badge of authenticity when it comes to Project Management.
In addition to this, companies will often use the global certifications of their project managers like the PMP Certification as a way to obtain new clients and close sales since they are recognized the world over as a premium service.
Higher salaries are of course connected with additional certifications. In fact, in the comparison of certified project officer vs. PMP Certification, PMP certified professionals reportedly obtain a 20% higher salary compared to those without it.
3) Becoming a Certified PM
Obtaining certification as a PM has different requirements depending on the organization and exam you take. Most Institutions have exams that must be sit, where you are tested on the various aspects of Project Management according to their reference material. The more prestigious Certifications also require specific criteria to be met before you can become eligible to take the exam, such as a certain amount of years managing projects, other certifications, or a set amount of education hours being recorded.
Becoming a PMP Certified PM:
As mentioned earlier, the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification is one of the most globally recognized certifications and is looked at as the gold standard for Project Managers.
This is a great achievement and a sign of seniority if you obtain it. To be eligible for the PMP exam you must have a Bachelor’s Degree (4-year), 4500 hours in regards to Project Management, and 35 hours of recorded education time.
If you’re eligible you’ll be able to apply to sit the exam on the PMI’s website. There is a fee and a specific time must be scheduled to do this, so you should be sure you will pass the exam and are available to not waste the opportunity.
A PMP Exam consists of 200 questions and allows up to 4 hours to complete the exam. The questions will differ but the following is the usual breakdown:
- ~31% of Questions regarding the Executing Process Knowledge Group
- ~25% regarding monitoring and controlling
- ~24% from the Planning portion
- ~7% Closing
- In addition, you will be tested on the PMI Ethics Code
As there is a cost to taking this exam, passing on the first time should be a goal. Online PMP Courses offer great resources to allow this and can even be used as the educational hours requirement. Taking practice questions is a great way to prepare and will help you recognize your own level of understanding, so you can safely test yourself before paying for the real exam. Using a tool such as a PMP Exam Simulator can drastically help in this regard.
Becoming PRINCE2 Foundation Certified:
The PRINCE2 Foundational certification is much less grueling than the practitioner version. The exam will have 75 questions that must be completed in one hour.
If you’re looking to obtain the Practitioner level, however, you’ll first need to pass one of the following other exams to be eligible:
- IPMA A, B, C or D
- Prince2 Foundational
Once eligible, the exam will consist of 8 main questions with 10 more questions beneath each of the 8. The exam provides 2 and a half hours to complete it
Becoming IPMA Certified
IPMA Certification levels C plus D are specifically designed for Project Managers. The exam consists of a 2 hour written exam that is designed to test your experience levels on Control, Planning, and Project Organization.
The written exam will be in the form of a case study, followed by a group exercise on Project Management and finally a one on one interview.
Becoming a Certified Project Manager In The Agile Methodology?
There are two main organizations that can help you to become a certified project manager in Agile Methodology, the PMI and the Scrum Alliance.
The PMI-ACP exam requires that you have 2000 hours of existing Project Management experience, at least 1500 hours of Agile PM Experience and 21 hours of agile practice training.
The Scrum Alliance on the other hand only requires that you take their two day training before taking the exam.
Scrum also offers PSM and PSPO which has no prerequisites to be eligible to take the exam.
4) Conclusion and What’s Needed Next for Project Management Certification
Once you are a certified Project Manager, certain organizations like the PMI expect you to continue learning and so you must renew your certification periodically. This ensures that anyone with a PMP Certificate is proven to be an exceptional Project Manager in all the latest Project Management techniques.
The PMP uses PDUs as a way to determine this, which stands for Professional Development Units. They can be acquired through further education or the “giving back” scheme, which is designed to support the PMI with its various events, helping newer Project Managers on their career journey.