6 Useful Program Manager Certifications To Consider

Updated 31 July 2023

A program manager is responsible for overseeing multiple related projects and ensuring that they execute successfully within budget and time constraints. These individuals provide strategic direction, coordinate cross-functional teams and communicate progress and risks to business leaders. If you have an interest in this role, you may benefit from reviewing a list of certifications that are valuable for program managers. In this article, we examine what program manager certifications are, share a list of six useful credentials for program managers and explore the benefits of pursuing these.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

What Is A Program Manager Certification?

A program manager certification is a professional credential that many businesses recognise. It validates a person's knowledge, skills and expertise in managing complex programs that involve multiple projects and decision makers. To gain such a certification, it is typically necessary for candidates to pass an exam that covers a range of topics, including programme governance, risk management, financial management and programme delivery.

There are several certifications for interested individuals to pursue in programme management, and they may vary in terms of their requirements, exam formats and level of recognition. For some certifications, a certain amount of work experience may be necessary, while for others, there may be educational requirements. Program manager certifications can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and potentially lead to career advancement opportunities.

Related: What Is A Program Manager? (With Duties, Salary And Skills)

6 Program Manager Certifications To Consider

To excel in a program manager role, consider pursuing some of these useful certifications:

1. Program Management Professional (PgMP)

The PgMP certification is for individuals who have a proven track record of managing multiple projects and complex activities that span functions, organisations, regions and cultures. It is ideal for those who can align results with organisational goals using their ability to navigate complex business situations. To obtain the certification, candidates navigate a two-step evaluation process. The first phase is a panel review, which assesses your application and determines whether you meet the eligibility criteria. The second phase is an exam, which consists of 170 multiple choice questions within a four-hour time limit.

Related: 8 Interview Questions For Programme Managers (With Answers)

2. Lean Six Sigma Green Belt

The Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification is an open-book exam that consists of 100 multiple-choice and true or false questions from the major sections of the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Body of Knowledge. You can take the exam online or at designated testing centres worldwide, and all candidates have two hours to complete it. The certification requirements include achieving a minimum score of 280 out of a total of 400 possible points. Candidates receive three attempts to pass within a year of paying the examination and assessment fee.

There are no prerequisites for obtaining the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification, whereas the Level II Green Belt certification has a project participation requirement. To prepare for the exam, candidates can participate in Six Sigma training through a qualified training provider or by studying the free self-study guide from the Council for Six Sigma Certification. After successfully fulfilling the certification requirements, candidates receive an official Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification that has no expiration date. Candidates who wish to obtain an up-to-date certification date can retake the exam.

Related: Six Sigma Vs Lean Six Sigma: What Are The Differences?

3. Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB)

A CSSBB holder is an expert who understands the principles and supporting systems of Six Sigma and is capable of leading a team, understanding team dynamics and assigning roles and responsibilities. They typically possess comprehensive knowledge of the define, measure, analyse, improve and control (DMAIC) problem-solving methodology in Six Sigma and can identify non-value-added elements and activities using specific tools.

To acquire certification, it is necessary for individuals to pass a multiple-choice exam that measures their comprehension of the Six Sigma framework. Participants do this open-book exam using either a computer or paper and pencil and can bring their own reference materials. The computer exam is four and a half hours long with 165 questions in English. The paper and pencil exam is four hours long with 150 questions.

Related: Program Manager Vs Project Manager: Key Differences

4. Project Management Professional (PMP)

The PMP certification acknowledges project managers who have demonstrated their ability to manage projects effectively. Holding a PMP certification is a mark of distinction, indicating that the individual possesses project leadership experience and proficiency in many work approaches. To obtain PMP certification, it is necessary for project managers to pass a 180-question exam. This comprehensive exam places emphasis on real-life project management experiences.

Having a PMP certification attests to project managers' skills pertaining to various management aspects, including people, process and business environment management. This credential shows that a project manager has the ability to lead and inspire a team effectively throughout a project. It also demonstrates proficiency in utilising predictive, agile and hybrid approaches to determine the best working methods for each project.

Related: What Is A PMP Certification? (And How To Earn One)

5. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

The CSM course is for individuals who want to become familiar with Scrum and its framework for teaching, team accountabilities and events and artefacts. It enables candidates to train and guide a team of contributors to apply Scrum methodology to product development processes. The course is interactive and engaging and addresses an individual's learning capacity in a personalised way.

Completing the CSM training programme provides hands-on skills that you can apply immediately in the real world to expand your career opportunities. The CSM course is relevant for anyone new to agile work and is applicable across multiple industries and potentially cross-functional teams. It is ideal for a range of practitioners, including data scientists, human resources representatives and marketers who seek a better way to solve complex problems in business and product development.

Related: 16 Types Of Scrum Master Certifications And Their Benefits

6. Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)

Becoming a CSPO offers various benefits, including the potential to expand your career prospects in diverse industries. The certification programme provides a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental principles and responsibilities of the product owner role in the Scrum framework, which is an agile methodology in project management that emphasises collaboration, adaptability and iterative development.

A CSPO leverages their skills to enhance the value of a product development team's work and produce high-quality products at optimal cost and within a shorter time frame. Additionally, the course allows you to connect with an international community of agile practitioners with a commitment to ongoing growth and development. The certification also grants access to valuable resources that can support and facilitate your success in product-management roles.

Related: Product Owner Vs Product Manager: A Definitive Guide

Benefits Of Pursuing Program Manager Certifications

Here are some benefits of pursuing certifications in a program management role:

  • Enhanced knowledge and skills: Pursuing a certification provides you with the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge and skills in managing complex programmes. This training can help you become more effective in your role and enable you to make better decisions that positively impact programme outcomes.

  • Career advancement: Certifications can help you gain an advantage in a competitive job market and increase your chances of selection for higher-level program management positions. They can also demonstrate your commitment to ongoing professional development.

  • Recognition: Many industries recognise these credentials, which serve as a symbol of professional achievement and competency and can help you gain respect and recognition from colleagues, clients and investors.

  • Networking opportunities: Pursuing a program management certification can provide you with opportunities to connect with other practitioners in the field and build your professional network. Networking can help you learn from the experiences of others and gain valuable insights into program management best practices.

Explore more articles

  • What Is A Non-Competitive Agreement? (Purpose, Pros And Cons)
  • Dermatologist Vs. Aesthetician: What Is The Difference?
  • Ecotourism Careers To Consider (With Job Duties And Salary)
  • Guide: How To Become A Senior Business Development Manager
  • What Is Fashion Merchandising? A Comprehensive Guide
  • What Is A Project Manager Certification? (With List)
  • Contract Manager Vs. Project Manager (With Definitions)
  • How To Create A Fashion Design Portfolio (With Tips And FAQs)
  • How To Become A Data Scientist (Skills And Qualifications)
  • Manager Vs Team Leader: Differences In Roles And Responsibilities
  • 14 Popular Work-From-Home Companies (With Benefits)
  • How To Find Part-Time Programming Jobs (With Job Types)