What Is A Project Manager Certification? (With List)

Updated 20 September 2023

Regardless of the industry in which you work, certifications for project manager verify your management skills. Many companies certify professionals who demonstrate leadership abilities and project management capabilities. If you are a project manager or want to become one, knowing about the various certifications available can help you choose the best one. In this article, we explain what a project manager certification is, outline its benefits and list ones to consider for a fulfilling career.

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

What Is A Project Manager Certification?

A project manager certification is a credential that verifies your ability to lead complex projects. During your certification, you learn to implement agile strategies, meet deadlines and improve communication among team members and with clients. Several organisations administer certifications. They each have unique eligibility requirements and goals. You can pursue these certifications to add credentials to your resume and make yourself a more attractive candidate when applying for project manager jobs. There are numerous certifications, so select one that aligns with your career goals.

Related: Importance Of A Project Manager In An Organisation

Benefits Of A Project Manager Certification

Here are some benefits of earning a certificate:

Advances your career

Completing a certificate shows your willingness to put in the effort to excel and achieve longevity in the field. It also shows your commitment to learning new skills. During an interview, emphasising, and highlighting the relevance of your certifications can impress employers and help you secure a job.

Develops your skills

These certifications give you in-depth knowledge of project management concepts and processes. Implementing these processes company-wide, and building your technical and problem-solving abilities can improve your value at a company. On your resume or cover letter, describe the skills you learnt from your certification to show you are a suitable candidate for any project manager job.

Builds your professional network

Many certifications give you access to a professional membership or network. These people can recommend you to employers looking for a certified project management professional. You can also gain access to networking events to help you interact with other project management professionals in different industries.

Related: 9 Project Management Types For A Project Manager

Types Of Project Management Certifications

Consider the following certifications that can help you get a job as a project manager:

Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM)

The CAPM is an entry-level certification for people starting their careers in project management. This certification teaches you the best practices for managing projects, the fundamentals of project management and the project manager's role in the organisation. This certification focuses on project scope, cost, quality, resource management and scheduling. Earning your CAPM certification requires a bachelor's degree or equivalent and 23 hours of project management education. The exam has 150 questions and you have three hours to complete it. CAPM certificate holders require 15 professional development units (PDUs) every three years to maintain their certification.

Related: 11 Important Aspects Of Project Management (And 5 Stages)

Project Management Professional (PMP)

The PMP certification from Project Management Institute (PMI) evaluates your ability to manage people, business procedures and goals. This certification shows potential employers you have the experience, education, and competency to lead and direct projects. Many industries, domestic and abroad, recognise this credential. After completing the PMP certification, you can use agile methods and predictive or hybrid approaches and prove your project leadership experience and expertise.

Employers prefer project managers with PMP certification because it emphasises your soft skills. These skills help you effectively lead a project team, reinforce project management's technical aspects, and highlight the connection between organisational strategies and the project. Prerequisites for earning a PMP are one of the following:

  • A diploma or secondary degree, 60 months of experience leading projects and 35 hours of project management education

  • A four-year degree, 36 months of experience leading projects and 35 hours of project management education

Related: A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Manage Projects (With Tips)

Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP)

Another certification from PMI is the Agile Certified Practitioner. Agile is a project management style that releases projects in cycles. This certification proves your experience working in an agile team, and validates your knowledge of agile techniques and principles. The PMI-ACP spans approaches such as Kanban, scrum and test-driven development (TDD). Agile allows businesses to react faster to market demands and creates market differentiation. Some prerequisites are as follows:

  • 2,000 hours of project experience working on teams

  • 1,500 hours of experience with agile methodologies

  • 21 contact hours of training in agile practices

To maintain your certification, PMI requires 30 PDUs on any agile topic every three years. The PMI-ACP certification has 120 multiple-choice questions. Participants have three hours to complete it.

Related: 9 Agile Certifications That Can Advance Your Career

Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

Certified ScrumMaster is a certification from Scrum Alliance. It helps project managers learn agile methods and tactics. It teaches you to guide your team effectively with scrum principles, such as daily reviews. By completing the course, you learn about team accountability, events and artefacts, which helps you apply the scrum techniques. CSM training gives you the confidence to apply these techniques in your job and expand your career opportunities.

Many businesses prefer project managers with this certification. It helps them hire leaders who can make organisational changes. After completing your CSM certificate, you can complete an Advanced Certified ScrumMaster certificate and the Certified Scrum Professional certificate.

Related: 16 Types Of Scrum Master Certifications And Their Benefits

Certified Project Manager (CPM)

The International Association of Project Managers (IAMP) offers the CPM, which is a mid-level certificate. It is ideal for project managers who want to learn project management processes for different industries, such as marketing, finance and information technology (IT). Many jobs require this certification because it shows a candidate's project management capabilities and helps build interpersonal skills.

When preparing for this certification, study on your own or use material supplied by the IAPM on their website. Once you feel comfortable with the material, register online to take the exam. There is no professional experience required for the CPM certification.

Program Management Professional (PgMP)

Another certification to consider is the PgMP from PMI. For this certification, project managers learn to coordinate multiple related projects. As a PgMP-certified project manager, you can significantly impact a business's direction by managing multiple projects together. The exam takes four hours and has 170 multiple-choice questions. To maintain your PgMP certification, PMI requires 60 PDUs every three years. Prerequisites for this certification include one of the following:

  • A diploma or secondary degree, 6,000 hours of project management experience and 10,500 hours of programme management experience

  • A four-year degree, 6,000 hours of project management experience and 6,000 hours of programme management experience

Related: PMO Vs Project Manager: Difference And Similarities

CompTIA Project+

Project managers working on small to mid-sized projects pursue the CompTIA Project+. Rather than teaching project managers about project management methodology, this certification focuses on key concepts, such as managing a project's lifecycle. It teaches students about effective communication, managing resources and creating proper documentation. The exam comprises 95 multiple-choice questions, which you have 90 minutes to complete. You require 12 months of cumulative project management experience or equivalent education. After completing the course, you are proficient in the following:

  • Managing the project life cycle

  • Managing resources and stakeholders

  • Maintaining project documentation

  • Ensuring appropriate communications

Certified Project Director (CPD)

Another internationally recognised certification is the Certified Project Director, which is ideal for senior project management executives and people with years of experience. The Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM) offers the CPD certification. This certification helps senior managers acquire new skills, uses advanced techniques to manage and control complex projects and issues. It is an online course that takes 20 to 25 hours. The exam comprises 100 multiple-choice questions and takes 80 minutes to complete.

After passing the exam, the certificate is valid for five years. You can retake the exam or complete the e-course to renew your certification. To become eligible, you require a bachelor's or post-graduate degree in project management or a related area.

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