As companies compete at a global level to earn their place within the industry, they can no longer rely on just anyone to handle the development of their products and services. Businesses of today need someone with specific, professional skills who can oversee all aspects of the project from start to finish leaving no details overlooked. They need certified project managers.
Certified project managers are individuals who have earned a certificate from a nationally recognized project management institution. Certification is awarded after the applicant demonstrates their knowledge through a multiple-question exam, several hours of training, and years of hands-on experience. Some also require post-certification continuing education to ensure the project manager keeps up on the latest best practices and methods.
Certified project managers have gained global recognition and are in high demand among many industries. Their methodical and systematic approach to addressing all areas of the project makes it a useful application for everything from IT to automotive and even consumer-related products.
It's estimated that the growth rate of this profession will be 8 percent over the next 10 years. That means if you’re looking to increase your salary potential, a project management certification could be the way to do it. Certified project managers take home an average salary of $109,405. So what are the best project management certifications that you should be looking into? Let's take a look.
Best Project Management Certifications
Being a certified project manager gives you instant industry recognition, enhances your resume, and allows you to seek employment virtually anywhere in the world. If that sounds like an opportunity that you’d like to seize, then here are five of the best project management certifications you can earn today.
1- Project Management Professional (PMP)
A PMP certification is one of the most well-respected and best known international distinctions that a project manager can hold. Currently, there are over one million PMP certification holders worldwide.
PMPs use their training from the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) to handle a variety of different situations. The PMBOK encompasses a flexible framework of five standard processes (Initiation, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, Closing) and cross-references them with ten unique knowledge areas. This, combined with a prerequisite of three years of on the job, hands-on experience, is what elevates its members to such high levels of esteem.
Project managers who choose to enhance their career with a PMP certification report a 20 percent higher median salary over those without one.
You can earn a PMP certification by passing a 200 multiple-choice question exam from the Project Management Institute.
Prior to taking the exam, there are two paths of requirements you can take:
- A four-year degree, three years leading projects, and 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM Certification
- A high school diploma or an associate’s degree (or global equivalent), five years leading projects, 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM Certification
After receiving your PMP certification, you must then earn 60 professional development units (PDUs) every three years to maintain it.
The PMP exam fee is $405 for PMI members and $555 for non-members.
Though PMI’s website does not state how much the 35 hours of project management education will cost, some estimates put it anywhere between $1,500 to 3,500.
2- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
If the process of becoming a PMP sounds too challenging, the PMI has a similar credential that you can earn called Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM).
CAPMs will learn all of the same basic fundamentals of project management that PMPs will study from the PMBOK. However, the requirements for earning this certification will not be as demanding as those on the path to a PMP. In fact, the PMI advertises the CAPM as a steppingstone credential for those with little or no project experience that would like to gain an entry-level position in the industry.
The CAPM is earned by passing a 150 multiple-choice question exam from the Project Management Institute.
Prior to taking the exam, you must also have:
- Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, or the global equivalent).
- 23 hours of project management education.
To maintain your CAPM, you must retake the exam every five years.
The PMP exam fee is $225 for PMI members and $300 for non-members.
Its also estimated that the 23 hours of project management education training will cost an additional $200.
3- Certified Project Manager (CPM)
The Project Management Institute is not the only certification body to offer project management certifications. The International Association of Project Managers (IAPM) is another group that offers a similar program for those who want to become certified project managers.
Just like the PMP, IAPM Certified Project Manager applicants must demonstrate their knowledge of project management through a thorough examination. Using their own PM Guide 2.0, the test will cover both the hard and soft factors of project management.
Unlike the PMP, applicants are not required to have any prior professional job experience. There is also no post-examination recertification necessary.
The IAPM charges different rates depending on your nationality. U.S. residents will spend approximately $650 to $700 for the certification/examination (based on the current currency rates).
4- Professional in Project Management (PPM)
The Professional in Project Management (PPM) certification is offered by the Global Association for Quality Management, an international certification agency.
PPMs will learn how to plan, execute, control, and complete projects. The core focus on key trends in managing projects as well as how to develop, lead, and motivate project teams.
Candidates are required to pass a 150 multiple-choice question exam. They will need to score at least a 75% (113 correct out of 150 questions) to pass the exam. Course material will be based on an e-course that must be taken prior.
Otherwise, there are no other prerequisites.
$340 for the e-course and exam.
5- Associate in Project Management (APM)
The Associate in Project Management (APM) is a certification similar to the PMI’s CAPM. It is another credential offered by the Global Association for Quality Management and is meant to be an entry-level certification.
Just like the PPM, an APM certificate will demonstrate that the candidate has the required knowledge in the field of Project Management. However, the training will be more tailored to students who have little or no knowledge of project management.
Candidates are required to pass a 50 multiple-choice question exam. They will need to score at least a 70% (35 correct out of 50 questions) to pass the exam. Course material will be based on an e-course that can be taken prior but is not mandatory.
Otherwise, there are no other prerequisites.
$175 for the e-course and exam.
Final Thoughts: Becoming A Certified Project Manager
Becoming a certified project manager can be extremely beneficial in a variety of industries. It'll take some work and knowledge, and you may even want to brush up on your skills and learn more with a project management course. Once you feel ready, use this guide to the best project management certifications and get certified!