Find out which project management certifications can help you gain the skills you need for a project management role.
No matter how small it is, where it is located or what industry it operates in, every business needs to be able to rely on project management to be successful. Without effective project managers, a company would struggle to deliver new products and services to customers, increase revenue, and achieve other critical business objectives.
In addition to earning a degree, an aspiring or current project management professional can also enroll in courses and earn certifications in project management to take it one step further. Knowing which certificates are worth the time, energy and money can be a challenge with so many choices.
Read on to learn more about project management certifications and how they can benefit someone looking to advance their knowledge, improve their skills, and land a project management position.
Why get a project management certification?
Project management skills can help job seekers improve their marketability and show potential employers the value they can add to an organization. Projects are getting more complex and intensive, which means employers need to invest in a solid project manager with expertise and project management skills to get the job done.
Project managers are in demand in virtually every industry, from construction to advertising and everything in between. A Project Management Institute (PMI) study found that U.S. project managers who have achieved Project Management Professional (PMP) certification reported 26% higher salaries than those who didn’t.
When a hiring manager or recruiter searches through thousands of resumes, those with project management certification can rank higher, meaning those candidates have a higher chance of being hired at an organization. While not a guarantee, it is widely believed that obtaining this type of certification can increase the value of a job seeker in a tight job market.
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Best Project Management Certifications
For those interested in receiving a project management certification, it’s worth exploring which one will help them improve their skills, build their knowledge, and potentially advance their careers. Below are some of the best project management certifications to consider.
In simple terms, the PMP certification is the most recognized in the project management industry. It is considered the “gold standard” for project management. Typically, those who earn this certification can work in any industry, use any method, and succeed in a variety of situations. There are also useful online training available to professionals who wish to take the PMP exam and earn the certification.
Top performing companies like ExxonMobil, Apple, Exelon and SAIC often hire project managers with PMP certification. The PMI does have some criteria that professionals must meet in order to qualify for the PMP certification. These criteria can be found immediately on the official website of the PMI and other resources for professionals who want to earn the PMP.
The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification is a suitable option for those at the beginning of their professional project management career. The CAPM certification shows that a starting project manager has a strong foundation in project management. It takes a lot of experience to become a solid project manager. Yet this certification can help young professionals earn their first professional role and become more marketable to potential employers.
Before obtaining the PMP certification, many budding project managers will undergo training and receive the CAPM certification. Obtaining the CAPM certification is easier as there are fewer requirements than the PMP. For example, professionals must have completed 23 hours of formal project management training, which is far less than the number of hours required for PMP certification.
PRINCE2 Foundation/PRINCE2 Practitioner
The PRINCE2 Foundation or PRINCE2 Practitioner certifications are two other highly sought after certifications for project managers. Government agencies and organizations often seek candidates with these certifications provided by AXELOSa joint venture between the British government and Capita.
These certifications can help professionals improve their skills and abilities. They both focus on managing a project from the beginning (initiation) to the end (delivery). The PRINCE2 Foundation is a more basic certification and the PRINCE2 Practitioner is a more advanced certification. Many will earn Foundation certification before Practitioner, but both are among the best credentials in the industry.
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Certified Agile Project Manager (IAPM)
Last but not least, the Certified Agile Project Manager certification is offered by the International Association of Project Managers (IAPM). The IAPM recommends: register for online Agile courses, read relevant literature and spend time researching some key topics. Scrum roles, product backlog, team building, conflict management and project environment are some examples of relevant topics for this certification.
This certification is best suited for managers who want to improve their skills and increase their knowledge, especially in Agile project management. Professionals should have some basic knowledge of Agile, but no specific amount of project experience is required for this certification.
While there are many other project management certifications, these are some of the best options to choose from and help project management professionals hone their skills. Getting a certification is a big commitment – that said, the benefits often outweigh the drawbacks.
Consider getting a project management certification
Project management roles are becoming more and more popular, so it is important for those interested in them to stand out from the crowd. One way to do this is by obtaining a certification, which allows one to prove their skills and knowledge to a potential employer.
While these certifications may not guarantee an aspiring or seasoned project manager a job, getting a certification is a good step in the right direction to take their career to the next level.