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How to Become a Certified Project Manager

Are you ready to take the next step in your career? Have you wondered how to become a verified project management professional? If so, it’s time to get certified.A project management certification can give you valuable skills, knowledge and expertise—not to mention a seal of approval from a reputable program. So how can you get certified in project management?

How to get a project management certification

There are a variety of global organizations that offer project management certificates, with the Project Management Institute (PMI) serving as the leading organization for all things project management. Other important associations include The Scrum Alliance, American Academy of Project Management and ILX Group, which offers the PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner certifications.

The first step to become a certified project manager is to determine which kind of project manager you are — or want to be — and select the certificate that makes the most sense for you.

PMI certificates

There are eight different types of project management certificates from PMI. Four of those can be considered general-knowledge certificates, and the other four can be categorized as specialty certificates.

The general certificates are:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP): This is what PMI calls the “gold standard of project management certification.” It is the most popular and perhaps most well-known of all the project management certifications. It generally requires three to five years of experience and 35 hours of project management education.
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM): This entry-level certificate requires 23 hours of project management education prior to taking the exam.
  • Program Management Professional (PgMP): This certification is geared towards those individuals who manage multiple, complex projects and have between four and 11 years of experience.
  • Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP): According to PMI, the PfMP demonstrates the “proven ability in the coordinated management of one or more portfolios to achieve organizational objectives.” Professionals seeking this certificate must have a minimum of eight years of portfolio management experience.
  • There are four additional certificates offered by PMI that cover more specialized areas of expertise. Each of these requires a mix of business experience and education:PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA): According to PMI, this certificate “spotlights your ability to work effectively with stakeholders to define their business requirements, shape the output of projects and drive successful business outcomes.”
  • PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP): This certificate was created for professionals who regularly apply agile principles in their project management.
  • PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP): This certificate targets candidates in risk-management roles.
  • PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP): This certificate validates the abilities of individuals responsible for the scheduling of projects.

Project management certificates from other organizations

Professional organizations around the world offer additional certifications in the project management arena. A few of the popular ones are:

  • Certified Scrum Master (CSM): Offered by The Scrum Alliance, this certification qualifies individuals in the practice of the agile methodology known as Scrum.
  • PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner: These two designations are well known in the U.K. and are administered by the ILX Group. PRINCE2 Foundation tests basic project management terminology and methodology, while PRINCE2 Practitioner tests advanced project management capabilities.
  • CompTIA Project+: Offered by CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association, this project management certification is similar to PMI’s CAPM designation.
  • Certified Project Management Practitioner (CPMP): Administered by the EC-Council, this course aims “to add value to management professionals by developing managerial, leadership and technical skills required to make any project, small or complex, a success,” according to CIO.com.

The benefits of project management certification

Getting certified may take time, effort and money (yes, it costs money to get certified). However, many project managers claim their certification has landed them jobs and higher salaries. The PMI claims certified project managers make 20% more than uncertified project managers.However, there are many project managers who have received their training on the job and are highly successful without such certifications.

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