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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

Many global organizations offer project management certificates, with the Project Management Institute (PMI) serving as the leading organization for project management. Other important associations include ScrumAlliance, the American Academy of Project Management, and ILX Group, which offers the PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner certifications.

The first step to becoming a certified project manager is determining which kind of project manager you are (or want to be) and selecting the certificate that makes the most sense for you.

PMI certificates

There are eight different types of PMI project management certificates. Four of these are general knowledge certificates, and the other four are specialty certificates that require a mix of business experience and education.

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 before taking the exam.
  • Program Management Professional (PgMP): This certification is geared towards those 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.

The more specialized certificates are:

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 ScrumMaster (CSM): Offered by ScrumAlliance, 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 takes time, effort, and money (yes, it costs money). However, many project managers claim their certification has landed them jobs and higher salaries. The PMI claims certified project managers earn 20% more than uncertified project managers. However, many project managers have received their training on the job and are highly successful without such certifications.

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