If you are considering a career in project management, you may be asking what a project management certification is. Do I need one? If so, which one should I pursue, how tough will it be to accomplish, and what will I be able to do with it?
If you are new to the profession or want to further your career in project management, earning a certification is an excellent method to show your talents and set yourself apart from other applicants.
If you currently have informal project management experience, earning a project management certification may help you add depth, breadth, and value to your present skill set and prepare you to move into a formal project manager job.
One of the most powerful advantages of being a Project Manager is that it is a skill set not confined to any industry or business type. The Project Management Institute (PMI) research indicates that project management-oriented careers in seven sectors are expected to grow by 33%, or nearly 22 million jobs, through 2027.
Additionally, credentialed project managers are in great demand – and earn a higher salary. In the United States, project managers certified by the Project Management Professional (PMP) earn an average of 16% more (about $14,500) than their non-credentialed counterparts. (Source.)
Different Types of Project Management Certification
There are several project management certificates available, however, the following two are the most well-known:
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
- PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments)
PMP: Project Management Professional
The Project Management Institute (PMI) not only stands behind its Project Management Professional certification but also collaborates with academics and training providers to guarantee that the many curricula that support this and other PMI certifications provide enough content and currency.
With over 500,000 global members and 750,000 PMP-certified professionals worldwide, PMI’s PMP certificate continues to be one of the most renowned project management qualifications available.
That is why there are so many institutes offering PMP training at the college and university levels. This is also why some degree programs (typically at the master’s degree level) may include PMP coverage.
Employers seeking the most highly competent project management experts prize the PMP certificate. The PMP certification was developed by project managers and is the highest level of PMI certification available.
It is aimed to guarantee that credential holders have the skills and credentials required to manage all aspects of a project effectively, including initiating, planning, scheduling, managing and monitoring, and concluding the project.
PMP-certified project managers are also knowledgeable and talented in handling the triple constraints of time, money, and scope.
Employers rely on PMP experts’ ability to manage budgets, monitor expenses, control scope creep, detect how changes to the triple constraints may bring risk into the project, and mitigate such risk to safeguard the project’s investment.
The PMP certification process is tough. Apart from completing a thorough examination, credential holders must first show and confirm that they possess the requisite abilities and knowledge to thrive in the area of project management.
Credential applicants should be prepared to produce a proof for things such as education, projects completed, and hours spent in each of the five phases of project management – initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and concluding the project.
While obtaining the PMP certificate is challenging, the benefits may be substantial.
The PMP certification continues to be the gold standard for IT and other professionals whose duties include project management. It serves as the benchmark for all other project management certificates.
It is worth noting that, in addition to achieving the qualifications, applicants must pass a tough test. Before candidates may register for the test, they must get an eligibility ID from PMI.
CAPM: Certified Associate in Project Management
The organization that sponsors the more senior Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate also sponsors the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) credential (CAPM).
Indeed, the CAPM is rightly seen as a stepping stone certification for individuals seeking to achieve PMP accreditation incrementally rather than in one great jump. That is why PMI considers the CAPM as a “useful entry-level certification for project practitioners” that is “targeted at those with little or no project experience.”
The PMP certification needs between three and five years of verifiable on-the-job project management experience, depending on the applicant’s educational background.
The CAPM, on the other hand, needs just high school graduation and either 1,500 verified hours of on-the-job experience (about nine months of full-time employment) or 23 hours of project management classroom instruction before taking the test.
The education requirement may be satisfied by enrolling in PMI’s online Project Management Basics course, which costs $350 for PMI members and $400 for non-members.
Nor does the CAPM require continuous education (what PMI refers to as PDUs, or professional development units) in the same way that the PMP does (60 PDUs every three years). CAPM holders must recertify every five years.
Unless you work in a big business with a project management team comprised of junior and senior members, the CAPM is unlikely to give a ticket to a project management job on its own. It is, however, perfect for IT professionals who manage projects on a part-time basis or who want to advance to full-time project management.
- PRINCE 2
If you’re new to project management or still require the credentials needed to take the PMP exam, then you may want to start with the PRINCE2 certification (Projects IN Controlled Environments).
This is a great project management certification that is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their skills in this field.
It is a generic project management method that stems from PRINCE, a certification initially intended to be applied to only IT environments, however in the years following the design of this certification, it was discovered that its processes could be applied across several other environments – this is what prompted the creation of PRINCE2.
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