3 Major Project Management Certifications and their importance

Being a project manager comes with a lot of responsibility. Although you may have a number of employees beneath you, it is you who will be harshly judged if the result is not what was promised. One way to prepare for these challenges is by securing a project management certification. 

Project Management Certifications
Project Management Certifications

Below, we’ll introduce you to the benefits of this certification and then show you which ones may have the biggest impact on your career. Project management certification is vital. Aside from the fact that these certifications look great on a resume, they have truly tangible benefits too. 

Just a few include:
  • Project management certification has shown a clear connection to overall project performance. 
  • These certifications are also linked to high-performing projects; 80% of them are overseen by a certified project manager.
  • Companies with the highest maturity levels have a project management certification rate of 95%.

  • That data was from a survey PWC did in 2006. 10 years later, demand for certified managers continues to rise. 
  • In fact, by 2020, an estimated 6.2 million jobs will require certified project managers to fill them. That’s an increase of about 12% from today.
  • Finally, employees with project management certifications can expect much greater salaries too. For example, those with PMP certifications (which introduce you to in a moment) earn 20% more on average than those without it.

The Major Project Management Certifications

Now that you’re familiar with what a project management certification could do for your career, it’s important that you know what your options are. While there are countless versions out there to choose from, we’re going to focus on the best certifications from five different categories.

Project Management Professional(PMP)

The PMP is really considered the gold standard among project managers. Achieving this certification proves you understand how to manage all of the triple constraints: cost, time and scope.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the organization responsible for this credential and has a highly-regarded track record in this industry. It works closely with academia and businesses to constantly update this certification’s relevance.

·         Secondary degree, 7,500 hours spent managing and directing projects with another 35 hours spent on project management education.

- or -

·         Four-year degree, 4,500 hours of experience managing and directing projects and an additional 35 hours of education in project management practices.

Examination Format: 200 multiple-choice questions about the project management life cycle. You have four hours to take it.

Certified Associate in Project Management(CAPM)

The CAPM is a precursor to the above certification and, thus, is also administered by PMI. For those without a lot of experience, this is the perfect stepping stone toward acquiring the PMP.

·         Secondary degree and 1,500 hours of project experience
- or -
·         23 hours of project management education to be completed prior to sitting for the exam

Examination Format: There are 150 multiple choice questions. You have three hours to complete the test.

Master Project Manager (MPM)

The MPM certification is overseen by the American Academy of Project Management. Theirs is based off of the professional license model that lawyers, doctors, engineers and other professionals follow.

·         3 years of project management training and experience

            - or –

AAPM degree

            - or –

·         Master’s degree with:

o   Other relevant training and experience
            - or -
o   Military experience
            - or -
o   Project management instructor experience

Examination Format: The exam consists of 20 questions. You have 55 minutes to complete it and must get at least 65% correct to pass.

Associate in Project Management
The APM is administered by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM). This global, non-profit oversees a number of credentials relevant to the world of IT, project management being one of them.

The certification is designed for those who want to start in IT or have just recently done so. It focuses on a broad base of knowledge and emphasizes clear direction, effective resource allocation, adaptability to change, risk management and quality assurance.

Prerequisites: No formal education or experience is required, but candidates must go through the GAQM body of knowledge study and online course. This is why the APM is such a great opportunity for those who are new to project management in the field of IT.

Examination Format: The exam is made up of 50 multiple choice questions that you must take in front of a web cam in under an hour. You need to get 35 correct to pass.

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner
If you’re looking for an agile certification, PMI has a very well-respected certification that recognizes your knowledge of agile standards and techniques. The PMI-ACP certification course covers Kanban, Scrum, Lean, test-driven development (TDD) and extreme programming (XP). PMI-ACP is the organization’s fastest growing certification.

·         2,000 hours of general project experience with teams or a PMP or PgMP certification.
·         1,500 hours of experience working on agile project teams or using agile methodologies.
·         21 contact hours of training in agile principles

Examination Format: The exam is made up of 120 multiple-choice questions. You are given three hours to complete it.

As you can see, there is no shortage of options where project management certification is concerned and, as we outlined at the beginning, there are benefits for both employees and employers. If you’re looking for a way to improve your skills as a project manager and earn a larger salary, you now know how. 

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