No matter how small, where it’s located or what industry it serves, every business needs to rely on project management to be successful. Without effective project managers, a company would have difficulty delivering new products and services to customers, growing revenue and meeting other critical business objectives.
Besides earning a degree, an aspiring or current project management professional can also enroll in courses and earn certifications in project management to go the extra mile. Knowing which certificates are worth the time, energy and money can be challenging with so many choices.
Continue reading to learn about project management certifications and how they could benefit someone looking to increase their knowledge, improve their skills and land a project management position.
Why earn a project management certification?
Project management skills can help job-seekers improve their marketability and show potential employers what value they can bring to an organization. Projects are getting more complex and resource-intensive, meaning 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) survey found that U.S. project managers who earned a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification reported 26% higher salaries than those who did not.
When a hiring manager or recruiter parses through thousands of resumes, those with a project management certification may rank higher, meaning that those candidates would have a higher chance of being hired at an organization. While this is not a guarantee, it’s commonly understood that earning this type of certification can increase a job seeker’s value in a tight labor market.
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Best project management certifications
For those interested in receiving a project management certification, it’s worth researching which one will help them improve their skills, build their knowledge and potentially advance their career. 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’s considered the “gold standard” for project management. Those who earn this certification can typically work in any industry, use any methodology and succeed in various situations. There are also helpful online training courses available for professionals who want to sit for the PMP exam and earn the certification.
Top-performing companies like ExxonMobil, Apple, Exelon and SAIC often hire project managers with a PMP certification. The PMI does have some criteria professionals must meet to be eligible for the PMP certification. These criteria can be found directly on the PMI’s official website and other resources for professionals looking to earn the PMP.
The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification is a suitable option for those early on in their professional project management career. The CAPM certification demonstrates that an entry-level project manager has a strong foundation in project management. It takes a lot of experience to become a solid project manager. Still, this certification can help young professionals earn their first professional role and become more marketable to potential employers.
Before earning the PMP certification, many novice project managers will complete training and receive the CAPM certification. Earning the CAPM certification is easier as it has fewer requirements than the PMP. For example, professionals must have 23 hours of formal project management training, which is much less than the number of hours required for the 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 look for candidates with these certifications delivered by AXELOS, a joint venture between the U.K. government and Capita.
These certifications can help professionals improve their skills and capabilities. They both focus on managing a project from the start (initiation) to finish (delivery). The PRINCE2 Foundation is a more basic certification, and the PRINCE2 Practitioner is a more advanced certification. Many will earn the Foundation certification before the Practitioner, but both are some of 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 enrolling in online Agile courses, reading relevant literature and spending time researching some major 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 looking to enhance their skills and grow their knowledge, specifically in Agile project management. Professionals need to have some basic understanding of Agile, but no specific amount of project experience is required for this certification.
While there are many other project management certifications out there, these are some of the best options to choose from and can help project management professionals improve their skills. Earning a certification is a big commitment—that being said, the benefits often outweigh the drawbacks.
Consider earning a project management certification
Project management roles are becoming increasingly popular, so it’s important for those interested in them to stand out from the crowd. One way to do this is by earning a certification, which allows someone to prove their skills and knowledge to a potential employer.
While these certifications may not guarantee an aspiring or seasoned project manager a job, it will be a good step in the right direction to earn a certification to bring their career to the next level.