7 Project Manager Certifications (Plus Benefits of Pursuing)

Updated October 18, 2022

A project manager executes all facets of a project from start to finish and ensures it meets the guidelines provided by a client. Project managers establish a budget that management personnel approves, in addition to creating a schedule and setting deadlines for each step of the production process. Receiving a project manager certification can increase your skills and improve your efficiency in this role.

In this article, we define project manager certifications, describe their benefits and explore several types of project manager certifications you can pursue to improve your skills.

What is a project manager certification?

A project manager certification is a professional development credential that enhances your ability to complete projects effectively. Those who want to pursue a career as a project manager can pursue these types of certificates, but you can also get this certification if you're seeking to add credentials to your resume and make yourself a more attractive candidate when applying for open positions. You can apply the variety of certifications you may earn to multiple industries, so aim to select one that aligns with your career path.

Read more: Setting Goals To Improve Your Career

Benefits of earning project manager certifications

You can get a project manager certificate for many reasons. The most compelling may include that they are:

Career advancement

Each project manager certificate has its parameters, but getting your certificate shows your willingness to put in the effort required to achieve longevity in this field. It can also show your commitment to learning a new skill if you previously worked in a job separate from project management. Make sure that you highlight the significance of getting your certification during an interview with the hiring manager to present the trajectory of your career.

Related: How To Become a Capital Project Manager (With Tips)

Widely recognized credential

Employers often widely recognize project manager certifications, depending on the type of certification you get. For instance, a Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate is a globally recognized credential, so you can apply to many jobs and receive consideration from a wide range of employers. This way, you know the expectations of when you can add this to your resume for each job you're pursuing.

Related: How To Write a Telecom Project Manager Resume in 10 Steps

Helps develop workplace skills

Receiving a project manager certificate gives you in-depth knowledge of project management concepts and processes. You can implement the application of these processes on a company-wide level, and it can build your technical, communication and problem-solving skills. You can list these skills individually on your resume, and you can exhibit how the skills you acquire lead to increased performance regarding previously completed projects.

Related: What Are Dependencies in Project Management? (Plus Types)

Can increase earning potential

A certificate provides you with practical professional experience outside of the workplace. You can use this as a negotiation tool in the event you receive an offer from a company. Also, a certificate can give you more job security, as you can use the core skills that you learned to improve an organization's project management processes for the future.

Related: How To Write a Freelance Project Manager Cover Letter

Useful for gaining more connections

You can grow the size of your professional network with a project manager certificate, as different organizations administer them. See if the certificate you're looking to obtain includes networking events to help you interact with project management professionals and others in this field. These opportunities can offer you a step toward pursuing an open position that fits your qualifications or a contact who wants to sit down with you and discuss their background and advice to assist in advancing your career.

Read more: How To Choose the Right Career Path for You in 9 Steps

7 types of project manager certifications

Here are the different types of project manager certifications that can help you get a job as a project manager:

1. Agile Certified Practitioner

An Agile Certified Practitioner, formally known as (PMI-ACP), is a certificate through the Project Management Institute (PMI). It reveals that you know Agile principles and you're experienced in working with techniques like test-driven development (TDD) or extreme programming (XP). Ideally, your experience can streamline the production and completion of all software from the beginning and provide it to the customer at the end of the project cycle. You should also gain valuable experience in working efficiently with various teams and solving complex problems and meeting tight deadlines.

This certification requires 2,000 hours of working on projects with teams, 1,500 hours working on Agile teams and 21 hours working with Agile processes themselves to be eligible for the program, so it's mainly for professionals with years of experience striving for advancement.

Related: Contract Manager vs. Project Manager: What's the Difference?

2. Project Management Professional (PMP)

PMP certificate helps prove that you're an experienced professional when working on projects. It's one of the most recognized certificates you can get in this field. The program educates you in all aspects of project management including budgeting, time management, risk management and internal communication. The certification requires you to have professional job experience in leading projects.

If you have a bachelor's degree, you need three years of professional experience in managing projects and 35 previous hours of project management training. If you have an associate degree, it's a requirement to have five years of experience managing projects, along with 35 hours of project management training.

Related: What Is Agile Project Management? Values, Principles and Steps

3. Certified Associate in Project Management

Certified Associate in Project Management, or CAPM, is for entry-level professionals looking to enhance their project management skills. This certificate gives a walkthrough of the fundamentals of project management that are essential for earning your first position in a project role. It's a requirement to have a high school diploma or an associate degree to be eligible, and it's a requirement to have 23 hours of project management education before you take the certification exam.

Related: Project Sponsor vs. Project Manager: Key Differences

4. Certified Scrum Master

Certified Scrum Master understands Scrum and Agile frameworks that aid in finishing large projects. You get a full understanding of receiving quick feedback from different teams, quickly adapting to project deadlines and increasing the speed of service you're offering to your clients. You participate in a 16-hour, in-person course, and it's required to get at least 37 questions correct on the exam to pass your certification.

5. Master Project Manager

Master Project Manager certificate focuses on the improvement of your business and technical skills that lead to faster project completion. This combination of business and technical skills can make you a more competitive job candidate and help you secure a higher salary. It's a requirement to have three years of experience in project management to get the certification.

Related: 13 Project Management Tips To Help You Succeed

6. Certified Project Manager

The Certified Project Manager certificate is a mid-level certificate for project management professionals. This type of certificate receives global recognition, and it's best for professionals seeking to learn project management processes for various industries such as information technology (IT), marketing and finance. Earning this certification can open up opportunities that can help you transition from a different industry. It's a requirement to have five years of experience working on projects and three years of experience leading project teams.

Related: How To Hire a Project Manager

7. CompTIA Project+

The CompTIA Project+ certificate highlights the advancement of skills in business and communication to finish projects. It's intended as an expanded education route that appropriately uses company resources and documents projects accordingly to their scope. It's a requirement to have logged 4,500 hours of leading projects and 35 hours of completed education in project management.

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