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Guide to Project Manager Certifications (with Top Certifications)

February 25, 2020

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A project manager must execute all facets of a project from start to finish and ensure it meets the guidelines provided by the client. Project managers need to establish a budget that's approved by management in addition to creating a schedule and setting deadlines for each step of the production process. Overall, receiving a project manager certification can increase your skills and improve your efficiency of the tasks you're working on.

In this article, we outline what a project manager certification is, its benefits and the top types of project manager certifications you can get to improve your skills.

Read more: Learn About Being a Project Manager

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What is a project manager certification?

A project manager certification is a professional development tool that enhances your ability to complete projects effectively. These types of certificates can be pursued by professionals who want to make a career as a project manager, but you can get this certification if you're seeking to add depth to your resume and make yourself a more attractive candidate when applying for open positions. The variety of certifications you may earn can be applied to multiple industries, so aim to select one that aligns with your career path.

Read more: Setting Goals to Improve Your Career

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Benefits of earning project manager certifications

You can get your project manager certificate for many reasons. The most compelling include:

  • It's beneficial for career advancement. Each project manager certificate has its parameters but getting your certificate shows your willingness to put in the work required to have 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 list the significance of getting your certification during an interview with the hiring manager to display the trajectory of your career.
  • It can have a broad appeal. A project manager's certification can be widely recognized depending on the type of certification you get. For instance, a Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate is global, so you can apply to any job in the world and have it be considered by any employer. Be sure to check out if other project manager certifications can be accepted in other states or countries. This way, you'll know the expectations of when you can add this to your resume for which job you're applying for.
  • It enhances your workplace skills. Receiving a project manager certificate gives you in-depth knowledge of project management concepts and processes. The application of these processes can be implemented 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.
  • It can lead to an increased earnings potential. A certificate provides you with practical professional experience outside of the workplace. This can be used 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 your organization's project management processes for the future. Keep in mind that an applicant with a master's degree or multiple certificates can have high earnings potential as well.
  • It can lead to more connections. You can grow the size of your professional network with a project manager certificate as they're administered by different organizations. 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 lead to an open position that fits your qualifications or a contact that wants to sit down with you and discuss their background and advice to assist in advancing your career.

Read more: Choosing a Career Path in 9 Steps

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Types of project manager certifications

Take a look at the different types of project manager certifications that can land you a job in this role one day:

  • Agile Certified Practitioner
  • Project Management Professional
  • Certified Associate in Project Management
  • Certified Scrum Master
  • Master Project Manager
  • Certified Project Manager
  • CompTIA Project +

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 as well as solving complex problems and meeting tight deadlines.

However, you need to have 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.

Project Management Professional

A PMP certificate proves 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. You do need professional job experience in leading projects to get this certification.

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, you need to have five years of experiences managing projects, along with the 35 hours of project management training,

Certified associate in project management

A 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 is essential for earning your first position in a project role. You need to have a high school diploma or an associate degree to be eligible, and you must have 23 hours of project management education before you take the certification exam.

Certified Scrum Master

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

Master Project Manager

A 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 a better-salaried employee. You need to have three years of experience in project management to get the certification, and you must send in a resume to the American Academy of Project Management to be considered.

Certified Project Manager

The Certified Project Manager certificate is known for being a mid-level certificate for project management professionals. This type of certificate is globally-recognized, and it's best-suited for professionals seeking to learn project management processes for various industries such as IT, marketing and finance. Earning this certification can open up opportunities that can help you transition from a different industry. You need to have five years of experience working on projects and three years of experience leading project teams.

CompTIA Project +

The CompTia Project+ certificate is one that 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. You need to have 4,500 hours of time leading projects and 35 hours of completed education in project management.

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