10 Project Manager Certifications To Boost Your PM Resume

Updated November 3, 2022

An infographic of a project organization diagram with "project manager" at the top center, with lines linking to "hardware leader," "software leader" and "production leader."

Regardless of your industry, project management certification shows that you possess valuable management skills. Becoming certified can help you in boosting your resume and earning potential, as well as further develop in your career.

In this article, we list 10 of the top project management certifications you can pursue as a project manager, as well as go over the steps you can take to become a certified PM and the jobs where PM certification can help you stand out.

Project management certifications

Multiple institutes offer project management certifications. Most people hold only one certification, though you pursue as many as you want as a PM. Along with Scrum and Six Sigma techniques, these certifications are from the following organizations:

  • Global Association of Quality Management (GAQM)

  • Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)

  • International Association of Project Managers (IAPM)

  • Project Management Institute (PMI)

Here are 10 project management certifications you might consider:

1. Certified Agile Project Manager (IAPM)

This certification from the International Association of Project Managers targets Agile project management. Similar to the Certified Project Manager certifications, there are junior and senior certifications available based on your Agile project management experience. The test is 120 questions and you need to answer 65% correctly to pass. The test is 80 minutes long.

Related: 9 Common Types of Agile Methodologies

2. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

Focuses on the fundamentals of project management. This certification teaches you the basics for entry-level project management positions. To sit for the CAPM exam, you must have a secondary degree (that is, a high school diploma, GED, or international equivalent) and 23 hours of project management experience.

Related: The Importance of Project Management (With Examples)

3. Certified Project Manager (IAPM)

Focuses on the basics of project management. Note there are two levels:

  • Junior Certified Project Manager if you have less experience

  • Certified Senior Project Manager certification if you have extensive experience

As with the Agile exam from IAPM, you’ll be given 80 minutes to complete the test. To pass, you must answer 65% of the 120 questions correctly.

Related: 10 Essential Project Management Principles

4. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

Shows you can lead a team in a Scrum environment. You must attend an in-person training course and pass a multiple-choice exam to get a CSM. After obtaining your CSM certification, you can obtain an Advanced Certified ScrumMaster certificate then a Certified Scrum Professional-ScrumMaster certificate.

5. CompTIA Project+

Demonstrates you can lead small- to medium-sized projects in the IT field. This certification covers the entire project management life cycle. To obtain CompTIA Project+ certification, you need to score 710 or higher (on a scale of 100 to 900) on an exam consisting of 95 multiple-choice questions. You have 90 minutes to complete the exam.

Related: What Is IT Project Management? (With Benefits and Tips)

6. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)

Demonstrates that you can apply Agile principles to project management. Agile is a project management style that releases a project in cycles instead of all at once. A PMI-ACP requires that you have 2,000 hours of experience working on teams, 1,500 hours working on Agile projects and 21 contact hours of Agile training.

7. Program Management Professional (PgMP)

Shows that you can lead a program in an organization or manage multiple projects at once. To sit for the PgMP exam, you need a secondary degree, 6,000 hours of leading projects and 10,500 hours of program management experience. You may also sit for the exam if you have a four-year degree, 6,000 hours of leading projects and 6,000 hours of program management experience.

Related: PMP vs. Agile Project Management Certification

8. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Demonstrates your capability of leading and supporting teams. To obtain a PMP, you must have a secondary degree, 7,500 hours leading projects and 35 hours of project management education. Alternatively, you can have a four-year degree and 4,500 hours leading projects, plus 35 hours of project management education.

9. Professional in Project Management (PPM)

Shows you’re capable of leading a project team in the IT industry. From the Global Association for Quality Management, this exam is 150 multiple-choice questions, and you’re given 120 minutes to complete it. To pass, you must score 75% or higher (or 113 correct).

Related: 13 Project Management Tips To Help You Succeed

10. Six Sigma certifications

Six Sigma is an approach to business that helps improve work and product quality. There are four Six Sigma certifications:

  • Yellow belt: For project team members

  • Green belt: For project team members who support analysis and may assist in leading a team

  • Black belt: For project managers

  • Master black belt: For managers who develop strategies and train black and green belts

There's not a step-by-step process to obtain these certifications, which means you can earn a black belt without getting a green belt first. Multiple institutes offer Six Sigma certifications.

Related: 10 Reasons To Become a Project Manager

Project management roles

Project management certifications provide opportunities for a variety of jobs, not just as a project manager. You may wonder, “Is becoming certified worth it?” According to a survey by the Project Management Institute, a certification may help with earning potential. Also, as noted above, these certifications can immediately convey to an employer that you possess a certain skill set.

1. Project coordinator

National average salary: $55,663 per year

Primary duties: Project coordinators assist team project managers in monitoring their team’s progress on a project. They help create timelines, work with teams to develop schedules and monitor the project’s progress. They often use spreadsheets to track multiple sources of information. Project coordinators need critical thinking skills and strong attention to detail.

Companies with this position: AAA National, The Geneva Foundation, American Institutes for Research

2. Program manager

National average salary: $64,851 per year

Primary duties: Program managers organize and monitor a company’s programs. They create and manage budgets and program teams. Some program managers must write requests for funding, such as grants. They work with various departments to ensure the programs function correctly. They also analyze and minimize program risks. Program managers need time management and leadership skills.

Companies with this position: Workforce Opportunity Services, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Wiley

3. Project manager

National average salary: $77,268 per year

Primary duties: Project managers plan, coordinate and execute project plans. They work with everyone involved in the project and communicate any changes to ensure the project flows smoothly. They must keep the project within the budget and deadline. They manage client expectations and provide feedback to their teams. Project managers need excellent communication and teamwork skills.

Companies with this position: Westmor Industries, Site Impact, CRF Health

4. Project director

National average salary: $85,104 per year

Primary duties: Project directors oversee all projects in a company. They develop and execute strategies on multiple projects at once. They may make financial and staffing decisions. Additionally, they may monitor a team of project managers. Project directors need leadership and analytical skills.

Companies with this position: Signature Flight Support, ProCaps Laboratories, Syneos Health Clinical

5. Product owner

National average salary: $109,124 per year

Primary duties: Product owners collaborate with a development team to create a goal for a final product. They realize the full potential of the product and motivate their team to work toward that goal. They serve as a contact between their team and client. Product owners need strategic planning and strong communication skills.

Companies with this position: Verisys, Pinnacle Solutions, iStreamPlanet

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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