Project management certifications

Project management certifications - cover-min

With the predictions being that the world will need 2.2 million new project managers by 2027, things are looking good for aspiring project managers. 

However, hard times might be what’s in store for the employers — because good project managers are hard to come by. 

With a large portion of project managers ending up in that position due to career circumstances, it will be difficult to fill such a high number of jobs with quality employees. What employers will be looking for in their new project managers are experience and a list of credible certifications to back it up.

Certifications are a fantastic way to gain the invaluable knowledge you’ll need in your career as a project manager. They will also open many doors and provide you with ample opportunities to apply that knowledge to projects and gain experience.

But with such a long list of certifications vying for your attention, finding the right one to fit your industry, experience, and budget can be difficult. This is why this article is a brief overview of some of the best project management certifications currently available, grouped by training level, along with:

  • Who each certification is for
  • How to apply
  • Certification prices

So, let’s get into it.

What are project management certifications?

As in any other industry, project management certifications are indicators of a project manager’s competency. 

You can think of them as trophies or awards in a way — excellent athletes become professional athletes, but only the cream of the crop has an array of trophies to show for their achievements.

Project management certifications range from beginner to advanced, and, while they can be acquired simply as “proof of competence”, they can also serve as a gateway into the world of project management for those who wish to switch careers from something completely unrelated.

Are PM certifications necessary?

Universities that offer project manager courses are growing in number. But it’s still much more common to see people reach a project management role through career evolution. 

For project managers without formal training in their craft (i.e. university degree), having a PM certification or two can prove useful in appearing more competent and trustworthy.

However, this doesn’t mean that PM certifications are necessary. In fact, many senior project managers don’t bother getting certified simply because they have so many connections and so much experience that at that point it may appear like more trouble than it’s worth. 

Project management certifications can be expensive and time-consuming, but they come with their fair share of benefits — especially if you lack the formal training or relevant experience needed to land a job in the industry. 

If you’re still on the fence about getting certified, read about some upsides to getting a PM certification. 

Who knows — you might discover that a PM certification was just what you needed to help your career take off.

Benefits of having a PM certification

Due to the importance of project management and the ever more desperate need for competent people who can take charge of multimillion-dollar projects and come out victorious, project manager certifications have gained more weight in recent years. 

And, the benefits that come with these certifications reflect their newfound importance.

Global recognition

These days, International organizations such as the Project Management Institute, or the Global Association for Quality Management are well known for the quality of their education and their members. 

A certification from one such highly-regarded organization offers a level of worldwide prestige and recognition. Both employers and clients are more inclined to trust you, which opens doors and creates good career opportunities.

Financial benefits

It is well known that many certifications carry with them significant financial benefits. 

Just like it’s customary to pay more for a branded item simply because we trust that it will be of better quality compared to other, non-branded items, employers are more likely to offer a much higher salary to a certified professional than to a non-certified one.

For example, managers with the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification will receive an approximately 16% higher salary than those who aren’t PMP certified — according to the PMI Salary Survey.

Better project performance

Needless to say, constant training and constant learning always yield better results over time. 

Doing tests, studying for certifications, and receiving valuable input from their peers is an excellent way for project managers to stay in the loop and get new ideas, but also always keep the basics of project management at arms reach. 

As such, they are much less likely to miss or skip important processes, fast forward planning, or even over plan. They will have the knowledge needed to successfully bring projects to a close in the palm of their hand.

Now that we have explained the benefits of getting a project management certification, let’s see what certifications you can pursue — based on whether you are looking for beginner, intermediate, or advanced knowledge in the subject.

Beginner project management certifications

While many project management certifications require vast knowledge and years of experience to acquire, there are some that anyone can get if they wish to gain more knowledge about project management. 

Some of the most popular beginner PM certifications are:

  • Associate in Project Management (APM),
  • BVOP Certified Project Manager,
  • Yellow Belt (CSSYB),
  • Certified Project Manager (IAPM/CPM), and
  • PRINCE2 Foundation.

Let’s find out more about them.

Associate in Project Management (APM)

Certification overview
AccreditationGlobal Association for Quality Management (GAQM)
RequirementsNone
Price$175 (Premium Package) or $70 + $128
(Standard Package + E-voucher for taking the exam)
Validity periodLifetime

The Associate in Project Management (APM) is an entry-level certification program, managed by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM). This is an internationally recognized certification meant for undergraduates or those interested in pursuing a career in project management.

That said, the APM course and certificate won’t immediately land you a job as a project manager. What they will do is equip you with the knowledge necessary to improve the quality of your work and later pursue higher-ranked certifications.

The process of getting the certification includes a 15–20h online course and a 1-hour online multiple-choice test in front of a webcam. The exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions and passing requires you to answer correctly to 35 (70%) of them.

It’s important to note that the completion of the E-course is not necessary to take the exam, but the GAQM recommends it simply because the majority of the exam questions are drawn directly from the course. 

The price of the course will depend on whether you choose: 

  1. Premium Package, which is valid for 40 days and includes the E-course, the E-voucher for taking the exam, and a hard-copy certificate mailed to your doorstep, or 
  2. Standard Package, which is valid for 20 days and includes only the E-course, and the voucher for the exam is purchased separately.

There is no limit to the number of times you can retake the exam. Once you have successfully completed the exam, the certificate you receive is valid for life.

BVOP Certified Project Manager

Certification overview
AccreditationBusiness Value-Oriented Principles (BVOP)
RequirementsNone
Price$130 or $55 (with the promo code discount)
Validity periodLifetime

The Business Value-Oriented Principles (BVOP) project manager certification is a relatively new type of certification with a focus on the Agile methodology, but with a uniquely BVOP approach. 

This is another certification that even complete beginners can take. It doesn’t require any prior knowledge or experience, and the two main resources — BVOP™ Ultimate Guide and the BVOP™ Agile Guide — are available for free and in their entirety on the BVOP website.

To take the exam you must first create an account on the BVOP website, and purchase the exam you wish to take. 

The BVOP Project Manager Certification costs $130. However, as a new member, you will receive a promo code you can use to get a 58% discount, thereby reducing the price to only $55. 

A promo code can only be used once per account, so use it wisely.

Once you’ve bought the exam, you can take it whenever you want. The BVOP also gives you the option to take a mock test up to three times, so you can take the final exam with confidence.

The areas you need to focus on when studying the BVOP™ Ultimate Guide and the BVOP™ Agile Guide if you want to take the BVOP Project Manager exam are:

  1. The Business Value-Oriented Principles
  2. Business Value-Oriented Program Management (BVOPGM)
  3. Business Value-Oriented Project Management (BVOPM)
  4. Business Value-Oriented Product Management (BVOPDM)

The exam is conducted online, without any human supervision. It’s made up of 60 randomly generated questions, with a time limit of 50s per question. Passing requires you to get 45/60, or 75% of the answers correct.

If you pass, your digital certificate will automatically appear in your account. And if you fail, don’t worry — you can retake the exam as many times as you need to.

Yellow Belt (CSSYB)

Certification overview
AccreditationAmerican Society for Quality (ASQ)
RequirementsNone
Price$294 for members or $394 for non-members (exam only)
Validity periodLifetime

The Six Sigma Yellow Belt (CSSYB) is an entry-level certification focused on project management process improvement with the help of Six Sigma tools and techniques. It’s meant for anyone working as a part of a Six Sigma team looking to acquire foundational knowledge of Six Sigma and doesn’t require any prior knowledge or experience.

The certificate is issued by several licensed institutes, the most renowned of which is the American Society for Quality (ASQ)

Unfortunately, all of the resources and review material that ASQ has to offer are optional and purchased separately from the exam. The exam itself costs $294 if you’re an ASQ member and $394 if you’re not, and it can be taken either online or in person.

The online exam is held in English only, via ProProctor. You have 2 hours and 18 minutes to complete 85 multiple choice questions, 75 of which are scored, and 10 of which are not. The exam is open-book, which means you’ll be required to consult the CSSYB BoK while answering the questions.

If you decide to take the exam in person, you’ll have to arrive at least 30 minutes earlier in order to check in and allow for the items you’ll be carrying into the exam room to be checked before the exam begins. The in-person exam takes two hours and has only 75 questions.

Once you finish the exam, you’ll immediately be presented with preliminary results, followed by a confirmation within 3-5 business days. 

If you fail, you’ll have the chance to retake the exam at a discounted price of $184 for the next two years.

If you pass the exam, you’ll be mailed a hard copy of your certificate that is valid for life, and you’ll be equipped to help Six Sigma Green Belts review process improvements in Six Sigma projects.

Certified Project Manager (IAPM/CPM)

Certification overview
AccreditationInternational Association of Project Managers (IAPM)
RequirementsNone
PriceDepends on the country
Validity periodLifetime

The aptly named Certified Project Manager certification administered by the International Association of Project Managers (IAPM) is available to anyone in the world who wishes to dip their toes into the project management waters. 

The IAPM doesn’t offer any kind of course, but they do offer their IAPM Project Management Guide for free on their website. The Guide is the only literature you will need in order to pass the test as the exam questions are largely pulled directly from the book.

This is a certification suited for complete beginners and it covers the basic theoretic principles of project management. The online exam can be taken anytime, from anywhere in the world. Once passed, the certificate is internationally recognized and valid for life.

The exam link is valid for 6 months and the exam itself lasts 80 minutes (1h 20m). You will need to answer 65% of the questions correctly in order to pass. 

If you are unsure about whether you will pass on the first try, there are also the options to take a practice test in order to check your knowledge or request a personal trainer from the IAPM. Both options will incur additional costs.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), all IAPM’s costs entirely depend on where you live, as they are calculated based on a country’s gross domestic product. As an example, in the US and the UK the exam costs $520, in Mexico it’s $281, and in Peru it’s $140.

The one cumbersome aspect of this examination is that the IAPM requires all examinees to provide an affidavit to confirm that they have completed the exam without any sort of assistance.

PRINCE2 Foundation

Certification overview
AccreditationAXELOS
RequirementsNone
Price$1,085
Validity periodLifetime 

The PRINCE2 Foundation is one of the most famous project manager certifications for beginners, with over 900.000 certificates issued around the world.

The fact that the exam has a 97% pass rate on average in the UK should make you confident enough to try it out yourself. Once you’ve purchased the course, you will first have to finish 12 hours of training before you can take the exam. You may take the course and exam any time within a year of your initial purchase.

The exam is conducted online in its entirety. It’s made up of 60 multiple choice questions and 55% (33/60) is required to pass. 

Despite its reputation as one of the easiest PM exams for beginners, the PRINCE2 Foundation course (not to be confused with the PRINCE2 Practitioner course) teaches you:

  • Key project and concepts of the PRINCE2 methodology,
  • The correlation between the PRINCE2 principles and the PRINCE2 method,
  • Main themes of PRINCE2 and its practical applications, and
  • The PRINCE2 processes and how to apply them throughout the project.

Though it may teach fundamental concepts, the PRINCE2 Foundation course has helped the UK National Health Service double their project success rate, from 33% to a whopping 66%.

With the certification’s prestige and worldwide recognition, comes an equally prestigious price. The basic PRINCE2 Foundation course costs $1,085 before tax, making it one of the less affordable beginner certifications on this list.

Intermediate project management certifications

Moving on to certifications that are a little more difficult to acquire, the next section will discuss the best project management certifications for PM professionals with some experience in their craft, such as:

  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM),
  • Green Belt (CSSGB),
  • Professional in Project Management (PPM),
  • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), and
  • Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP).

Each certification is covered in detail, so if you’re interested in where you can get them, how much money, time, and effort you need to acquire them, or anything in between, read on to find out.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

Certification overview
AccreditationProject Management Institute (PMI)
RequirementsHigh school diploma,
23+ hours of official PM education
Price$350 for members
$400 for non-members (exam only)
Validity period3 years

What classifies the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) as an Intermediate course most of all is that, besides a high school diploma, it requires a minimum of 23h of official project management education before taking the exam.

The Project Management Institute (PMI), the body behind this certification, does not provide a course with the exam, unfortunately. The only way you can fulfill this requirement is to either already have some PM experience, or take PMI’s PM Basics online course for an additional $400 on top of the $300 you’ll have to pay for the exam.

Like most courses from the beginner group, the CAPM is among the easier PM exams, so long as you invest an adequate amount of time and effort to prepare for it. 

Despite the recent launch of the 7th ed. PMBOK, the only learning material PMI suggests is the 6th ed. PMBOK.

The exam is conducted online, and you must hurry to apply for it because the number of seats is limited per examination period. It consists of 150 questions, and you’ll get 3h to complete them.

Finally, one other thing that sets the CAPM apart from the certifications from the beginner group is that it is valid for only three years. 

After this time, the owner of the certification must either retake the exam or earn 15 Professional Development Units (PDUs) before the certification expires.

Green Belt (CSSGB)

Certification overview
AccreditationAmerican Society for Quality (ASQ)
Requirements3 years of experience in a full-time, paid role,
focusing on one or more areas of the CSSGB BoK
Price$338 for members or $438 for non-members (exam only)
Validity periodLifetime

The Six Sigma Green Belt is an intermediate Six Sigma certification accredited by the American Society of Quality (ASQ) among several other organizations. The certificate will benefit anyone who wishes to enhance their role within a Six Sigma team and further advance in their career. 

Green Belts are team leaders supervising Yellow Belts and focused on quality improvement projects. To become a certified Six Sigma Green Belt, you must have at least 3 years of experience working in a full-time, paid role within one or more areas of CSSGB Body of Knowledge.

The ASQ doesn’t offer any learning material to prepare you for the examination. All the resources available on their website are for review purposes only and are purchased separately from the exam. 

The exam costs $338 for ASQ members and $438 for non-members, and can be taken either online or in person.

The online exam is made up of 110 multiple choice questions that measure your understanding of the Six Sigma Green Belt Body of Knowledge. Out of the 110 questions, 10 questions are unscored. The exam lasts 4 hours and 18 minutes and can be taken only in English via ProProctor.

The in-person exam, on the other hand, has 100 scored questions, lasts 4 hours, and can be taken in English, Spanish, and Mandarin in certain locations. Both exams are open-book. 

Once the exam is over, you’ll immediately be notified of your performance. The results will be confirmed within 3-5 business days.

Those who fail will have the chance of retaking the exam at a discounted price of $238 for the next two years.

Those who pass will receive their lifetime certificate in the mail. 

Professional in Project Management (PPM)

Certification overview
AccreditationGlobal Association for Quality Management (GAQM)
RequirementsFinished E-Course
+ 2 years of PM experience desirable
Price$340 (Premium Package)
$100 (Standard Package)
+ $210 (exam voucher)
Validity period5 years

The Professional in Project Management (PPM) certification backed by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM) is generally considered to be a great certification for those looking to sharpen their PM skills and advance in their career. 

The PPM is not an exam that can be taken lightly, or without any prior experience. In fact, it is considered one of the most difficult project management exams, with approximately 7 out of 10 examinees failing it the first time around.

The exam itself lasts two hours and has 150 multiple choice questions, 113 of which (75%) are required to pass. If failed, the exam can be retaken any number of times.

The GAQM offers two packages you can choose from when purchasing the course:

  1. The Standard Package, which is valid for 20 days, costs $100 and includes only the online 45–50h course, with the exam voucher being sold separately for $210, and
  2. The Premium Package, which is valid for 40 days, includes the online course, a hard copy of the certificate mailed to your doorstep, and the exam voucher, all for $340.

Besides the finished PPM course, it is also highly desirable that you have at least two years of experience in some area of project management.

Once you have successfully passed the exam and acquired your certificate, it will be valid for five years. And in order to keep the certification after those five years, you’ll either need to retake the exam or complete the PPM E-Course before the certificate expires.

It’s interesting to note that passing the exam will also earn you 6 credits and 80 learning hours towards an MBA degree by Charisma University. 

Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

Certification overview
AccreditationThe Scrum Alliance
RequirementsFamiliarity with Scrum and course by a Certified Scrum Trainer
PriceDepends on the trainer whose course you choose to follow
Validity period2 years

The rising star of the project management certification world, the Certified ScrumMaster course teaches project managers how to apply agile methodologies to a complex environment where multiple teams must complement each other’s work in a constantly changing environment.

The certification is accredited by the Scrum Alliance, and it’s suitable for fast-paced industries facing constant change. 

For a long time, Scrum was mostly confined to the IT industry, but recent results show that more industries outside of IT are adopting agile frameworks — so much so that the numbers of non-IT teams using agile doubled between 2020 and 2021.

The ScrumMaster Certification is a valuable asset to anyone working in an agile environment. Scrum Masters don’t necessarily need to be project managers, they can be HR representatives, data scientists, software engineers, or anyone looking to help guide teams through complex projects. 

Scrum Masters don’t typically lead teams. Instead, they work as part of a team. 

As champions of a highly collaborative, agile methodology, scrum masters are focused on the people rather than the project itself. Their job is often to facilitate communication, motivate and support team members, lead meetings, and teach the team how to apply scrum principles. 

💡 Plaky Pro Tip

If you want to learn more about Agile and other popular project management methodologies, our comprehensive guide is the place to start:

The Certified ScrumMaster course includes an E-Course that lasts for two days and an exam that is made up of 50 multiple choice questions, 37 of which need to be answered correctly to pass. 

The exam lasts one hour, and it can be retaken up to two times for free. Every subsequent attempt costs $25. Once passed, the ScrumMaster Certification is valid for two years. The certification is renewed by acquiring 20 Scrum Education Units(SEUs) by attending webinars, events, lectures, training programs, etc. 

The price of the course entirely depends on the trainer whose course you choose to attend.

Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP)

Certification overview
AccreditationProject Management Institute (PMI)
RequirementsHigh school diploma or higher,
21h of agile training,
1y of PM experience in the past 5 years, and
8m of experience in agile PM in the past 3y
Price$435 for members or $495 for non-members
Validity period3 years

Seeing as Agile has been gaining popularity in recent years, the Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) steadily grew into one of the most desirable certifications administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is meant for anyone working in an agile organization who wants to affirm their credentials and solidify their knowledge of agile approaches.

The course prepares project managers for using various agile approaches, such as Scrum, Lean, extreme programming (XP), Kanban, and test-driven development (TDD), which equips them with a wide arsenal of tools for dealing with projects in agile environments. 

The exam costs $435 for PMI members and $495 for non-members, and you are required to provide proof of the following:

  • High school diploma or higher,
  • 21h of agile training,
  • 1 year of project management experience within the previous 5 years, and
  • 8 months of experience in agile project management within the previous 3 years.

The exam is held online, at a time and date of your choosing. Make sure you have nothing else important planned for that day, because you will need to set aside three whole hours to answer the 120 exam questions.

After you have successfully passed the exam, you will need to earn 30 professional development units (PDUs) over the course of the following three years in order to keep your certification. The PDUs are earned by attending lectures, events, volunteering, taking courses, etc.

Advanced project management certifications

This final group of certifications is reserved for expert project managers with years of experience and a string of successful projects under their belts. 

The advanced PM certifications have strict prerequisites and require regular maintenance, which means that only those dedicated to pursuing a career in project management are suited to take the following three courses:

  • Certified Project Director (CPD),
  • Black Belt (CSSBB),
  • Project Management Professional (PMP), and
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner.

Certified Project Director (CPD)

Certification overview
AccreditationGlobal Association for Quality Management (GAQM)
RequirementsFinished E-Course,
Bachelor’s degree or higher,
and one of the following certificates:
– PPM by GAQM,
– PPM by PMI,
– PRINCE2 by APMG, or
– CPM by GIAC
Price$280 (Premium Package)
$100 (Standard Package)
+ $210 (exam voucher)
Validity period5 years

As its name suggests, the Certified Project Director (CPD) certification belongs to the advanced group of PM certifications. It is administered by the Global Association of Quality Management (GAQM) and it’s meant for long-time project managers who manage multiple projects, but also business owners, project sponsors, board members, etc. 

To become a Certified Project Director, you must have finished the 20–25h E-Course, have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and already own one of the following certifications:

  • Professional in Project Management (PPM) from the GAQM,
  • Professional in Project Management (PPM) from PMI,
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner from APMG, or
  • Certified Project Manager (CPM) from the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC).

The exam that awaits you after fulfilling the above-mentioned requirements lasts 80 minutes and consists of 100 multiple choice questions, 80% of which must be correct in order to pass. If failed, the exam can be retaken as many times as necessary. 

The CPD certification is valid for 5 years, after which you must either retake the exam or acquire an adequate number of continuing education units (CEUs) to renew the certificate before it expires. CEUs are earned by gaining relevant experience, attending events, lectures, writing papers, etc.

As per usual, the GAQM offers two packages for the course:

  1. The Standard Package, which is valid for 20 days, includes only the E-Course, and costs $100 (the exam voucher must be bought separately for $210), and
  2. The Premium Package, which is valid for 40 days and includes everything, from the E-Course and exam voucher, to the hard copy of your hard-earned certificate, and costs $280.

Black Belt (CSSBB)

Certification overview
AccreditationAmerican Society for Quality (ASQ)
Requirements3y of full-time, paid experience in one or more areas of the CSSBB BoK
+ a signed affidavit as proof of completing one project or
two signed affidavits proving that you have completed two projects
Price$438 for members or $538 for non-members (exam only)
Validity period3 years

The Six Sigma Black Belt is an advanced certification issued by the American Society for Quality (ASQ). It’s meant for professionals in the field of Six Sigma with a thorough understanding of the DMAIC model and the concept of Lean project management.

To take the Six Sigma Black Belt exam you must have at least three years of experience working on Six Sigma projects and a signed affidavit proving that you have completed at least one project, or two signed affidavits as proof of completing two projects.

The ASQ doesn’t provide a Six Sigma Black Belt course or learning materials. All resources available on their website are for reviewing purposes only and are purchased separately from the exam.

The exam itself costs $438 for members and $538 for non-members and can be taken either online or in person.

The online exam is available in English only via ProProctor. It consists of 150 scored and 15 unscored multiple choice questions, and lasts 4 hours and 18 minutes.

The in-person exam has 150 multiple choice questions, all of which are scored. The exam can be taken in English, Mandarin, and Spanish in some locations, and lasts 4 hours.

Both exams are open book.

Those who fail will have the opportunity to retake the exam at a discounted price of $338 for the next two years.

Those who pass will receive a hardcopy of their certificate in the mail.

The ASQ CSSBB ceritificate is valid for 3 years, after which you must either retake the exam, or collect 18 recertification units (“recertify by journal”) within the 3-year validity period by attending ASQ conferences and section meetings, proctoring exams, publishing original work, etc.

Recertification by exam will cost $388 for members and $489 for non-members, and recertification by journal $90 for members and $130 for non-members.

Project Management Professional (PMP)

Certification overview
AccreditationProject Management Institute (PMI)
RequirementsBachelor’s degree or higher,
3 years of experience and 35h of PM education OR high school diploma,
5 years of experience, and
35h of PM education
Price$405 for members
$555 for non-members
Validity period3 years

PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is without a doubt the world’s leading project management certification. It encompasses three of the main PM approaches:

  1. Waterfall (predictive),
  2. Agile, and
  3. Hybrid.

Unlike a large majority of other certifications, you likely won’t have a lot of new things to learn before you take the exam, except for the experience and advice you gather from your peers. This is because the PMP certification is, for the most part, only proof that your peers and the PMI recognize your exceptional skills as a project manager. 

In other words, it’s more of an honorable certification that affirms your prestige as a project manager, than one that will equip you with new skills.

Before even being able to take the exam, project managers pining for the PMP certificate must already have: 

  1. Any 4-year degree, 36 months of experience leading projects, at least 35 hours of project management education (or the CAPM certificate), or 
  2. A high school diploma, 60 months of PM experience, and 35h of PM education or the CAPM certificate.

Since this is a PMI certification, it normally costs $555, but members of the Project Management Institute have a slight discount, bringing the price down to $405.

The PMP certification is valid for three years. To renew it, you will have to earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) by attending lectures, writing papers, volunteering, going to events, etc.

PRINCE2 Practitioner

Certification overview
AccreditationAXELOS
RequirementsOne of the following certifications:
– PRINCE2 Foundation
– PMP
– CAPM
– IPMA-CPD
– IPMA-CSPM
– IPMA-CPM
– IPMA-CPMA
Price$1,210
Validity period3 years

The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam administered by AXELOS is one of the two most highly-regarded PM certifications in the world, besides the PMP. 

This certification tests project managers’ abilities to manage projects and teaches them how to use PRINCE2 processes and principles in practice, and it’s meant for professionals and aspiring PMs, but also other parties involved in projects, such as board members, business change analysts, and so on.

The PRINCE2 Practitioner falls under advanced certifications. It requires you to already hold either the PRINCE2 Foundation certification, or one of the following:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • Certified Project Director (IPMA-CPD)
  • Certified Senior Project Manager (IPMA-CSPM)
  • Certified Project Manager (IPMA-CPM)
  • Certified Project Management Associate (IPMA-CPMA)

The course is entirely online, it costs $1,210 before tax, and includes a year of access to all the learning materials you will need to pass the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam — which must also be taken before the year expires. In case the learning materials aren’t enough, you also get access to tutors and additional resources.

The exam itself is taken online, via remote proctor, at a time and date of your choice, and lasts 2.5 hours. 

This is an open-book exam — meaning that you are allowed to use the official PRINCE2 manual to help you navigate the 68 exam questions. You will need 55%, or 38/68 questions in order to pass. The certification you get is valid for three years.

Best project management certification

There are a plethora of high-ranking PM certifications out there, but none as prestigious and all-encompassing as the Project Management Professional (PMP) and the PRINCE2 Practitioner. 

However, your choice of certificate will also be influenced by your country of employment — unlike the US and other countries of the Americas who prefer the PMP certification, the UK, Australia, and Europe prefer the PRINCE2, while the Middle East, Africa, and Asia remain undecided. 

Your choice of the best project management certification may also depend on what you are looking to accomplish.

For example, The PMP certification is a framework focused mainly on the skills, techniques, and competencies you need to successfully bring a project to a close. PMP focuses entirely on the PMI’s PMBOK and serves as an indication of how well you are familiar with its contents and its practical applications. 

On the other hand, PRINCE2 is a whole new methodology with its own principles and best practices. It’s an exhaustive and standardized methodology that can be applied to any type of project. 

Of course, no one is stopping you from earning both certifications — but keep in mind that they often use completely different terminology, and need to be renewed every three years (or three to five years when it comes to PRINCE2). 

The conflicting nomenclature and regular need for renewal might prove difficult for owners of both certifications.

That said, while the PMP and PRINCE2 certifications are both excellent goals to strive towards, it doesn’t mean that every project manager needs to have them. Which certification you choose will entirely depend on the knowledge, experience, and career goals you wish to pursue.

Conclusion: PM certifications lend credibility and facilitate professional development

Project management certifications are invaluable assets to experienced and aspiring project managers alike. They provide assurance from reliable international institutes that a project manager is capable and qualified to perform project management duties, and that their competence meets global standards.

Globally recognized, certified project managers can expect to enjoy greater respect, better career opportunities, and higher salaries. While some deem them costly and unnecessary, PM certifications offer far too many perks to simply be an afterthought to anyone who wants to build their career in project management.

References

  • Digital.ai. (2021). 15th state of agile report: Agile adoption accelerates across the enterprise. https://digital.ai/resource-center/analyst-reports/state-of-agile-report 
  • GAQM. (n.d.). Professional in Project Management. Retrieved February 21, 2022 from: https://gaqm.org/certifications/project_management/ppm
  • Inspiring Projects. (n.d.). Project management statistics. Retrieved February 22, 2022 from: http://www.inspiringprojects.com.au/project-management-statistics.html
  • Knowledge Train. (n.d.). Popularity of PRINCE2: Illustrated guide. Retrieved February 24, 2022 from: https://www.knowledgetrain.co.uk/project-management/prince2/prince-2-course/prince2-popularity-grows
  • Knowledge Train. (n.d.). Project management certification (6th edition training courses). Retrieved February 24, 2022 from: https://www.knowledgetrain.co.uk/project-management/prince2/prince2-certification
  • Project Management Institute. (2021). Earning power: Project management salary survey twelfth edition. https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/pmi_salary_survey_12th_edition_freeversion_final.pdf?v=53b1371a-42f5-43d4-af9f-8e2bc7fa4c0b 

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