Top 14 Project Management Certifications for 2023
Project management has become a highly sought skill in the job market. Organizations recognize the huge value that excellent project management brings to their project.
The difference between a successful project and an unsuccessful one goes beyond just the presence or absence of the best project management software. For project success, organizations need highly skilled project managers.
More than half of practicing project managers are not certified and properly skilled in project management. When organizations look to hire project managers to manage their teams, they often prefer to hire certified project managers over those without any certification.
If you are a project manager or want to add project management skills to your resume, getting a project management certification is a great way to improve and advance your career.
Project management certifications impact the knowledge, skills, and expertise you will use to handle any project management task even the complex ones. They serve as proof that you are knowledgeable in project management.
Getting a project management certification costs money but it is one of the best investments you can make to command higher salaries and faster career progression. In this article, you will learn about 14 of the best project management certifications that give you an edge in the job market.
Best Project Management Certification for Students and Entry-Level Practitioners
Associate in Project Management (APM) certification serves as a basic certificate for individuals in the project management industry who wish to hold a basic knowledge about the industry. It is issued by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM) and requires individuals to go through a 15-20 hour e-course.
This project management certification shows that you hold a basic or limited understanding of project management. It is suitable for any individual working in the project management industry whether as a manager, project team member, a student at the graduate or undergraduate level, or an entry-level practitioner.
Associate in Project Management (APM) certification is a globally recognized credential in the field of Project Management. This course by GAQM familiarizes you with the most common terms and the most current thinking about projects in preparation for the exam.
This project management certificate is an entry-level certification and only implies that its holder has the required basic knowledge in the field of project management.
The e-course to study in pursuance of this certification is offered through two packages: a standard package with a 20-day course duration and a premium package with a 40-day course duration. The standard package costs $70 while the premium package costs $175.
The exam voucher required for you to register for and write the exam is valid for 240 days after you purchase it and costs $128.
Easy To Pass Project Management Certification
BVOP Certified Project Manager certification is designed for senior project managers, owners, business analysts, and even professionals who just started their careers in the industry. It is a useful certification for Individuals who need to closely interact with business representatives, program directors, cross-teams, and various stakeholders.
This project management certification has notable mentions from top media outlets like ABC NEWS, CBS NEWS, and FOX NEWS which adds to its credibility. A BVOP certified project manager certification implies the individual’s understanding of product management, people management, technology, development practices, and efficient problem-solving.
Passing the exam offered by BVOP to get this certification proves to be a relatively easy task. A success rate of 95% is recorded, meaning almost most candidates pass on their first attempt.
An e-course, as well as a mock examination, is provided to each candidate in preparation for the main examination. Exams are conducted online, without any human monitoring or interaction, and the certificate remains valid for life.
The BVOP certified project manager certificate is available to you after you register an account with BVOP and pay the single-priced cost for taking the exam and enjoying additional BVOP packages. The price is $130.
Best Entry-Level Project Management Certification
For individuals without a college degree or with only basic project management experience, the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) serves as a good place to start in pursuit of the higher and more difficult Project Manager Professional (PMP) certificate.
Education and certification for this allow you to efficiently manage larger projects, gain more responsibility, or add more project management skills into your skillset.
The CAPM certificate is issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Participating in the examinations requires the fulfillment of certain prerequisites. Firstly, candidates are required to have a secondary degree, which could be either a high school diploma, associate’s degree, or any recognized global equivalent. 23 hours of project management education also needs to be completed before sitting for the exam.
Thankfully, PMI presents you with a Project Management Basics online course that not only gives you prior knowledge sufficient for passing the examination but also fulfills this education prerequisite. You have access to exam course outlines, sample questions, and a handbook from the PMI website.
Examinations are conducted online due to the Covid-19. CAPM examination contains 150 questions and has a 3-hour duration. To retain the certification, holders need to earn 15 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every three years. PDUs are one-hour periods that you spend learning, teaching, or volunteering.
Pricing for the CAPM certification comes in two variants: a reduced price for members of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and a standard price for non-members. Members pay $225 while non-members pay $300.
Best Project Management Certification with High Entry Requirements for Senior-Level Professionals
Another certification issued by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM), the Certified Project Director (CPD) is a prestigious and globally recognized certification dedicated to senior and experienced project management executives.
This project management certification places a holder’s standing above a lot of other certifications. It defines him or her as competently equipped with the skills to manage risks, quality, business scope, budgets, and a lot of other complex project management issues.
Just like the APM certification, GAQM offers an e-course with sufficient knowledge in passing the examination. However, the course runs for 20-25 hours. The exam comes as 100 multiple-choice questions out of which you need to score 80%. It is held online and monitored through your webcam, and lasts for 80 minutes.
Additionally, the examination is close-book, and a candidate retaking it has to wait for at least fourteen (14) calendar days from the date of their attempt after failing on the first attempt. The examination is also available to be taken any number of times.
Certified Project Director certification remains valid for 5 years after which the holder retakes the examination or accrues the required number of continuing education units (CEUs). A candidate must hold a Bachelor’s university degree, Post-graduate degree, or any of its superior or globally equivalent degrees.
The candidate is also required to hold Professional in Project Management (PPM), Project Management Professional (PMP), Prince2 Practitioner, and Certified Project Manager (CPM) certifications.
The CPD is available to you through two plans: premium package and standard package. The premium package plan comes with a 40-day e-course validity and an accompanying e-voucher for the examination. It costs $280.
The standard package plan comes with a 20-day e-course access validity. It costs $100. The examination is also available to be paid for separately for a dedicated price. You need to pay for the exam voucher. It costs $210.
Best Project Management Certification for Professionals Dealing with Infrastructure Management and Post-Disaster Recovery Projects
Issued by EC-Council, the Certified Project Management Practitioner (CPMP) certification is dedicated to individuals who intend to take up projects related to infrastructure development, managerial obstacles, and leadership.
This project management certification was created as a form of standard to determine individuals who were qualified to efficiently manage post-disaster recovery operations, especially after the 9/11 attacks.
The CPMP course and certification helps train individuals who engage in hands-on project management activities. It helps to build important managerial experience, leadership traits, and technical skills over time.
There are no prerequisite certification requirements. The CPMP course is typically taught by training companies over a duration of 2-3 days.
The exam voucher costs $199.
Best Project Management Certification with Multiple Sub-Levels and Very Flexible Examination Schedule
The Certified Project Manager (CPM) certificate is another internationally recognized certificate that does not require any proof of prior professional experience. It offers four different levels of certification: Certified Junior Project Manager, Certified Project Manager, Certified Senior Project Manager, and Certified International Project Manager.
Issued by the International Association of Project Managers (IAPM), the CPM certification does not require renewal. It provides sufficient knowledge to theoretically plan, organize and implement projects effectively.
A library of resources is provided to you to use as a knowledge base in preparation for the examination. IAPM offers you a useful “self-test” option to test your knowledge. This “self-test” requires you to answer a set of 25 questions in 25 minutes, which gives you an idea of the kind of questions and level of difficulty to expect. It can only be done once, and, sadly, is not free of charge.
One peculiar reason why you should take the CPM examination is its flexibility. Upon registering with IAPM for the examination, an email with your examination login data is sent to your inbox. This email contains the link to take your examination and remains valid for 6 months.
Your exam starts once you access the link and log in for it. This means you have up to 6 months after registering for the examination to take it. The pass mark is placed at 65%.
The price for taking the CPM examination differs according to your country and a 20% discount is available for students, job seekers, and active aid organization personnel.
Best Project Management Certification with Personalized Class Experience
Certified ScrumMaster is a certification from ScrumAlliance that comes accompanied by an interactive and engaging learning experience. It comes with customizable classes to meet the peculiar needs of each student.
Alongside approval as a reliable project manager, a CSM certificate remains a good option for software engineers, marketers, data scientists, HR representatives, and business analysts.
The CSM certificate issued by ScrumAlliance is only the beginning stage of a four-level journey. The organization provides advanced certifications including advanced certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Professional, and Certified Agile Coach.
ScrumAlliance offers you access to different trainers from around the world who conduct lessons for candidates relating to the course. Courses are either taken online or in-person and span one year.
Requirements to pass the CSM examination include a basic-level familiarity with Scrum and the completion of the ScrumAlliance course for comprehensive understanding. Examinations come as a set of 50 questions to be completed within 60 minutes, with a requirement of 37 correct answers for a pass mark.
The cost of receiving training for and taking the CSM examination varies according to the training provider ($995 – $1,395).
Best Project Management Certification with AI-Powered Learning Assistant
CompTIA Project+ is a project management certification dedicated to individuals that wish to take on small to medium-sized projects. The course and certification grant successful candidates the required knowledge consisting of the basics of agile methodology as well as properties of the project, phases, schedules, roles and responsibilities, and cost controls.
This project management certification also signifies skills in project constraint prediction, communication management, project tool use, and project documentation.
For the examination, a total of 95 multiple-choice questions are required to be answered in 90 minutes, and the passing score is set at 710 (on a scale of 100-900). At least 12 months of project management experience or equivalent education is required to take the examination. Supported languages include English and Japanese.
CompTIA Project+ serves as an equivalent certification to CAPM. It also offers you multiple training options through AI exam preps, study guides, and both physical and online instructor-led training which includes a group training option. Renewal is not required.
The CompTIA Project+ comes in three different purchase options: voucher, basic bundle, and exam prep bundle. The voucher for only the examination costs $338.
The basic bundle additionally offering self-help material costs $449, while the exam prep bundle that additionally offers the AI-powered exam prep tool costs $559.
Best Project Management Certification for Team Leaders
Master Project Manager (MPM) certification develops effective skills in participants. The course trains participants in project management, efficient project delivery, project analysis, project management technology use, and compliance with major international project management standards.
This project management certification is from the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM), a global board of standards in the project management industry,
The MPM program is dedicated to programming managers, PMO managers and directors, training and development managers, operations directors, and executive directors, among a lot of other professional leaders.
Certification is received approximately one month after the close of the seminar. Three years of project management experience and training is required with a waiver available for master's degree holders and military or project management instructors.
The MPM certification comes with a single price additionally covering application, review, processing, and initiation. It cost $300.
Best Complementary Project Management Certification for Both Entry-Level and Senior Professionals
The PRINCE2 Foundation/PRINCE2 Practitioner is a set of certifications issued by AXELOS, which is just a middle-man agency between exam bodies that conduct exams and candidates who take them.
As can be inferred from the name, the certification comes in two levels: the PRINCE2 Foundation and the PRINCE2 Practitioner, both dedicated to different levels of candidates. The PRINCE2 Foundation is for beginners and the PRINCE2 Practitioner is for advanced professionals.
Training courses are available through AXELOS’s Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs) or self-study library of materials. The Foundation level is required to be passed before taking the Practitioner level examination. Exams are taken at the end of a training course with an ATO or after being booked with PeopleCert, one of AXELOS’s examination institutes.
Examinations are available in English, German, Danish, Dutch, Polish, French and Norwegian. Both the Foundation and Practitioner exams can be taken on the same day.
The cost of writing the examination depends on the Accredited Training Organization (ATO) you make use of.
Best Project Management Certification for Managers of Project Teams
Another certificate offered by the GAQM on this list, the Professional in Project Management (PPM) certificate is a mid-tier credential that includes training on the planning, execution, control, and completion of projects. This project management course and certificate remain useful for training project managers in the scheduling, development, and motivation of project teams.
The e-course duration spans between 45-50 hours, with candidates having to answer 150 multiple choice questions in 120 minutes with a 75% accuracy to pass. It is not an easy one to get. According to GAQM, 7 out of 10 project managers fail the exam in their first attempt.
Examinations are online-based, monitored through a webcam, closed-book, and require a mandatory e-course completion to be taken. Failing the exam for the second time makes a candidate ineligible to take it again for the next 14 calendar days and the exams can be taken any number of times.
The PPM certification expires after 5 years and requires the exam to be retaken or the accruing of a certain number of CEUs to be restored.
The PPM certification is available to you through two plans: premium package and standard package. The premium package plan comes with a 40-day e-course validity and an accompanying e-voucher for the examination. It costs $340.
The standard package plan comes with 20-day e-course validity. It costs $100. The examination voucher is also available to be purchased separately for a dedicated price ($210), with its validity running up to 240 days.
Best Project Management Certification Specifically for IT Security Managers
Project Management in IT Security (PMITS) is another project management certification issued by the EC-Council that specifically deals with the efficient management of IT security projects.
The PMITS training implements various techniques that enable an IT manager to effectively take care of the processes dedicated to the stable security of devices, systems, applications, and supporting infrastructure within an organization.
To be eligible for the certification in PMITS, a 2-year experience in an organization’s IT department and an educational qualification in the field of security are required from you. The EC-Council Training Program, however, is available for you to do before the exam if you do not have these requirements.
The PMITS exam is available for you to take after the payment of a fee ($250).
Best Project Management Certification with Very High Requirements for Entry
Accompanied by predictive, agile, and hybrid approaches, PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification proves to be among the best certifications with the highest value.
Requirements to take part in the program are placed high. First, you need a four-year degree from a university, 36 months of experience leading projects, and 35 hours of project management education/training. If you have CAPM Certification, it covers these requirements.
Having a high-school diploma coupled with 60 months of project management experience replaces the requirement for a four-year degree.
The course is available in multiple languages and examinations are fully conducted online. You need to maintain or engage in continuous professional development to stay certified and not have to write the exam again. Handbooks and examination guidelines are also provided to you by PMI.
The cost of taking the examination comes in two variants: a reduced price for PMI members and a standard price for non-members. Members pay $405 while non-members pay $555.
Best Project Management Certification for Program Managers
The PgMP certificate issued by PMI shows an advanced level of experience and skill required by a senior-level program manager. It is dedicated to individuals who already possess the skills to manage multiple related projects and navigate complex activities spanning multiple functions, organizations, regions, or cultures.
To apply, you require a secondary degree (either high school diploma, associate’s degree, or any global equivalent), 48 months of project management experience (a PMP certification covers this), and 84 months of program management experience within the last 15 years before applying.
Examination questions come as 170 multiple-choice questions to be completed within four hours. To retain the certification, you need to maintain 60 professional development units (PDUs) every three years.
Just like other PMI certificates, there are two variants of prices for the PgMP: a reduced price for members and a standard price for non-members. Members pay $800 while non-members pay $1,000.
Top Project Management Certifications for Career Progression and Higher Salaries
The two top reasons why people acquire certifications are to boost their career and command higher salaries. It is true for project management certifications.
Project managers and aspiring project managers use project management certifications to keep themselves sharp and up-to-date about the best practices in the project management ecosphere.
With so many project management certifications offered by all kinds of individuals and bodies, selecting the best and among the multitude can be a challenge especially with no background in project management.
If you are an entry-level practitioner and looking for a comprehensive certification that covers the ins and outs of the field, Associate in Project Management certification or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is suitable for you.
Certified Project Management Practitioner (CPMP) is the best project management certification for professionals dealing with infrastructure management and post-disaster recovery projects.
If you are an IT security manager looking to advance your career and earn a higher salary, the Project Management in IT Security (PMITS) certification is ideal for you.
Project Management Professional (PMP) is the overall best project management certification for experienced project managers. It has very high requirements for entry. This project management certification offers you the best chance of increasing your salary. Holders of this certification are highly sought-after by organizations.