Given the demands of the job market, a career in project management can be an excellent way to direct that desire to learn into a respected and highly paid career. But what does it take to become a successful project manager?
Becoming a project management professional requires the proper certifications showcasing your skills and expertise. But with numerous options available, deciding on the right one can be daunting. Factors such as your project management skills, career goals, and preferred methodology play a crucial role in choosing the proper certification.
To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide of the 10 best PMP certifications for you to take in 2024.
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Project Management Institute (PMI) is the world’s leading authority on project management. This institution has established Project Management Professional (PMP) certification to acknowledge the expertise of skilled project managers.
For that reason, the Project Management Professional (PMP) is the most important industry-recognized — and probably the most popular — certification for project managers. Although it’s recognized as the “gold standard” worldwide, this certification is highly valued in the USA, Canada, Middle East, and Australia.
This is one of the best PMP certifications because it covers a range of methodologies, including predictive, hybrid, and agile techniques, and focuses on the business environment, process, and people aspects of project management.
To earn the PMP certification, one must meet the eligibility criteria (you can find all this info on their website) and pass a rigorous 180-question exam designed by seasoned project managers to reflect real-world scenarios.
The certification cost for non-PMI members is $555, and $405 for members. PMI certificates are valid for three years, during which learners must earn 60 PDUs (Professional Development Units) to maintain their PMP certification.
If we could only recommend one course, this would be the one. It’s the best project management course in the USA. If you’re looking for a PMP certification that sets you apart as a top-tier project leader and demonstrates your experience and ability to manage multiple projects using various methodologies, this is the right choice for you.
The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is another highly-regarded project management certification offered by the Project Management Institute.
This program is aimed at professionals who are starting a career as project managers and can then go on to obtain more advanced certifications, such as the PMP.
In 2023, the CAPM exam was updated to reflect better the latest industry trends and advancements in project management practices. According to PMI, the original domains are being replaced by the following:
- Project Management Fundamentals and Core Concepts
- Predictive, Plan-Based Methodologies
- Agile Frameworks/Methodologies
- Business Analysis Frameworks.
This updated curriculum will ensure that CAPM certified professionals have the most relevant knowledge and skills.
To earn the PMP certification, one must meet the eligibility criteria (you can find all this info on their website) and pass a 150 question-exam.
Price-wise, PMI members can access the course at a discounted rate of $225, while non-members will pay $300. Like our first recommendation, this PMI certification has a validity of three years, during which professionals must earn 15 PDUs to keep their CAPM certification.
Also one of the best PMP certifications, PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a project management method originally developed by the UK government, now widely used internationally.
So, if you’re looking for one of the best project management courses in the UK, Europe, and Australia, PRINCE2 certifications are the right choice for you.
Although these are two courses, we will present them together as one complements the other. The PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner are two major certifications designed for a wide range of professionals, including aspiring and current project managers and individuals involved in the design, development, and delivery of projects.
While Prince2: 6th Edition Foundation is designed to cover crucial project management topics such as key principles, themes, and managing a project from A to Z, PRINCE2 Practitioner certifies that professionals can put into practice the knowledge they have learned.
Depending on your preference, you can take both courses online or in a classroom environment.
To obtain the PRINCE2 Practitioner certification, one must have either the PRINCE2 Foundation, Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), or an IPMA certification as a prerequisite.
Each of these certifications can be taken individually, but PRINCE2 also offers them as a pack for a discounted price of 1785€.
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As more organizations embrace agile methodologies (and more PM certifications include agile techniques in their curriculums), it might be interesting for you to consider a scrum master certification as well.
While project managers are experienced leaders who guide projects from start to finish, scrum masters serve as agile leaders who act as change agents for the scrum team and organization. They are responsible for enforcing an effective use of the scrum framework, allowing the team to deliver value continuously.
ScrumAlliance’s CSM certification demonstrates your mastery of the Scrum framework, including key concepts such as team roles, events, artefacts, and rules.
The CSM course is ideal for individuals who want to understand the agile way of work and its concepts. The versatility of the Scrum framework makes it applicable to various industries and cross-functional teams such as marketing, data science, human resources, and more.
This course is a great place to start if you’re looking to expand your skill set and improve your problem-solving abilities.
To qualify for this certification, you should have a basic understanding of Scrum and complete a two-day in-person CSM course (16 hours), followed by passing the CSM exam and accepting the Licence Agreement.
Currently, this certification is only available in the Live online format, where classes are held online at predefined times. The cost of ScrumMaster certification is $999.
Read more: Best Project Management Tools and Techniques
The IAPM Certified Project Manager certification provides an overview of the fundamental project management strategies and processes. It’s designed for individuals aspiring to pursue a career in project management and lacking prior knowledge of the field.
The certification covers both hard and soft skills related to project management and serves as a foundation for the International Project Manager certification from IAPM.
No prior knowledge or certificates are required to be eligible, but a basic understanding of project management concepts might be helpful.
To prepare for the certification exam, candidates can use the self-test mini-exam, which consists of 25 questions and provides feedback on their knowledge. This certification has lifetime validity and is recognized globally.
As a plus, the online format of the certification allows for flexible and convenient learning, making it accessible to individuals with busy schedules or located in different parts of the world.
The cost of the IAPM Certified Project Manager certification may vary depending on the candidate’s nationality, with a cost of $479 for individuals in the US (check the fee that applies to you on the official website).
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The Business Value-Oriented Project Management (BVOP) certification has a distinctive approach to project management. This online PMP certification is perfect for anyone looking to develop modern leadership skills, as it focuses not only on agile and waterfall methodologies but also on people and business-oriented principles in project management. For that, expect this course to prepare you for a wide range of project management roles.
If you’re a beginner, this is not the course for you — it’s specifically aimed at senior project managers, scrum masters, agile professionals, product managers, and business analysts.
To obtain the BVOP certification, a deep understanding of the topics from the BVOP Ultimate Guide is required. You’ll need to create a BVOP account and familiarise yourself with the Business Value-Oriented Principles and methodologies through the BVOP Ultimate Guide. After that, you can take the assessment test!
The current cost of the BVOP Project Manager certification is $130, and there’s a free trial available. More good news — this certification has lifetime validity!
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Cornell University’s Project Management Certificate Program is perfect for those seeking a comprehensive understanding of project management through practical techniques and tools.
The course is offered by eCornell, the online division of Cornell University, and provides advanced education in areas such as agile methodologies and earned value management. While prior work experience as a project manager is recommended, enrollment is not a requirement.
If you choose this certification, expect a unique approach, with a small class size of fewer than 35 students and personalized attention from an experienced instructor.
All the classes are online and instructor-led, so you have to make sure you have enough time to dedicate to these sessions and the expected 2-5 hours per week workload.
The program takes 3 months to complete, costing $3,900 or a monthly fee of $830, which includes access to an online study group for PMBOK review with other students. Interested individuals can register for the program through the Cornell University website.
Although this course offers a certificate of completion and is offered by a recognized and highly regarded entity, its final objective is to prepare students for the PMP exam, demonstrating the value given to this certification, especially in the USA.
What if I don’t have any experience as a project manager, are there no courses for me? Here’s the answer to your question!
The Google Project Management Professional Certificate is the best online project management course designed for beginners with no previous education or experience looking to elevate their careers with a Google-led project management program.
This online program offers a comprehensive project management curriculum focusing on agile techniques, project documentation, and stakeholder management.
Participants will receive 140 hours of instructional material, hands-on projects, and assessments. The course requires a minimum of 10 hours of study per week and is available on a flexible schedule.
Although access to the course is completely free, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee of $39 to receive a certificate of completion. Access is also included in the Coursera Plus membership, which provides access to over 3,000 online courses.
The certificate has no set expiration date, but with the constantly evolving field of project management, it may be necessary to consider updating one’s education after a few years.
Being online and available through Coursera, this course has a global presence. So whether you’re looking for project management courses in Canada or Italy, this certification is within your reach.
Once more, this is a course for those who are just starting in the field of project management and are looking to gain a basic understanding of the industry — prior knowledge or certification is required.
The Associate in Project Management (APM) program offers students a comprehensive introduction to the key concepts, terminologies, and methodologies of project management and consists of three modules that cover the fundamentals of project management, goal-setting, planning, and risk analysis and management.
To enroll in the APM course, you need to go to Global Association for Project Management’s website and choose your preferred option (some packages include an e-voucher for the certification exam, others don’t). To receive both the course and the certification, the cost is $175.
This course serves as a basic introduction to project management and does not have an expiration date. However, it’s recommended to periodically update your knowledge to stay current in the field.
The AIGA Project Management certificate is a complete project management course that offers the perfect opportunity to master the best practices in project management.
This entirely online and asynchronous program covers all the essential skills required to be an effective project manager. Over its seven modules, you’ll learn everything you need to know, from ethical considerations to emotional intelligence, team leadership, stakeholder management, and conflict resolution.
This certification is for everyone — from beginners to experienced project managers, marketers, data scientists, or HR representatives —, you’ll find this course helpful.
Enrolling in the AIGA project management certificate requires no prior education, but a general understanding of project management would be beneficial. Upon completion, you’ll receive a certificate with 51 PMI PDUs and 18.75 leadership PDUs.
If you’re an AIGA member, the course is priced at $919, while non-members must pay the total price of $1,069.
Finally, the certification has no expiration date!
Yes! The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is still highly relevant in the project management industry. Besides being a globally recognized employer, it certifies a significant level of competence and mastery in project management concepts and practices, which is a valuable asset in today’s competitive job market.
PMP certification is not typically offered for free. However, there are some exceptions, like Master of Project Academy’s free course and the Google Project Management Professional Certificate. At $130, BVOP — Project Management Certification is also very affordable for a PMP certification.
The PMP certification remains a highly sought-after credential in the field of project management nowadays. With the ever-changing business landscape, professionals must stay updated with the latest industry practices and trends.
So, whether you’re looking for online project management courses or in-person programs, the top PMP certifications listed in this article provide a great starting point to enhance your project management skills and advance your career.
Each of these certifications has its strengths, and it’s up to you to determine which one best suits your needs and professional goals. Regardless of choice, a PMP certification is a valuable investment that can lead to greater job opportunities, higher compensation, and better project outcomes. So, congrats on wanting to develop yourself!
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