Nowadays, project management plays a crucial role in budgeting, planning, scheduling, execution, and management of all project types. Given that, the IT industry is looking for project management professionals to enhance the delivery of solutions and services to clients. Here are the top Project Management certification courses to boost your career.
Today, the candidates can choose from numerous project management certifications. In turn, it becomes difficult to decide which credential to go for. How does one select the most suitable project management certification? A candidate’s choice depends on learning objectives, desired salary, and prestige. Whether you want to become a project manager or to enhance your skills portfolio, consider the following project management credentials to help choose your own credential path.
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
Today, CAPM is an important step towards attaining a project management credential in stages instead of instantaneously. The Project Management Institute describes CAPM as a “valuable entry-level certification for project practitioners… designed for those with little or no project experience.”
The CAPM candidates must have a high school diploma plus either 23 hours of project management training or 1,500 hours of proven working experience. It is important to note, that the CAPM certification does not require the candidates to undertake PDUs (professional development units) to retain a certification’s validity. Candidates only take a recertification exam every five years in contrast to PMP with its 60 PDUs every three years.
Preferably, IT professionals who lean towards project management should consider pursuing the CAPM certification. However, the CAPM credential won’t secure one a project manager position in an organization with its own senior and junior level project managers. Even so, the CAPM credential can enhance the IT professional’s project management skills and knowledge.
In order to get the certificate, you need to provide a high school diploma, an associate degree, and have either 1,500 hours of on-the-job PM experience or 23 hours of PM instructions. The exam consists of 150 questions, 15 of which are for internal assessment. All questions should be completed in 3 hours.
The cost of the exam is $300, or $225, if you are a PMI member. The cost of retaking the test is $200 and $150, correspondingly.The most useful preparation resources for this test include the following: CAPM Exam Guide, CAPM Handbook, CAPM/PMP Project Management Certification All-In-One Exam Guide, and PMBOK Guide.
Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
Increased adoption of the agile methodology for streamlining production processes and cost reduction creates demand for IT professionals with advanced PM skills. The candidates may consider the Certified Scrum Master credential from the Scrum Alliance collection of Project Management certifications. Scrum Alliance advocates the use of Agile and Scrum practices through group learning events as well as professional development resources. Scrum Alliance Project Management certifications include:
- Entry-level credentials,such as Certified Scrum Developer (CSD), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), and Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
- Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)
- Certified Scrum Professional (CSP)
- Certified Agile Leadership (CAL)
- Certified Scrum Coach (CSC)
To get this certification, you need only the most basic knowledge of Scrum. To achieve this, you have to attend and complete the two-day Scrum Master training seminar (the price varies, but expect to pay between $950 and $1,395). You need to take only one exam that consists of 35 questions, 24 of which need to be answered correctly for you to reach the passing score. To become properly prepared for this test, you can visit various Internet blogs, use online instruction sessions, such as CSM Content Outline, etc.
Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB)
This category of ASQ-based PM certifications attests to a candidate’s comprehension and expertise in industry regulations and standards and ASQ’s Knowledge Corpus. Presently, there are 18 ASQ credentials with three specific to project management: Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB, expert-level), Six Sigma GreenBelt (CSSGB,professional-level), and Six Sigma Yellow Belt (CSSYB, entry-level).
CSSBB is the highest credential level which is intended for the professionals with advanced comprehension of Six Sigma methodologies: DMAIC models, tools, philosophies, and systems. The professional with the CSSBB credential can manage team roles as well as manage team dynamics.
However, it is a very demanding track. Besides passing a single exam, the candidates must design two projects using Six Sigma tools and processes. Additionally, one is required to provide a rationale for the project. Nonetheless, the candidates with three years of experience in any of the Six Sigma practice areas only need to complete one project.
If you wish to get this certification, you need to complete two projects and submit a signed affidavit (one project for the candidates with three years of experience). You can take either a computer-based exam which consists of 165 questions and lasts for 4.5 hours, or a paper-based test that includes 150 questions, and has to be completed within 4 hours.
The certification exam costs $538, but if you are the organization’s member, it is only $338. To prepare yourself for this test, you have to go through an exhaustive list of resources, including books, interactive exam questions, training programs, and question banks that are available on the official ASQ’s website.
Also, the candidates must pass the Six Sigma Black Belt Body of Knowledge course that has six competency areas: Analyze, Improve Phase, Control Phase, Overview, Define Phase, and Measurement Phase.
Certified Six Sigma Green Belt (CSSGB)
This professional-level credential is designed for the professionals with experience in Six Sigma. Often, CSSGBs work as assistants to CSSBBs. CSSGB candidates must have three years of full-time and paid working experience in Six Sigma. The job experience must be within the context of Six Sigma competency areas. Moreover, one is required to pass a single exam in six competency areas similar to the CSSBB certification.
To take the exam, you are required to have at least three years of experience in SSGB Body of Knowledge practice areas (full-time and paid). The test can be either computer-based (110 items, 4.5 hours), or paper-based (100 items, 4 hours). It costs $438 for non-members, and $288 for members, while retaking the exam costs $235 in both cases. The self-study resources for this certification exam form an exhaustive list of books, interactive exam questions, and training courses that are available on various online platforms.
Project Management Professional (PMP)
The PMP certification acts as the gold standard for project management credentials. As such, employers and candidates highly covet this accreditation. PMP equips a professional with the advanced skills, expertise, and comprehension of a project’s scheduling, planning, control, monitoring, and closure processes.
The PMP certification pathway is rigorous. Besides passing an exhaustive exam, PMP candidates must have an extensive grounding in PM management skills and knowledge.
Other PMP credential pathways include:
- PMI Agile Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
- PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)
- PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)
- PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)
- Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)
- Program Management Professional (PgMP)
Note: the PMP certification is a matchless credential. Plus, it is the standard used to evaluate all other PM credentials.
The prerequisites for getting this certificate can be divided into two groups, and you only need to meet one:
- A four-year degree, 4,500 hours in PM leadership and management, and 35 hours of PM training
- A high school diploma or an associate degree, 7,500 hours in PM leadership and management, and 35 hours of PM training
The PMP certification exam comprises 200 questions that have to be completed in 4 hours. Its costs are the following:
- Members: $405 (retake $275)
- Non-members: $555 (retake $375)
Some of the useful preparation resources for the test include Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, PMP Exam Prep, and CAPM/PMP Project Management Certification All-In-One Exam Guide.
Beyond the Top 5: Other Notable Project Management Certifications
Other Project Management certifications include:
- ASQ Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt (CSSYB)
- CompTIA Project+ (entry-level)
- Microsoft Project
- PRINCE2: Foundation and Practitioner credentials
- The Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM): Professional, Associate, and Certified Project Director