15 Best Project Management Certifications

15 Best Project Management Certifications

Project manager certifications are credentials that demonstrate an individual's expertise, knowledge, and skills in project management. These certifications are essential for professionals seeking to enhance their career prospects in the field of project management.

Project management certifications are essential for demonstrating commitment, competence, and expertise in managing projects. In today's dynamic business climate, project management is an essential ability. With a wide range of methodologies and industries adopting project management principles, the need for certified project managers is at an all-time high. This article will explore the best project manager certifications, their costs, and their value in the industry.

Project Management Professional (PMP)®

The PMP certification, held by over 1.2 million professionals globally, is a top credential in project management. This project manager certification requires a secondary degree with five years of experience or a four-year degree with three years plus 35 hours of education.

The exam covers the full project life cycle and costs between $750 to $3000, including training and exam fees. PMPs earn 16% more on average, and employers value the certification for hiring and promotions. Renewal for PMI members is every three years at a reduced cost compared to non-members.​

2. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®


The CAPM certification from PMI is an entry-level project manager certification. It tests basic PM knowledge and processes based on the PMBOK® Guide. Essential for career growth, CAPM requires renewal every five years. Exam costs range between $225 and $300, varying for PMI members. Additional expenses can include study materials and courses.

3. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)®

The Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification, offered by Scrum Alliance, is key in Agile methods and a significant project manager certification. It's ideal for future Scrum Masters and various professionals. The course teaches Scrum values and practices. It's interactive, with skills for immediate use. The certification boosts careers, leadership, and organizational impact.

4. PRINCE2 Foundation/Practitioner

The PRINCE2 Foundation project manager certification is the first step to becoming a Registered PRINCE2 Practitioner. It assesses a candidate's ability to function as an informed member of a project management team using the PRINCE2 methodology.

Syllabus: Focuses on understanding the roles, principles, themes, and processes of PRINCE2, along with the main management products involved in a project.

Target Audience: Suitable for both new and experienced project staff, project managers, consultants, and other roles within a PRINCE2 environment.

Exam Format: Multiple choice, 75 questions (5 trials), 50% passing mark, 60 minutes duration, closed book​​​​.

5. Certified Project Director (CPD)



The CPD certification, a globally recognized project manager certification, is designed for senior and experienced project management executives. It advances skills in managing complex project issues like scope, risk, and budget management.

Eligibility: Candidates should hold a Bachelor's or Master's degree and a professional project management certification such as PMP, Prince2® Practitioner, or CPM.

Exam Details: 100 multiple-choice questions with an 80% passing mark, 80 minutes duration, online and proctored​​.

6. Certified Project Manager (IAPM)

The IAPM's Certified International Project Manager (IAPM) certification is a project manager certification based on the International PM Guide 2.0. It represents the IAPM's knowledge base, developed with international project management experts.

Prerequisites: According to Coursera, the certification requires no professional experience. However, IAPM suggests that it requires some knowledge of project management.

Exam Process: Online certification exam, with questions covering all IAPM competence elements from the International PM Guide 2.0. A passing score of 65% is needed, and results are provided within three working days.

7. Professional in Project Management (PPM)

The PPM certification is offered by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM) and targets intermediate to advanced project managers. It focuses on strategic project management and operational efficiency, blending traditional and contemporary project management techniques.

The class usually requires 45 to 50 hours to finish. It is priced at $340 for an online course, including exam access, or $100 for just the course itself.

8. BVOP Certified Project Manager

The BVOP Certified Project Manager certification, increasingly popular in the UK, redefines project management with a focus on business value and a people-centric approach. This certification fosters leadership skills and a comprehensive understanding of project dynamics and is aimed at senior project managers and agile experts.

Priced at $130, it's an accessible option for professionals, requiring no prior experience. The certification includes free online study materials, making it a valuable investment for those seeking to become effective, people-focused leaders.

9. Associate in Project Management (APM)

The APM certification is an entry-level project manager certification ideal for individuals starting their careers in project management. It covers fundamental knowledge of project management principles and practices, making it suitable for beginners.

The APM certification, costing $175, offers a crucial online course for project management basics. It's ideal for various roles, requiring no prior experience, only GAQM's e-course completion. This certification is a key step towards career advancement in the field.

10. CompTIA Project+

This project manager certification is focused on IT project management. It covers the essentials of IT project management, including project lifecycle, resources, and stakeholder management, making it ideal for IT professionals.

This certification, costing $358, confirms and improves your project management abilities. It requires either a year of project management experience or equivalent education. The CompTIA Project+ is not just educational; it proves your capability in managing IT project challenges.

11. Master Project Manager (MPM)

The Master Project Manager (MPM) certification from the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM) mirrors the professional licensure models used in fields like aviation and medicine. Aimed at top-tier project managers and directors with advanced degrees, the MPM enhances their professional status.

Costing $300, the fee covers application, review, and certification issuance. Eligibility requires three years of project management experience, with waivers available for those with a master's degree, equivalent experience, or specific backgrounds like military service. The MPM is more than a credential; it's a symbol of excellence and leadership in project management.

12. Certified Project Manager (CPM-IAPM)

The Certified Project Manager certification by the International Association of Project Managers (IAPM) is an essential entry-level qualification for budding project managers. It offers both theoretical and practical insights into project management without requiring prior experience.

Pricing varies by country, reflecting the GDP; in the US, it costs $540.75, equivalent to 479 CHF. Although there are no strict prerequisites, IAPM suggests various prep methods like partner workshops, self-study literature, and a self-assessment test. This certification serves as more than just an academic milestone; it's a foundational step towards a thriving career in project management.

13. PRINCE2 Agile Foundation/Agile Practitioner

The PRINCE2 Agile Foundation and Practitioner certifications by Axelos are crucial for professionals in agile environments. They validate expertise in PRINCE2 and agile practices, with the Foundation level covering core principles and methodologies like Scrum and Kanban.

Pricing varies by location, making it widely accessible. For certification, the Foundation exam has no prerequisites, but it's necessary for the Practitioner level. These certifications do more than test knowledge; they affirm your skill in integrating PRINCE2 governance with agile methods.

14. Program Management Professional (PgMP)

The PgMP certification from PMI is designed for senior program managers. It focuses on managing multiple projects aligned with organizational goals. The certification suits those working in complex, multi-departmental environments. The exam covers strategic program management, benefits, and governance.

The cost is $800 for PMI members and $1,000 for non-members. Applicants need substantial experience. This includes a secondary degree with 48 months in project management or PMP certification, plus 84 months in program management within 15 years. For four-year degree holders, it requires 48 months each in project and program management over the same period.

15. Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP)

The Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) from PMI validates expertise in agile methods like Scrum, Kanban, and XP. It's for professionals in agile teams, enhancing skills in areas like agile mindset and stakeholder engagement. The ACP is more than an exam; it's a step towards agile mastery.

It costs $435 for members and $495 for non-members. Requirements include:

  • A secondary degree
  • 21 hours of agile training
  • Relevant experience—12 months in project management or eight months in agile roles within the last 3-5 years.

A PMP or PgMP fulfils the experience requirement but isn't mandatory. The ACP is not just a certification; it's key to professional growth in agile.

Which is Better: CPM or PMP?

  • Comparison: The Certified Project Manager (CPM) and Project Management Professional (PMP) cater to different experience levels in project management. PMP is globally recognized and is often considered more prestigious due to its stringent requirements.
  • CPM: Ideal for beginners or mid-level project managers. It focuses on fundamental project management skills.
  • PMP: Requires more experience (typically 4500-7500 hours of leading projects) and education. It's preferred for advanced project management roles.
  • Industry Preference: The choice depends on career stage and goals. PMP holds more weight in industries and countries where PMI's standards are widely recognized.

Is a Project Management Certificate Worth It?

  • Career Advancement: Certifications like PMP are often linked to higher salaries. According to a PMI survey, PMP-certified individuals earn 22% more on average than their non-certified peers.
  • Skill Development: These certifications validate project management skills and knowledge, enhancing credibility.
  • Market Demand: With the increasing complexity of projects, certified project managers are in demand for their expertise in managing risk, resources, and time effectively.

How Much Does the CAPM Exam Cost?

  • Exam Cost: According to PMI, the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) exam cost is approximately $225 for PMI members and $300 for non-members.
  • Additional Costs: This does not include potential additional costs like study materials or PMI membership fees.
  • Membership Benefits: PMI members get discounts on exam fees and access to resources, which can be beneficial for exam preparation.


Project manager certifications are more than just credentials. They show a professional's commitment and expertise in project management. These certifications stand out in a tough job market. They boost careers and personal growth. As project management evolves, these certifications become more valuable. They are crucial for every project management professional.

Patson Chidari
This article was written by Patson a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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