The following certifications are available for project management certification. The requirements vary widely so be sure to read through each one to decide which is right for you.
This designation is arguably the standard for project management certifications. Issued by the Project Management Insitute (PMI) based in the United States, it has about 650,000 certified individuals and is growing by about 15% per year. There are educational requirements (U.S. high school or global equivalent) and experience requirements (5 years). You must pass an exam based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), a textbook that is readily available in most bookstores.
This designation is issued by the International Project Management Association (IPMA). Unlike the PMP, the IPMA full project manager designations are divided into levels B and C. Level B is intended for larger, more complex projects where analytical project management techniques are a major part of the management of the project. After writing the exam, the IPMA. through its network of country-specific organizations, confirms the knowledge and experience of the applicant via a worksite visit.
This designation is also issued by the International Project Management Association (IPMA). Level C is intended for small and/or less complex projects where a successful project outcome is based more on relationships and hands on management than analytical project management methods. Like level B, the IPMA confirms the knowledge and experience of the applicant via a worksite visit.
- PRINCE2 Practitioner
This is the main PRINCE2 certification, administered by Axelos in the UK. It is based on the PRINCE2 manual “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2.” Because there are no education or experience requirements (you can study on your own and register for the exam) this is considered a very basic certification but the corresponding recognition by industry is also lower. Unlike the other certifications, there are no letters after your name when achieving PRINCE2 certification.
- PRINCE2 Professional
This certification has no written exam. Rather, it involves an intensive two and a half day residential assessment which test the candidate’s ability to make real world decisions in a project environment. Like the Practitioner certification, there are no letters after your name.
Associate Project Manager
These entry-level designations are aimed at people who wish to move up into project management, or are not full time project managers yet but wish to demonstrate project management expertise. They do not require experience nor university degrees. They generally involve studying a textbook and writing an exam (although there are slight variations). There are also no continuing professional development credits to maintain the certification.
The Certified Associate in Project Management, Issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI), has about 27,000 people certified worldwide. Although it has the smallest number of certifications in this category, the PMI also administers the Project Management Professional (PMP) designation which is arguably considered the standard within the industry. Thus, the CAPM is simply the “baby PMP” and could be used as a stepping stone to becoming PMP certified. It is based on the PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge.
The International Project Management Associate, Level D, certification is issued by the International Project Management Association (also IPMA) and has 175,000 certifications worldwide. It is the lowest of four certification levels, and the only one which does not require a site visit by IPMA-certified assessors. The exam is based on the IPMA Competence Baseline (ICB), which is the official textbook for all IPMA certification levels.
- PRINCE2 Foundation
This is the entry level PRINCE2 certification, administered by Axelos in the UK. It is based on the PRINCE2 manual “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2.” The number of certified individuals is not known. Unlike the other two, there are no letters after your name when achieving PRINCE2 certification (on any of the three levels).
Whatever certification you choose, we wish you the best of luck in your project management career.