If you’re serious about a career as a project manager, earning the right qualifications will be high on your list of priorities. After completing a project management bootcamp, one of your best options is to earn a certification from a reputable institute like the Project Management Institute (PMI).  

While earning a certification may seem like an expensive and time-consuming exercise, there’s no question they can be a huge boost to your resume. Since most of them require some level of work experience, a valid certificate confirms your long-term commitment to the field. And that’s exactly what employers look for in a candidate.  

Of course one of the biggest advantages of getting certified is the higher earning potential. According to a recent PMI survey, the average median income for a certified project manager ranges from $115,000 to over $150,000, depending upon the application field, while a non-certified project manager typically earns $80,000 to $90,000. Organizations in just about every sector are crying out for certified project managers, with demand swelling by over 500% worldwide in the past decade.

Launch Your Project Management Career

An online project management course aimed at helping you launch a career. One-on-one mentorship, professional guidance, and a robust community network are on hand to help you succeed in Project Management.

Types of Project Management Certifications

We've put together a list below of some of the most popular certifications in project management. Any one of the certificates below will significantly boost your chances of landing a well-paying job in a top-notch organization—even if you’re just starting out.  

Project Management Professional (PMP)

The most valued certification in the field of project management is a Project Management Professional Certification (PMP), offered by PMI. The PMP certification validates your credibility and competency to lead and direct project teams. The average income of a PMP certified professional is around $110,000 per year.

As a globally accepted credential, the Project Management Professional Certification will even prepare you for a career abroad. Another benefit of getting certified is it gives you the option of becoming a PMI member. The PMI network has over 750,000 active certification holders across the world. The institute hosts regular events in major cities around the world, which can be highly beneficial for networking.

The minimum prerequisites for PMP are:

If you've decided to earn your PMP, you've got plenty of resources at your disposal.

The PMI offers a list of training materials, sample questions, and exam handbook for prospective candidates.  The standard textbook to prepare for the PMP certification is the sixth edition of the PMBOK (Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge). The book is technical and can be a tough read, but it covers all the topics related to project management in detail.

A stripped-down, easier-to-read version of the PMBOK guide for relatively new professionals is Project Management: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide, by Greg Horine. This book covers the entire project management cycle and also has tips on how to use the MS Project Software.

PMP Exam Prep: Accelerated Learning to Pass the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, by Rita Mulcahy; and CAPM/PMP Project Management Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, by Joseph Phillips, are other valuable reference books for this exam.  

The certification exam is priced at $405 (retake $275) for PMI members and at $555 (retake $375) for non-PMI members.  

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

CAPM holders need to get re-certified every five years. This is considered a stepping stone towards the more reputable PMP. The average income for a CAPM certified individual is around $100,000 per year. The certification exam fee is $225 (retake $150) for PMI members and $300 (retake $200) for non-PMI members.  

Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

Due to the rising popularity of Agile methodology in IT, there’s an increasing need for project managers skilled in the Agile framework. There are many Scrum Master certifications available, but Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) from Scrum Alliance is a great starting point. The fact that there are over 500,000 CSM certified professionals worldwide certainly backs this up.

CompTIA Project+

CompTIA's Project+ is suited for both IT and non-IT professionals. To design and improve the certification, the organization often takes feedback from the broader industry.

The certification exam is $285.  

Master Project Manager (MPM)

This  certification is offered by the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM), and acts as a professional license to practice project management. On top of the essential skills, MPM also focuses on business and technical management skills.

To appear for an MPM, a candidate must have completed at least three years in the project management domain. This is similar to the requirements for PMP, but it's is relatively less expensive, priced at $300.

Certified Project Director (CPD)

CPD is the highest level of certification offered by GAQM. The designation is for significantly experienced project managers, who direct multiple, complex projects and programs. The main focus areas of the certification are:

Candidates going for this certification need to have cleared the Professional in Project Management (PPM) or an equivalent exam. The certification fee is $300 and all course material is available to registered candidates on the GAQM website.

Learn Project Management with Thinkful

Our Technical Project Management bootcamp is one of the fastest ways to launch into a project management career.

As a student, you’ll have opportunities to gain skills and tools used by top employers throughout this project-based course. The program is backed by industry experts, a rigorous curriculum, and paired workshops.

We hope the article helps you make an informed decision on which project management certification is suitable for you. You can read more about other tech certification programs on our blog.

Launch Your Project Management Career

An online project management course aimed at helping you launch a career. One-on-one mentorship, professional guidance, and a robust community network are on hand to help you succeed in Project Management.

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