Choosing the right project management certification

Project Management Certifications: How to Choose the Right One

Working in a project management office (PMO), odds are that you already have at least a Bachelor’s degree, so do you need any more qualifications? There are lots of project management certifications, how to choose the right one for you can improve your PMO prospects.

You might be looking to move up the ladder in your current PMO from analyst to manager, or you could be looking to advance your career with another company. However you want to move your career forwards, project management (PM) certification can give your career a boost.

Whether you’re just starting to explore the possibilities or have done lots of reading and are still asking, “is it work getting a project management certificate?”, we’re here to help. We’re going to look at:

  • Reasons to get a project management certification
  • The value of PM certifications
  • What makes a good certification
  • An overview of the different certifications you should be looking for

Helping clarify your choices.

Why do I need a project management certification?

If you’ve recently been searching for a PMO job, you’ll have seen lots of companies specifying certifications. Working to get the certificates that employers look for is going to:

  • Help you get a job by meeting requirements that are becoming more common
  • Help get a higher salary in a new position – you demonstrate your value to the company
  • Help you get promoted in your current company by showing your dedication
  • Contribute towards raise negotiations because you’ve become more valuable to the company

What’s the value of gaining a project management certification?

There is a cost involved in attaining a certification, which can be off-putting, especially when you might be unemployed at the moment. It’s worth noting that having a PMP certificate – more details coming up – can increase your salary by 20%.

Having a PM certificate is also proof of your skills, and it shows that you can work within specific frameworks.

Another benefit of gaining a certification is the community that comes with it. You can connect on a deeper level with project managers you work with when you all understand the same methodology.

However, you may find that you learn little new information about how to run your PMO. You may find you’re told the skills and processes you already know; the course is just formalising your current knowledge and skills.

How do I know if a project management certificate is legitimate?

Whilst there are many project management certificates around, there are some tried and tested ones that are recognised the world over. We’ll look at those in a little more detail in a moment.

If you’re considering a different PM certification, there are some elements that you need to check out, such as:

  • Who is certifying the course? Look for courses from professional bodies
  • Is it internationally recognised? You want your training to be as transferrable as possible
  • Does your industry recognise the certificate? Some industries like IT have more specific certificates
  • Is the course for a specific framework? Be sure that your company or potential employers use that framework, such as Scrum or waterfall

These questions will help you find a valuable project management certification.

Which are the common project management certifications?

There are some standard PM certifications that you will see being requested in job advertisements. We’ll give you brief details here and cover each in more detail in the coming posts.

Certified Associate in Project Management

A good place to start for those in their PMO career, this certificate covers project standardisation and general concepts you need to be familiar with.

Project Management Professional

Also known as PMP, this is a course offered by the Project Management Institute. It’s not specific for an industry and covers a range of methodologies. Your professional experience is vetted before you can start the course and it is very widely recognised.

Portfolio Management Professional

The PfMP is geared towards certifying skills around change management and working with strategic objectives, if you’re managing a range of projects this is the next step from the PMP. It’s designed for executives and senior leaders.

PRINCE2

PRojects IN a Controlled Environment 2 is a course from the UK government. It’s very prescriptive, covering very specific practices and processes. Seek this course if your current or future employers uses the framework.

SAFe and ITIL

Specific to the software and IT industries, these two certifications will bode well for PMO practitioners in this sector.

The take-home

Knowing how to choose the right project management certification can be a challenge. Once you know what to look for, study the details of each one and understand what is expected in your vertical.

Project Management Certifications Presentation

This presentation provides an overview of the different project management qualifications so you can decide which ones are right for you.