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10 Best Project Management Certifications and Courses of 2019

best project management certifications

Project Management certifications, or a certified professional are not essential to an organization’s core structure, but their involvement makes a difference in ten folds.

From the 1960s to early 2000s, Agile Framework adoption was still in its infancy. Teams and organizations who were looking to expand, unknowingly adapted to a specific set of daily rituals that were later termed as Agile Project Management, PMP and other such condiments.

Today, technology and businesses have gone through a metamorphosis that has led to such organizations in dire need for certified project managers. These individuals are qualified to handle the requirements of ongoing projects; whether they are related to software development or physical boundaries.

The nature of the certification, in turn, determines how the skills of a certified IT Project Manager can be applied and benefited from.

Why Are Project Management Certifications Important?

The average certified project manager has undergone various vigorous project development units, with each one being a training module of its own nature.

As a result of these certifications, the project manager is eventually capable of handling a wide variety of challenges and preset tasks to help increase the flow of business industry.

Likewise, based on IT Project Management Certifications, such as; Agile, Scrum or PMP+ modules, the certified manager can overlook an entire workforce responsible for achieving a milestone.

These project managers handle Scrum Masters and Product Owners who, in turn, are tasked to monitor “sprint” marathons within the organization.

Obviously, we don’t expect you to know the aforementioned terminologies. However, at the helm of each project, it comes down to obtaining the concerned Project Management Certifications.

Otherwise, you won’t be treated as an “accredited/ recognized” individual who is equipped to handle the laborious tasks within the life cycle of a project.

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The 10 Best Project Management Certifications of 2019

A lot of organizations, especially in the IT sector, bit the bullet after the second quarter of 2018. These organizations were in a minority because most of the major businesses had adapted the trend of hiring either a Certified Associate in Project Management, or a highly skilled Project Management professional.

Needless to say, statistics revealed a noticeable slump in their budget overturn, project completion rates and client’s satisfaction percentage. As a result of those findings, most of the leftover companies and institutes have shifted towards the current trend.

Some of the best Project Management Certifications and IT Project Managed Courses are highlighted below. Bear in mind that we encourage you to carry out your own research to weigh out the pros and cons of these certifications.

1. Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification

  • Expected Salary: $100,000 – $110,000
  • Course Duration: 3 Years
  • Cost: $400 – $555
  • Accreditation: Project Management Institute

Project Management Professional Certification cycles around three constraints: Time, Cost and Scope. It is a challenging course that constitutes various modules to assist the academia in identifying the weak spots within a project.

As a result, the project manager can brief his/ her team to come up with alternatives for completing the test sprint phase, and eventually achieve all the milestones towards a deliverable product.

The Project Management Professional certification is accredited with the Project Management Institute (PMI). They work constantly to introduce new changes within the course contents to keep it up to date and aligned with the rapidly changing requirements of the industry.

Project Management Professional (PMP) Requirements

For a PMP Certification, you need to have a prior secondary degree spanning over four years. The PMI has also mandated a 4,500 hour work experience directly, or indirectly related to heading projects, being part of a Certified Project Manager’s Team, and at least a 35 hour basic level project management education.

If you are a registered PMI online member, your exams will be conducted on a computer at a prescribed time and venue.

These exams are worth $405. However, written tests for non-tech savvy individuals are priced at $555. They have also devised conventional means of taking exams introduced at a cost of $250 per module.

Each year, the PMI consults with industry experts to reevaluate the fee structure for candidates who wish to get by with quality education at an affordable rate.

2. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

  • Expected Salary: $90,000 – $101,000
  • Accreditation & Significance: Project Management Institute
  • Cost: $200 – $300

As mentioned earlier in this post, the CAPM is part of the basic level IT Project Management Certifications. The high tier certifications not only carry prerequisites, but are also demanding as well.

The Certified Associate in Project Management is also administered by the PMI. It is a basic level certification that’s lined up with plenty of learning and growth opportunities for beginners.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Requirements

Since this is an entry level certification, it does not have a lot of prerequisites. On the least, interested candidates with a high school diploma or an equivalent 1,500 hours of project management experience (without any previous certification) can apply.

If you do not qualify on the basis of the two aforementioned “requirements”, you can still opt-in if you have completed a minimum of 23 hours of cumulative project management education.

Certified Associate in Project Management Examination can be taken at an entry cost of $225 for registered PMI website members. If you are a non-member, the test fee will be $300. In both cases, the fee is non-refundable.

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3. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) – Agile Project Management Certification

  • Expected Salary: $85,000 – $80,000
  • Course Duration: 1 Year
  • Accreditation: The Scrum Alliance
  • Cost: $990 – $1,400

The CSM: Certified ScrumMaster certification enables the “certified professional” to overlook a team of individuals who are responsible for working on the behest of the assigned product owner.

The majority of Scrum series certifications are associated with The Scrum Alliance, a globally recognized institute that was initially founded to promote Agile mindset in the software industry.

The CSM also works as a jump off/ tipping point for basic level Scrum Practitioners who wish to advance to the next level.

As of the most recent statistics, there are over 450,000 Certified ScrumMasters around the world. Most of these individuals started on Agile Project Management Certifications back in 2,000.

This certification is accredited with Scrum Alliance. They are a nonprofit organization who have been volunteering mostly in the IT industry for a number of years now.

Ironically for a nonprofit organization, The Scrum Alliance charges a whopping $1,000 to $1,400 as examination and training fee. The training course spans over two days, followed by a test, which is held on the next available immediate date, or whichever schedule suits the candidate.

Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) Requirements

Basic level familiarity with Scrum and Agile mindset. You also need to complete The Scrum Alliance introductory module to better orientate yourself towards the requirements of the Certified ScrumMaster program.

4. CompTIA Project+ Certification

  • Expected Salary: $80,000 – $85,000
  • Course Duration: Not Applicable
  • Accreditation: CompTIA Project Co.
  • Cost: $285

CompTIA Project+ is yet another certification within the realm of Project Management Certifications. However, its requirements are slightly less stringent, and it mildly correlates to the computing industry.

It is safe to say that the CompTIA Project+ certification is scaled within the same league as that of Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). CompTIA Project+ mostly has to deal with aggregating feedback from respondents, government representatives and research institutes.

Later on, the qualified professional points the organization in the right direction to seek experts who’d be able to complete the project at hand.

CompTIA Project+ and other associated IT Project Management Certifications are accredited with CompTIA Co. They are an institute like PMI and The Scrum Alliance. The only difference is that CompTIA Co. is targeting a specific mindset of the IT business industry.

CompTIA Project+ certification fee is $285. Some accredited training centers also organize CompTIA recognized training classes and mock test programs. You can check that by consulting with your nearest CompTIA Co. branch.

5. Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) Certification

  • Expected Salary: $110,000 – $123,000
  • Course Duration: 24 Hour Approval & Eligibility Period
  • Accreditation: Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • Cost: $490 – $640

The Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) Project Management certification is administered by the PMI. This certification strictly follows Agile mindset businesses; mostly companies that believe in identifying core problems and then doing more in less capacity. “Agile” itself is a vast description.

The PMI instructors give a brief walkthrough of the Agile philosophy through a grounds-up approach. The certification further delves into a practical hand-on strategy where different training modules are conducted to further equip the individuals with Agile frameworks.

Speaking of Agile frameworks, Scrum is part of the Agile mantra. Scrum is also a specific systematic approach of getting things done, but it is related to Agile – you can also call it a subcategory of Agile.

A major perk of seeking a certification as an ACP is that this is a globally recognized achievement. Students are enrolled to explore different tools and then apply their skills in real life issues concerned with Agile hurdles.

Agile Project Management – ACP Certification is administered by PMI. They are also heading various other PM certification, degree programs and courses to help aspiring individuals from all walks of life.

Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) Requirements

ACP is scaled as an advance tier certification within the Agile Project Management Certifications lineup. To be able to take the ACP exam, you need to fulfill the following requirements:

  • High School Diploma, Associate Degree or Equivalent Experience
  • Over 2,000 Work Hours of Experience or Cumulative 2,000 Hour Work Experience.
  • Prior Experience in Agile Work Teams/ Companies

If you have references from Agile Business Industry, you should use them to brighten up your chances of enrollment in the PMI ACP program.

As part of the PMI’s recognized certification, ACP enrollment fee is $495. You can shave off an extra 60 bucks, if you are already registered at the PMI website.

Signing up as a Project Management Institute member incurs a payment of $135. In exchange, they offer a flat $60 discount on all certifications and vice versa.

PMI also makes up for the spike in registration fee by offering online freebies to make students feel right at home. Occasionally, they introduce “dumps” that have previous year examination questions, lab exercises and much more.

6. PRINCE2 – Projects in Controlled Environments

  • Expected Salary: $90,000
  • Course Duration: 3-5 Yeas
  • Accreditation: AXELOS Ltd.
  • Price: $900

PRINCE2 is an advanced tier degree in the project management certifications chain. You need to clear a couple of pre-requisites; otherwise the governing administration will not allow you to sit the exam. However, that’s not bad news; it just means that you will be able to complete this certification after clearing a few basic milestones first.

PRINCE2 Certified engineers are highly reputed in their concerned field. Organizations expect a lot from these individuals, since they are well equipped with the knowledge of validating employees, core project management skills, concepts about IT project management lifecycle – and yes, business development tools as well.

PRINCE2 Certification Requirements

Since we already mentioned that PRINCE 2 is one of the top-level project management certifications, sitting the exam does have a few requirements. Take them as perquisites, because there’s no other way of taking the paper if you don’t have one of the following certifications in hand:

  • Any of the IPMA Level A to B Certifications
  • Certified Project Management Associate Certification
  • PRINCE 2 Foundation Course
  • PMP Project Management Professional Certification

Please bear in mind that if you have not previous cleared the above-mentioned project management certification course, you could go for the easy ones. The basic requirement for PRINCE 2 exam is that you need to have at least one certification that qualifies you as “eligible” for the examination.

7. PMP – Project Management Professional Certification

  • Expected Salary: $100,000 – $113,000
  • Course Duration: 3 Years
  • Accreditation: GAC/PMI
  • Price: $555

Project Management Professional certification is a top of the line, highly rewarding course where the certified individual is deemed a skillful person. However, this certification does not come easy; there are a couple of prerequisites, the exam is tough as well, and you really need to work hard for it.

Usually there is a small percentage of certified PMP professionals who are able to clear the exam in first attempt – and that too with flying colors. As of the last few years, many IT and other business-related industries regularly hire PMP professionals as a standard requirement of the company.

The main reason being is the sense of empowerment that enables PMP experts to use a wide array of methodology over a broad spectrum of different projects. In summation, Project Management Certification is a strong indicative of your skills, such as;

  • Proficiency in PMBOK Guide and Book of Knowledge.
  • Expertise in “generally acceptable” organization wide norms that involve various practices etc.

Project Management Professional Requirements

  • 3 years minimum experience in project management field
  • 5 years or an equivalent 7,500 hours of experience as someone who directed projects in PM related areas
  • Additional 35+ hours of project management education and a qualified person certification

8. Certified Project Director – CPD

  • Expected Salary: $138,000 – $173,000
  • Course Duration: Not Applicable
  • Accreditation: GAQM
  • Price: $400 – $555

CPD is a directorial level project management certification where it is not only hard to take the exam, but the accredited institute also has certain requirements to keep the CPD course validated. As a Certified Project Director, you are obligated to “maintain” your certification by completing preset number of hours in field duty.

Likewise, training sessions conducted for subordinates also count as an added plus point. CPD has two modules; formal CPD and informal CPD.

They are not to confused with one another since a Formal Certified Project Director is deemed a professional who has earned structured online education, a proper certificate and supporting documentation.

Regardless, CPD is one of the most prestigious certified project management courses. As much as CPD itself is a daunting venture, it rewards qualified personnel with equal employment and salary related opportunities.

Certified Project Director Requirements

Since CPD is accredited with the GAQM, they have mandated having strong knowledge about the principles & methodologies of project management. In addition, you need to demonstrate hands-on knowledge in the field of project management as a director to qualify for the exam.

9. Certified Project Manager – CPM-IAPM

  • Expected Salary: $65,000 – $96,000
  • Course Duration: Not Applicable
  • Accreditation: CCPC Global
  • Price: $630 – $800

CPM was introduced over a decade ago when the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack rocked the foundations of the US government. The presiding body at that time introduced the Certified Project Manager course because of the unforeseen nature of the disaster at hand.

Besides buildings and other physical devastations, the attack also sent jolts through IT infrastructure. Businesses were not equipped to handle such pressure and needed certified project managers to benchmark their skills through hands-on experiences. Since then, this certification is globally recognized by project management training institutes.

Certified Project Manager Requirements

CPM and CPM-IAPM are relatively easier to complete. There are no prerequisites to sit the exam, other than proof of taking 3 days’ duration training course.

10. Professional in Project Management – PPM

  • Expected Salary: $104,000
  • Accreditation: PMTI/PMI
  • Price: $135 – $555

Although it is not as much challenging to get a certification as a PPM, companies prefer hiring experienced professionals as compared to those who have just completed their courses. Regardless, Professional in Project Management is treated as a mid-level project management certification course where individuals are taught various skills.

As a certified PPM professional, if you are looking to step into the job market, a lot of businesses will expect you to have knowledge/ skill concerning resource allocation, quality deliverance n’ maintenance at minimal risk, effective communication and a tenacity to bring change in the company.

Just like CPM, the Professional in Project Management Certification is lined up with risk and crisis management training.

Professional in Project Management Requirements

  • Unlike its counterparts, PPM certification examination does not require for you to have a formal college degree
  • Candidates need to have at least some experience in the field of project management. If that’s not a possibility, you need to demonstrate your knowledge and familiarity with project management in one form or another

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How to Prepare for Project Management Certifications?

There are different approaches to preparing for Project Management Certification Courses. Some people like to partake in study programs conducted at globally recognized institutes, while others rely on self-taught skills.

The key approach to reaping the most benefits from any range of Project Management Certifications is to make an informed decision on getting the “right” certification. It can only happen if you have taken the right course after evaluating its scope in the market, return on investment and many other job related possibilities.

PMI tests are usually based on 200 questions. According to experts, 25 out of those 200 questions are spontaneous. These questions define the difficulty curve of the computer generated PMI Certification exam(s).

Moreover, a majority of these certifications are based on closed book policies. Some institutes allow their students to bring reference material to consult with, but PMI strictly prohibits such approach.

Where to Start with Project Management Certifications

Consult with an expert from the industry to see which certification holds most value for you in years to come. According to some experts, the only reason they took up ScrumMaster, Agile or Lean Business certifications was due to the sheer excitement factor. They were able to innovate a business and impact the “means to an end” philosophy in a positive manner.

Regardless, project managers are highly rewarded for their skills. Their pay scale easily levels against that of CEOs and high profile business designations.