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Which Project Management Certification is Right for You?

There are a number of ways project management certification can boost your career:

  • Employer demand. Project managers are needed in almost every industry, and Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is one of the top requested certifications in job postings. Millions of jobs already require project management skills, and hundreds of thousands of new project management jobs will be created each year.
  • Validated skills. A certification is usually awarded after successfully passing a comprehensive examination. These certifications demonstrate that you have the skills and knowledge to perform a particular job.
  • Increased earning potential. In 2020, U.S. project managers with a PMP certification reported 26% higher salaries on average than those without a PMP certification.

Note: it is unclear what the long-term impact of the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak will be on the job market. All statistics are based on past job market data, and projections have not been adjusted to reflect the impact of the outbreak.

So which certification is right for you?

In the alphabet soup of project management certifications (PMP, CAPM, PMI-ACP), which one is right for you? The answer often varies based on your experience and which industry you want to work in.

If you're an experienced project manager...

PMP certification is the gold standard for experienced project managers. Certification demonstrates that you have the knowledge and experience to manage the entire project life cycle, from initiation and planning through execution, support, and closure.

To take the PMP exam, project managers must have experience leading and directing projects as well as meeting specific education requirements, including 35 hours of formal project management training. You can learn more about the requirements here.

We offer a variety of classes to prepare you for PMP exam success:

  • Our live instructor-led PMP Exam Prep classes teach the essential skills of project management and provide you with training and support to take and pass the PMP exam. Online and in-person options are available.
  • Self-paced classes allow you to learn online entirely at your own pace. If you choose this option, you will be able to access the online self-paced PMP Exam Prep course materials 24/7, any time you have an internet connection.

In addition to preparing you to take the PMP exam, these classes fulfill the PMP certification requirement of 35 hours of formal project management training.

If you're a new project manager...

If you’re just starting your project management career, the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification may be right for you. CAPM certification demonstrates that entry-level project managers have foundational project management knowledge and skills.

To qualify for taking the CAPM certification exam, aspiring project managers must have a high school diploma, associate’s degree or equivalent and 23 hours of formal project management training.

  • Our live online instructor-led CAPM Exam Prep class teaches the essential skills of project management and provides you with training and support to take and pass the CAPM exam. The class is offered in a "live online" format via Zoom, WebEx or other conferencing tool.
  • The self-paced online CAPM Exam Prep class lets you learn entirely at your own pace. You can access the course materials 24/7, any time you have an internet connection. 

Both classes fulfill the requirement for 23 hours of project management education, in addition to preparing you to successfully pass the CAPM exam.

Another option for new project managers is CompTIA Project +. CompTIA Project + is designed for those managing small- to medium-sized projects as part of their other job duties. It may be a good option for those who are managing projects as part of their job but are not full-time project managers. There are no experience or education requirements for taking the Project+ exam, so it is can also be a good option for those who want to learn fundamental project management skills but may not yet meet the requirements for other certifications.

Other project management certifications

While a PMP or CAPM certification is valuable across a wide range of industries, employers in particular industries may prefer industry-specific project management certifications. For example, in software development, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® certification and Certified ScrumMaster are increasingly in demand.

If you are focused on a particular industry, do your research to discover which certifications are most sought-after in that industry.

The Project Management Professional (PMP), PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.