Top 12 Project Management Certifications

Project management combines processes, knowledge, skills, and approaches to achieve a specific project objective. Unlike standard management, which is ongoing, this discipline focuses on submitting deliverables within a specified time.

In recent decades, the demand for qualified project managers has considerably grown. The productivity of teams and timely release directly affect the success of projects. Therefore, businesses are ready to pay a lot for hiring an experienced project manager.

A project management certification is one of the ways to start this career. It gives you the necessary fundamentals and helps to get hired. Learn more about why you need such certification and what options are out there below.

Pros and Cons of Getting a Project Management Certification

Everyone says that you need to study a lot to advance your career these days. It’s essential to complete various courses and training to prove your expertise. But do you actually need it? Check out these project management certificate advantages and disadvantages to decide.

Why get certified:

  • It makes your resume more convincing
  • You can tap into the expertise of more experienced colleagues
  • You learn what’s new in the industry and master new PM approaches
  • It’s authoritative proof of your experience
  • Project management is a well-paid job, so it’s worth learning
  • Certification makes you a more attractive candidate for employers
  • You join a community of professionals

Why not obtain certification:

  • It’s time-consuming to complete courses and prepare for exams
  • Renowned certifications from top universities and organizations are expensive
  • Many sources offer too much theory and no practical skills

Overall, project management certification is an excellent idea if you do it right. So be sure to pick a reputable certification and research what it offers before starting.

The Most Popular Project Management Certifications


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This section lists the most famous project management certifications created by leading industry organizations. They are known for high-quality education and effectiveness.

Project Management Professional (PMP)

PMP is a top project management certification for project leaders from different industries. It includes agile and predictive project management, as well as hybrid approaches. After joining it, you will enhance the soft skills required to lead a team, learn PM technical aspects, and master business environment strategies.

To apply for this certification, you need to have some previous experience and education. They request a four-year degree, 35 hours of education, CAMP®, and other achievements.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

CAPM® is a Project Management Institute (PMI) ‘s credential to prepare people for beginner project management jobs or further education. You can work as a project coordinator, junior PM, or associate project manager with CAPM.

PMI members will need to pay $225 to get certified, whereas a non-member fee is $300. You also need to meet a list of requirements to sit for the exam.

Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)

PMI-ACP is provided by Project Management Institute (PMI) to Agile Certified Practitioners (which explains its name). It trains students to work on Agile projects and use the tools to manage teams. PMI-ACP is particularly good for project managers who want to work in technology.

Program Management Professional (PgMP)

PgMP is a certification for senior-level program managers who run multiple related projects at once. It’s suitable for executives or functionality managers who want to boost their skills, PMs that learn program management, or anyone interested in large-scale PM practices. To be eligible for the PgMP credential, you must have a secondary diploma/four-year degree, four years of PM, and seven years of program management experience.

Certified Scrum Master (CSM)

This certification by Scrum Alliance is one of the most popular entry-level certifications. It’s suitable for Scrum masters, software engineers, project managers, business analysts, and new Scrum team members. Before getting it, you must attend a course or get coaching and receive from 14 to 25 hours of training depending on its type.

Top 7 Project Management Certifications Online

If you cannot pass complicated examinations, online courses may be a good start. They are more affordable, require less expertise, and are convenient to take.

#1. Google Project Management: Professional Certificate

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This Coursera course promises to prepare you for a PM job in less than six months. You will gain an immersive understanding of what skills are necessary to become a junior PM, learn Agile and Scrum, solve common problems, do strategic communication and stakeholder management based on real scenarios. Upon completion, you will have a shareable certificate.

“The course is didactic and offers lots of additional materials that support project realization.” (Cassia L.)

#2. Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management (the University of Virginia)

Associate Professor Yael Grushka-Cockayne offers the introduction to project management for everyone. You will learn the fundamental concepts of project planning and implementation. The instructor also explains how to evaluate risks and use the earned value approach to control the project’s progress. This course has subtitles in 11 languages, so you don’t even need advanced English for it.

“The course is clear, includes interesting exercises, and helpful instructions.” (SH)

#3. Project Management Principles and Practices Specialization (the University of California)

Margaret Meloni provides this online course for beginner-level project managers. After finishing it, you will know how to identify project scope, break down work, plan the budget, allocate resources, manage risks, and organize project development. It has a flexible schedule and takes approximately five months to complete.

“This course is worth the invested time. Definitely recommend it to anyone who learns project management.” (OU)

#4. Agile Project Management by Google

Google Career Certificates offer this course is already significant advantage. It’s the fifth training in a series of six courses. It explains the philosophy, principles, and values of the Agile PM approach. You will also learn more about Scrum and set up five essential Scrum events in a team. Be ready to spend around 22 hours on it.

“Compared to other courses, this one is loaded with information.” (Matt W)

#5. Construction Management Specialization (Columbia University)

This program has a narrower target audience than other options we cover here. It offers project managers from the construction and civil engineering industry. It shares a construction field overview, provides IT trends in construction, and teaches how to evaluate and manage projects in this niche. If you spend 4 hours/week studying, expect to finish it in approximately seven months.

“It gives PMs an understanding of construction economics and financing.” (DG)

#6. Introduction to Agile Development and Scrum by IBM

John Rofrano, a top instructor and DevOps at IBM, focuses on project management in tech. Learn how to use Agile practices and how a Scrum team works. This course also teaches you to write user stories and track your team’s progress with a kanban board; plan and execute sprints; evaluate success, and more.

“This course would benefit someone interested in project planning and implementation.” (SM)

#7. Brain Sensei – Complete PMP® Exam Prep Course

It’s a paid online course that prepares aspiring project managers for passing the (CAPM)® certification exam. This program consists of 9 interactive story-based online modules, four practice exams, 13 storytelling challenges, and other exciting tasks. It’s more complicated and advanced than other online courses we have mentioned.

“Best for those who want to take it at their own pace. I completed it in 2.5 months.” (Matthew)


Project management certifications serve as an additional way to develop your PM skills. There are many options to try, from entry-level programs to certifications backed up by top universities. So find your perfect match and start learning now.

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Andrew Chornyy

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