Certified Project Manager

Certified Project Manager: 5 Options for PM Certifications

7 min. read

Why does a company need a Certified project manager? What difference does it make to be a Certified project manager? How does one become a Certified project manager? What are the different project management certifications? We will explain everything about becoming a Certified project manager in this article.

Who is a Certified project manager?

Starting from the basics: let us see who is a Certified project manager. A project manager who is certified by a recognized body or an institution that is authorized to provide the project management certification.

Which are the certification bodies?

There are quite a few certification bodies across the world. While some are specific to a region, others like PMI are global bodies.

1- Project Management Institute (PMI):

The global organization advocating project management, PMI provides certification in various aspects related to projects. If you are a novice, you can go for Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM).

If you want to be a Certified project manager and you are experienced; then, go for the gold standard PMP certificate from PMI. PMI also provides PMI-ACP- which makes you an Agile Certified Project Manager.

2- International Project Management Association (IPMA):

IPMA has a Council of Delegates, an Executive Board, and several Management Boards that are from various parts of the globe. It has partnerships with many reputed organizations such as the International Standardization Organization (ISO), the International Centre for Complex Project Management, the Asia-Pacific Federation of Project Management (APFPM), etc.

If you are looking for certifications from IPMA, you can opt for Level D which is also called ‘Certified Project Management Associate’ or Certified Project Manager (CPM) or level C. Do you have substantial experience in project management and want to become a certified project manager? Then, go for level B – Certified Senior Project Manager, or still higher up? Target Level A to become a Certified Project Director!

3- PRINCE 2: PRojects IN Controlled Environments:

Are you working in the UK, Australia, or on projects aligned to Government of UK policies? Then, you can become a PRINCE 2 certified project manager. Here too, you can choose the levels from ‘Foundation’ to Practitioner depending on the experience you have in managing projects.

4- What about Scrum Alliance?

Scrum methodology is being advocated for complex projects where quick turnaround is needed in a collaborative environment. The equivalent of a certified project manager in this agile methodology is Certified Scrum Master (CSM) or Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) which ultimately leads you to Certified Scrum Professional(CSP).

Certified Project Manager

What are the benefits of becoming a certified project manager?

  • When you are a certified project manager, it is like a shot in the arm for you and your company. You add your credential to your resume and flaunt it on your LinkedIn profile to get noticed by the right set of people
  • Companies prefer a certified project manager as they can claim to have competent project managers that are globally recognized. Hence, companies have greater chances of bagging the projects from clients
  • You get acclaim from peers and clients for the commitment and knowledge you have gained as a certified project manager
  • Of course, there is definitely a monetary benefit associated with the certification. You can look forward to a 20% hike in PMP Salary if you are a PMP-certified project manager

Participants who have earned a certification in the last 12 months: 35.77% increased their salary by more than 10% and 16.89% increased their salary by more than 20%.

How do I become a certified project manager?

Are you thinking of becoming a certified project manager? Most of the certification bodies need you to write an exam. What will the exam have? You will be tested on the project management concepts and how it is applied to successfully manage the projects.

PMP certified project manager:

Who should do pmp certification? Check if you meet these PMP requirements:

  • 4-year bachelor degree
  • 4500 hours of experience managing and directing projects
  • 35 hours of project management training

What next? Apply on the PMI website, pay your fee and schedule your exam. Start your PMP exam prep and practice the questions from the PMP Question Bank. Here is some quick information about the PMP Exam:

  • How many questions?
    • 200 questions
  • How much time do I have?
    • 4 hours
  • Any specific percentage of questions from each topic?
    • You have 5 process groups and you get maximum questions from executing process group (31%), the lowest from closing (7%). Planning (24%), Monitoring & Control (25%). So be sure to revise your PMP Study Plan accordingly.
    • Have you understood the PMI Code of Ethics? You will be tested on these too since ethics are an integral part of the project management
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It’s always good to practice before taking the exam. So you may check out a sample online PMP exam before taking the actual one.

Certified Project Manager

PRINCE 2 Foundation:

Is your goal the PRINCE 2 Foundation certified project manager?

You need to answer 75 multiple choice questions in one hour. The exam is based on the ‘Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2’.

But, if your goal is to be a PRINCE 2 Practitioner, you first need to pass the foundation or CAPM or PMP or IPMA levels A, B, C, and D. You need to answer 8 questions with 10 sub-questions under each within 2.5 hours.

You can attend our Free Prince2 Training to learn more.

5- How about IPMA certified project manager?

You saw that levels A and B are for the Project Director and senior manager. Therefore, let us look at levels C and D. IPMA certified project manager has to showcase his/her previous experience and will be tested on concepts as well as practical exercises.

Write a 2-hour written exam. In this,  you will be given assignments on project organization, planning, and control for a case study. If you are through in this phase, you will participate in a group exercise on project management. The final stage is a personal interview after which you become a certified project manager.

What if you want to be a certified project manager in Agile methodology?


You may choose from either Scrum Alliance or PMI. Do you want to go for PMI-ACP, similar to PMP? Then, you need to fulfill the eligibility requirements (2000 hours of general project management experience, 1500 hours of agile project experience, and 21 hours of training on agile practices). Now, apply online and after your application is approved, pay fees, schedule your exam, and become an ACP.

Attend our Free PMI-ACP Training.

Free PMI-ACP Training

Scrum Certification

Scrum Alliance says that you need to attend a scrum training online or offline conducted by a certified trainer and then take the exam. If you are planning for CSM or CSPO, you need to attend a 2-day training and then take an exam based on which you will be certified.

Another alternative is PSM and PSPO certification course options from Scrum.org. There are no training or experience requirements for Professional Scrum Master (PSM) or Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) certifications.

Our Free Agile Scrum Training describes the Agile and Scrum foundations and different Agile and Scrum Certification options in detail. Enroll in our Free Agile Training now.

What after Certification?

Are you thinking that once you are certified, you can forget all about project management?  I am sure you are definitely wiser.

If you want to retain your certification, you need to earn some Professionals Development Units (PDU) or equivalents. These are an indication that you continue to learn, contribute, and be with the community to keep yourself updated on project management practices.

Choose from the multiple options to become a certified project manager. If you are certified, you will definitely score higher than others. Moreover, you have seen the tangible and intangible benefits you get after you are a certified project manager. So, go on and become a certified project manager of your need.

Certified project manager

Author Biography:

Certified project manager

Sunanda Gundavajhala, B.Tech, M.B.A, PMP has over 25 years of project management experience. She is a consultant, and trainer on project management for different sectors and is the recipient of the “Recognition of Excellence” award from PMI, USA, and the Woman Volunteer award from Hyderabad, India Chapter of PMI. Sunanda has contributed to the “Practice Standard on Scheduling, PMI”. She has worked as the Liaison officer for PMIEF (Education Foundation) for the Hyderabad, India Chapter of PMI.

Certified Project Manager
Review by: Janice Anderson
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