Project Manager Certification

Best Project Manager Certification Programs: Top 5 PM Certifications

8 min. read

Are you a practicing project manager? Do you manage projects? Want to know how you can improve your prospects and skill set to lead projects better? Which is the best project manager certification you should go for? What are the best project management certification options? We will analyze the project manager certification options, online courses, and project management certificate programs for project management training in this post. 

HEY! – Do not skip this post. You will see five 100% FREE Certification Course links ahead.

Project Manager Certification: Why should I be certified?

Do you want to add value to your career prospects and develop your project management skills? Do you want an edge over others as a professional in project management when you are considered for a position? Are you looking for a hike in your pmp salary? Do you want to be globally recognized in your profession? A Project Manager Certification gives you these and much more. Do you want to know the best practices in the field of project management? Want to be able to speak the same lingo as other project managers in the rest of the world also speak? If you are saying yes to all these, then you need to go for one of the best project management certification programs or project management training and become one of the certified project managers. Now, the next question is, which one is the best for me? We will answer about the project manager certification in this post, so continue reading! 

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%.

The Best Project Management Certification Options

Do you want to know which is the best project management certification available across the globe? Some of the project manager certifications available are:

  1. PMP: Project Management Professional PMP Certificate from Project Management Institute PMI
  2. PMI-ACP: Agile Project Management
  3. CSM, CSP, CSD: Agile Scrum Certification
  4. PRINCE 2: Projects IN Controlled Environments
  5. International Project Management Association (IPMA) Level A,B,C,D

Other best project management certifications are:

  • CPM: Certified Project Manager
  • MPM: Master Project Manager
  • Microsoft Project: Project Management tool
  • CAPM Certification: Certified Associate in Project Management (another PMI certification)

What do I need for a project manager certification?

Let us understand what you need- a prerequisite, preparation for these project manager certifications:

PMP: Project Management Professional Certification from Project Management Institute (PMI)

If you want to get the project management professional PMP certification: the gold standard for project management certification, pmp certification requirements you need to have are:

  • 4500 hours of experience managing and directing projects
  • 35 hours of project management education

If you are thinking of getting the recognized certificate PMP Certification for a project manager certification, you can find online PMP training and get certified at your own pace.

Attend our 100% Online & Self-Paced One-Hour Free PMP Training.

PMI-ACP: Agile Certified Practitioner from PMI

If you are a project manager working in a change drive environment where you deliver products in a short cycle, you may want to explore these project management certifications.

  • 2000 hours of general project management experience
  • 1500 hours of agile project experience
  • 21 hours of training on agile practices

Attend our 100% Online & Self-Paced 30-min Free PMI-ACP Training.

Free PMI-ACP Training

project manager certification

Agile/Scrum Project Manager Certifications:

If you want to showcase your agile project experience, then the following are the best project management certifications in agile methodologies and scrum: CSM, CSP, and CSD. If you are considering getting this project manager certification you can enroll in an online Agile Scrum Certification course or get detailed information about Agile Scrum Certification

Certified Scrum Master (CSM): CSM project manager certification is a recognized certification that helps you to facilitate project teams to use scrum effectively for project success. This is one of the best project management certifications for the agile project management area.

  • 16-hour CSM certificate courses from a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)
  • Answer 24 of the 35 questions of the CSM Exam online test

Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO): You may choose this project manager certification if you understand stakeholder needs and are looking at a product envisioning perspective

Certified Scrum Developer (CSD): Five days of training from Scrum Alliance Registered Education Provider (REP) and a Scrum Alliance Authorized Instructor. You have two options to get the project manager certification of CSD aimed at software developers:

  • 2 days of CSM training plus 3 days of CSD technical training that includes coding
  • 1-day introduction course on Scrum CSD, 3 days of CSD technical training that includes coding, and 1 day of CSD elective course

Certified Scrum Professional (CSP):

  • You should be a Certified Scrum Master CSM, CSPO, or CSD with active status
  • Have at least 36 months of Agile/Scrum experience working as a team member, product owner, and ScrumMaster in the last 5 years
  • Earned 70 Scrum Education Units (SEUs). 16 for CSM, 16 for CSPO, and 24 for CSD also count for the 70 SEUs. The SEUs have to be earned in the last three years while the SEUs you claim from CSM, CSPO, and CSD can be older.

We also recommend PSM – Professional Scrum Master and PSPO – Professional Scrum Product Owner certifications from These certifications do not require attendance to a training or professional experience. You can attend our Free Professional Scrum Master Training and Free Professional Scrum Product Owner Training.

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.

PRINCE 2: Projects IN Controlled Environments

  • PRINCE2 Foundation: No mandatory prerequisite is needed. You need to have some understanding of project management
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner: If you are looking for a PRINCE2 Practitioner for your project manager certification, you need to have passed one of the following exams/certifications: PRINCE2 Foundation, PMP, CAPM, International Project Management Association(IPMA) Level A, B, C, D.

If you can not choose whether to get PRINCE 2 or PMP certification you can find more detailed information in PRINCE2 vs PMP article. Roughly, we can say that Prince 2 certification is one of the best project management certification you can opt for if you will be working in one of the following countries:

  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • India

Learn more in our Free Prince2 Training.

Free Prince2 Training

International Project Management Association (IPMA) Level A,B,C,D

If you are looking at project manager certification from IPMA, you have a four-level competence-building model. The basic level starts with Level D which is also called ‘Certified Project Management Associate’. But, If you are a project manager managing projects with moderate complexity and have at least 3 years of experience, you may go for Certified Project Manager (CPM) or level C. In addition to these, Project Manager certification of Level B denotes that you have at least 5 years of managing complex projects and you are a Certified Senior Project Manager. Moreover, when you have been managing complex programs and portfolios, you are at Level A and you become a Certified Project Director.

project manager certification

Other Types of Project Manager Certification:

CPM: Certified Project Manager(CPM):

If you have at least 5000 hours of experience in addition to a Bachelor’s Degree or a Professional certification along with 36 hours of CPM project/program management training, then you are eligible for CPM. This project manager certification is more popular in the Pacific region.

MPM: Master Project Manager:

MPM comes from the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM). If you have more than 3 years of experience,  and looking for project manager certification that is on the professional licensure model such as Certified International Project Manager, this can help. You need to pass the AAPM online exam with at least 70% marks, then you are MPM.

Microsoft Project: Project Management tool

If you are contemplating a project manager certification in using project management software, Microsoft Project can be the one. If you’d like to get this certification you can get online Microsoft Project training as well.

Attend our 30-min Free MS Project Training.

Free Microsoft Project Training

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM):

If you are an entry-level professional without any experience managing projects or it is under 4500, you can go for this project manager certification. CAPM comes with the PMI assurance on standards. There are online CAPM training options with the help of which you can be certified at your own pace. 

Attend our 100% Online & Self-Paced One-Hour Free CAPM Training.

Free CAPM Training

The Cost of a Project Manager Certification

An indication of how much project manager certification costs is here:

Project Manager CertificationCost
PMP$ 555 for non-members, $ 405 for members
PMI ACP$ 495 for non-members, $ 435 for member
CSP$100 application fee, $150 for certification
IPMA C$1695 for non-members, $ 1495 for members

If you want to learn more about the cost of PMP certification, you can read the PMP certification cost article.

Note that, the importance of project management certification increases year by year. After Obama signed PMIAA, US federal positions require project management certifications for relevant roles. This wind will affect other countries of the world as well.

You now have an overview of the various project manager certification available across the globe, the best project management certifications you can opt and what their requirements are. So, now you can make an informed decision on the most suitable project manager certification for you.

project manager certification

Author Biography:

Sunanda Gundavajhala, B.Tech, M.B.A, PMP has over 25 years of project management. 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. She 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.

Best Project Management Certification Programs
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