How do I get Project Management Certification?

Matt Histand

Project management certification is earned through a combination of schooling, formal product management courses, and professional experience. The route taken to get a certification varies. There are a number of colleges and organizations that offer certification programs, but not all subscribe to the exact same criteria and not all of them are considered equal in the eyes of employers.

Certification courses in project management are often taught online.
Certification courses in project management are often taught online.

The world of business is becoming increasing complicated as firms go multinational, telecommuting becomes commonplace, and supply chains are stretched further each day. That’s why the role played by project managers has become increasing valuable. They keep tabs on all aspects of day-to-day activities and ensure that goals are met, spending is kept within budget, and project deadlines are hit.

Many project management certification programs include a continuing education element in order to maintain certification.
Many project management certification programs include a continuing education element in order to maintain certification.

Each certification program available has different criteria. Most require a basic education, followed by work experience, and a final examination. Many project management certification programs also include a continuing education element to keep the certification valid. This often includes tracking ongoing professional experience, take new education classes, and a renewal fee.

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An interesting aspect of certification is the acceptance of previous work history. Most project management certification programs allow applicants to cite previous professional project management experience for credit. This is accomplished through the submission of a very detailed resume that not only lists employment positions, but also the details and dates of each project overseen.

To ensure resume and job experience accuracy, a select number of the applicant pool is audited. This strict process requires the submission of education degree records; verification of completed projects, including supervisor signatures; as well as copies of letters and certificates documenting each hour of formal project management education.

There are many different way to obtain project management certification, but one of the most popular and well-respected programs is the Project Management ProfessionalSM certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI®). It was established in 1984, and is the first project management certification to be recognized with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001. The PMI® project manager certification program allows two paths for verification, dependent on the applicant’s education background. Those with an associate’s degree require a minimum of five years of professional management experience, while those with a bachelor’s degree require a minimum of three years.

In the US, the American Academy of Project Management™ also offers a project management certification, as well as more specialized certification for e-business, international project management, and project management training and certification. Another organization is the International Association of Project and Program Management. It offers project management certification along with other certifications for senior executives.

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