In the business world, there is no shortage of projects that need to be organized, managed, and successfully implemented. This means there’s also no shortage of need for project managers to fill make those things happen.

If you possess the skills necessary for successful project management – leadership, communication, good with people, hard working – you may want to look into becoming a certified project management.

From construction sites to office buildings, project managers are a necessity, so becoming a certified project manager is a great way to make yourself more valuable in your field. While it’s true that many people manage projects, there is a difference between managing a project as part of your daily job, and being certified to do so in a variety of fields.

If this sounds like it’s right up your alley, here are the steps you need to take to become certified and everything you need to know about the types of certification available to you.

Steps

1. Know What It Means

As we’ve already said, being a certified project manager is not the same as managing a project in your field of work. When you decide to become certified as a project manager, you are essentially deciding to make project management your profession.

If you’ve had success leading projects and teams within your field, this may mean you are a good candidate for managing projects full time. Does organizing and leading a group of people through a project come naturally to you? Do you find it invigorating, rather than terrifying (which it definitely is for some!)? Then it may be that project management would be a great field for you.

When you are certified in project management, it means you are serious about making project management your profession. It tells potential employers that you are ready and qualified to manage a project for them.

2. Acquire a bachelor’s degree

While a four year degree is not strictly required for project management, it is preferred, and decreases the amount of experience you will need for certification.
If you are looking to become a project manager in a particular field, you can earn a bachelor’s degree in that field, and then pursue experience and certification in order to achieve the level of project manager.

If you don’t have a particular field in mind, but know that you’d like to pursue this type of work, then you should earn a degree in business management, which will prepare you for a variety of fields.

3. Get Some Experience

It may be that you have the skills and desire to be a project manager, but the fact is that most companies are looking for managers with experience.

If you are a recent graduate, then the best first step you can take – aside from looking into certification – is to look for a place you can get some experience. This will probably mean something entry-level, where you can work as part of a team and prove your skills, and then advance toward managing a project yourself over time.

If you are already in a career, but think project management might be the right career move for you, then you should look for opportunities within your current position. Is your expertise needed? Or have you looked to pursue management where you already are? In both of these instances, it may be tempting to feel frustrated, but one does not become a qualified project manager overnight, and it may take some time and experience before you’re in a position to sell yourself as a potential project manager.

4. Choose the Right Certification

In the world of project management, there are two main types of certification: PMP, or Project Management Professional, and CAPM, or Certified Associate in Project Management. The first, PMP, is a higher level of certification, and is most common. CAPM is lower level, and is usually a stepping stone on the way to gaining PMP certification. Either of these is an important thing to pursue if you want to manage projects as your profession. More on these, and other types of certification, below.

5. Look Into Training

Studying for the PMP or CAPM certification exam can be a somewhat daunting endeavor, and there are many companies out there that offer training and courses meant to prepare you for certification.  At PMTI, The Project Management Training Institute, you can choose from a variety of courses and intensives in order to make sure you are prepared for the project management exam.

6. Set A Date

Once you’re sure you want to pursue project management, and have the means to learn, study, and prepare for the exam, you’ll want to set an exam date. The exam cannot be taken online, and must be taken in person, so you can look into a location that’s closest to you. You’ll want to give yourself ample time to prepare, and this will depend on your current situation. Make sure you know how much time you have to devote to taking courses and studying before you choose a date.

7. Join PMI and STUDY

The Project Management Institute, or PMI, is where you’ll get access to the PMBOK guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge). This is the material that one must learn in order to successfully pass the PMP or CAPM exam.

There is a fee for membership, but you receive discounts on materials, and most importantly, on the exam, which might make joining more worth it. While some decide to go it alone, and study the guide on their own, we recommend taking courses such as the ones mentioned above.

The last thing you want is to spend the money on the exam and then fail, so every step you can take toward being prepared is an important one!

Types of Certification

As mentioned before, there are two general types of certification for project management. Here’s a little more detail on those, as well as some other, more specific types of certification you can pursue if you have interest in a particular type of management or in a particular field.

PMP Certification

Project Management Professional certification is the most important and widely recognized form of project management certification. PMPs can be found leading projects all over the world, in any methodology, and in almost any industry.

  • Prerequisites: Secondary degree, 7,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education, OR a four-year degree, 4,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education.
  • Exam: 200 multiple choice questions/4 hours
  • Certification Maintenance: Earn 60 professional development units (PDUs) every three years.

CAPM Certification

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is a great certification to pursue for those who would like to add some more project management skills to their resume, grow in larger project management, and open the door for more responsibility.

  • Prerequisites: Secondary degree and EITHER 1,500 hours of project experience OR 23 hours of project management education completed by the time you sit for the exam.
  • Exam: 150 multiple choice questions/3 hours
  • Certification Maintenance: Retake the exam every five years.


Other Types of Certification

PMI-ACP (PMI Agile Certified Practitioner)

  • Prerequisites: 2,000 hours of general project experience working on teams,1,500 hours working on agile project teams or with agile methodologies, and 21 contact hours of training in agile practices.
  • Exam: 120 multiple choice questions/3 hours
  • Certification Maintenance: Earn 30 PDUs in agile topics every three years.

PfMP (Portfolio Management Professional)

  • Prerequisites: Minimum of eight years of professional business experience, secondary degree, and 10,500 hours of portfolio management experience OR a four-year degree and 6,000 hours of portfolio management experience.
  • Exam: 170 multiple choice questions/4 hours
  • Certification Maintenance: Earn 60 PDUs in portfolio management topics every three years.

PMI-PBA (PMI Professional in Business Analysis)

  • Prerequisites: Secondary degree, 7,500 hours of business analysis experience, 2,000 hours working on project teams, and 35 contact hours of education in business analysis OR four-year degree, 4,500 hours of business analysis experience, 2,000 hours working on project teams, and 35 hours of education in business analysis.
  • Exam: 200 multiple choice questions/4 hours
  • Certification Maintenance: Earn 60 PDUs in business analysis topics every three years.

PgMP (Program Management Professional)

  • Prerequisites: Secondary degree, 6,000 years of project management experience, and 10,500 hours of program management experience OR a four-year degree, 6,000 hours of project management experience, and 6,000 hours of program management experience.
  • Exam: 170 multiple choice questions/4 hours
  • Certification Maintenance: Earn 60 PDUs every three years.

PMI-RMP (PMI Risk Management Professional)

  • Prerequisites: Secondary degree, 4,500 hours of project risk management experience, and 40 hours of project risk management education OR a four-year degree, 3,000 hours of project management risk experience, and 30 hours of project risk management education.
  • Exam: 170 multiple choice questions/3.5 hours
  • Certification Maintenance: Earn 30 PDUs in risk management topics every three years.

PMI-SP (PMI Scheduling Professional)

  • Prerequisites:Secondary degree, 5,000 hours project scheduling experience, and 40 hours project scheduling education OR a four-year degree, 3,500 hours project scheduling experience, and 30 hours project scheduling education.
  • Exam: 170 multiple choice questions/3.5 hours
  • Certification Maintenance: Earn 30 PDUs every three years in the specialized topic of project scheduling.