If you’re looking for a career in Project Management, Business, Accounting, Marketing or Management, there are many degrees and certifications that can help you land one. At Online Course Report, we strive to give you access to rankings of online programs and certifications that can get you jumpstarted towards the career you deserve. A stellar example is our online Executive MBA ranking. Another excellent choice is our online Masters in Project Management ranking. However, degree programs are just a piece of the puzzle. You can build skills on your own, and we’ve helped compile some of the most lucrative ones here. Another thing you’ll absolutely want to consider are certifications that can drastically alter your options. Certifications often draw on on-the-job learning and some study, yet can lead to advances in salary and responsibility in many corporations.
In this ranking, we’ll look at the ten most in demand certifications for project managers. They weren’t ranked in any particular order, rather they were all chosen because of how universally cherished they are in Business and Project Management. Project Management professionals make between $80-160,000 dollars in America. Earning these certifications in addition to related degrees and of course, PM experience are all a part of getting into those positions. If you’re interested in the full selection of our rankings, they can be found here.
1) Certified Associate in Project Management
The CAPM is a great certification for managers at any stage of their careers. Project Management is centered around standards, and this exam helps professionals showcase their understanding of standardized practices. Through 2020, approximately 1.57 million new Project Management jobs will be created, and this certification will help qualify you for them. The price to take this test is $225 for members of the Project Management Institute members, and $300 for non-members. Students can submit an application to become student members of the PMI and enjoy the discount.
This certification is perfect for anyone who would like to have added responsibility and build project management skills at their current positions, or throughout their careers. Students must have a secondary degree and 1,500 hours of project experience to sit for the exam, or have completed 23 hours of project management education. The certification is maintained by retaking the exam once every 5 years. The test is comprised of 150 multiple choice questions, and you have 3 hours to complete it.
2) Certified Project Director
The CPD is a globally renowned certification that helps professionals distinguish themselves with the project management community. It’s intended for experienced senior managers and executives. Through earning the certification, you’ll learn new techniques in managing and controlling projects, personnel, risk, budgets and cost. This results in greater focus and efficiency, and thus more project success. The certificate is mapped through an e-Competence Framework (e-CF), and covers topics like Process Improvement, Business Change Management, ICT Quality Management, Project and Portfolio Management, Personnel Development, and more. The test for the exam features 100 multiple choice questions, and must be completed in 70 minutes. In order to pass the exam, you have to get 80 or more correct. It’s considered one of the most difficult exams to pass for Project Managers at the mid and senior level.
This certification also gives you 4 credits and 25 learning hours towards an MBA in Project Management through Charisma University. Again, if you’re looking to earn an MBA in Project Management, check out this ranking. Passing the CPD confers the certification for 5 years, after which the test must be retaken to maintain certification. There are several packages for taking the exam that come with different levels of prep. They range from $100-$280.
3) CompTIA Project+ Certification
This certification is for IT technicians and project managers outside of IT. It validates the certificate holders ability “to initiate, manage and support a project or business initiative.” As we mentioned earlier, current salaries for PM professionals range between $80-160,000. But there’s more to the story: PMI predicts there will be 15.7 million new project management roles added globally through seven project-intensive industries by 2020. IT is one of the top areas that new roles will be created in. According to Computer World and Project+, “Project Management is fourth in specialized skills in IT job postings. It is also the third hottest in demand tech skill with 39% of respondents with hiring plans said they will be seeking people with this skill in the next 12 months.”
This exam was designed for CompTIA Project+ is designed for business professionals coordinating or managing small-to-medium-size projects, in and out of IT. The exam certifies both knowledge and skills necessary for management of the project life cycle, communication, resources, stakeholders, and project documentation. The test comes in two forms, one that’s in English and one that is not. They vary slightly (95 multiple choice questions in the former, 100 in the latter). Students have 90 minutes to complete the exam, and must get a score of 710 on a scale of 100-900. The exam costs $302. It’s recommended that those seeking the certification have at least a year of project management experience or equivalent education.
4) Program Management Professional (PgMP)®
This exam is for people with proven abilities to managing related projects and steering through complex activities. It’s conferred by The Project Management Institute, the world’s largest project management member association, which has 486,000 members worldwide. In order to earn this certification, you should have managed a project across functions, organizations, regions and cultures while meeting organizational goals. The test has 170 multiple choice questions and applicants have four hours to complete it. The cost is $800 for PMI members, and $1,000 for non-members.
Applicants should have a combination of the following: a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent), 6,000-10,500 hours of project management experience, and a four-year degree. To maintain the PgMP you must earn 60 professional development units (PDUs) every three years. Passing this certification demonstrates your advanced experience/skill and could lead to an advantage in employment and promotion.
5) CSM: Certified ScrumMaster
Scrum project management is a method of managing software delivery in a manner consistent with agility, increasing frequency, and greater effectiveness. This certification demonstrates the holder’s ability to help teams properly use Scrum. CSM holders become missionaries of the Scrum system, convincing others of its purity while upholding its ideology to the fullest. They help make sure team members are focused, and eliminate distractions. When someone earns the CSM certification, they get a 2-year membership in the Scrum Alliance, which includes membership in local groups, social networks, discounts on gatherings and other resources.
In order to use the certification, you have to take a CSM course, and pass an online test by answering 24 of 35 questions correctly. Those who face the Scrum and live to tell the tale will be blessed with 16 Scrum Education Units (SEUs) upon completion of this course, in addition to the certification assuming a passing grade on the exam. There are a range of prices for this exam, depending on the where you take the course that precedes it. It’s expensive, with the exam costing around $500 and the cost of the course before it between $1295-1995.
6) MPM: Master Project Manager
The MPM looks to grapple with the evolving world of project management including its intersections with government, health care, telecom, IT, education, finance and more. Unlike many of the certifications on this list, this one has no prerequisites. Aspiring MPM holders take a 4-day course, then a 20 minute open book test each day of the course. Students who complete the course and get 70% or better cumulatively on the exams receive the certification.
In the course, you’ll learn how to communicate project management context, framework and principles. Better yet, they’ll come to understand the value and usability of project management principles including the process groups (initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing the project) and knowledge areas (integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communication, risk, procurement and stakeholder management). There are a number of places to take the course, and by registering early you can save some money. At its cheapest the course is $2,500.
7) PMITS: Project Management in IT Security
The PMITS is an E-Business certification covering management of IT and security projects. You’ll learn how to create a framework to design an effective IT security system or plan, depending on organizational goals. Also covered is analysis of plans, and the legal standards related to corporate IT security. The certification begins with a 2-day class covering, “corporate security project plan components, costs involved in security, basis for a successful project, limitations of a Project, corporate strategy and IT security and the influence of corporate culture and policies on IT security.”
This certification is intended for managers, those working in security planning, Network server administrators, System Administrators and Risk Assessment professionals. Students take 10 modules, including General IT Security Plan, Managing the IT PM, Closing out the IT PM, IT Operational Security Plan and others, then take an exam on the last day of the course to earn the certification. The course costs $250. You should have at least two years of experience in information security to begin the course.
8) PMP: Project Management Professional
A major certification in project management, this is conferred by PMI as well. It often compliments a MBA program for those interested in project management. Earning it is a great way to show you’re prepared for the millions of new project management roles that are and continue to be created. In a survey of PMP holders found they earn 20% more on average than project managers without a PMP certification. Requirements for this certification include a “four-year secondary degree plus three years of project management experience, 4,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours project management education OR a high-school diploma, five years of project management experience, 7,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education.”
This course costs $405 for PMI members, and $555 for non-members as an electronic exam. It can also be taken on paper for $250 for PMI members and $400 for non-members. The test has 200 multiple choice questions, and you must complete it in four hours. To maintain this certification you need to earn 60 professional development units (PDUs) every three years.
9) PPM: Professional in Project Management
The PPM is a mid-tier project management credential conferred by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM). Their certifications “emphasize effective resource allocation, clear direction, adaptability to change, effective communication and assurance of quality deliverables at minimal risk.” If you’re an intermediate to experienced project manager working in day-to-day management of projects and risk and crisis management, this is for you.It costs $300.
Students also need a $100 e-Course to prepare for the exam. Its modules include Self-Leadership, Communication Strategies, Team Building, Crisis Management, Time Management, Building Better Teams and more. Requirements for this certification include the GAQM body of knowledge study and e-course, but no formal education or experience is required, although candidates should have some project management experience in order to take and pass the exam.
10) PRINCE2 Foundation/PRINCE2 Practitioner
This certification is especially known overseas, especially in the U.K. and in its government agencies. If you live there, or aspire to, you’ve found a more niche certification than some of the flashier ones. It stands for Projects in Controlled Environments. It’s conferred by the ILX Group and tackles “directing, managing and delivering projects across all phases, pre-project, initiation, delivery and final delivery.” Students can prepare with online courses that range from $910 to $1,745, or opt not to.
Qualifications include the PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner. The Foundation certification is an entry-level credential testing foundational project management jargon and methods, and the Practitioner certification tests advanced project managers who previously earned the PRINCE2 Foundation.
The Foundation costs $200, and the Practitioner costs $340. Other requirements include one of the following: “PRINCE2 Foundation; Project Management Professional (PMP); Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM); or an IPMA certification.”