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Top 12 Project Management Certifications To Advance in Your Career in 2021

Top 11 Project Management Certifications

About 97% of organizations believe that good knowledge of project management is critical to organizational success. Unfortunately, barely over half of the project managers are certified and skilled in their tenure and career in the project management domain.

Believe it or not, project management certifications can massively help you advance in your career. Not only organizations prefer to recruit certified professionals but they also get to helm better projects in the future.

Why you should get a project management certification

Whether you are a veteran or newbie trying to climb up the ladder, there’s a project management certification for you. If you’re still not convinced, below are some reasons describing the importance of project management certifications in today’s time and age.

Reason #1: Global acknowledgement

Global acknowledgement

There are famous institutes and online portals like the Project Management Institute (PMI) known to offer world-class education and certifications to aspiring professionals. Once you get a certification from a reliable institute, you become qualified to showcase your skills and expertise to companies all over the world. Being recognized and sought-after name in an industry, you get the global acceptance and acknowledgement to work wherever you want.

Reason #2: Dramatic salary hike

salary hike

Another inviting reason to consider getting a project management certification is a steep hike in salary. In a recent study, it was found that you can expect up to 20% increase in your PMP salary if you are PMP certified as compared to a project manager who isn’t certified. It indicates that a quality project management certification could give a straightaway 20% of salary growth.

Reason #3: Challenging projects and better job opportunities

Challenging projects and better job opportunities

A project management certification helps you gain the trust of managers to handle challenging projects. As you develop the right skill set, they aren’t afraid or have any second thoughts before handing over a plum project to you. Also, a certification equips you with both knowledge and experience enabling you to get project management jobs from great organizations validating your credibility to lead and manage projects in a better way.

Reason #4: Better project performance

Better project performance

Certified project management professionals tend to perform better than someone with no certification at all. A certified PM manager is well aware of the processes such as initiation, planning, execution, monitor, closure along with risk management and best project management practices. Such valuable information helps you take the right steps that lead to better performance and boost in overall productivity.

Reason #5: A smart future investment

A smart future investment

Considering the fact that these certifications aren’t that expensive as compared to other specific exams or courses, one should never neglect the impact they could have on your career.

For example, you can take the PMP exam for $555 and if you are a PMI member, then it’s for $405. It won’t burn a hole in your pocket. On an average, the passing rate is around 60%. You don’t need formal training to pass the test. Taking everything into account, it does seem like a smart investment for your career. The best thing is that certified professionals are secure even during an economic crisis.

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12 top project management certifications

Let’s talk about the various project management certifications that can take your career to the next level.

1. PMP: Project Management Professional

The PMP is the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers. It is recognized as the gold standard in project management all over the world. The certification is very global because as a PMP, you can work in virtually any industry with any methodology and in any location.


  • A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent)
  • 7,500 hours leading and directing projects
  • 35 hours of project management education


  • Four-year degree
  • 4,500 hours leading and directing projects
  • 35 hours of project management education


  • Member: US $405.00

Non-member: US $555.00

2. CAPM: Certified Associate in Project Management

If you’re looking for a certification that could distinguish you in the job market and enhance your credibility to manage projects, CAPM is the right choice. It demonstrates your understanding of the fundamental knowledge, terminology, and processes of effective project management. CAPM is valid for 5 years and doesn’t require any Professional Development Units (PDUs) to be renewed.


  • A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent)
  • 1,500 hours of project experience


  • 23 hours of project management education by the time you sit for the exam.


  • Member: US $225.00
  • Non-member: US $300.00

3. CSM: Certified ScrumMaster

With the increasing use of agile methodologies in IT organizations, professionals are looking for certifications that help them become certified Scrum masters. As a certified ScrumMaster, you will learn the Scrum framework and gain an understanding of team roles, events, artifacts and rules and enable the Scrum Team to perform at their highest level.


  • General familiarity with Scrum
  • Attend an in-person, two-day  (16 hour) CSM course
  • After you pass the CSM exam and accept the License Agreement, complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile


  • Approximately $995 to $1,395

4. CompTIA Project+ certification

The CompTIA Project+ examination is designed for business professionals who coordinate or manage small-to-medium-sized projects. It is an entry-level certification appropriate for people having one year of project management experience and manage less complex projects. Project+ is more versatile than other certifications because it covers essential project management concepts beyond the scope of just one methodology or framework. The certification helps you learn about the project basics, constraints, tools, documentation, and change management.


  • One year knowledge of project life cycle
  • Ability to manage resources and stakeholders
  • Communication skills
  • Project documentation


  • $285

5. PRINCE2 Foundation/PRINCE2 Practitioner

Many government agencies and organizations in the UK are well aware of the Projects in Controlled Environments. The PRINCE2 certifications are globally recognized and highly sought after by potential employers. There are two major certifications namely PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner. They can help you to quickly improve your skills and capabilities across a number of key business disciplines, in turn driving strong business performance. They mainly focus on managing and delivering projects from start (initiation) to finish (delivery).


  • PRINCE2 Practitioner requires one of the following: PRINCE2 Foundation; Project Management Professional (PMP); Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM); or an IPMA certification.


  • Foundation: $200; Practitioner: $340

6. CPMP: Certified Project Management Practitioner

The EC-Council is an organization formed after 9/11 attacks to deal with cyberterrorism and the information security. Certified Project Management Practitioner (CPMP) is an ideal course for project managers or for anyone who wants to get hands-on experience in project management and learn about various tools and techniques to better manage projects in real-time. The main intent of this certification is to help professionals build technical, leadership, and management skills to be able to handle every project successfully.


  • No requirement, but it is recommended that candidates attend a three-day preparation course


  • $199

7. APM: Associate in Project Management

The Associate in Project Management (APM)™ certificate is an entry-level certification in the field of Project Management Framework. It is an important globally recognized credential in the field of project management that demonstrates that the candidate has a required knowledge in the field confining to the entry level of project management. The exam comprises of 50 Multiple Choice Questions out of which the candidate needs to score 70% (35 out of 50 correct) to pass the exam and the total duration of the exam is 1 hour (60 Minutes)


  • No formal education or experience requirements.


  • $300

8. MPM: Master Project Manager

The American Academy of Project Management (AAPM) issues the Master Project Manager (MPM) certification to applicants who meet their commission requirements of education, training, experience, industry knowledge, ethics, and continuing education. Not just project managers, in fact, individuals with business and technical responsibilities can also appear for this certification.


  • Three years of project management experience and training.
  • Fee waivers are available for professionals holding a master’s degree, with other qualified training and experience, the military or project management instructors.


  • $300 for application, review, processing, review, initiation, and certification

9. PPM: Professional in Project Management

The Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM) conducts Professional in Project Management (PPM) course. The mid-level certification comprises project management modules including – how to plan, execute, control and complete projects. It also trains you to develop project schedules, project measures, and different approaches of leading and managing projects. It focuses on making experienced project managers who can work well in risks and handle crisis and motivate teams to perform at their best.


  • A mandatory E-Course completion requirement
  • Candidates should have at least some project management experience


  • $300

10. CPD: Certified Project Director

Conducted by GAQM, the Certified Project Director (CPD) is a globally recognized and is considered to be the most prestigious level of project management. It is designed for senior and experienced folks who wish to go beyond the usual PPM and become a project management expert.  


  • The Certified Project Director (CPD) Certification requires a mandatory E-Course completion requirement.


  • $300

11. CPM: Certified Project Manager (IAPM)

The International Association of Project Managers (IAPM) is a global certification body that offers certifications which provide clear competitive advantages to professionals. The Certified Project Manager (IAPM) certification is for people who want to effectively manage and implement projects. The certificate is proof of theoretical project management knowledge.


  • No requirements as such but it offers workshops for self-study
  • A candidate can take a self-test once he feels prepared
  • Candidates must achieve a 65 percent on the exam to pass


  • Examination fee depends on a candidate’s nationality

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12. Project Management Training Certification (30 Courses)

Project management is where an individual has to handle the project as per the rules of the organization in a standard format. No specialization is necessary in this area, but the knowledge of each field is a must. A project manager’s basic need is to complete the project within the given time and accomplish the target.


  • The applicant from the area of project management should be graduated. If there is no graduate stream, this project management training will operate.
  • It’s nice if he has his small business then he can also use these skills to develop his company.
  • He should be workaholic as he has to work more than regular hours in this stream candidate.
  • The online exam looks like this:
    • 175 multiple-choice questions scored
    • 25 multiple-choice questions pre-test
    • 4 hours for the review to be completed


  • $99


These top project management certifications are in great demand and having them will separate you from the rest of your uncertified counterparts. Enroll yourself in one of these project management certifications and get ready to reach the next level in your career.  

All the best!

 Vartika Kashyap
Vartika Kashyap

Vartika Kashyap is the Chief Marketing Officer at ProofHub and has been one of the LinkedIn Top Voices in 2018. Her articles are inspired by office situations and work-related events. She likes to write about productivity, team building, work culture, leadership, entrepreneurship among others and contributing to a better workplace is what makes her click.

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