7 Best Project Management Certifications Updated for 2020

Are you thinking about earning a project management certification? Earning a certification can take your career to the next level and increase your earning potential. However, there are numerous options out there, each one with its own benefits. It can be difficult to determine what the right option could be for your future.

Learn more about seven of the top project management certifications you should consider earning in 2019.

1. Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification

Earning the PMP® certification means you have reached one of the most well-known and well-established project management certifications. The PMP certification is the signature project management certification that professionals should pursue. This certification provides you with all the foundational knowledge you need to be a successful project manager, and it’s a globally recognized certification that increases the earning potential of the holder.

PMP Certification Requirements

To earn the PMP credential, you must meet one of these two sets of requirements:

  • A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent), 7,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education
  • A four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or the global equivalent), 4,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education

Cost of the PMP Exam

The PMP exam cost varies based on whether or not you have a Project Management Institute (PMI) membership.

  • Member Price: $405
  • Non-Member Price: $555

Cost of PMP Certification Training

The cost of PMP certification training is dependent on a number of factors, like the training partner you select or whether you choose in-person or online training. On average, you can anticipate spending about $1,200 to $2,300 on training to prepare for the PMP exam depending on the provider. There is a wide range of quality when it comes to prep courses, so make sure to do your research so you know what you are buying.

» Learn more about PMP exam prep training course options.

2. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® Certification

For aspiring project managers who are at the beginning of their career, earning your CAPM® certification may be an ideal first step toward earning the PMP certification. This certification is the precursor to the PMP certification, and it’s to help those with little project management experience start developing their skills.

CAPM Certification Requirements

The CAPM exam eligibility requirements are not as demanding as those of the PMP exam. There are two eligibility paths you could work toward:

  • A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent)
  • 23 hours of project management education completed by the exam date

Cost of the CAPM Exam

Because the CAPM certification is the stepping-stone exam to the PMP exam, it is slightly more affordable. Like the PMP exam, the CAPM exam offers lower rates if you are a PMI member.

  • Member Price: $255
  • Non-Member Price: $300

Cost of CAPM Certification Training

You can find CAPM certification training courses to satisfy the education requirement portion of the exam. Consider in-person or online training options, depending on your schedule, and expect to spend around $1,200 to $2,000 on CAPM exam prep training courses.

» Learn more about CAPM certification training courses.

3. PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® Certification

The ability to mitigate risk can lead to greater project success. Earning your PMI-RMP® certification shows to your clients, your employers, and your project management teams that you are equipped to minimize risk and ensure projects are executed on time and within budget. To learn how to better monitor and manage project risk from start to finish, you should pursue your PMI-RMP certification. This certification exam is also administered by PMI.

PMI-RMP Certification Requirements

To earn the PMI-RMP certification, you must meet one of these two sets of requirements:

  • A secondary degree, 4,500 hours of project risk management experience, and 40 hours of project risk management education
  • A four-year degree, 3,000 hours of project risk management experience, and 30 hours of project risk management education

Cost of the PMI-RMP Exam

Depending on your PMI membership status, you will pay either:

  • Member Price: $520
  • Non-Member Price: $670

Cost of PMI-RMP Certification Training

To adequately prepare for the PMI-RMP exam, you need to complete exam prep training courses. These courses may also meet the education portion of the PMI-RMP exam eligibility requirements. PMI-RMP certification training courses usually cost about $700 to $900.

» Learn more about PMI-RMP certification training courses.

4. PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)® Certification

It’s important for every project manager to be able to meet scheduling expectations for the projects they manage. Clients want to feel confident that you can achieve their objectives within the promised time frame. This makes the PMI-SP® certification an enticing addition to your resume.

PMI-SP Certification Requirements

To earn the PMI-SP certification,  you have to meet one of the two following requirements:

  • A secondary degree, 5,000 hours project scheduling experience, and 40 hours project scheduling education
  • A four-year degree, 3,500 hours project scheduling experience, and 30 hours project scheduling education

Cost of the PMI-SP Exam

Pricing for the PMI-SP exam is the same as that of the PMI-RMP exam:

  • Member Price: $520
  • Non-Member Price: $670

Cost of PMI-SP Certification Training

During training for the PMI-SP exam, you will learn all the essential skills needed to accurately schedule projects and stick to those timelines. Expect to pay about $700 for a PMI-SP exam prep training course.

» Learn more about PMI-SP certification training courses.

5. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Certification

The Agile Methodology, that began in the software development industry, has been applied to numerous other industries and is an increasingly popular approach to project management. Earning the PMI-ACP® certification demonstrates that you’re well versed in agile practices, and you know how to apply this streamlined mode of operation to any business.

PMI-ACP Certification Requirements

To earn the PMI-ACP certification, you need to meet each of the following requirements:

  • 2,000 hours of general project experience working on teams
  • 1,500 hours working on agile project teams or with Agile methodologies, in addition to the 2,000 hours of general project experience
  • 21 contact hours of training in Agile practices

Cost of the PMI-ACP Exam

Taking the PMI-ACP exam is slightly more affordable than other PMI-administered exams.

  • Member: $435
  • Non-Member: $495

Cost of PMI-ACP Certification Training

Because earning your PMI-ACP credential is a valuable tool in today’s project management certification market, you may have to pay a little more for training than you would for other certification options. You should expect PMI-ACP exam prep training to cost around $1,200.

» Learn more about PMI-ACP certification training courses.

6. SAFe® Scaled Agile Certification

A SAFe® certification shows that you know how to successfully develop and deliver enterprise-class software and systems in the shortest, sustainable amount of time. You will learn how to scale and configure your Agile processes for teams as small as 50 people and teams that can grow into the thousands.

SAFe® Certification Requirements

To qualify for SAFe®, it is recommended that you have the following:

  • A familiarity with Scrum, Kanban, and XP
  • A familiarity with Agile concepts and principles
  • A working knowledge of software or hardware development processes

Cost of the SAFe® Exam

The cost of the exam is included in the cost of the training course. However, if you don’t pass after the first attempt, it will cost $50 for each following attempt.

Cost of SAFe® Certification Training

Anticipate  SAFe® training to cost about $1,200. While this price may seem steep, it is beneficial for both your career and your organization in the long run.

» Learn more about SAFe® training courses.

7. Certified Scrum Master

Scrum is one of the most common Agile Methodologies used by project managers. Scrum translates Agile practices into daily operations. However, there are a number of technical Scrum processes that you need to master before applying this operational approach to your own organizations.

A two-day course, the CSM training will provide you with an overview of the Scrum framework and prepares you to take on the ScrumMaster role. The course focuses on Agile, the foundation of Scrum, as well as the fundamentals associated with the framework including its events, artifacts and roles.

Upon completion of the training, you will be eligible for ScrumMaster certification with the Scrum Alliance. 

Certified Scrum Master Training Requirements

Prior to attending a CSM course, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with certain aspects of the Scrum framework which can be found on the Scrum Alliance website

You will need to watch videos and read descriptions about the following areas: 

  • Agile Manifesto
  • Scrum Guide
  • Scrum Alliance Scrum Foundations Video

You are required to view the video series prior to attending a Certified Scrum Master course. A short quiz is given at the beginning of each certification class to validate that you have fulfilled your prerequisites.

Cost of Certified Scrum Master Training

The cost for a CSM course is about $1,000.

» Learn more about Certified Scrum Ma Training courses.

Now that you know more about your project management certification options, you’re ready to choose a path that’s best for your career. Consider each of these certifications carefully, and determine which one would be the right fit for you and your organization. Once you choose, be sure to select a training partner that can help you prepare for and pass your certification exam.

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Erin Aldrige
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Erin Aldrige