top project management certifications

Top 6 Project Management Certifications in 2019

Whether you are looking to add value to your skills or want recognition in your profession, top project management certifications provide valuable merit badge for IT professionals of all streams.

For more than a decade, project management has become one of the most sought after skill set that is as valuable as top-level credentials. Thanks to the highly popular Project Management Professional Certification (PMP) given by the Project Management Institute. Because of which this area has grown into an incredibly important factor to IT operations across the world.

The project management sector is seeing significant growth with many lucrative opportunities in career advancement. So, the skills you earn with a certification in project management will help you in nearly any kind of management position or business. Plus, project management certifications are a smart way to bring valuable credentials to your employers, whilst also expanding your earning power in the process.

In fact, they have been a long way for project management professionals to plan, schedule, budget, lead, execute and deliver complex projects. There are many project management certifications available for project managers that can help them at every professional development level.

These certifications may include basic entry-level project management certificates. There are also certificates for specific techniques or vendor types and individuals who want to manage the multiple projects at the same time.

No matter which certification you choose to pursue, the skill level and speciality of the certificate should match with your own experience and demand of the future. According to a job survey, PMP certification appears as an overall favourite and must-have certifications for project management.  

Also, CAPM-the entry-level project management credential by PMI is nearly in every list of popular and most desirable certifications. The Certified Scrum Master certification from Scrum Alliance, along with the PRINCE2, MPM and CompTIA Project+ round out those picks.

Considering the demand of the future, we’re listing here top 6 project management certifications in 2019:

1.Project Management Professional (PMP)®

PMP certification is internationally recognized across all the industries. The Project Management Institute offers this gold standard certification. While working with training companies, universities and businesses, it ensures the proper coverage, prestige, relevance and support to this certification and other PMI credentials.

There are more than 750,000 PMP certified professionals and 500, 000 global members all around the globe. The fact clearly states that the PMP certification from PMI is one of the most popular project management certifications available.

This is the reason why so many institutions are providing college and university-based PMP training. Plus, often find at master’s degree level, the integration of PMP into certain degree programs. PMP certification is the highest level certification designed to ensure that PMP certified professionals possess all the skills and qualifications necessary to manage all the phases of triple constraints, including cost, time and scope.

The rigorous standards are set for PMP certification. Besides clearing a comprehensive exam, you need to demonstrate your skills and provide documentation, which includes items like past projects, education and time spent in each of the five stages of project management.

PMI offers various interesting additional credentials, including:

PgMP (Project Management Professional) – This credential focuses on those professionals who manage multiple projects.

PfMP (Portfolio Management Professional) – It targets those professionals who manage project portfolios of the organization.

PMI-ACP (PMI Agile Certified Practitioner) – It focuses on those professionals who primarily use Agile methodology of project management.

PMI-PBA (PMI Professional in Business Analysis)– This is a specialized credential focusing on the business analysis and defining stakeholder requirements, along with business solutions outcomes and project scope. PMI-RMP (PMI Risk Management Professional) – This credential focuses on risks identification, assessment and mitigation.
PMI-SP (PMI Scheduling Professional)- It is a specialized credential that targets project management professionals with development and project scheduling tasks.

PMI has introduced a new exam pattern in early 2018. Thus, credential seekers that their exam preparation materials and training activities are in synchronization with the objectives of the new exam. For the latest exam updates, candidates should frequently check PMI.


The certification requires a four-year secondary degree plus 4,500 hours practical experience in leading and directing projects, and project management education of 35 hours OR 5 years of experience in project management, 7,500 hours in leading and directing projects and 35 hours of education in project management.

2. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®

You can go for the CAPM certification, if you do not have a college degree or your experience is managing project is under 4,500 hours. It is also administered by PMI and is a precursor to the PMP certification.  

CAPM certification is a stepping-stone for those who want to complete their PMP certification in steps. For project practitioners with little or no project experience, CAPM is a valuable certification based on entry-level.

While in PMP, it depends on the educational background of the candidate to attain a specific on-the-job project management experience of 3-5 years.  Whereas CAPM requires only a high school diploma or 1,500 hours of practical experience or project management education training of 23 hours before the exam.

Also, CAPM does not require any continuing education like in PMP, which requires 60 PDUs every three years to maintain the credential. For recertification, CAPM holders just need to appear in an exam once every five years.

It is unlikely to get a job in project management unless you are working in a large organization with a project management team that has junior as well as senior positions. However, it is an ideal certification for the IT professionals who want to consider project management as a part-time role or wish to grow into a full-time job.

Prerequisites: Some previous management experience along with an associate degree or equivalent is required to qualify this credential. Also, as mentioned above, the high school diploma, 1,500 hours of experience in project management and 23 hours of project management education.

3. Certified ScrumMaster Certification (CSM)

Considering the popularity of agile methods, it is of no surprise that there is an increasing demand of IT professionals who can effectively manage projects in agile environments. Out of all the agile techniques, Scrum methodology is the most widely used one.  

While even companies need to deliver much more for less, they are using agile methodologies like Scrum for streamlining processes, building quality into products and ensuring that the final outcome meets the customer requirements.

However, there are many Scrum master certifications available, but the Certified ScrumMaster Certification from Scrum Alliance (CSM) will remain at the forefront of the current trend.

When it comes to agile methodologies, Scrum Alliance is the only non-profit body that has become a defacto standard for promoting user groups and delivering resources for professional development. Boasting over 4, 50,000 certified Scrum practitioners worldwide, the Scrum Alliance offers a complete support system to the practitioners pursuing the certification.

From Scrum gatherings and virtual communications to user groups and online training/coaching, the Scrum Alliance works as the backbone to the community. It offers several other Scrum-related certifications at different levels- entry level, advanced, elevated and leadership:

Entry level credentials:

CSPO (Certified Scrum Product Owner) – This certification is for those professionals who know the stakeholder needs and want to achieve a different perspective for product envisioning.

CSD (Certified Scrum Developer) – The Scrum Alliance Registered Education Provider and Scrum Alliance Authorized Instructor provides five days of training. It is further divided into two options; either there is a CSM training of 3 days plus CSD technical training of 3 days that consists of coding. Or 1-day introductory course on Scrum CSD plus CSD technical training of 3 days. It includes 1-day elective course on CSD and coding.

Advanced credentials:

A-CSM (Advanced Certified ScrumMaster), A-CSPO (Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner) and CSP (Certified Scrum Professional) credential.

CSP (Certified Scrum Professional) – To qualify for this credential, the candidate should be a CSPO, CSM, or CSD with an active status. Also, at least 3 years of experience is mandatory as a product owner or team member in Agile/Scrum.

Another prerequisite is to earn 70 Scrum Education Units, which includes approximate 16 for CSPO, 16 for CSM, 24 for CSD and rest for other certifications. These education units are required in the last three years while the Scrum Education Units you claim from CSPO, CSM, and CSD can be older than 3 years and more.

There are currently two versions of CSP- one is CSP-SM (Certified Scrum Professional – ScrumMaster) and CSP-PO (Certified Scrum Professional Product Owner). While other professional and advanced credentials for the project developers are also in line, but their availability dates have not been announced yet.

The CSM makes a great entry-level credential for those professionals who want to start as Scrum practitioners. Scrum Alliance offers CSMs for multiple reasons. It also provides the checklist and information about the ScrumMaster role of servant-leader.

Prerequisites:  The candidate should need to have a general knowledge of Scrum Concepts. Plus, the candidate should have done 2 days course in Certified Scrum Master from a certified Scrum trainer. Then clear the CSM exam and take CSM membership with Scrum Alliance.

4. Projects in Controlled Environments (PRINCE2)

Administered by AXELOS Ltd, PRINCE2 certifications especially focus on managing to direct and delivering projects under all the stages, including pre-project, conception, initiation and final delivery. It is well-known overseas in countries like the U.K., Australia and Europe.

It is not only a certification program but a structured method that will help you to work on big management projects of government or large enterprise. There are two levels to achieve the PRINCE2 certifications- PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner.

While at the practitioner level, there are two certifications- PRINCE2  practitioner and PRINCE2 Agile practitioner. All these certificates serve to offer an approach to handle projects of any size with scalable management.

Prerequisites: For PRINCE2 Foundation Certification

This certification is an entry-level credential that involves tests related to basic terminologies and methodologies of project management. The applicant must complete 3 days certified training course on PRINCE2 Foundation. Other than this, some basic knowledge of project management is a must.

Prerequisites: For PRINCE2 Practitioner Certification

The practitioner certification is for advanced project managers who already have PRINCE2 certification. It requires PRINCE2 Foundation Certification with the completion of 2 days certified training program on PRINCE2 Practitioner.

If you are currently serving as a Project Management Professional, You can skip this step and straight away appear for PRINCE2 Practitioner exam. Or you should at least have passed one exam out of the PMP, CAPM and IPMA (International Project Management Association).

5. Master Project Manager (MPM)

The Master Project Manager credential comes from the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM). The concept of MPM certification was formulated after the initiation of “Professional licensure model” that various professions like engineers, pilots, lawyers and doctors usually follow. Besides professional project managers, the American Academy of Project Management focuses on professionals with technical management and business responsibilities.

Prerequisite: You need to have at least 3 years of project management experience. You also need to pass the AAPM exam with 70% marks to hold the MPM certification.

6. CompTIA Project+

This entry level certification is for those professionals who are managing small-scale projects. CompTIA Project+ requests feedback from the whole software/ IT industry, academic experts, government and research institutions to design the certification.

Drawn from multiple frameworks, it provides competency on general project management. From this certification, you can gain insights on the project life cycle, resource management, and project constraints. Moreover, you also get to learn about communication best practices, coordinating stakeholders and the project life cycle.


The certification requires one year of experience in directing, managing and participating in small to medium-sized projects.

About other project management certifications

Project management is a lucrative option for both employers and certification seekers. Apart from the above 5 best project management certifications, there are many other certifications available for project management in software development and general IT.

The Certified Project Management Practitioner (CPMP) and Certified Project Manager (CPM) qualifications are also highly popular credentials that are worth to mention.

The Associate in Project Management (APM) is not listed in our top 5 list. But, it also remains a valuable entry-level project management certification among the starters in a project management career. The Certified Six Sigma Green Belt (CSSGB) by ASQ is also one of the best entry-level credentials that is worth exploring.

You can find most of the graduate business and management information systems (MIS) programs available. These programs train students in project management. And some of them also offer certificate programs as well.

There are many training or occasional certification for various toolsets on project management. Consider, for instance, Microsoft Learning Partners provide certification courses on Microsoft Project. And you can also notice a wide range of packages for project management available on project management software page of Wikipedia’s comparison.

PMP will continue to serve as a primary professional target for professional IT project managers. The CAPM will remain the best option for entry-level certifications. Also, remember to consider PMI’s related certifications. The CSM is the perfect entry-level certification for Scrum practitioners looking to enter in the realm of Scrum.

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