As many aspiring project managers are already aware, the field of project management is densely packed with certifications, master’s programs, and technical training programs of varying relevance and significance. Through globally recognized certification, the Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s largest association for the project management profession, seeks to consolidate these programs and provide a uniform standard of terminology and technical expertise. PMI’s certification program is constantly evolving to meet the changing demand for project managers and the complexity of their jobs. This article aims to dispel the confusion surrounding the proper selection of PMI certifications.
PMI offers eight certifications at the moment. For this article, half of them will be considered general project management certifications, and the other half will be regarded as specialty project management certifications. Typically, PMI’s general project management certifications are designed to demonstrate a project manager’s mastery of their current career position and signal to an employer that the project manager is prepared for advancement. The specialty certifications offered by PMI are designed to demonstrate a deeper understanding of specific project management roles and methodologies. Therefore, when considering a general project management certification, candidates should consider their current career stage. To serve as a quick reference, each of the certifications mentioned will have an associated minimum level of experience or applicable area of expertise.
PMI Certifications in General
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® – Entry Level
- Project Management Professional (PMP)® – 3-5 years of experience
- Program Management Professional (PgMP)® – 4-11 years of experience
- Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP) – 8 or more years of experience
PMI Certifications in Specialty Areas
- PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® – for candidates seeking to advance their careers in risk management
- PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)® – for candidates who will be responsible for project scheduling
- PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® – for individuals who work with Agile methodologies
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) – Entry Level
CAPM® is PMI’s sole entry-level project management certification. Thus, while the CAPM exam content is less technical than other PMI exams, it demonstrates a fundamental understanding of the project management process and an outsized commitment to the industry. In the end, it communicates to an employer that an employee is prepared to take on larger projects with increased responsibility. As a result, this certification is best suited for candidates with little to no experience in project management who are looking to kick-start their careers.
After five years, candidates must retake the examination to maintain their CAPM certification.
Project Management Professional (PMP) – 3-5 years of experience
Simply put, the Project Management Professional® certification is the most widely recognized and widely distributed project management credential available today. It has been acquired by over 500,000 of PMI’s 700,000 members. While the PMP® certification is not required to work as a project manager, it is frequently used to justify higher pay and is becoming a standard requirement for positions in upper management. As a result, this certification is ideal for project managers in the early stages of their careers who wish to maximize their earning potential and advance within their organization.
A candidate must earn 60 PDUs every three years to maintain the PMP certification.
Professional in Program Management (PgMP) – 4-11 years of experience
According to PMI’s authoritative literature, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), a program is a collection of related, coordinated projects. This is the appropriate certification for you if you are an experienced project manager who manages multiple interrelated projects. Apart from demonstrating a demonstrated ability to manage multiple related projects, the PgMP® certification also prepares you to control the highest structural level of project management organizations: portfolios.
A candidate must earn 60 PDUs every three years to maintain the PgMP certification.
Professional in Portfolio Management (PfMP) – 8 or more years of experience
At the time of publication of this article, the PfMP certification was still in its trial phase. However, if fully implemented, the PfMP certification can be considered PMI’s most advanced project management credential. It is reserved for individuals who are actively involved in portfolio management. As defined by PMI, portfolios are collections of programs designed to achieve an organization’s overall strategy and objectives.
At the time of writing, no requirements for maintaining the PfMP credential have been established.
PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP) – for candidates seeking to advance their careers in risk management
PMI developed the PMI-RMP® certification in response to the increasing complexity of projects to identify and mitigate project risk. While the exam covers general project management knowledge, it was designed specifically for risk management specialists seeking to differentiate themselves. Consider the PMI-RMP credential if you work in a risk management capacity.
A candidate must earn 30 PDUs every three years to maintain the PMI-RMP certification.
PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP) – for candidates who will be responsible for project scheduling
A PMI-SP® certification, like the PMI-RMP certification, is a project management certification emphasizing scheduling. Again, while the PMI-SP certification does establish a fundamental understanding of project management practices in general, it is recommended that only individuals specializing in project scheduling consider the certification.
A candidate must earn 30 PDUs every three years to maintain the PMI-SP certification.
PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) – for individuals who work with Agile methodologies
The PMI-ACP® certification is a specialized project management credential targeted at organizations that use Agile methodologies. Agile methodology is a relatively new approach to project management. Still, it has gained traction due to its iterative process for effectively responding to changes in the development of a project. If your organization uses Agile in its operations, this certification enables you to demonstrate an unmatched level of professionalism and commitment to this rapidly growing methodology.
A candidate must earn 30 PDUs every three years to maintain the PMI-ACP certification.
Choosing the appropriate PMI certification can be challenging, but it is critical to determine which skills to develop to achieve your professional goals. Hopefully, this article has aided in narrowing your search and served as a springboard for launching your project management career! Earn your project management certificate with SPOTO One-Stop Service: Application Service (100% success guaranteed), Training Courses (Authorized Training Partner), 100% Real Exam Dumps, Proxy Service and Recertification Service.