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Top 10 IT Project Manager Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for IT project managers and their benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 15 min read

Certifications are important for IT project managers in the job market because they demonstrate a level of knowledge, skill, and experience. They can also provide credibility to potential employers who are looking for candidates that have a certain level of expertise. Companies often require certifications from project managers in order to ensure that their projects are managed properly and that the quality of work is up to standard. Certifications also provide proof that a project manager has the necessary skills and experience to handle complex tasks associated with IT projects. Overall, certifications help IT project managers stand out from the competition and demonstrate their value as professionals in the job market.

The purpose of this article is to explore the various certifications available to IT Project Managers and explain how they can help to boost their career prospects.

What are IT Project Manager Certifications?

Project Manager Certification is a professional credential that demonstrates an individual's knowledge, skills and abilities in the field of project management. This certification is offered by various certifying bodies and organizations, such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) or the International Project Management Association (IPMA). The certification is designed to validate an individual's ability to manage projects effectively, efficiently and professionally. It also serves as evidence that a project manager has the right qualifications to successfully lead complex projects.

Having a project manager certification can help individuals achieve higher salaries and better job opportunities. It can also give them an advantage when competing for positions in larger corporations or organizations. Furthermore, having a certification can prove useful in developing relationships with clients and colleagues, as it shows that you have the necessary skills to manage projects from start to finish. Additionally, it gives professionals the opportunity to stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices, helping them stay ahead of the competition. Finally, having a certified project manager credential can provide individuals with more confidence when taking on new challenges or leading teams through difficult tasks.

Pro Tip: Make sure to choose a project manager certification that is widely recognized in the industry. This will ensure that your certification will be taken seriously by employers and colleagues.

Related: What does an IT Project Manager do?

Top 10 IT Project Manager Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to IT Project Managers today.

1. Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification

Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification is a globally recognized certification program for project managers. It is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), which is a non-profit organization that sets standards and provides resources to help project managers succeed in their roles. The PMP credential demonstrates that an individual has the knowledge, skills, and experience to lead and direct projects successfully.

It typically takes around 3-6 months to prepare for the PMP exam, depending on the individual’s background and experience. To become certified, an individual must meet certain eligibility requirements including having at least three years of project management experience as well as 35 hours of formal project management education. After meeting these requirements, an individual can apply to take the exam through PMI’s website.

The cost of taking the PMP exam varies depending on whether or not you are a member of PMI. For non-members, the cost is $555 USD while members pay $405 USD. Additionally, there may be additional costs associated with preparing for the exam such as purchasing study materials or attending review courses.

2. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Certification

The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is a certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is designed to help individuals demonstrate their understanding of project management principles and practices, as well as their ability to apply them in real-world scenarios. The CAPM certification is ideal for entry-level professionals who are looking to gain a better understanding of project management concepts, as well as those who are looking to advance their careers in the field.

In order to be eligible for the CAPM certification, applicants must have either a secondary degree (high school diploma or equivalent) plus 1,500 hours of project experience, or 23 hours of project management education. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within three hours.

To get certified, applicants must register with PMI and pay an application fee ($225 for members and $300 for non-members). After registering, applicants can take the exam at any authorized Prometric testing center worldwide. Once they pass the exam, they will receive their CAPM certification within 4–6 weeks.

The cost of the CAPM certification depends on whether you are a PMI member or not. For PMI members it costs $225 while for non-members it costs $300. In addition to this cost there may also be other fees such as exam fees and study materials.

3. PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Certifications

PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments) is a process-based approach for project management providing an easily tailored and scalable method for the management of all types of projects. It is a de facto standard used extensively by the UK Government and is widely recognized and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally.

The PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner certifications are designed to provide professionals with an understanding of the PRINCE2 methodology, enabling them to apply it to their own projects. The Foundation certification focuses on understanding the principles and terminology of PRINCE2, while the Practitioner certification builds on this knowledge by demonstrating how to apply it practically.

The Foundation certification can be completed in a day, while the Practitioner certification requires more time as it involves completing a case study which takes around two days. Both certifications require passing an exam; however, there are no prerequisites for taking either exam.

The cost of taking either exam varies depending on your location; however, typically they range from £400-£500 per exam.

4. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) Certification

Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) Certification is a professional credential offered by the Scrum Alliance. It is designed to help professionals learn and understand the principles and values of Scrum, an agile software development methodology. The CSM certification provides a thorough understanding of the roles, responsibilities, and processes associated with the Scrum framework.

The CSM certification process typically takes between two to four days depending on the course format chosen. The course includes interactive activities, lectures, discussions, and practice sessions that will enable participants to gain an in-depth understanding of Scrum concepts. At the end of the course, participants must pass an online assessment to receive their certification.

To get your CSM certification you must attend an official Certified ScrumMaster training course offered by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). You can find a list of CSTs on the Scrum Alliance website. Once you have attended a course and passed the assessment, you will be eligible for your CSM certification.

The cost for a CSM certification varies depending on the trainer and location but typically ranges from $600-$1,500 USD per person.

5. Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) Certification

Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) certification is a professional certification designed to recognize individuals who have the knowledge and experience to successfully lead agile projects. The ACP certification is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is designed for professionals who want to demonstrate their ability to apply agile principles, practices, and tools in their project management roles.

The ACP exam consists of 120 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within three hours. To become certified, applicants must pass the exam with a score of at least 70%. The exam covers topics such as agile principles, practices, and tools; team dynamics; stakeholder engagement; product delivery; and continuous improvement.

To prepare for the ACP exam, applicants should review PMI’s Agile Practice Guide and take an approved training course or attend an approved event. PMI also offers self-study materials such as books and online courses that can help candidates prepare for the exam.

The cost of the ACP certification varies depending on whether you are a PMI member or not. For non-members, the cost is $435 USD for members and $495 USD for non-members. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking an approved training course or attending an approved event.

Overall, obtaining your Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) certification can take anywhere from several weeks to several months depending on how much time you dedicate to preparing for the exam.

6. ITIL Foundation Certification

ITIL Foundation Certification is a globally recognized entry-level certification in IT Service Management (ITSM). It provides an understanding of the key elements, concepts and terminology used in the ITIL service lifecycle, including how operations move between each stage of the lifecycle. It also provides an understanding of the ITIL framework and how it can be used to improve the quality of IT services.

The certification typically takes 3-4 days to complete depending on the training provider and can be done online or in-person. The exam consists of 40 multiple choice questions which must be completed within 60 minutes. To pass, candidates must score at least 65% (26 out of 40).

To get certified, you must first register for an accredited course with an approved training provider such as AXELOS or PeopleCert. The cost varies depending on the provider but typically ranges from $600-$1000 USD.

7. Six Sigma Green Belt Certification

Six Sigma Green Belt Certification is a professional certification program designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead successful Six Sigma projects within their organization. It is based on the Six Sigma methodology, which focuses on improving processes by eliminating defects and reducing variation. The certification is offered by various organizations, such as the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC).

The certification process typically takes between four and eight weeks, depending on the provider and the individual's learning style. The program generally consists of online modules, self-study materials, and an in-person or online assessment. Most providers also offer additional training resources such as webinars and workshops.

To obtain a Six Sigma Green Belt Certification, individuals must first complete all of the required coursework and pass an assessment. After completing the coursework, individuals must submit an application to their chosen provider for review. Once approved, they will receive their certificate.

The cost of obtaining a Six Sigma Green Belt Certification varies depending on the provider and can range from $500 to $2,000 USD.

8. CompTIA Project+ Certification

CompTIA Project+ is a certification program designed to recognize the skills of project managers. It is an entry-level certification that validates a candidate’s knowledge and experience in managing small-to-medium sized projects. The certification covers topics such as project planning, budgeting, scheduling, resource management, risk management, communication, and quality control.

It typically takes about 40 hours of study time to prepare for the CompTIA Project+ exam. Candidates must pass a single multiple-choice exam (PK0-004) in order to earn the certification. The exam consists of 100 questions and must be completed within 90 minutes.

The cost of the CompTIA Project+ exam varies depending on location but generally ranges from $250-$400 USD. In addition to the exam fee, candidates may also need to purchase study materials or enroll in training courses in order to prepare for the test.

9. Microsoft Project 2013/2016/2019 Certifications

Microsoft Project 2013/2016/2019 Certifications are industry-recognized credentials that demonstrate an individual's expertise in using the Microsoft Project software. It is designed to validate a user's ability to effectively use the features and functions of the software, as well as their understanding of project management principles.

The certification process consists of two exams: Exam 74-343: Managing Projects with Microsoft Project 2013 (or 2016 or 2019) and Exam 74-344: Managing Programs and Projects with Microsoft Project Server 2013 (or 2016 or 2019). Depending on your experience level, it can take anywhere from 2-6 months to complete both exams.

To get certified, you must first register for and pass both exams. The cost for each exam is $150 USD. You may also need to purchase additional study materials such as books or online courses in order to prepare for the exams. Once you have passed both exams, you will receive your official Microsoft Project certification.

10. SAFe Agilist Certification

SAFe Agilist Certification is a professional certification program that provides individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to become a successful Agile practitioner. It is designed to help people understand the principles, practices, and tools of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). The certification consists of two parts: an online course and a proctored exam.

The online course takes approximately 16 hours to complete and covers topics such as Lean-Agile principles, SAFe values, roles and responsibilities, planning and execution at scale, DevOps culture, and more. Upon completion of the course, participants can take an exam to become certified as a SAFe Agilist.

The exam is administered by Scaled Agile Inc., the creators of SAFe. The cost for the exam is $500 USD. To register for the exam, you must have either taken a SAFe training course or successfully completed the online course mentioned above. Once registered for the exam, you will be given 90 minutes to answer 40 multiple choice questions about various topics related to SAFe. After completing the exam, you will receive your results within 48 hours.

If you pass with a score of 80% or higher then you will receive your official SAFe Agilist Certification from Scaled Agile Inc., which is valid for two years from the date of passing.

Do You Really Need a IT Project Manager Certificate?

Whether or not you need an IT project manager certificate depends on your individual goals and career aspirations. If you are looking to advance your career in the field of information technology, a certification can be beneficial. It can demonstrate to potential employers that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to manage projects effectively.

However, it is important to note that a certification alone does not guarantee success. You will still need to possess the right skills and experience in order to be successful in a project management role. A certification can help you stand out from other applicants, but it is not a replacement for experience and expertise.

It is also important to consider the cost of obtaining a certification. Depending on the program, this could range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. It is important to weigh the cost against the potential benefits of obtaining a certification before making any decisions.

Overall, whether or not you need an IT project manager certificate depends on your own individual goals and ambitions. If you feel that having a certification will give you an edge in the job market, then it may be worth investing in one. However, if your goal is simply to learn more about managing IT projects, then there are other options available that may be more affordable and accessible than obtaining a certification.

Related: IT Project Manager Resume Examples

FAQs About IT Project Manager Certifications

Q1: What is an IT Project Manager Certification?

A1: An IT Project Manager Certification is a professional credential that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and experience managing IT projects. It typically requires passing a comprehensive exam to verify an individual’s expertise in various areas, such as project management methodologies, risk management, and budgeting.

Q2: What are the benefits of getting certified?

A2: There are several benefits to getting certified as an IT Project Manager, including increased job opportunities, higher salaries, and improved industry recognition. Additionally, certification can help build credibility with employers and colleagues by demonstrating proficiency in the field.

Q3: What certifications are available?

A3: Some of the most popular certifications for IT Project Managers include PMP (Project Management Professional), CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management), and PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments).

Q4: How much does certification cost?

A4: The cost of certification varies depending on the certifying organization and the type of certification being pursued. Generally speaking, expect to pay anywhere from $500 - $3000 for a comprehensive certification program.

Q5: How long does it take to get certified?

A5: The amount of time required to complete a certification program depends on several factors such as the complexity of the material covered, the number of exams taken, and how quickly you can study and prepare for them. In general, expect to spend between 3-6 months completing all requirements necessary for certification.