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Top 10 Project Management Specialist Certifications

This article will provide an overview of the top project management specialist certifications available, outlining their benefits and requirements.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are an important factor for a project management specialist to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the job market. It shows employers that the individual is qualified to handle any type of project and can effectively manage resources. Additionally, certifications provide recognition from professional organizations that help individuals stand out among other applicants. Certifications also allow project management specialists to stay up-to-date on industry best practices and trends, helping them stay ahead of the competition. Finally, certifications offer networking opportunities and access to educational resources that can help individuals advance their careers.

This article reviews the top certifications for Project Management Specialists and explains how they can contribute to a career in project management.

What are Project Management Specialist Certifications?

Project management specialist certification is a professional credential that recognizes an individual's knowledge and skills in project management. This certification signifies that the individual has achieved a level of competency in project management and can demonstrate their understanding of the principles of successful project delivery. The certification provides an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in the areas of planning, organizing, directing, controlling, and completing projects. It also serves as evidence of expertise in the field, which can help to increase job opportunities and salary levels.

The certification process typically involves passing a series of exams that assess the candidate's knowledge and skills related to project management. These tests include topics such as scope definition, stakeholder analysis, risk assessment, resource allocation, scheduling techniques, budgeting processes, communication strategies, quality assurance methods and more. Successfully completing these exams will provide recognition that the individual possesses the necessary skills to effectively manage projects.

Having a project management specialist certification can help individuals build credibility with employers or clients by demonstrating their commitment to professional development and their willingness to stay informed about up-to-date practices in the field. It may also give them access to exclusive career opportunities or even higher salaries as employers seek out certified professionals for important projects. Additionally, having this credential may make it easier for an individual to move into higher-level positions such as senior project manager or program manager due to their demonstrated proficiency in the field.

Pro Tip: Make sure to research the different project management specialist certifications available and find one that is aligned with your career goals. Many certifications require specific experience or qualifications, so it’s important to make sure you meet the requirements before applying. Additionally, consider taking courses or obtaining additional training to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the certification requirements and expectations.

Related: What does a Project Management Specialist do?

Top 10 Project Management Specialist Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Project Management Specialists today.

1. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Project Management Professional (PMP) is a certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is a globally recognized certification that demonstrates an individual’s experience and competency in project management. The PMP credential is designed to assess an individual’s ability to manage projects effectively, from initiation to completion.

It typically takes about six months of preparation to get the PMP certification. Preparation includes studying for the exam, taking practice tests, and completing 35 hours of project management education. To be eligible for the PMP exam, you must have either a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent) with at least 5 years of project management experience with 7500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education; or a four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent) with at least 3 years of project management experience with 4500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

The cost to take the PMP exam varies depending on where you are located. In the United States, it costs $405 for PMI members and $555 for non-members. There may also be additional fees associated with registering for the exam, such as a proctor fee if you are taking it online.

Once you have passed the exam, there is an annual maintenance fee of $60 for PMI members and $150 for non-members that must be paid each year in order to maintain your certification status.

2. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is a certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is designed to provide an entry-level understanding of project management principles and processes. The CAPM certification demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of project management, including the ability to apply best practices to manage projects effectively.

To become certified, applicants must have at least 1,500 hours of project experience or 23 hours of formal project management education. Additionally, applicants must pass a 3-hour exam consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions.

The cost for the CAPM exam varies based on whether you are a PMI member or non-member. For PMI members, it costs $225 USD; for non-members it costs $300 USD. The exam can be taken at any Prometric testing center worldwide.

The entire process from application to taking the test and receiving your certification can take anywhere from 4 weeks up to 6 months depending on when you schedule your test date and how quickly you receive your results.

3. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) is a certification program offered by the Scrum Alliance to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a fundamental level of knowledge and understanding of the Scrum framework. The CSM certification is designed to provide an introduction to the core principles and practices of Scrum, as well as an understanding of how it can be used in an organization.

It typically takes two days to complete the CSM course, which includes lectures, discussions, and interactive exercises. To become certified, participants must pass a written exam at the end of the course.

To get your CSM certification you must attend a Certified ScrumMaster Course from an accredited training provider. The cost for this varies depending on the provider but can range from $1,000-$2,500 USD. Additionally, you must pay an annual membership fee to maintain your certification with the Scrum Alliance which is currently $100 USD per year.

4. PRINCE2 Practitioner

PRINCE2 Practitioner is a certification program designed to provide project managers with the knowledge and skills to successfully manage projects using the PRINCE2 methodology. It is an internationally recognized standard for project management and is used by organizations around the world.

The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam consists of two parts: a Foundation exam and a Practitioner exam. The Foundation exam tests your understanding of the PRINCE2 principles, themes, processes, and techniques. The Practitioner exam tests your ability to apply these principles, themes, processes, and techniques in realistic scenarios.

The Foundation exam takes approximately 2 hours to complete and can be taken online or at an accredited training center. The Practitioner exam takes approximately 3 hours to complete and must be taken at an accredited training center.

To become certified as a PRINCE2 Practitioner you must first pass both the Foundation and Practitioner exams. You must also have at least three years of experience in project management or related fields before you can take the exams.

The cost of taking the exams will depend on where you take them, but typically ranges from $400-$600 USD for both exams combined.

5. Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP)

Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) is an internationally recognized certification for individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge and experience of working with Agile methodologies. The certification is designed to assess an individual's understanding of the principles, practices, and tools associated with Agile development. It also serves as a way to validate the skills and knowledge they have acquired through their professional experience.

The ACP exam consists of 80 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within two hours. To pass the exam, individuals must achieve a minimum score of 70%. The exam covers topics such as Agile principles, values, and frameworks; user stories; sprint planning; estimation techniques; product backlogs; team dynamics; leadership styles; risk management; and more.

To get certified as an ACP, individuals must first complete a training program or course that covers all of the topics covered in the exam. Many organizations offer online courses that can be taken at your own pace. Once you have completed the training program or course, you will need to register for the ACP exam with a testing center or proctoring service. After registering for the exam, you will receive instructions on how to schedule your test date and time.

The cost of becoming an ACP varies depending on where you take your training program or course, but typically ranges from $500-$1,000 USD. Additionally, there is usually a fee associated with taking the actual certification exam which can range from $200-$400 USD depending on where you take it.

6. ITIL Foundation Certification

ITIL Foundation Certification is an entry-level certification that provides a comprehensive understanding of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework. It is designed to help IT professionals gain a better understanding of how IT services are delivered, managed and supported. The certification is based on the ITIL 4 best practice framework and covers topics such as service strategy, design, transition, operation and continual improvement.

The ITIL Foundation Certification exam typically takes 1 hour to complete and consists of 40 multiple choice questions. To obtain the certification, candidates must score at least 65% on the exam.

To get certified, candidates must first purchase an exam voucher from an accredited training provider or Pearson VUE test center. The cost of the voucher varies depending on the provider but typically ranges from $150-$200 USD. Candidates then have 90 days to take the exam after purchasing their voucher.

Once you have passed your exam, you will receive your official ITIL Foundation certificate in digital format via email within 5-10 business days.

7. Six Sigma Green Belt Certification

Six Sigma Green Belt Certification is a professional certification that recognizes individuals who have achieved a level of proficiency in the Six Sigma methodology and its tools. It is designed to help professionals improve their skills and knowledge in order to become more effective problem solvers, decision makers, and process improvement leaders.

The Six Sigma Green Belt Certification program typically takes about two months to complete, depending on the provider. The program consists of classroom-based instruction, online learning modules, and hands-on project work. The curriculum focuses on the DMAIC (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control) methodologies employed by Six Sigma practitioners. During the course, participants will learn how to apply these techniques to solve real-world problems within their organization or industry.

To obtain the Six Sigma Green Belt Certification, individuals must pass an exam administered by an accredited provider such as ASQ (American Society for Quality), IASSC (International Association for Six Sigma Certification), or CSSC (Certified Six Sigma Consultant). The exam covers topics such as process improvement, data analysis, problem solving techniques, and project management. Once certified, individuals can use their credentials to demonstrate their expertise in the field and increase their job prospects.

The cost of obtaining a Six Sigma Green Belt Certification varies depending on the provider chosen but typically ranges from $500-$2,000 USD.

8. PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)

PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP) is a credential offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is designed to recognize professionals who have demonstrated their knowledge and experience in risk management. The PMI-RMP credential recognizes individuals who have the skills to identify, assess, and control project risks.

To obtain the PMI-RMP credential, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements and pass an exam. Applicants must have at least 4500 hours of direct project risk management experience, or 35 contact hours of formal education in project risk management within the past five years.

The PMI-RMP exam consists of 170 multiple choice questions, and applicants are given four hours to complete it. The cost of the exam varies depending on the country in which you take it; however, it typically costs around $400 USD.

Once you have passed the exam, you will need to pay an annual fee of $60 USD to maintain your certification. You will also be required to earn 30 professional development units (PDUs) every three years in order to retain your credential.

9. PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)

PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP) is a certification program offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is designed to recognize professionals who have demonstrated advanced knowledge and application of project scheduling techniques. This certification provides professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively plan, monitor, and control projects using various scheduling tools and techniques.

The PMI-SP certification requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to apply project scheduling principles, tools, and techniques in accordance with the PMBOK Guide. To be eligible for this certification, applicants must have a minimum of 2,000 hours of experience working on project schedules within the last five years or 4,500 hours of experience working on project schedules within the last eight years.

It typically takes between three to six months to prepare for the PMI-SP exam. The exam consists of 175 multiple choice questions that must be completed in four hours. A passing score is required in order to earn the PMI-SP credential.

The cost for taking the PMI-SP exam is $405 USD for members of PMI or $555 USD for non-members. Additionally, there are other costs associated with obtaining the certification such as study materials and training courses which can vary depending on individual needs.

10. CompTIA Project+ Certification

CompTIA Project+ is an industry-recognized certification that validates the skills and knowledge of project managers. It is designed to validate a project manager’s ability to manage projects effectively, from initiation through closure. The certification covers topics such as initiating and planning projects, managing resources, executing tasks, monitoring progress, and closing out projects.

The CompTIA Project+ exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. To earn the certification, candidates must pass the exam with a score of 750 or higher on a scale of 100-900.

To get CompTIA Project+, you must first register for the exam through Pearson VUE or Prometric testing centers. Once registered, you can purchase study materials from CompTIA or other vendors that offer preparation courses for the exam. You can also use online resources such as practice tests and tutorials to help you prepare for the exam.

The cost of taking the CompTIA Project+ exam varies depending on your location but typically ranges between $200-$300 USD. The cost may also include additional fees such as registration fees and proctoring fees if applicable.

Do You Really Need a Project Management Specialist Certificate?

The short answer is: it depends. A project management specialist certificate can be beneficial for many professionals who are looking to further their career in the field of project management. However, the value of such a certification will depend on several factors, including your current experience and knowledge in the area, the type of job you’re seeking and what kind of employer you’re targeting.

For those with limited or no experience in project management, a project management specialist certificate can provide a valuable introduction to the fundamentals of the field. It can give you an opportunity to learn about best practices and gain an understanding of key concepts that may be useful in your future career. Additionally, having this certification may help demonstrate your commitment to the profession and make you more attractive to potential employers.

On the other hand, if you have significant experience in project management already, then a certification may not be necessary. In this case, it’s important to consider how much time and money it would cost to obtain such a certification as well as how much more value it would add to your resume compared to other qualifications or experiences that you possess.

Ultimately, whether or not a project management specialist certificate is right for you will depend on your individual skillset and professional goals. If you believe it would help advance your career prospects then it could certainly be worth pursuing.

Related: Project Management Specialist Resume Examples

FAQs About Project Management Specialist Certifications

Q1. What is a Project Management Specialist Certification?

A1. A Project Management Specialist Certification is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and skills in the management of projects. The certification is typically awarded by a professional organization or educational institution after completion of a program or course that focuses on project management principles and practices.

Q2. How do I become certified as a Project Management Specialist?

A2. To become certified as a Project Management Specialist, you will need to complete an accredited training program or course in project management, pass the associated exam, and meet any other requirements set forth by the certifying body.

Q3. What are the benefits of becoming a Project Management Specialist?

A3. Becoming a certified Project Management Specialist can help to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in project management to potential employers, increase your job opportunities, and give you access to professional networks and resources related to project management.

Q4. How long does it take to get certified as a Project Management Specialist?

A4. The amount of time it takes to become certified as a Project Management Specialist depends on the specific requirements set forth by the certifying body, but generally speaking it can take anywhere from several months up to one year or more depending on your level of dedication and commitment to completing the necessary courses and exams required for certification.

Q5. What types of jobs can I get with my Project Management Certification?

A5: With your certification as a Project Management Specialist, you may be eligible for positions such as project manager, business analyst, consultant, product manager, software engineer, or IT manager in various industries including technology, healthcare, finance, public sector/government organizations and more.