What Is a Certified Product Manager (and How Do I Become One)?

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Discover how to become a certified product manager, including related certifications, salaries, and training

[Featured image]:  A certified product manager is giving a presentation on a whiteboard to two coworkers.

To become a certified product manager (CPM) you must complete an education program from a product industry organization and have met the requirements of a product management certification program offered by a relevant, reputable product industry organization.  

You must also pass an exam that covers business and technical product management competencies to call yourself a certified product manager. Completing a product management certification program can validate your skills as a product manager and help you qualify for higher-paying jobs. In this article, learn how and why you should get certified in product management.

Description of a certified product manager  

A certified product manager is an expert on the entire product lifecycle. As a certified product manager, you'll be responsible for developing and managing products from conception to launch. You'll work with cross-functional teams to ensure products are delivered on time and within budget. A certified product manager’s job may involve:

  • Requirements gathering

  • Competitive analysis

  • Market research

  • Positioning and promotion

  • Requirements definition

  • Design planning and development

  • Validation of hypotheses and release into production.

Read more: What Does a Product Manager Do? Define Product Strategy

Key skills of a certified product manager

As a product manager, you’ll need strong analytical and technical skills. You’ll also need to communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders and be able to work in a fast-paced environment.

Some key technical skills that you’ll need as a product manager include:

  • Strong analytical skills: As a product manager, you’ll need to be able to analyze data to make informed product decisions.

  • Technical expertise: You’ll need a good understanding of the technology used to develop the product.

  • Project management skills: You’ll be able to effectively manage the development of the product, from conception to launch.

Here are some essential workplace skills you should possess:

  • Communication skills: A product manager needs to be able to effectively communicate with different stakeholders, such as developers, customers, and upper management, in written and verbal form.

  • Interpersonal skills: You need to be able to build relationships with various people within the organization to complete objectives.

  • Organizational skills: You’ll organize and prioritize tasks to meet deadlines and have strong time management skills.

Read more: 11 Key Project Management Skills

Types of product manager certification

Different certifications help build the competencies suitable for product management positions.

To help determine the best certifications for different product management roles network with professionals on LinkedIn to discuss what they value in product managers. Here are some popular product management certifications to consider:

1. AIPMM’s Certified Product Manager (CPM) 

This certification covers market planning, competitor research, product specifications, and product lifecycle modeling. Upon completion, it demonstrates you have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be an effective product manager and that you’re committed to this career. 

2. Product School’s Product Manager Certificate 

Product Schools' product management certification program is an eight-week online course where you’ll learn how to manage products successfully in all stages of their lifecycle. You'll discover how to set goals, build teams, manage stakeholders, and deliver desirable products. The instructors are professionals with experience working as project managers in companies like Amazon, Spotify, and Google.

3. The Pragmatic Institute’s Product Manager Certificate 

This program teaches you how to manage products from conception to launch. It covers an eight-step approach that follows the “foundation, focus, design, build, market, launch, price, and insight” elements of the product life cycle.

4. Certificate in Product Ownership Analysis by IIBA

The Certificate in Product Ownership Analysis is a product management certification designed for those who want to demonstrate their proficiency in integrating business analysis and product ownership operations with the Agile methodology. The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) offers the course online and typically takes ten weeks to complete. 

5. Agile Certified Product Manager and Product Owner by ACPMPO 

Agile Certified Product Manager (ACPMA) is a certification that demonstrates your ability to manage the product process from beginning to end using Agile. Agile Certified Product Owner focuses on:

  • How to frame product management and business strategy with Agile

  • How to lead your Agile teams and influence them

  • Best practices for utilizing Agile

  • Ideas outside of Scrum, including Lean, XP, and Kanban

Read more: 10 PMI Certifications to Level Up Your Project Management Career

Product management certification guidance 

When choosing a certification to pursue, you'll also want to consider cost, duration, program structure, and course content.

Cost 

The price of certification can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. It’s essential to research the certification costs and compare it to other similar programs before making a decision. If a certification is out of budget, it may not be worth the time and financial investment if it doesn’t directly affect your career progression. 

Duration 

Some programs can be completed in weeks or months, while others may require several years of product-related experience to take the exam. Consider how much time you can commit to a program.

Program structure 

As you look at programs, you’ll discover some are self-paced, while others have strict deadlines and are in-person. Some programs are entirely online, and others require you to attend a specific campus. Consider your learning style, availability, and preferences when choosing a type of program structure.

Course content 

Ensure the certified product manager training program covers topics relevant to your career goals. AIPMM’s certified product manager course includes the following topics as a guide.

  • Product management and marketing

  • Marketing mix

  • Product lifecycle management process

  • New product development

  • Commercialization

  • Understanding goods and services

  • Product decisions

  • Strategic planning

  • Market research

  • Product positioning

  • Product management toolbox

  • Value creation

  • Pricing

Job outlook and salary for certified product managers 

Certified product managers are in high demand since they help companies create products that meet consumer demand. According to Glassdoor, the average annual certified product manager’s salary is $96,428 [1]. It also ranks product management in the top 10 of the best occupations in the US, with job satisfaction rated at 4/5 [2].

Benefits of certifications 

Product management certifications can benefit your career, such as your salary. Typically a certified product manager can have a salary that’s $20,000 higher than an uncertified project manager. [3]

Certification can also:

  • Improve your career mobility and progression 

  • Make you a more attractive candidate

  • Help you to learn in-demand skills

  • Gain valuable knowledge and expertise

Next steps

If you're still investigating the product manager career path, consider a Professional Certificate to learn more. A Professional Certificate in product management gives a glimpse into the role and helps develop job-ready skills and knowledge for product roles. You might consider the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate, on Coursera. 

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Related articles

Article sources

1. Glassdoor. “How much does a Product Manager make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/product-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,15.htm.” Accessed June 27, 2022.

2. Glassdoor. “Best Jobs in America, https://www.glassdoor.com/List/Best-Jobs-in-America-LST_KQ0,20.htm” Accessed June 27, 2022.

3. Indeed. “Top Product Management Certifications You Can Pursue,  https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/product-management-certifications#:~:text=Unsurprisingly%2C%20the%20possibility,obtained%20through%20certification." Accessed August 24, 2022.

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