6 Project Management Certifications to Advance Your Career

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Project management certification may help you advance your career. Discover six certifications to consider while learning about the roles and responsibilities of working in project management.

[Featured Image] A project manager discusses a project with an employee.

Project management involves delivering a valuable service, product, or solution while working on a project. It requires specific skills, knowledge, and techniques to improve a business process. 

Because the success or failure of the project depends on a project manager, they must have a higher skill set and understanding of what project management involves. Being certified in project management not only provides you with the technical tools to help you meet the demands of the role of project manager, but certification also builds your leadership skills to help you better communicate, problem solve, team build, and handle conflict resolution.

What is project management?

Project management involves managing the introduction of new products or services and ensuring all operations are running according to the timeline and budget provided for the job. A project manager takes charge of projects from beginning to end, managing everything from planning to executing and monitoring to project completion.

Project managers serve as the liaison between developers and upper management, keeping them updated on the status of the project. In this role, project managers also must communicate with other members of the team, leadership, and stakeholders to keep everyone updated on the progress and status while rectifying any problems that may arise.

What do project managers do day-to-day?

Because they are involved in every aspect of the entire project, project managers need to communicate with their teams to ensure everything is running smoothly. Other typical daily tasks include: 

  • Creating the plans for the project and ensuring the project aligns with strategic goals

  • Pinpointing the resources needed for a project

  • Assigning teams and tracking their work

  • Creating budgets and schedules

  • Designing the overview and workflow

  • Measuring projects’ progress and success during every step

  • Reporting findings to the relevant team members and stakeholders

  • Analyzing projects to improve future projects

These tasks are certainly important, but a project manager’s job includes more than just these daily responsibilities. A good project manager must also have the skills to keep their teams happy so they are more productive. The role also requires accepting daily responsibility, accountability, and ownership.

Getting certified in project management

Obtaining certification as a project manager can help your career by offering more opportunities and higher-paying jobs. Many companies prefer to hire certified project managers who have the demonstrable skills and knowledge needed to manage complicated situations. Having a certification in project management provides that credibility. 

You can find certification programs online or in a face-to-face classroom setting. For example, you may enroll in a certificate program at a college or university while getting your degree or as a stand-alone program. Many have online choices, but some offer limited online options.

Read more: Project Management Career Overview: Resources for Your PM Journey

Organizations such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) offer students the ability to participate with instructors and classmates in an in-person setting. Getting certified online can help you fit the workload into your schedule. PMI offers the largest variety of live classroom and online options. 

An undergraduate degree in project management can be beneficial by providing you with a background in communication, leadership, and communication skills. With all the choices available, a good tip is to go online and search for certificates in project management. Decide whether you want to earn a general certificate in project management or focus on a more specific area within the project management realm. Because it is a recognizable and respected organization in project management, a good place to start is PMI’s website.

6 project management certifications

The requirements to gain certification in project management vary. Entry-level certifications can help those interested in a career in project management with little or no experience get a start in the field because it demonstrates your skill set and expertise and shows potential employers that you’re invested in your career. After some time on the job gaining experience, you may then be eligible for additional certification, which can help you qualify for more advanced positions in the field.   

Many educational organizations that offer project management certification are available. Consider what fits best with your schedule—a certificate can be gained through face-to-face or online programs. 

1. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Cost: $405 for members, $575 for non-members [1]

Requirements: Depending on if you have a four-year degree, secondary education diploma, or the equivalent determines how much experience you need and how much time needs to be invested to obtain your PMP.

A Project Management Professional (PMP) is considered an essential certificate for project managers. It is highly sought after by project managers. This certification is given to project managers who have gained the skills needed for leadership and expertise in managing projects. By obtaining the certification, you can learn how to handle real-life management experiences.

2. Project Management Professional (PgMP)

Cost: $800 for members, $1,000 for non-members [2

Requirements: Associate or bachelor’s degree plus either four years of PMP certification or project management experience and 48 months of professional experience within the past 15 years.

A PgMP certification is a great choice if you are looking to advance your career to a project manager position. Pursuing this credential can help you gain the knowledge and skills needed to manage advanced programs and projects and develop strategies for your business.  

3. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

Cost: $225 for members, $300 for non-members [3

Requirements: High school diploma or its equivalent, plus a minimum of 23 educational hours in project management.

A CAPM is a great certification program to pursue if you are just starting out your career as a project manager. You can learn the basics of project management and the responsibilities of project managers. Other skills you will acquire include being knowledgeable when it comes to project scopes, schedules, costs, and resources, along with other fundamental tools that will help you start your career.

4. Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I)

Cost: $150 per attempt [4]

Requirements: None

Scrum certifications are useful and will help prove you can manage your Scrum skills to communicate by implementing cross-functional team collaboration, quick feedback, and fast delivery of products and services. The PSM I is a certification that provides a basic understanding of Scrum and how to apply it. The exam focuses on core Scrum areas, such as applying the Scrum framework and developing and managing teams. 

5. Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM) Certification 

Cost (US): $399 for members, $400 for non-members [5]

Requirements: None

Scrum and Agile go hand-in-hand, as Scrum is the method used to implement Agile, which is the project management approach. An Agile project management certification is a great way to prove you can respond effectively to change, pivoting as needed and responding to shifting circumstances and needs. A DASM certification will provide you with the tools you need to successfully focus on decisions and options available to best complete your project. 

6. Primary Six Sigma Certification

Costs: $0.00 to $665, depending on the level [6]

Requirements: Years of experience vary depending on the level or belt. Requirements range from completing a training course to gaining three or more years of experience. 

While they are both reputable and complement each other, the PMI and Six Sigma certifications also have some differences. While those who are PMP certified concentrate on planning and executing a project while improving the success rate of the projects, A Six Sigma-certified professional focuses on finding and fixing any issues while reducing any wasted time, effort, or money for its employer. Four levels of certification are available for a Six Sigma Certification, starting with the white belt, which is a free entry-level certification that helps you learn the fundamentals of what Six Sigma entails and how to effectively use your knowledge.

Getting started with Coursera

Interested in gaining your certification in project management? Besides certifications from the Project Management Institute, other organizations can also help set you on the path without requiring a degree.

For example, the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate on Coursera will help you learn in-demand skills to help you launch your career in project management.

Article sources


Project Management Institute. “How to Apply for the PMP Certification, https://www.pmi.org/certifications/project-management-pmp/earn-the-pmp/how-to-apply.” Accessed August 5, 2023. 

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