Before we discuss the best certifications to hold if you want to break into project management, we need to look at what project management is and what a project manager does to make sure it’s the field for you.

What is a Project Management?

Good project management has a HUGE impact on business. Old-school ideas would have you believe it’s all about budgets, timing, and tasks. 

That is no longer true.

Per, project management is the “use of specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to deliver something of value to people.” 

It helps every aspect of business run smoothly. With a clear project plan and someone to keep that plan in motion and on track, the company will produce a better project. 

What Does a Project Manager Do?

A project manager is responsible for the entire scope of any project, from start to finish. They manage the team, any resources assigned to the project, and everything else involved. 

Instead of discussing what a project manager does, maybe we should be talking about what a project manager DOESN’T do!

The success of the project rests on the shoulders of the project manager. No one else. It doesn’t matter how many people are on your team, as the manager of those members, you accept responsibility for their work. 

Please note that you accept RESPONSIBILITY for their work, not credit. Just like this article says. I like to think of it as ducklings under their mama duck’s wings. They stay under her wings for protection when the skies are dark but come out to bask in the sun. It’s the same for a project manager. You shield your team from the bad but watch them with pride in their successes.

Do you feel prepared to accept that kind of responsibility? Are you ready to be an exemplary leader?

Read on, then, and find out the best certifications you should get to break into the field. 

Certifications to Put You Ahead of the Competition

There are two main ways to become a project manager. 

One is to gain experience in the field, climbing the ladder. This type of person did not intend to become a project manager, they just kind of fell into it. They simply happen to find themselves managing projects as part of their day-to-day activities. 

For the purposes of this post, we’re going to focus on those of you who want to go the more traditional route of choosing the profession. This route typically includes formal education with certifications.

Project Management Institute

There are quite a few certifications available for project managers. 

The most highly recognized in the industry are offered through Project Management Institute (PMI). 

Here is a comprehensive breakdown of every certification through PMI based on how many years of experience you already have. 

Google Project Management: Professional Certificate

I can’t emphasize this credential enough. 

This course/certification is offered in partnership with Coursera. 

Why is that amazing? You can enroll for free and only pay for the certification at the end if you so choose. 

Get halfway through and decide project management is not for you? Nothing lost except your time. Which, if you have binged ANY show, you’ve already lost time at some point in your life. So, no big deal.

Decide you LOVE project management and you will be a rockstar in the field? The program costs $39 per month. It takes approximately 6 months to complete. It will cost less than $250 dollars! DISCLAIMER: If you take longer than 6 months, then it will cost more. Plan accordingly.

Need-based financial assistance is also available.

CSM: Certified Scrum Master

This is another great certification for entry-level project managers, with several other levels based on where you are at in your project management field.

ScrumAlliance offers tracks to get you at the top in no time. 

This process only takes two days and if you manage to get an early-bird discount, will cost approximately $500.00. 

CAPM Certification

Another great certification to put in your toolbelt. 

While PMI offers this certification for $300 as a non-member, you have to have taken their Project Management Basics course first. And that would put you at about $750 as a non-member. 

SimpliLearn, on the other hand, gives you everything you need for $399.  

SSGI: Project Management

Six Sigma Global Institute is globally recognized and approved by PMI. The organization is also an easily recognized name.

They offer a whole plethora of courses, getting you started with their Project Management certification for only $125. Or, excuse me, the Yellow Belt. (You have to appreciate their dedication to their brand, which was likely handled by a project manager.)

Which Certification Should I Get?

The easiest way to discern which certification is going to get you the most bang for your buck is by paying attention to job descriptions.

Take some time to hunt for project management positions you have an interest in. 

Once you’ve narrowed it down to 3 – 5, look at which certifications they prefer you have.

That’s the one you should get.

Do they each list different certifications? 

Research each certification and decide which one aligns with your professional goals the best.

Have you gotten your certification but aren’t getting interviews?

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