What Are Project Management Certification Requirements?

What Are Project Management Certification Requirements? image dv1212008 300x225What Are Project Management Certification Requirements?

Project managers were part of business long before the title was created. But it wasn’t until the post WW II era, as companies strived for more efficiency and business grew more complex, that corporations started to appreciate the need for better project management and began to recognize it as a distinct field.

By the 1980s, project management was an established specialty and the Project Management Institute (PMI) formed to determine standards and certify experts in the field.

The PMI is a non-profit association with more than 650,000 members in 185 countries. They issues six project management certifications that are recognized globally. Among those are Certified Associate in Project Management and the Project Management Professional, perhaps the most recognized certification for experienced managers who have led project teams.

Professionals will need experience in projects to apply for the certifications and to pass the PMP exam.

What is a Project Manager?

Simply put, a project manager is responsible for completing a project which PMI says is a temporary effort designed to yield a specific product, service or result.

A project, PMI’s website says, typically involves five steps – initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, then closing. It has a definite start and end and a defined scope. It is not a company’s routine operation.

The manager usually heads a team of workers often drawn from different parts of the company and sets plans on how to accomplish the project. This plan covers the large-scale efforts down to the fine details of each worker’s task. The manager shepherds the project’s budget and resources and provides leadership when things change or go awry.

The project manager will frequently need to draw on skills in communications, human resources, cost and budgeting, time management, risk management and softer skills involved with working with people and leading a team.

For those with limited involvement managing projects, the CAPM® is an entry-level certification. You might consider a CAPM® certification if you’re new to project management, looking to expand your responsibilities and role in projects or pondering a new career.

The PMI requires at least a high school diploma and 1,500 hours experience working on a project team. Or, you can have a high school diploma and 23 hours of formal project management education by the time you take the exam. The education could include workshops or courses from providers registered with PMI, college classes, company-sponsored training programs or training schools.

The certification lasts five years before it becomes necessary to apply for re-certification.

The Project Management Professional is an advanced certification for experienced project managers who want to increase their salaries, make themselves more attractive to employers or advance in the profession.

Though you can apply for the certification without a bachelor’s degree, doing so carries extensive experience requirements.

To apply for the 200-question exam you must have a bachelor’s degree along with a minimum of three years of experience in project management with 4,500 hours during those three years heading and directing projects. You’ll also need 35 hours of project management education.

The alternative qualifications without a bachelor’s are a high school diploma along with five years of project management experience with 7,500 hours heading and directing projects and 35 hours of appropriate project management education.

This certification is good for three years during which the professional must acquire at least 60 hours of professional development units to maintain the certification.

Though gaining PMI certification can be demanding and time-consuming, employers are increasingly seeking project managers with the professional credentials, according to an article on CIO.com. One reason is that companies believe the time and study involved in getting a PMP certification means the manager has more knowledge to help a project, the article said.

More CIOs believe project management certifications are important, the article says, citing research from The Standish Group that says two of three CIOs believe the certification is valuable. The percentage of CIOs who required project managers to be certified rose 10% between 2005 and 2009 to 31%.

While the article also says it’s difficult to directly correlate PMI certification and success rates for projects, the certification establishes a framework and standard processes that improve performance on a broad scale.

There is, of course, also the pay boost with certified project managers pulling in 9% more than those without the credential, the article says.

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