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Project Manager Certification

Project Manager certification is a really hot topic at the moment. However knowing what the right project management qualification is which you need to attain in order to have a successful career in the profession is another matter. This is becoming even more important with the moves in the UK to ensure that project management attains a charter status which would put it on a par with chartered accountants and lawyers.

So let’s break it down between the two main project manager certification available which are the PMI Qualifications and Prince 2.

1.0 PMI Qualifications

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the main qualification awarding body for project manager’s working in the US and it is recognised worldwide. Their specific qualifications are:

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM

This is a qualification for those who are members of a project team, It is as such a basic entry level certification for those looking to get a first step into the project management profession. It really covers the basics of project management.

As a result it is worth noting that this qualification cannot be renewed and expires after 5 years, since it is assumed that those taking it, will have attained the PMP qualification.

Project Management Professional (PMP)

This is the best known and main qualification that the PMI awards. You will find that most professional IT project manager’s in the US at least, will hold this qualification. Further it is considered a key step for those looking to progress in the profession.

It covers a number of different areas including the principles or project management and project cost estimation.

The qualification needs to be renewed every 3 years with 60 PDU’s (Professional Development Units) required every to keep it current.

Program Management Professional (PgMPSM)

This is a high level qualification from the PMP. Essentially it is for those with serious experience in project management, who have managed large projects and programs. It ensures that you understand how to manage multiple projects

The qualification needs to be renewed every 3 years with 60 PDU’s (Professional Development Units) required every to keep it current. And then in the UK and numerous other places such as Australia, New Zealand, Far East and Europe, Prince 2 is the pre-eminent project manager certification to attain.

2.0 Prince 2 Qualifications

The PRINCE2 Qualification Scheme has been developed by the APM Group Ltd (Association of Project Managers) in partnership with the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and The Stationery Office (TSO). It was initially adopted by the public sector in the UK but since then it’s popularity has widened and it has become the project management qualification of choice for those managing IT projects.

Foundation Exam Prince 2

This is much the equivalent of the certified associate in PMI, except it doesn’t have quite as grand a title. However taking and passing this is a pre-requisite to passing the following Practitioner Exam. This consists of:
  • Multiple choice format
  • 75 questions per paper
  • 50% pass mark

It should be noted that the Foundation exam does not expire once passed.

Practitioner Exam Prince 2

This is the equivalent of the PMP exam run by the PMI. The specifics of the exam are:
  • Written Exam
  • 9 questions per paper with 12 marks available per question – all question items will be worth 1 mark, making the total number of marks available per paper 108
  • 2.5 hours allowed (no reading time has been added)
  • Allowed to take the Prince 2 Manual into the exam
  • 55% Pass mark
Like the PMP, the Prince2 Practitioner exam expires after 5 years.

Project Manager Certification - Tip

If you will be mainly working in the US then take the PMI / PMP route. If you are going to be working in the UK then the Prince2 Practitioner exam is the route to take. Lastly, elsewhere in the world either or both qualifications are useful and will get you into the right project management roles.

However please note that passing any of these qualifications does not guarantee that you will either get into project management, nor be able to deliver the successful project management demanded.

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