Project Management7 Best Project Management Certifications for 2023

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Project Management Certifications

Project management plays a vital role in the software development process. Skilled project managers, with a firm understanding of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) are in high demand, as development shops seek to produce higher quality products more efficiently and with fewer bugs. To excel in such an environment and stand out in the job market, budding project managers should consider obtaining relevant certifications. In this tutorial, we highlight some of the most important project management certifications and discuss their benefits.

Jump to:

Benefits of Project Management Certifications
How to Choose the Right PM Certification
Project Management Professional (PMP)
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
Certified Project Manager (CPM)
Certified Agile Project Manager (IAPM-CAPM)
Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA)
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Benefits of Project Management Certifications

Project management certifications are more than simply credentials; they represent a commitment to your profession and help demonstrate expertise in your field. Below are some key benefits of obtaining project management certifications and why they are valuable to project managers.

  • Enhanced Skills: Certification programs often provide significant training and knowledge that can greatly enhance your project management skills.
  • Career Advancement: Certified project managers often benefit from better job opportunities, higher salaries, and faster promotions.
  • Recognition: Project management certifications enjoy worldwide recognition, which makes it easier to work on international projects and with remote teams.
  • Networking: Certification programs typically offer membership in professional project management associations, allowing PMs to network with peers and gain access to valuable resources.

How to Choose the Right Project Management Certification

Choosing the right project management certification is crucial because different certifications align with various project management methodologies and career paths. When choosing a project management certification, consider factors such as:

  • Your experience level
  • The type of projects you want to manage
  • Long-term career objectives
  • Cost and budget
  • Project management methodology
  • Prerequisites and required skills
  • Time and effort involved
  • Whether you can take the exam remotely or on-site
  • Are the certifications offered by a credible PM organization, recognized globally

Now that we know what to look for in PM certifications, lets review some of the best certifications for project managers.

Read: CAPM Certification for Project Managers

Project Management Professional (PMP)

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is one of the most recognized and respected certifications for project managers. The certification is designed to validate your experience and knowledge in a variety of project management processes, tools, and techniques.


The prerequisites of the PMP certification include the following:

  • A secondary degree, such as a high school diploma or associate’s degree
  • 35 hours of project management education or CAPM certification
  • 4,500 hours of project management experience or 7,500 hours with a CAPM
  • Achieving a passing score on the PMP exam

Certification Details

The exam format for PMP certificate is multiple-choice questions and scenario-based questions. It takes 4 hours to complete and requires a passing score of 61%. The cost of the course will vary based upon your PMI membership status, but usually costs between $405 and $555.

Benefits of PMP Certification

Below are some of the benefits of receiving your PMP certification:

  • Recognition: PMP certification is globally recognized and well-respected, making it a valuable credential for career growth and opportunities.
  • Flexible: PMP certification is not tied to a specific project management methodology, which means you can work with any project management framework.
  • Advanced Skills: PMP certification equips project managers with advanced project management skills and knowledge.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification is another offering by the PMI. It is an entry-level PM certification created for those who are new to project management. It validates your understanding of core project management concepts.


The prerequisites of CAPM certification include:

  • A secondary degree such as a high school diploma or associate’s degree
  • 23 hours of project management education

Certification Details

The CAPM certification exam for is made up of multiple-choice questions. It takes 3 hours to complete and requires a passing score of 61%. The cost is based upon your PMI membership status, but ranges between $225 and $300.

Benefits of CAPM Certification

Some of the benefits of achieving CAPM certification include:

  • Entry-Level: CAPM is designed for beginning project managers and is a great starting point for those looking to enter the field.
  • PMI Membership: Obtaining the CAPM certification includes a one-year PMI membership.
  • Career Advancement: CAPM can help project managers secure entry-level project management roles.

Certified Scrum Master (CSM)

The Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification is managed by the Scrum Alliance. It has a focus on the Scrum methodology, which is an Agile project management framework widely adopted by software development teams. Certified Scrum Masters play a vital role in facilitating Scrum practices and principles within programmer teams.


The Certified Scrum Master certification program does not have any specific prerequisites, but you will need to attend a two-day CSM course to obtain certification.

Certification Details

The CSM certification exam format involves completing (and participating in) the CSM course, which takes place over two days. The first two attempts are free, while consecutive attempts will cost you $25.

Benefits of Certified Scrum Master Certification

The Certified Scrum Master certification has several noteworthy benefits, including:

  • Agile Experience: CSM certification can help demonstrate your experience in Agile project management environments and Scrum practices.
  • Hands-On Experience: The CSM certification process requires hands-on learning, making it ideal for those who prefer experiential learning.
  • Versatility: Both Agile and Scrum principles, taught during the course, can be applied to all manner of project types, not just software development, making the certification handy if you decide to pursue other career paths.

Certified Project Manager (CPM)

The Certified Project Manager (CPM) certification comes courtesy of the International Association of Project Managers (IAPM). It was created for more experienced project managers, emphasizing a comprehensive project management approach.


Prerequisites for the CPM certificate do not exist, but it is recommended that you have prior experience in a project management role.

Certification Details

The CPM certification exam consists of multiple choice questions and takes around 3 hours to complete. A passing score of 65% is required and the cost varies based on your IAPM membership. It generally ranges between $250 and $500.

Benefits of CPM Certification

The benefits of obtaining CPM certification include:

  • Extensive Approach: CPM certification covers many aspects of project management, including planning, execution, and closure.
  • Recognized Globally: The IAPM is a globally recognized organization. As such, the CPM certification demonstrates your project management skills from an international perspective.
  • Experience-Based: The CPM certification process takes into consideration your project management experience.

Certified Agile Project Manager (IAPM-CAPM)

The Certified Agile Project Manager (IAPM-CAPM) certification is another offering from IAPM. Its primary focus is on the Agile project management methodology. It was designed for project managers who want to manage Agile projects and teams.


IAPM-CAPM certification has no prerequisites and requires no real-world experience. This makes it an excellent choice for Agile PMs and practitioners of all levels.

Certification Details

The Certified Agile Project Manager certification exam consists of multiple-choice questions. It lasts 3 hours and requires a passing score of 65%. Its costs varies based on IAPM membership status, but ranges from $175 to $350.

Benefits of Certified Project Manager Certification

The benefits of acquiring the Certified Project Manager Certification include:

  • Agile Skills: IAPM-CAPM certification provides project managers with the skills and knowledge needed to be an effect Agile project manager.
  • Flexible Learning: IAPM-CAPM certification is geared towards both newcomers to Agile and experienced Agile practitioners alike.
  • International Recognition: IAPM is a global organization and its certifications are internationally recognized.

Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA)

The Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) is not your typical project management certification. It is offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and was created for professionals intending to specialize in risk management. As such, the certification is not project management-specific, but it is valuable for project managers who deal with risk assessment and mitigation tasks.


The prerequisites for this certification include the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree
  • Two years of experience in control assurance environments or a related field
  • Passing the CRMA exam

Certification Details

The CRMA certification exam is multiple-choice and lasts for 3 hours. A passing score is 70% and fees range from $415 and $555, depending upon IIA membership status.

Benefits of CRMA Certification

The benefits of becoming CRMA certified include:

  • Risk Management Experience: Since CRMA certification focuses on risk assessment, control assurance, and governance, project managers will gain valuable risk management experience and knowledge.
  • Career Diversity: CRMA certification grants project managers the ability to branch out and explore opportunities in risk management, audit, and compliance fields, as well as project management.
  • Global Recognition: The IIA’s has an international presence, and the CRMA certification is recognized globally.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification comes courtesy ISC2. While not specific to project management per se, it is a relevant certification for project managers that want to work in a cybersecurity-focused environment or those that focus on information security.


There are several prerequisites for CISSP certification, including:

  • Five years of paid work experience in two (or more) of the eight domains of the CISSP
  • Common Body of Knowledge (CBK)
  • A passing score for the CISSP exam

Certification Details

The CISSP certification exam is made up of multiple-choice questions and lasts 3 hours. A passing score of 70% is required to obtain the certificate. Average cost, depending on your ISC2 status, ranged between $700 and $749.

Benefits of CISSP Certification

Getting CISSP certified comes with the following benefits:

  • Demonstrates Cybersecurity Expertise: CISSP certification demonstrates core knowledge and expertise of cybersecurity principles
  • Career Opportunities: CISSP-certified individuals tend to hold key positions in cybersecurity and information security environments, including managers, project managers, developer leads.

Final Thoughts on Project Management Certifications

In this tutorial we learned that obtaining the right certification can help project managers hone their skills and gain valuable expertise that will serve them well in software development environments and related fields. Getting a PM certification can also open the door to better career opportunities, help you stand out from the competition, and potentially earn a higher salary.

When choosing a project management certification, consider your career goals, desired skills, which type of development team you want to work in, and prerequisites or skills needed to become certified.

Looking for more project management certifications to add to your resume? Check out our list of the Top 5 Project Management Certifications for more.

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