5 practical project management certifications

As in most fields, pursuing a project management certification can be as murky as a bowl of alphabet soup. Here’s how to determine which PM certification offers you the knowledge needed for real-world application and promising job prospects.

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CAPM (Certified Associate Project Manager)

PMI also offers the CAPM (Certified Associate Project Manager) certification as an entry point in the field of project management. Having it demonstrates foundational and fundamental knowledge in the area of project management. The certification is suitable for those that do not yet have the required prerequisites for the PMP credential, yet want to enter the field at entry-level, and can serve as a stepping stone towards the PMP.

The CAPM allows employees or contractors to enter the field of project management at a more junior level, gain experience in general project management, or any of the 10 specific knowledge areas and work on developing project leadership skills. Knowledge and skill sets within this role can be applied in small, midmarket or large organizations with CAPMs leading smaller projects, or participating as team members in larger projects.

Opportunities for growth and development are abundant, and dependent more on available opportunities, interest and work ethic. Many organizations may offer the more senior PMPs the opportunity to mentor employees with CAPM certifications, with the goal of CAPMs expanding their responsibilities in the future and creating career advancement prospects. CAPMs can use this foundational credential to increase and solidify their project management experience and knowledge to meet the requirements for the PMP, and progress towards leading larger projects.

Prerequisites for the CAPM:

  • Secondary degree
  • 23 hours project management education without professional work experience


  • Secondary degree
  • 1,500 hours of project experience

The cost to obtain the CAPM credential is $225 for members and $300 for Non-members.

PMI also offers the following certifications:

  • PgMP (Program Management Professional)
  • PfMP (Portfolio Management Professional)
  • PMI-PBA (PMI Professional in Business Analysis)
  • MI-ACP (PMI Agile Certified Practitioner)
  • PMI-RMP (PMI Risk Management Professional)
  • PMI-SP (PMI Scheduling Professional) certifications

General PMI Membership is $129 to join (plus USD $10 application fee), USD $129 to renew as a professional; USD $32 to join and USD $32 to renew for students and USD $65 to renew for retirees.

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