Behind every successful project is a highly skilled project manager who probably holds some form of certification. Project management certifications have long been a way for project professionals to demonstrate their level of knowledge, experience, and competency; to lead, plan, budget, schedule, execute and deliver complex projects.
There are a number of options for project management certifications out there and it can be confusing as to which one to pursue. There are no right or wrong certifications, but some carry more significance than others. Below is my pick for the five best choices in Australia.
1. Project Management Professional (PMP)
The PMP is the ‘MBA’ of project management industry certification. It is internationally recognised and also has world-wide recognition across all industries. As a PMP, you can work in virtually any industry, with any methodology and in any location. The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the owner of the PMP certification and ensures that the PMP remains relevant with advancements in methodologies and business expectations.
As a result, the requirements and process is quite rigorous. The PMP is an exam-based certification that tests your ability to apply the Project Management Body of Knowledge.
- Four-year degree plus three years (or 4,500 hours) of project management experience, plus 35 hours project management education, or
- Five years (7,500 hours) of project management experience, plus 35 hours project management education
2. Registered PM (RegPM)
A Registered Project Manager (RegPM) is Australia’s national certification program. The Australian Institute of Project Management is the owner of the RegPM certification program. Where the PMP involves an exam, the RegPM involves an assessor determining your level of competency and capability to deliver certain outcomes.
The process also involves submitting the necessary artefacts to prove your competency and capability. The RegPM has five different certification levels, depending on the type of work you are performing, ranging from team members who work on projects through to portfolio executives who monitor a series of projects.
- Five years’ experience in projects is recommended in order to have the necessary artefacts and experience
- Become a member of the AIPM
- Apply for RegPM assessment
- Be assigned an assessor and submit the necessary evidence within six months of application
- Pass the assessor interview and artefact review
3. Projects in Controlled Environments (PRINCE2)
PRINCE2 is both a structured project management method and a practitioner certification programme. It is most common in the UK, Europe and Australia / Asia Pacific. A PRINCE2 certification is most useful if you want to work on government or large enterprise projects. AXELOS is the key organisation that provides PRINCE2 certifications and they provide two main levels, Foundation and Practitioner. At Practitioner level, there are PRINCE2 Practitioner and PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner certifications. Although AXELOS does not directly provide PRINCE2 training, they do maintain a list of approved PRINCE2 training providers.
Prerequisites for PRINCE2 Foundation certification:
- Complete the 3-day PRINCE2 Foundation certified training course
- Pass the AXELOS PRINCE2 Foundation Certification exam
Prerequisites for PRINCE2 Practitioner/Agile Practitioner certification:
- Obtain the PRINCE2 Foundation certification.
- Complete a 2-day PRINCE2 Practitioner Certified training program.
- If you are a current Project Management Professional (PMP), then you can skip this and apply to go straight to the PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam.
- Pass the AXELOS PRINCE2 Practitioner Certification exam
4. Certified Scrum Master
The use of agile techniques is a current trend and one of the most popular agile techniques is Scrum. There is a growing number of IT and project professionals seeking scrum certification to remain at the forefront of this trend. There is no national or international main body when it comes to Agile or Scrum, however, the Scrum Alliance has become the defacto organisation and it issues the Certified Scrum Master certification. The Scrum Alliance also offers other certifications and promotes user groups and learning events.
- A general familiarity with scrum concepts
- Attend a 2-day Certified Scrum Master course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer
- Sit and pass the CSM exam
- After passing, you are required to take out membership with Scrum Alliance
5. Managing Successful Programmes (MSP)
One of the better recognised qualifications that advances on project management certification is the Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) certification. MSP certified professionals can demonstrate a more advanced skill in effective leadership and strategic control of large initiatives that transform organisations, through the application of programme management. Due to the more senior nature of this certification, it tends to attract project professionals with more than 5 years project experience. AXELOS is the main organisation that sets the MSP exams and issues the MSP certification award.
There are two MSP certification levels: Foundational and Practitioner.
Prerequisites for Foundational certification:
- Anyone working in a programme office, business change team or project delivery team
- Complete the 3-day MSP Foundations course
- Pass the AXELOS MSP Foundation Certification exam
Prerequisites for Practitioner certification:
- Pass the AXELOS MSP Foundation Certification exam
- Complete the 2-day MSP Practitioner course
- Pass the AXELOS MSP Practitioner Certification exam