Project Management

The 8 Best Project Management Qualifications 2021

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Whether you're a beginner or have some experience, project management qualifications can help you to break into, or take the next step in your project management career. 

However, when you begin your research on the certifications out there, you might end up confused by the sheer variety of project management qualifications on the market.

To get the most out of your time studying, you want to ensure that you select the right certification based on your experience and future goals. 

That's why we've created this handy guide for you to learn about the best UK project management qualifications 2021 has to offer those looking to advance in their industry. 


 

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1. PRINCE2 Qualifications

About the Methodology 

PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is one of the most popular project management methods in the world. The UK Government pioneered this methodology back in 1989, then updated it into its second iteration in 1996. The framework continues to be updated on a yearly basis.

The PRINCE2 method can be tailored projects of any size, scope, complexity or sector, giving it a wide range of uses. Project managers around the world can take the principles of this technique and customise it for their working environment.

There are seven key principles defined within this standard, all created with the intention of making the project management process smoother. The framework also outlines the seven themes that should be addressed throughout any project and (you guessed it) the seven phases of organising a project.


Entry Requirements and Further Prospects

As well as project managers, this can also benefit those that work closely alongside them, such as project board members and team managers.

To begin learning this project management method, you’ll start with the PRINCE2 Foundation qualification unless you already hold a relevant project management qualification. The Foundation course is open to anyone, regardless of experience or education.

You’ll then progress to the PRINCE2 Practitioner course, which teaches you to apply the initial knowledge learned at foundation level to real-life projects in varied sectors.

You can study these qualifications flexibly online and even save money by studying the Foundation & Practitioner Combined course.

Key Facts

  1. Globally recognised qualification
  2. No experience required for Foundation level
  3. Awarded by AXELOS and PeopleCert
  4. Practitioners must renew their certification every three years
  5. Can be studied and completed 100% online
  6. 88% of practitioners say PRINCE2 has been valuable to their career, including 91% of consultants*

 

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2. Association for Project Management (APM) Qualifications

About the Methodology 

The APM is the UK’s Chartered project management body and offers a wide range of qualifications with four levels of training available. These range from the fundamentals to in depth instruction for senior project management gurus.

There are 47 competencies within this framework, which are split across technical, behavioural and contextual sectors. Their Body of Knowledge is tested through a 60-question exam for the fundamental level.

 

Entry Requirements and Further Prospects 

The Project Fundamentals Qualification (PFQ) is recommended for those with little to no experience within the sector. It gives a high-level view of the basics of project management, with an emphasis on the principles of the profession.

If you’d like to start at a higher level or continue your training, the Project Management Qualification (PMQ, formerly known as the APMP), Project Professional Qualification (PPQ), and Practitioner Qualification (PQ) will allow you to climb the ladder.

If you’re a PRINCE2 Registered Practitioner, you can achieve the Project Management Qualification in a shorter timeframe, studying a condensed course and sitting a two-hour rather than a three-hour exam.

Key Facts

  1. No experience needed to enter the foundation-level course
  2. Four qualification levels
  3. 47 competencies to learn within the standard
  4. PRINCE2 Registered Practitioners sit a shorter course and exam
  5. Awarded by the Association for Project Management

 

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3. Project Management Institute (PMI) Qualifications

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

The CAPM qualification is also distributed by the Project Management Institute but is aimed towards less experienced learners than the more advanced PMP qualification offered by PMI.

If you don’t have any experience in project management, you must pass an initial course in Project Management Basics before applying to the CAPM course. This acts as an introduction to the terms and scenarios that will be discussed within the CAPM qualification.

The CAPM can be a stepping stone towards the full PMP qualification and is a great introduction to the world of project management.

The course culminates in an exam with 150 multiple-choice questions. Those that pass should be prepared to resit the exam every five years in order to maintain their status.

Key Facts

  1. Ideal if you have some project management experience or have completed the Project Management Basics course
  2. Awarded by the Project Management Institute
  3. The exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions
  4. Resit required every five years to refresh qualification

 

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4. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) Qualification

About the Methodology 

Agile workplaces and Scrum methodologies are becoming ever more popular. Agile may have been born in the chaotic early days of software development, but it’s now applied in many modern workplaces outside of the tech world.

While there are many certifications out there for those who want to study these principles, Certified ScrumMaster is one of the most popular. The course was designed by Scrum Alliance, a non-profit organisation with a mission to change the world of work.

From a project management perspective, this course can be a valuable way to save time. The streamlined collaboration and communication that this framework offers leads to effective prioritisation, and the method can be helpful for staff morale and productivity, as large tasks are broken into more manageable chunks.

As a ScrumMaster, your role is to reduce distractions and keep the project on task using the Scrum methodology.

Entry Requirements and Further Prospects 

Anyone with a basic knowledge of Agile working and Scrum can enrol in one of these courses. To complete the certification, you’ll be required to pass an exam comprising of 35 questions. The membership to the Scrum Alliance that is part of this certification lapses every two years and should be renewed.

Further learning is available through the Professional ScrumMaster certification.

 

Key Facts

  1. Open to anyone with a basic knowledge of Scrum
  2. Final exam includes 35 questions
  3. Created by the Scrum Alliance and distributed through training providers
  4. Membership to the Scrum Alliance expires every two years

 

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5. CompTIA Project+ Qualification 

About the Methodology

The CompTIA Project+ qualification was designed by CompTIA, the world's leading tech association, for entry-level project managers or those who manage smaller, less complex projects. 

The certification draws on multiple frameworks, soliciting feedback from - among other things - the IT industry, research institutions, government representatives, and independent experts to provide fundamental knowledge on project management.  

Upon completion, you can expect to gain the knowledge and skills to best manage the project life cycle, project documentation, the coordination of stakeholders, and how to implement effective communication best practices.


Entry Requirements and Further Prospects 

CompTIA Project+ is similar to PMI's CAPM qualification (mentioned earlier in this blog), however, the entry requirements are significantly more flexible. 

It's recommended that learners have at least one year of experience participating in small to medium size projects before enroling. The exam is ninety minutes consisting of 95 multiple-choice questions, and you need a score of 710 on a scale of 100 to 900 to successfully complete the qualification. 


Key Facts

  1. Open to any learner inside or outside of the IT industry 
  2. The CompTIA Project+ certification doesn't expire
  3. Focuses on initiating, managing, and maintaining projects within multiple frameworks 
  4. Final exam takes place over ninety minutes with 95 questions

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6. Certified Project Manager (IAPM) Qualification 

About the Methodology

The Certified Project Manager qualification is offered by the International Association of Project Managers (IAPM), a global professional association and certification body focused on project management. 

There are four certification levels with IAPM, split into two disciplines: traditional project management and agile project management, with the Certified Project Manager qualification falling under the first category. 

As an internationally recognized qualification, it offers a basic methodology for planning, organizing, and executing projects, making it yet another great option for entry-level project managers. 

Entry Requirements and Further Prospects 

There are no specific entry requirements for this qualification, however, IAPM does offer workshops through their global training partners. They also recommend material for self-study and encourage learners to take a self-test to benchmark their current knowledge.

The exam consists of a total of 120 questions within 80 minutes, and you'll successfully achieve the qualification if you answer at least 65% of the questions correctly.


Key Facts

  1. Open to any learner
  2. Focuses on the fundamental project management principles
  3. A prerequisite for the more advanced Certified International Project Manager (IAPM) 
  4. The final exam takes place over 80 minutes with 120 questions 

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7. Professional in Project Management (PPM)  

About the Methodology

The Professional in Project Management qualification is offered by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM) and is a great choice if you have experience in a middle management position or similar. 

The course covers the essential areas of project management, such as effective communication and resource allocation, as well as more advanced concepts, including risk and crisis management.

Entry Requirements and Further Prospects 

While there are no prerequisite qualifications, candidates will need to study GAQM materials and an e-course to prepare for their final exam. 

The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and learners must score at least a score of 75% to pass the exam and earn their qualification. Be aware that this exam is considered one of the more difficult for Project Managers to pass. 


Key Facts

  1. Ideal for middle managers 
  2. Focuses on the core and advanced areas of project management 
  3. The final exam takes place over two hours with 150 questions 

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8. Six Sigma Qualifications

About the Methodology

The Six Sigma system focuses on improving processes to reduce defects and save money, benefitting employees, project managers and the company as a whole.

Six Sigma was initially coined in the 1980s, with the Motorola team behind its inception. It’s a totally comprehensive framework, which gives it the advantage over alternative initiatives like Total Quality Management (TQM).

There are three levels for those that want to become Six Sigma certified. They’re based on martial arts bands, including Yellow, Green and Black Belt – don’t worry, you don’t need to get stretching to achieve these!

The training works on the concept that spending time improving processes is cheaper than dealing with dissatisfaction and errors. There are five phases to work through: define, measure, analyse, improve and control. When practiced correctly, this should lead to only 3.4 mistakes made for every million processes.


Entry Requirements and Further Prospects 

Anyone can undertake this training and the exam will have you answer 100 questions. They’re a mix of multiple-choice questions and true/false questions, with a time limit of four hours to complete.


Key Facts

  1. Open to any learner
  2. Focuses on improving processes to save money
  3. Three bands available: Yellow, Green and Black Belt
  4. Final exam takes place over four hours with 100 questions

 

We hope that this article has helped you narrow down which project management qualifications would be best for you.

Each of these courses has its own pros and cons, so weigh them up carefully before you decide which you want to embark on. With the right project management certification, you may be on your way to bigger and better prospects in your career!

 

* AXELOS 2016 PRINCE2® Report

 


If you want to accelerate your project management career, learn more about becoming PRINCE2 qualified 100% online with us today. 


 

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