Project Management Certifications – What Choices Do We Have?

Do you consider a possibility of getting certified in project management? And do you know how to qualify for the most popular project management certifications?

I’m going to walk you through the most common project management certifications provided by PMI, Axelos and Scrum Alliance. Hope you will get a pure picture of opportunities that you may have. By the way, I am also going to touch base on certifications that do not require having project management experience behind. Besides, I will share a cheat sheet with the most popular certifications compared.
To let you know, this content was not sponsored. All the information was taken from the official websites of the certification providers. Therefore, for any additional clarifications or confirmations I strongly recommend addressing your curious to the certification providers.

For those who do not know, PMI or Project Management Institute is a global nonprofit professional organization for project management. It was founded in 1969 in the United States and by today it serves for around 3 million professionals around the world.
The most popular and common certifications that people prefer by the Project Management Institute are:

  • PMP or Project Management Professional;
  • CAPM or Certified Associate in Project Management; and
  • PMI-ACP which is Agile Certified Practitioner.

Project Management Professional (PMP)

For the PMP requirements make sure to check this video when I’m breaking down in detail what you need in order to qualify for the PMP exam. In a couple of words, it relates to education, professional experience, and professional education.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

Now let’s move on to the CAPM exam. What is interesting about the CAPM exam or a Certified Associate in Project Management, is this certification does not require your having professional experience in your background. The only requirements for the CAPM cert are: 

  • a secondary degree or a high school diploma; or global equivalent; and
  • 23 hours of the professional education that you need to complete before you sit for the exam. 

CAPM is a great alternative for those who do not have a professional experience yet but wanna start their career in project management and earn their very first certification it this field.

Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)

Moving on, the next popular certification is Agile Certified Practitioner or PMI-ACP certification. This is a great choice for those who prefer practicing adaptive Agile methodologies. The requirements for this certification are:

  • a secondary degree; 
  • 21 contact hours of the professional education in Agile practices; 
  • 12 months of the general project management experience; or alternatively you can apply the PMP or PgMP certification to qualify for this test. 
  • Besides, you need to have 8 months of the professional experience specifically on Agile projects.

Other Alternatives

These are not the only certifications provided by the Project Management Institute. There are more alternatives like certification in Business Analysis; in scheduling; in Risk Management. Also, after you have obtained one of the certifications, specifically PMP, you could get even deeper and earn further certifications which are Program Management Professional and Portfolio Management Professional certification.

Study for the PMP Exam

Our next station is Axelos. Axelos is a global leaders and best practices organization. It is a joint venture company created in 2013 in the United Kingdom. Besides, it provides a competing offer to the Project Management Professional certification which is well known and it is called PRINCE2.
To make it clear, both certifications are globally recognized. However, there are certain differences in the local preferences. For instance, PRINCE2 is more welcomed in Europe, UK and Australia, while PMP is more promoted in the United States. Nevertheless, as I have mentioned, both certifications are worldwide famous and globally recognized.
Axelos provides a number of various certifications, but the ones which are specific to project management are:

  • PRINCE2 Foundation; 
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner; 
  • PRINCE2 Agile Foundation; 
  • PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner.

PRINCE2 Foundation

PRINCE2 Foundation certification is the very initial stage in the ladder of the professional certifications provided by Axelos. I would also say it is an equivalent to the CAPM certification. To sit the PRINCE2 Foundation exam the only thing you need is to complete the professional education.

PRINCE2 Practitioner

Next certification that I would pay attention to is PRINCE2 Practitioner. It is an exact competitor to the Project Management Professional certification provided by the Project Management Institute. For the PRINCE2 Practitioner certification you need to have a precondition – previous level certification. Here would work PRINCE2 Foundation or CAPM exam that you have already passed before. Also they’re offering other solutions that you may utilize in order to qualify for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam.


Another opportunity that is offered by Axelos is to be certified in the field of Agile methodology within the PRINCE2 level standards. Similar to the generic PRINCE2 certification PRINCE2 Agile has two levels of certification first one is Foundation and another one is Practitioner. Again, similar to the PRINCE2 Foundation certification PRINCE2 Agile Foundation doesn’t require any prerequisites but the professional education.

However, to get certified in the PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner level you would need to have some prerequisites like previous certifications and here would work PRINCE2 Foundation, PRINCE2 Agile Foundation or CAPM certification.

Now we have come to the Scrum Alliance. Scrum Alliance is an organization that provides education, resources and support to practitioners in Scrum and Agile.
Founded in 2001 now it is considered as one of the most influential and powerful organizations within the Agile community. Actually they are offering to take this popular exam to become Certified Scrum Master.

Certified Scrum Master (CSM)

Certified Scrum Master is the very first level of the professional certification that is offered by the Scrum Alliance. Similar to the CAPM certification or to the PRINCE2 Foundation certification, this cert doesn’t require you having a
professional background under your belt. However to be eligible for the Certified Scrum Master test you need to complete the professional education which would last about 16 hours. This should be done live either in person at the specific center or online.

Other Alternatives by Scrum Alliance

Further levels of the professional certification that are offered by the Scrum Alliance are Advanced Certified Scrum Master; and Certified Scrum Professional Scrum Master. Those certifications in contradiction to the Certified Scrum Master require having some prerequisites and these are the previous levels of the professional certification by the same organization.

Cheat Sheet

Now you know exactly the requirements to be eligible for most popular project management professional certifications. If you’re struggling to define what is better to be a project manager or a scrum master make sure to check this video where I’m breaking down these two roles on a project.

As I have promised there are opportunities and certifications for those who do not have professional project management experience yet. To get the cheat sheet with the comparison of the certifications that we have discussed and to make the better informed decision for yourself make sure to check this link to download that document

Let me know which cert appeals best to you?