Looking for a way to give your career a boost in the new year? One of the most effective ways to increase your earning power and long-term growth potential is to earn professional certifications in your chosen field. Not only do certification programs give you a stamp of approval that makes you a more appealing option for prospective employers, but the skills and concepts you learn while getting certified will make you more able to handle the day-to-day challenges that you’re certain to face as your career progresses.
While certifications are gaining popularity in a wide range of professions, they’re an especially hot item among project managers. The vast numbers of people competing for project management positions, along with the increasing degree of specialization in different areas of project management, have made certification almost a necessity for those who want to rise to the upper ranks of the project management world.
Whether you’re an early-career project manager hoping to start managing larger projects, or a seasoned pro looking to add yet another mark of distinction, there are several project management certification options to consider. Here, we’ll take a quick look at some of the most popular, and rewarding, project management certification programs.
The Project Management Institute’s PMP certification is far and away the most significant certification program for project managers. If you’ve been managing projects for more than a few years and are ready to take the next step in your career, PMP certification is certainly worth considering. If you’re hoping for a pay raise in your future, PMI research has shown that PMP-certified project managers typically earn 20 percent more than their non-certified colleagues.
While PMP certification requires thousands of hours of project management experience as a prerequisite, there’s another certification option for professionals who are just starting out in the field. Earning certification as a Certified Associate in Project Management is a great first step for those who have been working on project teams and are interested in taking the first step toward a fulfilling project management career.
Software development project managers can hone their skills and gain added credibility by earning a Certified Scrum Master designation. The CSM certification requires a several hours of coursework and a passing grade on the CSM exam, which covers key concepts of agile development and the specific role of a scrum master in an agile project. The CSM program is facilitated by Scrum Alliance, a professional organization for agile developers and project managers.
Risk management is one of the top project management concerns for enterprise organizations, so every project manager needs to understand the fundamentals of identifying and tracking project risks. Project managers who want to focus their careers on risk management specifically can now earn designation as a PMI Risk Management Professional. Like the PMP certification, PMI-RMP is intended for experienced project managers, and requires that applicants earn a passing score on an exam, with an additional requirement for professional development units in order to maintain certification.