I have often been asked what is the ‘best’ or a ‘good starting’ project management qualification? This is a tricky question to answer, as there are many elements to this, and I would also suggest that there is no such thing as ‘best’. I do however strongly reccommend having some sort of project management qualification, be this a full blown university degree or a professional qualification, supported by continuous professional development (CPD). When applying for jobs, or advancing your career, there is a noticable trend thet Human Resource departments are looking for applicants to have a range of qualifications, even if these are only a ‘tick box’ to get to interview. More importantly, I think it is essential that project managers and project teams have an appreciation and understanding of standard project management approaches and techniques – this will improve your approach to projects, ability to undertake projects, and improve chances of sussesful project delivery and benefits realisation.

The type of qualification you undertake will depend on a number of elements, for example:

  • What your interests are
  • What stage you are at in your education/career and where you want to get to – e.g. are you a portfolio manager, programme manager, project manager, project team member, contractor, student, employee etc
  • What sector you are in – some qualifications are general/pan-sector, whereas some are focused on a certain sector
  • How much time you have available to undertake training
  • What funding you have available – this can range from thousands for MBA level, to no cost for self directed learning

Project management qualifications can be undertaken in a number of ways, including:

  • Full or part-time university undergraduate degrees (e.g. BSc)
  • Full or part-time university postgraduate degrees (e.g. MSc, MBA)
  • Full or part-time professional qualifications (e.g. APMP, PRINCE2, PMI)
  • Distance learning degrees and professional qualifications
  • Self directed development and and CPD activities

Project management qualifications

It is not possible to list or maintain all the currently available project management courses and qualifications here, but a sample is provided below, along with an indication of the awarding/accreditation body:

  • Introductory Certificate in Project Management – Association for Project Management (APM)
  • APMP – Association for Project Management (APM)
  • APM Practitioner – Association for Project Management (APM)
  • CPM: Certificated Project Manager – Association for Project Management (APM)
  • APM Risk Certificate – Association for Project Management (APM)
  • Registered Project Professional (RPP) – Association for Project Management (APM)
  • Agile Project Management – APMG-UK (APMG-International)
  • Change Management – APMG-UK (APMG-International)
  • Earned Value Management (EVM) Certification – APMG-UK (APMG-International)
  • P3O – APMG-UK (APMG-International)
  • DSDM Atern (Agile) – APMG-UK (APMG-International)
  • M_o_R (Management of Risk) – APMG-UK (APMG-International)
  • MSP (Managing Successful Programmes) – APMG-UK (APMG-International)
  • PRINCE2 – APMG-UK (APMG-International)
  • Level A – Certified Projects Director – International Project Management Association (IPMA)
  • Level B – Certified Senior Project Manager – International Project Management Association (IPMA)
  • Level C – Certified Project Manager – International Project Management Association (IPMA)
  • Level D – Certified Project Manager Associate – International Project Management Association (IPMA)
  • CAPM- Certified Associate in Project Management – Project Management Institute (PMI)PMP® – Project
  • PMP (Project Management Professional) – Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • PgMP (Program Management Professional) – Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • PMI-RMP (Risk Management Professional) – Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • PMI-SP (Scheduling Professional) – Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • MSc in Project Management – Multiple universities
  • PhD in Project Management – Multiple universities

Links to project management associations: