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5 Project Management Certifications that Can Advance Your Career in 2024

5 Project Management Certs that Can Advance Your Career in 2023
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Published on April 18, 2023

Project managers can be formally trained in specific routines and processes, or they might just be the “person who figures out how to get it done on time and under budget”. Project management certifications also live on that spectrum – some are highly specific and particular, and others are focused on real-world, applicable skills and knowledge.

We’ve found the five project management certifications that we think are the most valuable for advancing a project manager’s career in 2024. These are PM certs that we see on many job listings, "Best Of…" lists, and message board conversations. 

Read on and compare the top 5 project management certifications for 2024.

1. Project+ from CompTIA

  • Prerequisites: None

  • Exams: PK0-005

  • Cost: $358

Project+ from CompTIA is one of the world’s only vendor-agnostic project management certifications. That means it doesn’t focus on any one particular methodology or system. Instead, the Project+ covers broad skills, concepts, and proven abilities related to project management.

Because it comes from CompTIA, an IT certification organization, Project+ is especially focused on technology. But not exclusively. Project+ prepares PMs for leading projects with a technological product, but also non-technological projects taking place in an IT/IS organization or section.

If you’re looking for a project management certification that requires memorization of esoteric methodologies and systems, Project+ is the wrong cert for you. The exam covers the basics of thinking about projects; limitations and constraints around getting projects done; methods of communication and managing change throughout a project; available tools; and how to document projects. 

CBT Nuggets trainer Simona Millham has released a new Project+ course designed specifically for the Project+ exam, PK0-005. PK0-005 is a new exam for Project+. PK0-004 is the old version of the Project+ exam, but CompTIA replaced PK0-004 with PK0-005 on November 8, 2022, and PK0-004 retires completely on May 9, 2023. PK0-005 is reportedly a much better exam than PK0-004, and Simona’s new course will make sure you’re ready.

See also: PK0-004 vs. PK0-005: What's New?

2. CAPM from Project Management Institute

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma and 23 hours of verified project management education

  • Exams: PMI Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Exam

  • Cost: $240 for non-PMI members; $180 for PMI members

The CAPM comes from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a well-known and well-regarded international professional organization of project and program management professionals. The Certified Associate in Project Management is one of the most recognized associate-level (or early-career) project management certifications in the world.

However, there’s a big difference between PMI certifications and certifications like Project+: all of PMI’s project management certifications are tied to a specific curriculum and methodology, called the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Earning the CAPM proves your familiarity with a way of thinking about projects that standardizes projects, stakeholders, communication, and risk according to the PMBOK.

Much of the exams for PMI certifications depend on proving that you have studied and can recall the specific terminology, concepts, approaches, and methodologies of the organization. Some people view this as a downside since they can be esoteric and dense, but others view it as an upside because it’s a methodology and process that’s been created and vetted by thousands of professional project managers from all around the world.

Note: CBT Nuggets provides comprehensive training for the CAPM certification, even though the previous CAPM exam itself has been retired. Our course offers valuable insights and knowledge aligned with the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), making it a useful resource for individuals interested in project management

3. PMP from Project Management Institute

  • Prerequisites: If you have a four-year degree, you must also have: 36 months of experience leading projects within the past eight years, and CAPM certification or 35 hours of project management education/training. If you don’t have a four-year degree but do have a high school or secondary school diploma, you must have: 60 months of experience leading projects within the past eight years, and CAPM certification or 35 hours of project management education/training.

  • Exams: PMI PMP Examination

  • Cost: $555 for non-PMI members; $324 for PMI members

The Project Management Professional is a world-recognized project management certification. If the CAPM is perfect for relatively new or junior PMs, the PMP is a career-defining cert for project managers with around five years of experience. Like CAPM, earning the PMP depends on a lot of memorization of the PMBOK methodology and processes.

4. CSM from Scrum Alliance 

  • Prerequisites: A 14-hour online course provided by Scrum Alliance

  • Exams: Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Master (CSM) Exam

  • Cost: $250

Some people think a Scrum project management certification is a bad idea because of one of the central rules of Scrum: “every implementation of Scrum is different.” However, the Certified Scrum Master project management certification is grounded in the idea that the fundamental framework always remains the same, even if teams and organizations apply Scrum according to their own needs and context.

For any project manager who works squarely in the tech field, knowing Scrum and knowing how to implement its use among your teams is extremely valuable knowledge. The CSM is a great certification for project managers, but Scrum is applicable across industries and cross-functional teams. So marketers, data scientists, even HR reps, and other professionals who want to know the best way to solve complex problems can consider earning the CSM.

5. PRINCE2 from AXELOS Ltd 

  • Prerequisites: None

  • Exams: Online PRINCE2 Foundation Exam

  • Cost: $300-$1,799

Although many Americans may never have heard of the PRINCE2 project management methodology, it’s an internationally recognized project management framework that stands for Projects IN Controlled Environments.

Unfortunately, the entire PRINCE2 curriculum and exam structure is confusing. There are multiple levels in the PRINCE2 learning hierarchy, and the cost per exam and certification can be very steep.

The cost goes down the more exams and courses you add to the bundle, but earning the lowest PRINCE2 certification tends to cost around $1,000 because of the more or less mandatory training.

Like PMI certifications, PRINCE2 certifications are more about process and methodology than broad applicability. With a PRINCE2 Foundation certification, you’ll be well-prepared to manage projects within an organization or team that’s using the PRINCE2 infrastructure to plan and execute their plans.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this list has demonstrated how diverse the project management certification scene is and how different one cert is from the next. The right project management certification for your career depends on the organization you work for (or want to work for) and what (if any) framework they’re already using. 

Often, the bigger the organization, the more specific and narrowly defined project management is. Meanwhile, small and medium-sized companies are more flexible and encourage a broader familiarity with all available tools and concepts.


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