With so many project management qualifications available, choosing the right one for your career can be incredibly stressful.
It isn’t always clear what is included in a qualification and it can be difficult to decide which one is “best”. If you are taking a proactive approach to your own learning, this will be far more important than the final qualification you choose. Any of these listed below will be good for your career, so it’s about which one will offer you the best opportunities once you have it listed on your CV.
Main types of project management qualification
There are two main types of project management qualification. It will either be knowledge-based or competency-based. Knowledge based qualifications are the ideal introduction into project management, whether you have experience or not.
Competency-based qualifications are typically more advanced and will involve assessment of your work either in observation or an interview. This is ideal if you have already been working in project management for a while and are looking to benchmark your performance against others in the field while pushing your skills forward.
For the sake of clarity, this article will offer an overview of knowledge-based qualifications. If you’re looking to start your career in project management, this is an excellent place to start. Read on to discover the best qualifications for your situation.
If you’re based in the UK
There are three main project management accreditation bodies in the UK.
When choosing the right project management course to kick start or further your career, it’s important to choose one that is recognised in the country you plan to work in. While many employers will also accept those with project management qualifications from other countries, when given the choice, it’s always best to opt for a UK-based qualification if you have the choice.
AXELOS is the organisation responsible for the PRINCE2 project management training series. They offer entry-level foundation courses that are suitable for absolute beginners and also offer more advanced training in things like Agile project management. You can choose from the following courses.
- PRINCE2 Foundation
- PRINCE2 Practitioner
- PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner
Association for Project Management (APM)
This educational charity is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. They offer two main qualifications that you should consider when starting your career in project management and advancing your career. It’s possible to complete the introductory course in 2 days or 25 hours of online training. The Association for Project Management offer the following courses.
- Project Fundamentals Qualification (APM – PFQ)
- Project Management Qualification (APM – PMQ)
APMG is growing fast in popularity. Over 100,000 people have taken their courses since its launch in 2011. The course materials are based on the Agile Project Framework, which is one of the founding Agile methodologies. Their AgilePM Practitioner course is very popular with IT professionals. You can choose from the following qualifications.
- AgilePM Foundation
- AgilePM Practitioner
If you’re based in the US/ rest of the world
For those based in the US, or planning to continue their career there, there are a few different options for training. You can choose from the following highly-respected institutions. Both offer introductory and advanced level qualifications for every stage in your career.
- Project Management Institute (PMI)
If you already work in project management
For those with some experience in project management, one of the best ways you can progress in your career is to diversify your skills. Moving into Agile project management with an AgilePM Foundation course is one of the best options. See Training ByteSize.
If you’re completely new to project management
For those looking to break into the industry, a foundation course is a great place to start. PRINCE2 is one of the most widely recognised project management courses available. Alternatively, you could choose the Project Fundamentals Qualification. Make sure that the qualification is suitable for the industry you are hoping to work in by checking with hiring managers before you commit to a course.
If you want to continue training
If you already have a foundation course under your belt and want to continue training, there are a few different routes available to you. To simplify the process, if you have the qualification on the left, we would recommend you signing up to study the qualification on the right.
PRINCE2 Foundation >> PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner
PRINCE2 Practitioner >> APM PMQ
PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner >> AgilePM Foundation
AgilePM Foundation >> AgilePM Practitioner
AgilePM Practitioner >> APM PMQ
APM – PFQ >> AgilePM Foundation
It’s important not to worry too much about the specific qualification and instead think about which course will give you the skills and knowledge to succeed.