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Is it worth doing a project management course?

By Simon Buehring on 27 Apr 2020

Is it worth doing a project management course?

Whether or not you should take a project management course depends on where you want to take your career.

Traditionally, project management is practiced as a discipline within a pre-existing position. That means project managers are rarely just project managers. They’re most often IT specialists or external contractors who help manage projects in addition to their main roles.

Sometimes project management roles will grow naturally out of your current job. Say for example, you work for a print publication and must ensure your marketing department correctly places advertisements. You may not consider yourself a project manager, but eliciting requirements is a big part of what project managers do as part of their role.

If you can identify tasks in your current role that qualify as project management duties and clearly communicate how they might help you in a full-time project management role, you’ll be sure to impress interviewers.

That’s not to say professional certifications are worthless however, far from it. Some qualifications such as a PRINCE2® project management certification, are seen as an industry standard. You’ll be at a disadvantage if you don’t have yours. If nothing else, project management certifications are an easy way to show employers you have the skills and knowledge necessary to oversee projects to try to ensure they succeed.

What jobs can I get with a project management certificate?

Project manager roles generally grow from existing roles. It’s all well and good to understand what it means to be a project manager, but without relevant industry experience you won’t know how to use the resources at your disposal.

If you want to be a construction project manager for example, you will need to know the unique risks involved in construction projects (such as safety hazards, bad weather and legal issues), how to budget a project (the cost of hiring builders, subcontractors and equipment) and much more.

Take any industry, tack on ‘project manager’ to the end, and you’ll have a rough list of roles you might find yourself working in – IT project manager, construction project manager, engineering project manager. You get the idea.

If you don’t' have relevant industry experience, don’t worry. You can still find project management roles that don’t require any kind of special training. These roles will generally be low risk/low visibility, meaning you’ll be managing a tiny team and the only resources you have at your disposal will be the skills your team brings to the table. It’s not much but working up from the bottom will guarantee that by the time you’re managing complex projects, you’ll be an expert in your field.

Are project managers in demand?

Yes and no. More and more organizations have realized the potential of skilled project managers and the market for skilled industry experts is growing rapidly.

On the other hand, there’s not a whole lot of demand for junior project managers. Businesses are more likely to promote an existing employee to the role of project manager.

That means if you’re just starting out, you might have to volunteer your skills to a charitable organization. They won’t pay you, but they’ll be grateful for the help and even better, you’ll be able to work under experienced project management professionals who are dedicated and passionate about their roles.

How long is a project management course?

That depends on what level of certification you’re aiming for. Most courses will only take a week or so (including a final exam). Depending on the qualification, you might also have the option of taking an online course. If that’s the case, you can take as much (or as little) time as you like to complete it.

Some of the more advanced courses require regular peer-review, or examination by an external board. In these cases, the process can take weeks or months. But that’s only for the most advanced courses. Very few hold these certifications and they’re not 100% necessary, they’re more suited to project managers who take in interest in the theory of management.

How much is a project management course?

The cost of a project management course varies depending on how advanced the course is, the duration of the course and the course format.

Online courses are generally cheaper, but you won’t have a certified instructor to assist you in learning.

Beginner and intermediate courses generally cost the same. Depending on which certification you choose (e.g., PRINCE2) you may have the option of doing a combined course which will cover both beginner and intermediate topics simultaneously for a reduced price.

At Knowledge Train, we always offer competitive prices. Our course costs include both the course and exam (some training providers charge extra to sit the exam). If you’d like to know more about out course prices, take a look at our project management courses page.

How long does it take to get a project management certification?

While individual courses only take a week or so, they don’t automatically qualify you as a project manager. Most certifications are broken into multiple levels. For example, an official PRINCE2 certification requires you complete both the Foundation and Practitioner exams.

Courses that teach you how to manage projects from the ground up may require several weeks of study and preparation. Other courses like PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification, require you to have previous experience of project management and so will jump right into the nitty-gritty details. For advanced courses such as this, passing just one exam will entitle you to a recognized project management certification. If you have the experience and knowledge necessary, you can fast-track your path to certification and hop right into an advanced course.

Conclusion

We hope this article answers at least some of the questions you might have about a career in project management. Project management may seem intimidating, but you’ll find all sorts of useful resources online to get you started.

A project management course may not guarantee a role in project management, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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