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What’s the best course to get into project management?

23 Jul 2021 By

Not sure how to get into project management? Read about the different project management certifications which can help you to get into project management.

Before choosing a course to help you get into project management, consider this. Employers are seeking candidates who can demonstrate 3 main things:

  1. Experience
  2. Soft-skills (e.g. communication skills)
  3. Project management knowledge and skills. You can show this by holding one or more of the project management certifications below.

Project management certificate types

Project management certificates are divided into 2 types:

  • Entry-level certificates
    • These teach students about project management concepts and terminology.
  • Higher-level certificates
    • These teach students to apply project management concepts and methods.

Accreditation bodies

This table shows the 4 main accreditation bodies and their project management certificates.

Accreditation bodyEntry-level certificateHigher-level certificate
AXELOSPRINCE2 FoundationPRINCE2 Practitioner
PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner
Association for Project Management (APM)Project Fundamentals Qualification (PFQ)Project Management Qualification (PMQ)
The APM Group (APMG)AgilePM® FoundationAgilePM® Practitioner
Project Management Institute® (PMI®)Certified Associate Project Management (CAPM)®Project Management Professional (PMP)®

Factors to consider

Which one is best for you depends upon 3 factors:

  1. Your work location – choose a certification which is popular in the area you seek work.
  2. The popularity of the certification amongst employers – choose the most popular.
  3. The nature of the certificates. Higher-level is better if you want to manage projects. Lower is better if you want to take part in projects.

Work location

Accreditation bodyPopular in these countries/regions
AXELOSUK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa
Association for Project Management (APM)UK
The APM Group (APMG)UK, Poland
Project Management Institute® (PMI®)USA, Canada, Africa, Asia, Middle East *

*Note: PMI®-based qualifications are popular amongst US companies in the UK.

Certification popularity (global)

It's difficult to find information about the number of exams taken. We have made some educated guesses about them. We based these upon information in the public domain. As a project management training company since 2005 we've also gained knowledge about exam numbers.

Accreditation bodyTotal number of examsAnnual number of exams
AXELOS1.2 million+100,000+
Association for Project Management (APM)Less than 100,000Less than 10,000
The APM Group (APMG)100,000+ (since 2011)25,000+
Project Management Institute® (PMI®)1 million+100,000+

Nature of the certification

Certifications broadly focus on one of these 2 areas:

  1. Knowledge – e.g. teaches students concepts and terminology
  2. Application - e.g. teaches students to apply techniques or methods.
CertificateTypeWhat students learn?
PRINCE2 FoundationKnowledgePRINCE2 concepts and terminology
PRINCE2 PractitionerApplicationHow to apply PRINCE2 on non-complex projects
PRINCE2 Agile PractitionerApplicationHow to apply PRINCE2 on agile projects
PFQKnowledgeProject management concepts and terminology
PMQApplicationProject management techniques
AgilePM® FoundationKnowledgeAgile project management concepts and terminology
AgilePM® PractitionerApplicationHow to apply agile project management
CAPM®KnowledgeProject management concepts and terminology
PMP®ApplicationProject management techniques

Follow-on certifications

Accreditation bodyHigher-level certificateRecommended follow-on certificate
AXELOSPRINCE2 Agile PractitionerAgilePM® Foundation & Practitioner
APMProject Management Qualification (PMQ)PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner
APMGAgilePM® PractitionerPRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner
PMI®Project Management Professional (PMP)®PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner

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