What’s the best course 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:
- Soft-skills (e.g. communication skills)
- Project management knowledge and skills. You can show this by holding one or more of the project management certificates below.
Project management certificate types
Project management certificates are divided into 2 types:
These teach students about project management concepts and terminology.
These teach students to apply project management concepts and methods.
This table shows the 4 main accreditation bodies and their project management certificates.
|Accreditation body||Entry-level certificate||Higher-level certificate|
|AXELOS||PRINCE2 Foundation||PRINCE2 Practitioner
PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner
|Association for Project Management (APM)||Project Fundamentals Qualification (PFQ)||Project Management Qualification (PMQ)|
|The APM Group (APMG)||AgilePM® Foundation||AgilePM® 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:
- Your work location – choose a certification which is popular in the area you seek work.
- The popularity of the certification amongst employers – choose the most popular.
- 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.
|Accreditation body||Popular in these countries/regions|
|AXELOS||UK, 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 training company since 2005 we've also gained knowledge about exam numbers.
|Accreditation body||Total number of exams||Annual number of exams|
|Association for Project Management (APM)||Less than 100,000||Less 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:
- Knowledge – e.g. teaches students concepts and terminology
- Application - e.g. teaches students to apply techniques or methods.
|Certificate||Type||What students learn?|
|PRINCE2 Foundation||Knowledge||PRINCE2 concepts and terminology|
|PRINCE2 Practitioner||Application||How to apply PRINCE2 on non-complex projects|
|PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner||Application||How to apply PRINCE2 on agile projects|
|PFQ||Knowledge||Project management concepts and terminology|
|PMQ||Application||Project management techniques|
|AgilePM® Foundation||Knowledge||Agile project management concepts and terminology|
|AgilePM® Practitioner||Application||How to apply agile project management|
|CAPM®||Knowledge||Project management concepts and terminology|
|PMP®||Application||Project management techniques|
|Accreditation body||Higher-level certificate||Recommended follow-on certificate|
|AXELOS||PRINCE2 Practitioner||APM PMQ|
|AXELOS||PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner||AgilePM® Foundation & Practitioner|
|APM||Project Management Qualification (PMQ)||PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner|
|APMG||AgilePM® Practitioner||PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner|
|PMI®||Project Management Professional (PMP)®||PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner|