Project Management Certifications

Picking the optimum project management certification to advance your career is difficult. Ed Naughton, Director General IPMI (Ireland) has published the following analysis in his “Project Management Trends” newsletter:

This of course raises the question as to which project management accreditation the recruiting company or HR manager prefers. Quite frankly, our experience is that very often there is a distinct lack of understanding by those hiring, as to the relative merits of the credentials that are most commonly considered. The below table provides a comparison of offerings from the main providers (IPMI train both PMP and IPMA certifications).


What, in a nutshell, are the distinguishing features between the three different accreditations. Some schools of thought like to summarise succinctly as follows:

  • IPMA – Competence based
  • PMI – Knowledge based (with a minimal ‘time served’ requirement)
  • APMG – Methodology based & does not require ‘time served’ or address Behavioural skills

When trying to determine which certification is best for your requirements, talk to a reputable organisation that understands the difference between entry-level exam-based PM certifications, and the advanced certifications that can correlate to increased project and business success.

We concur with the summary.  AIPM’s RegPM was not considered as it has little relevance in Ireland! RegPM is a competency assessment where the trainee pays a qualified assessor to review their competence and based on the assessor’s report the certification is awarded. Importantly RegPM does not test the underpinning knowledge of the candidate, just the workplace behaviours and outcomes. AIPM and IPMA are working to align their certifications. For more on competency see: WP1056 Competency

For more on the PMP and other PMI credentials see:

One response to “Project Management Certifications

  1. Patrick, are you aware of my on going research on this same topic?

    I compared 35 of the major, globally recognized credentials related to project or program management, based on the total “level of effort” required to earn them.

    But more than that, I benchmarked them all against the “Level of Effort” required to earn the US Professional Engineer (PE) license (which is recognized and well respected as a truly professional level credential) and to give me a true zero point, I also included Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hour” rule.

    By having a true zero point, it enables us to see the relative standing of any two credentials. (i.e. credential A is twice as hard to obtain than credential B)

    Based on the latest comparison, it puts the PMP (PSCOR 9624) slightly over halfway between the IPMA D (PSCOR 6132) and IPMA C.(PSCOR 11106) (11106-6132 = 4974 and 5974/9624 = ~52%)

    But what you may find interesting is the top two ranked credentials globally were AIPM’s CPPD (PSCOR 21033) and AACE’s CFCC (PSCOR 21424)

    Looked at another way, the AIPM’s CPPD is 21033/9624 = 2.2 times more work to quality and obtain that the PMP.

    I have made the Excel spreadsheet available for anyone to download and play with. Perhaps you want to add in the CIOB Scheduling credential just to see where it fits in? Sixth bullet point up from the bottom…….
    Dr. PDG, Jakarta.

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