The Path to Project Management Mastery

March 21, 2014 at 10:02 am | Posted in Certification Paths, CompTIA, PMI | 2 Comments
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Project management is needed in almost all fields and includes both commercial and non-commercial projects. Many colleges and universities offer degrees in the field of project management. Search any job Web site, and you will find project management positions available with  many companies.

But what if you want to prove your proficiency in project management? There are many popular project management certifications that you can obtain. In this article, I want to discuss three of those certifications: CompTIA’s Project+, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), and PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP).

CompTIA’s Project+

Of the three certifications, CompTIA’s Project+ certification is probably the easiest to take. Like most CompTIA certifications, there are no prerequisites or qualifications to take this exam, although CompTIA does recommend one year of managing, directing, or participating in small- to medium-scale projects. The certification also does not require an application process. To take the exam, you simply register for the exam through Vue and pay the examination fee of $261 U.S.

The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. You are given 90 minutes to complete the exam and need to obtain a score of 710 (on a scale of 100-900) to pass the exam.

Currently, this certification does NOT have an expiration date, meaning you will be Project+-certified for life.

PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

To take the CAPM exam, you must first complete an online application. To qualify for the exam, you will need to have a high-school diploma (or equivalent) and 1,500 hours of professional experience on a project team OR 23 hours of formal project management education. Once the application is approved for completeness, you must then pay the exam fee of $225 (PMI members) or $300 (non-members).  (If your application is selected for audit, you have 90 days to submit the audit materials.) You have one year from the application approval date to take the exam.

The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions that focus on the material covered in the PMBOK 5th Edition. You are given 180 minutes to complete the exam. PMI does not publish the minimum score that you need to receive to obtain the certification, but you will receive a report when you complete the exam that lists your score and proficiency in the topic domains.

Currently, this certification expires five years from the date you originally passed the exam. You will need to re-take the exam to re-certify.

PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP)

Like the CAPM exam, the PMP exam requires the completion of an online application. To qualify for the exam, you should have either of the following:

  • High-school diploma, associate’s degree, or equivalent
  • 5 years of professional project management experience
  • 35 hours of formal project management education

OR

  • Four-year degree or equivalent
  • 3 years of professional project management experience
  • 35 hours of formal project management education

Once the application is approved for completeness, you must then pay the exam fee of $405 (PMI members) or $555 (non-members) for the computer-based exam.  (If your application is selected for audit, you have 90 days to submit the audit materials.) You have one year from the application approval date to take the exam.

The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice, scenario-based questions based on the PMBOK 5th Edition. You are given 240 minutes to complete the exam. PMI does not publish the minimum score that you need to receive to obtain the certification, but you will receive a report when you complete the exam that lists your score and proficiency in the topic domains.

To maintain the certification, you must complete 60 professional development units (PDUs) within three years to renew the certification. If you do not obtain and report the PDUs, this certification expires three years from the date you originally passed the exam.

Certification Suggestions

If you are new to the project management field and only have a one or two years of experience, I suggest that you take the Project+ exam first. This exam will be a great start in your career path and will help you to gauge your knowledge of project management.

If you have several years experience in the project management field but do not have enough formal project management education to take the PMP exam, you should take the CAPM exam, which is also the next logical step after the Project+ exam.

As far as formal project management education goes, most college courses or training courses from a reputable training provider qualify. While PMI has a list of approved training providers for CEUs (the training credits required to maintain certification), the educational requirements for taking the certification exams are usually not as strict. However, you may need to provide a transcript or proof of completion. Find out the latest on education, certification requirements, and more on the PMI web site.

Once you have enough experience and formal education, take the PMP exam. This is one of the most highly respected certifications in the industry today.

While experienced project managers might choose to jump right in and take the PMP, newbies should probably start at the Project+ level.

If you are still undecided on whether project management certifications are the right way to go, consider this fact: According to salary.com, the median expected salary for a typical project manager in the United States is $107,056.

For most of us, that salary statistic may speak volumes and help to solidify our resolve to pursue the certifications.

Here’s hoping you achieve certification success in 2014!

-Robin

2 Comments »

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  1. Hi Robin,

    I just took the PMP and I have some input for you. Do have an email I can send to?

    Thanks,

    David


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