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Which PMI Credential is Right for me? by: Adel Aliaskari,PMP

The Project Management Institute (PMI)® offers 5 credentials in project management. Are you confused about which is the right one for you? Well, then here I am to help you find an answer.

PMI has a global presence with members in over 170 countries. It is the largest association dedicated to project management in the world. PMI is actively engaged in setting professional standards for project mangers which helps them set themselves apart from the rest of the crowd. PMI credentials greatly enhance your employability.

PMI certifications give you the most sought after appreciation and visibility within your organization. It is an important investment for your career because the certificate may increase your job stability, expand your earning potential and provide a competitive stand in the job market.

To be eligible for any PMI credential, you must meet certain educational and
project management experience requirements. They are different for each credential and are spelled out in detail in the Credential Handbooks. You'll find a link to each of the 5 handbooks on the PMI website
under "Career Development > About PMI's Credentials".

Go ahead... take a look at one or two of these handbooks. You will soon realize that there is one question that isn't answered in there. The question is "Where do I want to be in 5 years from today?" So instead of immediately reading up on the credentials you may first want to find out where your passion in project management lies, select the appropriate
career path
and then set your eyes on the appropriate credential.

Here is a PMI credential overview including highlights of the eligibility requirements. Please refer to the individual Credential Handbook for the complete requirements:

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®

If you are a
junior project management practitioner and have demonstrated your skills as a project team member then the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is the best option. You will get the fundamental knowledge of processes and terminology that will help you effectively manage projects. For the CAPM certification all you need is a high school diploma and either 1,500 hrs of professional experience on a project team or 23 hours of project management training.

PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)®

If your role involves developing and working on the project schedule then PMI Scheduling Professional is appropriate for you. Your knowledge and expertise in developing and maintaining the project schedule will be enhanced with the PMI Scheduling Professional. If you hold a bachelor's degree then you will need a minimum of 3500 hrs of project scheduling. With high school diploma you will require a minimum of 5000 hrs of work experience in project scheduling.

PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)®

If you demonstrate knowledge and skills in the risk management of a project then PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP) will suit you best. With a PMI-RMP credential you will develop an expertise in identifying project risks and in mitigating threats and capitalizing on the opportunities.  If you have a bachelor's degree then you will need 3000 hrs of work experience in
project risk management, but with a high school diploma 4500 hrs are mandatory.

Project Management Professional (PMP)®

If you perform your
project management duties under general supervision, lead the team and direct all project tasks then you should go for the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential. You will develop an in-depth understanding and skills to lead and direct project teams to deliver results within the constraints of budget, time and scope. The certification requires 3 years of professional experience with at least 4500 hours spent leading and directing project tasks. With a high school diploma five years of professional experience is required with at least 7500 hours spent in leading and directing project tasks.

Currently, the PMP Exam is the most sought after project management credential in the world.

Program Management Professional (PgMP)®

Do you handle multiple projects directed towards a strategic business objective? Do you manage programs that contain complex activities that span functions, organizations, geographic regions and cultures? In that case the Program Management Professional (PgMP) is the credential that you should opt for. It will help you gain an insight of multiple projects aligned with organizational objectives.

The eligibility criteria for the PgMP credential is a bachelor's degree with 4 years of project and
program management experience. If you hold a high school diploma then you will need four years of project management experience along with 7 years of program management experience.

PMI credentials often lead to career opportunities and advancement. You will be recognized as a competent professional in
project management processes for which you will be deeply appreciated by your employers. PMI serves as an unbiased endorsement of your project management knowledge
and experience at a global level. 

Once you earn a PMI credential (other than CAPM), you also need to fulfill the requirements of the Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) program. You need to participate in professional development activities on a regular basis to adhere to the CCR program.

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