PMP is still good in the market

Which project management certification is the best?

If you are on google Project management certification enter thousands of hits. But you will quickly notice that some certificates clearly stand out: On the one hand there is of course the top dog PMP from PMI, then levels A to D of IPMA (GPM) and still PRINCE2. Not to mention the agile certificates (Certified SCRUM Master and consorts). Now which one is right for you?

By Thomas Wuttke, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP, CSM and IPMA-Level-B alumni

What does the “best” mean?

The best certification in project management is…. It depends 🙂 It depends what they wish and which one aim Pursue you. And so it is like in project management itself: You should first think about what goal you would like to achieve with a certification in project management.

Here is a selection of possible ones Objectives:

  1. Fast take a certificate to be able to access the Business card competence to signal. This may result in higher daily rates or more Customer orders or better Career opportunities.
  2. As above, but not quickly, rather well-founded and valuable.
  3. I am basically interested in the topic and would like to continue my training broad base with a Crown certificate.
  4. I want the project management of my organization move forward and raise it to a higher level.
  5. Other: …… .. (Please complete yourself)

What is the best certification in project management?

The PMI-ACP certificate - here as an example

If we take the above target list, most of the readers of this article should find themselves in target variant 1 or 2. This can also be summarized with "Improve market value". For variants 3 and 4, I would prefer other ways than certification. Variant 4 in particular, i.e. improving the project management maturity of an organization, is only inadequately achieved by certified persons and is at most half the battle. Certification can be a good start here. But then a project management improvement initiative must follow. Otherwise none of this makes any sense.

So back Regarding variants 1 and 2: Basically, one can say that there is a Market value proportional to the effort made improved or increased. If you put more effort into it, a higher value is assumed. Anyone who has studied or even obtained a doctorate in their field has a better starting position.

You must also have a certification in project management marketable be. If your counterpart has never heard of a very special certificate, then the goal will also be Market value improvement not necessarily achieved.

So right from the start: You can of course take a certificate from a training provider or even from TÜV or an IHK. But that is - sorry IHK - as good as worthless and justifies neither effort nor costs in my opinion. I know: The brochures and websites of the providers say something completely different.

The classic: The PMP from PMI

There is scarce over one million active PMPs (as of January 2020) worldwide. This means that the certification in project management is the global one Gold standard. This is all the more remarkable since the exam too not exactly cheap (US $ 555) is after expires three years and as very difficult (4 hours of hard test among other things) can be considered. One can rightly be proud of being allowed to call oneself a PMP. If you are interested in exactly how to become a PMP, you will find all the details here in another blog post: Becoming a PMP.

In addition to the PMP, PMI offers a number of other options further certifications that are very interesting in the respective niches. At PMI, you can be certified as a risk professional, as a program manager and much more. You can find an overview here. But these other certifications do not come close to the numbers of the PMP.

According to the target list mentioned above, that would be PMP a clear representative of Goal # 2. And you don't get the certificate in passing. There are Admission requirements (e.g. have worked in project management for at least three years) and Audits the Exam information. As I said above, we've put all of this together in a series of our own, which you can read here: Becoming a PMP.

SCRUM Master and consorts

With the agile certification in project management came in the "noughties" years Shooting star to the market. I don't know the exact number of certified ones Scrum Master (because there are a lot of certificate issuers), but they should also be far in the six-digit range lie.

However, there are several providers of agile certification in project management. The two leaders are:

Next to the SCRUM master you can go to alone for 5 more certifications log in, the SCRUM master itself is also divided into Level 1 to 3. But as with PMI above, these other certifications tend to be a shadowy existence compared to the SCRUM Master.

And the SCRUM master fulfills this from my target list above Goal # 1:Without a lot of effort quickly a certificate in your hands.

The PSM1 at costs US $ 150 (per attempt), must Not be recertified and is after studying the Scrum Guide ( and our online learning module “CleverAgile”relaxed to manage something.

In all honesty: This SCRUM is felt Certification in project management given hereto build reach. The extent to which this meets the requirement for recoverability remains to be seen. who lightning fast If you need a certificate, you can't get another slip of paper so quickly and so cheaply. But be careful: To claim with a PSM1 that you are a certified project manager, let's put it positively, daring.

The IPMA (GPM) certification in project management

The International Project Management Association (IPMA) is an umbrella organization for national project management organizations. In Germany that is the one GPM(Society for Project Management), in Switzerland the spmand in Austria the pma.

The certificates bear the name Level D to ALevel A is the largest certificate and Level D is the entry level. According to the IPMA website, there were around 43,000 Level-D certified people as of January 2019. You can find details here:

From the target list above, the IPMA certification im project management with security objective # 2: Valuable because complex, not exactly cheap and expires again (I was once IPMA Level B and simply forgot to extend the certificate, and then there was no more grace :-))

Still a small "but": While the spread is just 5% compared to the market leader, are costs and Trouble for storing the certificate significantly higher.

And who else in the international context works, it can happen that a state-owned company in Taka-Tuka Land has never heard of Level-D. The probability that there is a PMI chapter in Taka-Tuka-Land is very high.

The PMP and IPMA level D

Can you do that at all PMP with the IPMA level D to compare? That too has to be fair with "not 100% " get answered. Which of the two is “better” is not the subject of this article. That is the same as with the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle: It depends on how you look. If you ask the GPM, you get a completely different answer than if you ask the PMI.

The PRINCE2 certification in project management

The work is worth it: With certification, the market value increases

Ten years ago there was no discussion about certification in project management without PMI and IPMA as well PRINCE2 to call. PRINCE2 comes from Great Britain and means ProbjectsinC.ontrolledE.environments. Historically, PRINCE2 is particularly disproportionately represented in the Commonwealth. In continental Europe it is also strong in the Netherlands and Denmark.

The Foundation Examination (German: basic examination) is a Knowledge test about the content of the topics and processes. The exam lasts one hour and consists of a multiple-choice test with 75 questions. To pass you have to answer at least 35 questions correctly. There are no prerequisites for participating in a Foundation Examination.

There are around 750,000 certified princes, but given the above-mentioned conditions for the Foundation Examination, this is no rocket science. Okay, okay, there are certainly many other PRINCE2 certifiers in the above number (e.g. the “Practitioner”), but after a Foundation test you can still claim to be PRINCE2 certified.

From our target list at the very beginning of this article, I would place the princes much closer to Target # 1 than to Target # 2. One hour exam with 75 questions, 50% of which have to be correct? Come on…!

Higher market value through certification in project management

The last salary report of the Project Management Institute (PMI) brought it to light: With the PMP certification, project managers can on average 23% more salary Respectively. The tenth edition of the study was carried out in 37 countries in order to obtain a representative overview worldwide.

The entire report is available for download here:

On the other hand, in many cases only one vague “Certification in project management” is required without specifying exactly what is meant by it. Is it possible that many employers, clients or also HR departments the differences at all Notknow.

They are natural Low hanging fruits, who meet on a weekend with a “Professional Scrum Master 1” to harvest to let.

In my opinion, anyone who seriously strives for certification cannot ignore the PMP. Especially since it can also be filed in German.

Outlook and other aspects

Everything stays different and of course that moves too Certification market. I will soon add a few more aspects to this article, but only this much for now:

SAFe ©

SAFe © means Scaled Agile Framework and serves as a target group larger organizations for which the pure SCRUM approach is too thin. SAFe is a big player in the Agile for Adults theme and offers seven (!) certificates. However, the framework is also not for a Friday morning when you have no plans and is, in my opinion, a valuable topic in a very special market. Further information can be found here:

Diciplined agile

The Diciplined Agile Consortium emerged from an IBM approach and - similar to SAFe - includes the topic of introducing agile methods in larger organizations. Diciplined Agile also has a number of Certification in stock (more info here) and you can spend some time collecting the six (!) titles.

But: The interesting thing about Diciplined Agile (DA) is that it will be released in September 2019 by PMIaccepted were. And there is still a lot going to happen. It is to be expected that the DA certifications will be included in the PMI portfolio.

PM² of the European Community

What Prince2 and the British can do, the EU can too. At least that was my thought when I first came from PM² heard. You can find out more at, there is also an overview of the certifications offered. However, the visibility and demand of PM² can still be expanded and it must first be shown whether one of these is There is suctionhow it came about back then with Prince2.

Green Project Management (GPM)

Another very interesting thought is Green Project Management, abbreviated GPM and not to be confused with the German GPM. However, GPM (ie the “green…”) is a registered trademark, the organization comes from the environment of the IPMA (!) And should not only lead to confusion here in this BlogPost.

Now you might ask yourself what “green” project management is? The project manager has to check whether it is Tropical wood pencils in the project team?

Far more than that, of course. sustainability (my personal and favorite term instead of “green”) is the key to our future and everyone "New Green Deal" also applies to projects that implement this sustainability. So in the end all ...

Certifications in the area of ​​sustainable project management, see

About the author

Thomas Wuttke, PMP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CSM served on the Board of Directors for Certification at PMI in Philadelphia for three years and has successfully trained many thousands of PMPs since 1999. He passed his own PMP and IPMA Level B in 1996. In 2009 he became a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) because at that time he could still access a website without errors (no joke! It was only necessary to access the website to receive the certificate), but made up for the shame the following year through the PMI-ACP, which plays in a completely different league.

Related Links

All answers all about PMP can be found in our central Magazine articleBecome a PMP - an advisor

More articles around Certification for project management according to PMI:

Highly effective preparation on the PMP exam, either online, guided in a group in blended learning or in 1: 1 coaching with Thomas Wuttke? More information on our website

A Summary of the different project management approaches as a podcast:

(MPMP09) Last update: February 19, 2020 (c) Copyright by Gita GmbH Herrsching PMI and PMP are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Newtown Square, USA