Sometimes clients and their staff wonder whether they would benefit from project management training or PMP Exam prep, as well as certification. The two are not necessarily connected. Training is about taking a course on project management fundamentals, analyzing case studies to learn from them, what works and what does not, and learning the terminology needed to communicate with other project management professions, facilitating working with your teams, clients, and other stakeholders. However, certification requires training, as well as a few other prerequisites, such as:
- Minimum years of PM experience. For example, 36 months for the PMP and a university degree. In the case you do not have a university degree, then a high school degree, plus 60 months, and
- 35 contact hours, which you acquire in training
Project Management Training and Certification
Other certifications, such as PMI-ACP, PRINCE2, and so on, will have their own requirements, which you need to research before moving forward.
The requirements aside, the decision between certification and training is based on the following:
- Is certification required by the client, public agency, or other entity?
- Does the interested party want to pursue and maintain certification? The latter applies to PMI certifications, which require a certain amount of professional development units (PDUs) to renew your particular certificate. In the case of the PMP, you need to achieve 60 PDUs within 36 months.
- Does the interested party feel that certification will positively impact their career? In most cases, the answer is always yes, but it is still worth noting.
Personally, I always encourage people to become certified. Yes, it does take time and energy, and money, but I have yet to meet someone who has told me they regret becoming certified. Also, in the case of the training we impart, based on the PMI framework, the 35 contact hours are covered, and usually, my students have project management experience. Therefore, it is only a matter of going through the application process and becoming certified. That said, certification is not mandatory, and there are plenty of great project managers who are not PMPs.
Project Management Training and PMP Certification Prep
I always recommend staff take at least one project management training course in their lives, which we often incorporate into our boot-camps, because all people involved in project management need to know both the basics of project management, such as developing the scope, budget, and schedule, but also other elements of the work which can make or break a project. Among these elements are:
- Quality Management and Customer Satisfaction, which can differentiate you from your competition
- Risk Management, which, when ignored, can greatly impact a project.
- Stakeholder management, which is crucial for successful projects and organizations
So, whether you decide to pursue any sort of certification is up to you. However, I will reemphasize that my recommendation is that you do so. You have nothing to lose and lots to gain. If you decide not to pursue certification, then at the very least, take the training, put it to use, and even archive it. You may use it in the future to apply for certification.