The certifications of the Project Management Institute (PMI®)

The number of certifications offered by the PMI has increased since recent years. However, the PMP remains the PMI key certification.

Project Management Professional®

Created in 1984, the PMP settled down as a major certification in the project management field. With the PMP® certification, a project manager shows a proof of:

  • A professional experience in management of at least three years
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • And  professional ethics

On the job market, this certification is well-known and above all, is acknowledged by companies. It clearly enhances the trainer potential.

Furthermore, it guarantees the future employers and clients that a PMP ® certificate holder is a real project management professional. On some building site, the decision makers explicitly require PMP ® consultants for some missions.

Then, all certificate holders speak the same language which is an asset to prevent communication and understanding problems.

There are 626,000 PMP® certificate holders worldwide today. This figure is sharply increasing.

To pass this certification, in addition to a professional experience and a project management theoretical training, 200 questions (Multiple choice questionnaires) have to be answered in 4 hour time.

As for all PMI certifications except the CAMP®, the certification has three-year duration.

Before the end of this three-year period, certificate holders must renew their certification through an accumulating point system called Professional Development Units. (PDU)

Certified Associate in Project Management®

CAPM is also known as PMP junior. The CAPM doesn’t require any project management professional experience. The test is mainly based on knowledge from the PMPoK Guide.

There are more than 30,000 certificate holders today. This certification is valid for 5 years. Once their CAPM certification expires, people often take the PMP certification. Therefore, it is often considered as a temporary certification.

Program Management Professional®

It is aimed to program managers. There are almost 4,500 certificate holders all over the world, which still remains a select committee.

Portfolio Management Professional®

It is addressed to Project Portfolio managers. It was created in 2014.

PMI Agile Certified Practicioner®

This is for the Agile methods practitioners. This is a quite recent certification but in expansion.

PMI Professional in Business Analysis®

This is a certification covering for client demands management field, a particularly criticized field in regard to the success of a project.

PMI Scheduling Professionnal®

It is aimed to project schedule manager.

PMI Risk Management Professional®

It is an important field for project management and it shows qualifications in identification, in analyses and answers to project risks.

The PMI certifications are divided as follow:

Number of certicate holders %
PMP® 694534 93,5%
CAPM® 30474 4,1%
PfMP ® 286 0,0%
PgMP ® 1483 0,2%
PMI-RMP ® 3443 0,5%
PMI-SP ® 1448 0,2%
PMI-PBA ® 569 0,1%
PMI-ACP ® 10351 1,4%
Total 742588

(Chiffre au 31 décembre 2015, source PMI Today, February 2016)


For further information about the PMI certifications, please contact us on or on the PMI website http://www.pmi.org/certification.aspx


APMG is another organization which promotes project management and more precisely it is a certifying body. Coming from Britain, it settled down a certain number of certifications for project managers. Prince2 ® (Projects in Controlled Environments ®) is the most famous of them. The two different approaches are often compared or put into competition. While PMBok® is a referent document, a collection of good project management practices, Prince2® is a method. Therefore, it is difficult to compare them.

According to me, it is not necessary to choose sides. The two approaches bring interesting information and tools.

The great difference lies in the preparation time. The PMP certification requires an intensive preparation from the trainers (35 hours in a training center and at least a hundred of hours of personal work) added to a three-year professional experience at least in the field of project management.

Prince2® certification is not as demanding as the PMP® certification. It is divided into two distinct levels:

  • The Foundation which is mainly on acquired knowledge from the reference document. The test lasts an hour (Multiple choice questionnaire)
  • The Practitioner. To get there, it is necessary to pass the foundation test. The test is a case study followed by a multiple choice questionnaire. It lasts two hours and a half.

A three or four day preparation for the Foundation and five or six day for the Practitioner are enough to pass the certification.

This difference of difficulty level between the certification is well-known on the market that is why the PMP certification has a greater acknowledgment on the job market.

Thus, the APMG is more considered as a certifying body while the PMI presents itself as a professional organization.


IPMA – International Project Management Association

It is a professional project management association based in Switzerland. Created in 1965, it is organized in a federal way and gathers about 50 project management organizations.

The certification system relies on skills. The reference document is called ICB3 (I-IPMA Competency Baseline, 3rd Edition) and refers to three fields of skills:

  • Behavioral skills
  • Technical skills
  • Contextual skills

The IPMA offers four levels of certification:

  • A level for the project directors
  • B level for Senior project managers
  • C level for project managers
  • D level for project members

In France, IPMA is represented by the SMaP (a Project Management company).