Maybe you are keen on boosting your project management skills while adding a credential to your CV. But the vast array of project management certification programs may just leave you confused about where to start. Well, we’ve sorted some answers for you, starting with “What’s with all the different names?”
Project management certificate programs come in two main types: general and specific. Both types are valuable to people working in construction. However, those specific to construction are more valuable because they approach project management the way people manage construction projects.
For example, a general PM certification course might cover resources in the planning part of the curriculum. In contrast, a certification program for construction will usually include resources in the scheduling part of the curriculum. That’s because construction managers mostly manage resources through the scheduling function.
You can also find a third type of PM certificate. These certificates show how knowledgeable you are in using a particular project management tool. For instance, Procore has a certification program that “validates your knowledge and expertise using Procore’s construction management software.” The certification program is self-paced and completely online, and it is available to anyone with an interest in learning.
Procore also offers eight other construction management courses covering everyone on a project, from specialty contractor to fieldworker. These certifications can pay off big for anybody working for a company, or even for themselves, as long as they use Procore. But they don’t substitute for either of the other PM credentials.
Since many construction companies run more than a single project at a time, you will also find construction program management courses and credentials. These take project management training to the level of managing multiple projects. Program credentials don’t substitute for project credentials, and usually, you would get PM certified before getting certified in program management.
Since 1969, the Project Management Institute has offered highly regarded PM certifications. The organization has 17 different certificates, ranging from general project management to various specialties. You use your years of project management experience to select the credential that’s right for you.
For instance, if you have zero to three years of experience, you would select from five certificate options. Those with over three years have four options. Those with eight or more years’ experience can transition to two programs or portfolio certifications. For construction managers, the most common choices are:
– Project Management Ready or Certified Associate in Project Management at the 0–3 years experience level.
– Project Management Professional at the 3+ years experience level.
– Program or Portfolio Management Professional at the 8+ years experience level.
There are two specialty certificates that are also highly relevant for construction: Risk Management Professional and Scheduling Professional.
Other generalist certifications come from the EC-council, the International Association of Project Managers, and the American Academy of Project Management.
Many colleges, community colleges, and universities also offer general PM certificates. Most are available online, and unlike the PMI certifications, they often don’t require you to have PM experience. Since 2020, Google has offered a PM certificate you can complete online in three to six months, and no college degree is required.
Colleges, technical colleges, and community colleges offer a range of specialty project management certificates, particularly for the construction industry.
Here are some examples and details:
The Worcester Polytechnic Institute has offered science and engineering training since the mid-1800s. For those who like higher education grounded in the real world, WPI balances theory with practice. The graduate certificate in Construction Project Management trains you to manage complex construction projects. You can pursue this certificate online or on campus. You can also pick up electives so you can tailor your learning to your career plans.
Colorado State University offers a construction management certificate program that takes you through all project phases. Besides covering the nuts and bolts of project management, the course offers training in relationship building, defining your project team, and handling risks. This program is available on weeknights and weekends at the CSU Extended Campus in Denver.
At the Houston Community College‘s online campus, you can enroll in the Construction Project Management Program. It’s a two-part program starting with Basic Construction Management and followed by Construction Management II.Topics covered include safety regulations, blueprint reading, basic carpentry, electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, and trade standards. The second part covers estimating, CAD, management, tools, and techniques.
Other notable college programs include the Construction Project Management Certificate from Lamar University, Construction Project Management offered at Columbia Engineering Executive Education, and the Lone Star College Project Management Certificate, which also prepares you to take PMI’s Project Management Professional exam.
Professional construction organizations also provide certificates in project management. The Associated General Contractors of America offers the Project Manager Development Program and the Construction Project Manager Course. The PMDP is offered through many of the organization’s chapters while the CPMC is a six-day course for experienced managers who want to improve their leadership abilities while learning new management strategies.
The National Association of Homebuilders offers a project management course for people working in the residential construction industry. This curriculum covers the basics of project management, the pre-construction functions, the tools for project management, managing trade contractors, and more.
Besides improving your skills in managing projects, getting a project management credential shows others you are serious about your career and willing to continue learning.