7 of the Best Online Project Management Certification Programs

Online project management courses can be a great way to level up your skills without committing to a long-term training program or degree. Some courses offer certificates of completion that may make your resume more appealing to employers. Since online courses vary widely in terms of length, price, and quality, we’ve come up with the 10 best online project management courses to get you started.

If you’re considering an online project management course, it’s important to choose one that aligns with your learning style and your career path. To create our list, we’ve relied on basic ranking criteria that can be applied to any online course and advanced criteria that apply specifically to project management courses.

Before taking an online course, it’s important to know what you’re paying for and what you’re committing to. Some courses are formal certification programs, while others are beginner-level tutorials. We’ve used the following criteria to create our list.

Time to complete. We focused on courses that can be completed in six months or less, with the shortest course requiring only five hours of study.

Prerequisites required. None of these courses require advanced prerequisites, although their difficulty level varies. We’ve made note of who each course is best suited for.

Flexible schedule. Most of the courses on our list have flexible schedules, so you won’t have to make time in your day for live classroom sessions. You can also take the PMP (Project Management Professional) exam online but will need to schedule it separately.

Certificate of completion. We’ve focused on courses that provide a formal certification, but you may have to select this option and pay for it upfront. None of the courses include a PMI (Project Management Institute) certification but many of them will prepare you for the exam.

In addition to the above criteria, we relied on some factors specific to project management courses. Here are the advanced ranking criteria we used to put together our list.

Which Project Management Certification to Get? Google, CAPM, or PMP

Who is eligible for the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification?

Professionals with a four-year bachelors degree, 36 months of project management experience and 4,500 hours spent directing projects are eligible to earn their Project Management Professional certification. If you dont have a four-year degree, you should have at least a secondary degree (a high school diploma, associate degree or global equivalent), 60 months of project management experience and 7,500 hours spent leading projects.

After achieving one of those two eligibility standards, professionals must earn at least 35 educational hours through PMP certification training. Each of the online programs below either prepares learners for the PMP certification exam or offers training to help professionals strengthen their skills.

What are online project management certificate programs?

Online project management certificate programs are courses you can take from home to learn the basics of project management, including skills and processes that can help you work as a project manager. In nearly every field, project managers play a vital role in helping organizations succeed by planning and directing the completion of specific projects.

Online certification programs in project management can help professionals who are working full time maximize their potential by teaching them the skills they need to effectively plan, schedule, budget and execute projects.

Most commonly, programs prepare candidates with at least 35 educational hours to take the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification Exam, an internationally acknowledged professional designation offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Depending on the program, professionals can also earn degrees, diplomas or additional globally recognized certifications offered by PMI. These include PMIs Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) credential and industry-specific certifications, such as the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) for those who serve in an IT role.

Best online project management certificate programs

Here are seven of the top online project management programs, including certificate programs and PMP exam preparation programs, in addition to some pointers for selecting the best course to meet your needs:

1. Colorado State Universitys M.S. in Project Management

The online masters program in project management at Colorado State University (CSU) is an asynchronous option with a mid-level cost for professionals seeking certification through a degree program from an accredited university or college. CSUs 36-credit program, which prepares students to take the PMP certification exam, offers the opportunity for specialization in numerous fields, ranging from healthcare administration to criminal justice leadership.

2. eCornells Project Management Certificate Program

Cornell Universitys online Project Management Certificate Program is a hands-on, instructor-led course with small class sizes (typically less than 35 students). This means that, as a student, you can receive individualized attention from your course instructor, which is unique among online certification programs because they are typically asynchronous and self-guided.

As a whole, this 50-hour program seeks to prepare students for both tangible project management work experiences and the PMP certification exam. While Cornells program is a little pricier than some alternatives on this list, the interaction and engaged learning experiences that come from having a smaller class size are extremely beneficial.

3. Simplilearns PMP Certification Training Course

Simplilearn, unlike some traditional project management certificate programs, is a fully-online platform that provides a highly intensive preparation course for the PMP certification exam. Simplilearns curriculum calls upon the expertise of real-life project managers who have experience working in the field. With a combination of live online classes and self-guided materials, Simplilearn presents a hybrid option for independent learners who have a desire to interface with peers and instructors. This affordable program offers 90 days of flexible access to classes, which is ideal for full-time professionals.

4. Brain Senseis PMP Exam Prep Course

Brain Sensei is currently one of the most highly recommended online PMP certificate courses. Like Simplilearn, Brain Senseis e-learning program is a training course that mainly focuses on helping professionals get ready to pass their PMP certificate exams. Brain Sensei offers this training at a lower rate than some other platforms.

Rather than helping professionals achieve an additional degree, Brain Senseis program provides learners with nine multi-assessment modules and over 800 practice exam questions over the span of six months. This type of exam prep course is most suitable for experienced professionals looking to advance their careers while working.

5. Courseras Applied Project Management Certificate Program

Coursera offers the Applied Project Management Certificate Program through the University of California, Irvine. The six-month program is divided into four different modules that cover a variety of project management topics, such as interfacing with stakeholders, delegating tasks and forming excellent communication plans. Even further, students will gain experience with Scrum and Agile project management techniques.

As a platform, Coursera offers members the additional benefit of accessing a plethora of supplemental prerecorded lectures uploaded by companies and schools worldwide. This program is designed for current project managers with three to five years of professional experience, and it satisfies the education requirements you need to take the PMP certification exam.

6. Pace Universitys Practical Project Management Certificate Program

Pace Universitys two-week Practical Project Management Certificate Program is an excellent short-term option for professionals of all levels. The course seeks to cover the fundamentals of project management, including effective tools and methodologies proven for success.

By establishing a foundation of project management skills, students in Paces program graduate with the competency to oversee a project from start to finish. While Paces program does not explicitly set out to prepare learners for the PMP certification exam or others, it offers a broad focus suitable for many fields.

7. Alisons Diploma in Project Management Program

Alison is a highly accessible, free learning platform that offers over 1,000 online courses. Their Diploma in Project Management Program, which you can complete in 10 hours, is a useful option for professionals who are just starting out in the project management field. Alison helps learners apply project management theories and skills to real-world situations they may encounter in their careers.

Alisons course is shorter and isnt designed to help prep for the PMP certification exam, but it is a worthwhile venture for professionals looking to learn about best practices. Alisons program is particularly useful in establishing student knowledge of specific methodologies, such as Scrum and Agile, and tools, such as Gantt charts.

Factors to take into consideration when choosing a program

With so many options to choose from, selecting an online certification program that best fits your needs can be challenging. It is important to examine all aspects of a program prior to deciding which would most benefit your career. After all, it is crucial to optimize your time and effort as a project manager.

Here are some key factors to take into consideration when choosing which certificate program to pursue:

Cost

Online project management certificate programs are an investment in your future as a professional. While some companies offer employees professional development stipends to fund their supplemental education, others rely on employees to self-fund such ventures. Therefore, cost is a major factor to consider when selecting a project management certificate program. The courses listed above vary in cost—for instance, Alisons program is completely free, whereas CSUs program has a higher price.

Length of program

While most online project management certificate programs are asynchronous, meaning learners can complete them whenever it is most convenient, some programs take longer than others. Programs offered by accredited brick-and-mortar universities, in which graduates are awarded degrees, may take longer to complete. In contrast, other programs that simply aim to prep students for the PMP certificate exam are shorter and can be completed alongside a full-time work schedule.

Where you are in your career

What program you choose will largely depend on where you are situated in your career and what goals you have for the future. If you are a current project manager without certification looking to bolster your skill set and credibility, a short-term course that focuses on prepping students for the PMP certification exam may be best for you.

Conversely, if you are an entry-level employee or recent graduate seeking to build a foundation of skills, a longer-term degree program that helps with professionalization may be beneficial. It is similarly important to seek programs that focus on industry-specific certifications and skills.

Former student testimonies

Most of the information found online about different project management certification programs comes from schools themselves or affiliates. This can make it challenging to find impartial information regarding the success of specific programs. Because of this, it can be advantageous to speak with current or former students of the programs you are interested in.

This can help you better understand what a program is like from an unbiased student perspective and provide you with essential insight on factors like workload, access to instructors, differing levels of peer collaboration, specialized curriculum and more. Former students may even give you a better idea of how different project management certificates have helped professionals in their current roles.

FAQ

Which is the best certification for project management?

The PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is the most popular and widely recognized certification.

Are project management certificates worth it?

Is this certification worth it? YES, according to statistics from the PMI itself, a certified PMP could experience a 20% paycheck increase. That is also my personal experience when I got certified. Other project managers have also admitted that the ROI you get after getting a PMP certification makes it worthwhile.

What certification is better than PMP?

According to the PMI Earning Power Salary Survey, PMP certificate holders earn a 20% higher salary than those without a PMP certification. However, the salary bump you can get with a CAPM certification is still well worth the time and effort.

Is Google project management Certificate Recognised?

The Google Project Management Certificate is definitely worth it. It will help you build job-ready skills to start a career as a project manager. The course is prepared by Google project managers and is recognized in the industry as valid certification for project management entry-level positions.

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