Must-Have Certifications to Get a Remote Project Manager Job
When the COVID-19 lockdowns around the world began in the early months of 2020, various buildings had to close down temporarily and, for an indefinite period, follow safety protocols.
As a result, organizations across different industries were left with no other choice but to continue their day-to-day operations without a physical office. This meant all employees were then required to work remotely.
The sudden shift to a work-from-home setup posed a great challenge, especially to teams who need to collaborate on projects. This is why the role of a remote project manager has become more important than ever.
Companies need a professional who's skilled in remote project management to keep projects on track from start to finish, no matter where people are working from. Since the demand for this role is high, the competition can be very tough. If you're someone who wants to pursue a career that specializes in this field, getting a project management certification is one good way to stand out among other job candidates.
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To get certified, the first thing you need to do is to check out top organizations that offer project management certifications. Here are some of the accreditation bodies you should know about:
- Project Management Institute (PMI)
- The Scrum Alliance
- AXELOS Ltd.
- Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)
- International Association of Project Managers (IAPM)
- American Academy of Project Management (AAPM)
How to Find the Right Project Management Certification for You?
While there are many options available to choose from, not everyone is eligible to take all of the certification exams. Eligibility depends on whether someone meets the prerequisites identified for a particular certification.
Two factors that can affect your eligibility are educational attainment and length of project management-related experience and/or training.
Here are some of the highly recommended certifications for beginners up to senior-level professionals to help you choose one that fits you best.
1) Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
Administered by the PMI, Certified Associate in Project Management certification is a good stepping stone for aspiring remote project managers without a college degree. You only need to meet any of the two requirements:
- High-school diploma, associate's degree or equivalent
- 23 hours of project management education or 1,500 hours of project management experience
The certification exam lasts for three hours, and you have to answer 150 questions. The fee for PMI members is $225. On the other hand, non-members have to pay $300.
Being a CAPM certification holder means that you understand core project management knowledge and can demonstrate effective processes to manage projects.
In order to maintain the certification, you must earn a total of 15 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every three years. There are two PDU categories: Education and Giving Back to the Profession.
Take note of the following minimum and maximum requirements for PDUs:
- a minimum of 9 Education PDUs: You can earn this by attending professional seminars, webinars, or classes. You can also consider doing self-directed learning.
- a maximum of 6 Giving Back PDUs: You can earn this by volunteering, mentoring, or working with professional groups.
2) Agile Scrum Master
Agile Scrum Master from Exin is a certification that can help aspiring project managers understand the agile methodology (managing a project by dividing it into several phases) and apply scrum practices to handle complex projects. It aims to hone an individual to become a scrum master who can facilitate, coach, and enable a cross-functional team.
Source: UX Collective
If you want to take the exam, you have to pick between two available ways:
1) Online Exam: You can book it on the Exin website and set your test date within 21 days upon payment. The test fee costs $275 (VAT included). You have to pick whether you prefer video or live proctoring. With video proctoring, your exam session will be recorded and reviewed by a proctor to ensure that you followed the exam guidelines. For live proctoring, the proctor will monitor you in real-time.
2) Offline Exam: You can take the exam at a test center or with an Exin accredited training partner. If you undergo training with an accredited trainer like GreyCampus, you’ll take the exam at the end of the course under their supervision.
This exam has 40 multiple-choice questions and a time limit of 1 hour and 30 minutes. The passing mark is 26 correct answers or 65%. It’s available in 10 different languages to ensure that candidates around the world can take it in the language that they prefer. Here are the available language options: English, French, Japanese, Dutch, Polish, Czech, Chinese, German, Latin American Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese.
The advantage of passing this exam is that the certification is valid for life, so you won’t have to worry about renewals. You’ll also receive a digital badge, a digital credential that you can share on your social media profiles. This can help boost your professional image and attract more potential employers.
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PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
PMI Agile Certified Practitioner is a certification that establishes your expertise in agile techniques. It shows that you can lead agile teams and apply different approaches to complete projects successfully. You can identify which project scenario requires scrum, kanban, lean, or any other agile method.
To be eligible to take the PMI-ACP exam, you have to meet the following prerequisites:
- Secondary degree
- 21 contact hours of training in agile practices
- 12 months of general project experience within the last 5 years. A current PMP® or PgMP® will satisfy this requirement but is not required to apply for the PMI-ACP.
- 8 months of agile project experience within the last 3 years
The test has 120 multiple-choice questions, and you have to answer all of them within three hours. Take note that 20 of them are pretest questions that aren’t scored. You can choose to take the exam in your preferred language. There are five options available: English, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish.
The exam fee costs $435 for PMI members and $495 for non-members. For convenience, you can take the online proctored exam. With this, you won’t have to worry about the schedule because there are 24/7 testing options available. You can take the exam at your preferred time, day or night.
To maintain your credential, you need to earn 30 PDUs in agile topics every three years. There are six categories of PDUs that you can consider taking:
1) Courses offered by PMI’s R.E.P.s or Chapters and Communities
2) Continuing Education
3) Self-Directed Learning
4) Creating New Project Management Knowledge
5) Volunteer Service
6) Working as a Professional in Project Management
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1) Project Management Professional (PMP)
Project Management Professional from PMI is the most sought-after certification by both aspiring and experienced project managers around the world. Dubbed as the gold standard of project management certification, it validates an individual’s project leadership experience and expertise. It’s designed to highlight the person’s mastery of three key approaches: predictive, agile, and hybrid.
As a PMP certification holder, you can also prove your knowledge and skills in managing time, cost, and scope — or what they call the triple constraints of project management. These are just some of the many reasons why PMP certification is worth it.
To be eligible for certification, you must meet any of the following set of requirements:
- A four-year degree, 36 months leading projects, and 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM® Certification
- A high school diploma or an associate’s degree (or global equivalent), 60 months leading projects, and 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM® Certification
The PMP exam requires you to answer 180 questions in 230 minutes. It’s considered one of the toughest exams because you have to answer different types of questions:
- multiple responses matching
- hotspot, and
- limited fill-in-the-blank
There’s no official passing score announced by PMI, as each question’s weight value depends on its difficulty level. The exam fee for PMI members is $405. If you’re not a PMI member, you need to pay $555.
Your PMP certificate will be valid for three years. For renewal, you must earn a total of 60 PDUs with at least 35 Education PDUs and 25 Giving Back PDUs (at most).
2) Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
Certified ScrumMaster from the Scrum Alliance is another certification suited for individuals who want to gain basic competence in agile methodology. There are several advantages to getting scrum master certified, so if you’re interested in becoming one, here’s what you need to know:
Before you can even take the exam, you’d need to complete a two-day CSM course from a Certified Scrum Trainer. The test has 50 questions and a 1-hour time limit. To be a CSM certification holder, you must get at least 37 correct answers.
Take note that within 90 days after you receive the welcome email in your Scrum Alliance account, you have two chances to pass the test for FREE. After taking the exam twice, you will be charged $25 for each additional attempt.
To maintain your CSM certification, you have to renew every two years. Here are the requirements:
- 20 Scrum Education Units (SEUs)
- $100 renewal fee
You can earn SEUs by doing activities that count as continuing education such as taking courses, reading articles, volunteering, and attending events. (1 hour of activity = 1 SEU)
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3) Prince2 Project Management Certification
Prince2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a well-known certification in the United Kingdom and is recognized internationally. It’s accredited by AXELOS Ltd.
However, AXELOS is neither a training organization nor an exam body, so you need to look for its Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs) or partners to get certified. Prince2 Project Management certification has two main levels: Foundation and Practitioner.
The Prince2 Practitioner Certification is recommended for individuals who aim to show their advanced project management capabilities using Prince2 principles and processes. This means those who have this credential can apply and tailor the method to fit a specific project and make it a success.
To be eligible for the test, you must provide proof that you passed any of the required certifications below:
- PRINCE2 Foundation
- Project Management Professional (PMP)®
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®
- IPMA Level A (Certified Projects Director)
- IPMA Level B® (Certified Senior Project Manager)
- IPMA Level C® (Certified Project Manager)
- IPMA Level D® (Certified Project Management Associate)
The exam consists of 68 questions, and you have 150 minutes to finish it. The passing mark is 55% or 38 correct answers. Here’s the good news -- It’s an open-book exam, but you are only allowed to use the official Prince2 manual.
The Prince2 Practitioner certificate has a three-year validity. To maintain it, you have two options:
- Retake the exam before the certificate’s expiration date or
- Subscribe to My Prince2 to earn CPD points and a digital badge
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Top 3 Skills that Every Certified Remote Project Manager Should Have
Earning a project management certificate puts you at a great advantage when looking for a remote project manager job. Of course, employers prioritize candidates with outstanding credentials. If you want to improve the likelihood of getting hired for the role, you need to make sure they see you as able to demonstrate essential skills for it.
1) Technological Skills
You and your team members will be working from different geographical locations. And the fastest and most convenient way to stay connected with each other is via the internet.
You will be required to use online meeting software, scheduling software, and/or any other cloud-based collaboration and project management tools. Being tech-savvy is a critical skill because it enables you to maximize each software’s features to benefit your project.
2) Communication Skills
As a remote project manager, you have to set up online meetings with a lot of people involved in the project. You have to align and coordinate with your team members to ensure that everyone is on the same page. It’s also your responsibility to encourage them, boost their morale, and help them foster teamwork despite the physical distance.
Furthermore, excellent communication skills allow you to provide clear and comprehensive updates to executives and project sponsors. This is very important—miscommunication can lead to different issues and cause project delays.
3) Risk Assessment Skills
Until you reach the closure of your project, you have to stay alert and assess potential risks that might occur at every phase. Here, the training and knowledge you’ve gained to be a certified remote project manager come in handy.
You can apply different methodologies like Scrum or Prince2 to mitigate risks. This way, you can keep the project on track, meet the deadline, and deliver output that meets or exceeds stakeholders’ expectations.
Remote work is a huge part of the new normal, and many organizations have recognized its necessity in today’s world. By 2027, according to a research conducted by the PMI, nearly 88 million individuals will be needed to fill in project management-oriented roles.
This means that whether you’re starting to build your career in this field or you’re already an experienced project manager, you have a bright future to look forward to. Lots of job opportunities in different industries await you, so never stop learning.