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Qualifications Needed to Become a Project Manager

written by: Rupen Sharma, PMP • edited by: Ronda Bowen • updated: 7/27/2010

So, you want to become a Project Manager!!! Well, the road is tough and involves diverse qualifications which involve formal and on-the-job training. Read more to understand what it takes to get the qualification for project managers.

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    Project Managers require a diverse skill set. These skills range from leadership qualities to communication skills to developing people. The hard skills of project management are generally assumed to be a part of the aspiring project manager.

    Qualification for project manager jobs requires a blend of both formal and informal, on-the-job training. Having both is best! However, if you aren’t a project manager yet, then formal training can give you an entry into the world of project management. Let‘s first look at some hard skill project management training.

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    Acquiring Hard Skills Qualification for Project Manager

    Formal project manager training ranges from podcast to elearning to traditional classroom to formal coaching and mentoring. Before you jump into training, you should first consider what qualification for project manager are most sought after. For example, will the CAPM, PMP, Prince 2 qualifications help you grow in your organization. Or, do you belong to an organization that values university degrees. This is critical because a university degree in Project Management takes more time and you do need prior project management experience. Project management qualifications, such as the PMP and CAPM both require certain hours of on-the-job project management experience before taking the certification.

    If you have no experience in project management, a good path to take would be to enroll for a university qualification. For example, there are several qualifications for project manager offered by the universities listed below:

    • Keller School of Managemenet (PMI accredited course)
    • George Washington University .
    • Aberdeen Business School (PMI accredited course)
    • University of Queensland
    • Stanford University Advanced Project Management Certificate Program

    Similarly, there are several project management qualifications you can get by passing an exam:

    • CAPM awarded by the PMI (requires 1500 hours of work experience in project management)
    • PMP awarded by the PMI (requires 3500 hours of work experience in project management)
    • Prince 2 (several levels, the Foundation Level does not require a work experience). Read the Prince 2 Methodology to learn more. Also, this certification is valuable if you are in the UK or have British clients. Otherwise, it is less recognized when compared with other project management qualifications.
    • Six-Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt (strictly speaking these aren’t project management qualifications, but they are very useful for projects related to quality.
    • International Project Management Association (Has several levels of qualifications to become a project manager, based out of Switzerland)

    For more on qualification for project manager, refer to the Sources of Project Management Training article.

    Note: Apart from these certifications and university programs, it is imperative to have on-the-job training! Nothing can replace on-the-job project management experience.

    Apart from hard skills, project managers require soft skills. Let’s look at some qualification for project manager that can help you develop these skills.

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    Acquiring Soft Skill Qualification for Project Manager

    Some soft skills required by project managers are leadership, conflict resolution, problem solving, out-of-the-box thinking, and time management. The list can carry on as long as you want it too. There is no limit to soft skills. The University programs listed above would also have some courses on developing soft skills. Listed below are some of my favorite non-university project manager training courses:

    • Red Hat Thinking by Edward De Bono (Useful for problem solving and creative thinking)
    • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Useful for developing leadership qualities)

    None of these courses are useful if you do not practice the concepts every day. When you use these concepts together, you are well on your way to becoming a project manager.

    Now that you know the qualification for Project Manager, explore a little deeper into the world of Project Management. Read the Project Management Process Groups Fundamentals article.